By Sara Skinner, Therapist, Carolina Outreach
As a therapist who works primarily with Spanish-speaking families, I often struggle to find resources that are accessible for the families with whom I work. One of the primary recommendations I make to parents who want to form a closer bond to their children is to spend quality time together, however brief, each day. Reading together is a fantastic way for parents to connect with their children. One of my fondest memories of my childhood was when my father would read a Roald Dahl or Shel Silverstein book to my sister and me. My father worked a lot, but I always felt special when he would take the time to explore new worlds and ideas with me. Children’s books in Spanish are extremely difficult to find and often very expensive. Many parents tell me that they cannot read to their child because the only books their child has are in English.
Book Harvest has been an incredible resource for the families at my agency. I began requesting books from Book Harvest last year, and the organization has had an invaluable impact on our agency and the families who come to us for mental health services. Book Harvest makes an amazing effort to find books that are bilingual in English and Spanish or are completely written in Spanish. Parents tell me how much they love having the opportunity to read to their child and spend quality time together. Many of the parents with whom I work say that they often are unable to help their children with their homework because all of their assignments are in English. Now that they have books in their native language, parents are able to teach their children how to read in Spanish and therefore have a more concrete way of contributing to their education.
One of my favorite recent memories from work was when I walked by a child and his mother reading a book in Spanish together. The child was calm and enraptured by the story, and his mother looked at ease as they curled up together. I am so grateful for making this powerful moment, and all of the other amazing moments I do not get to witness, possible.