Wednesday, July 4, 2012
THE TREASURE ON GOLD STREET by Lee Merrill Byrd
The Treasure on Gold Street is a realistic fiction bilingual children’s book. In the book, we meet a little girl named Hannah who tells us about her life growing up on Gold Street and a valuable life-lesson she learns from her mother and father. In this story, Hannah introduces us to her family, her neighbors, and her friend Isabel. Isabel is an adult with mental retardation who lives with her mom, Bennie. Isabel and Hannah love to do a lot of the same things like walking down the street, playing, and reading. Isabel is definitely a special person in Hannah’s life. On Isabel’s birthday, Hannah finds out that Isabel is also a special person in her mother’s life and comes to understand why her parents always say, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.”
This bilingual children’s book was originally written in English and translated into Spanish. Each page is filled with very colorful and detailed illustrations that depict the narrative text of the story to support the reader’s predictions, questions, clarification, and summarization. This book is easy and clear to read thanks to its legible font size and simple word choice. The Treasure on Gold Street is rich in conversational dialogue between the characters and first-person narration by the main character. Within the dialogue found in the English text, the author uses a few Spanish words without providing specific or immediate translation for those words; however one can deduce the meaning of those Spanish words using the context clues from of the surrounding sentences.
This is a great read aloud book for children in grades K-4th. With this book, children are exposed in a sensitive way to the fact that people are different and that some people have special needs such as mental retardation. This book lends itself beautifully to teaching young children many valuable life-lessons about kindness, friendship, and appreciation. I would recommend The Treasure on Gold Street to both adults and children alike.
Reviewed by Vanessa Polanco
This review is part of the Special Section: Books in Spanish, featuring a collaboration with Policy and Language Studies students at San Diego State University. Read more about it here.