What readers say ... About El Loro Tico Tango: I have been buying a lot of books in Spanish to teach my kids. So many books that have been translated from English are awkward or don't convey the meaning very well. But El Loro Tico Tango is superb. It is written in Spanish (not translated from English), with lilting, mellifluous prose. My 5 year-old daughter has easily memorized it. The accompanying artwork is sophisticated and beautiful. We read this book every night. Este libro ofrece una combinación perfecta de ilustraciones contundentes, una historia jocosa y picaresca y el uso excelente de la rima y la aliteración para capturar la imaginación de mis niños, quienes se disfrutan este libro, verso a verso. Como no es una traducción del inglés, sino que ha sido escrito originalmente en español, los versos fluyen con buena rima, ritmo y aliteración. Excelente libro. (Amazon Review by JCF)
About Lola's Fandango: This is a great read, and an opportunity to incorporate a multicultural book into the lives of children. It’s a great story for helping kids discover what they are good at and finding the courage to pursue their passions. It’s also a story about family love. All great reasons for adding the title to your bookshelf! (Growing Book By Book, 2014) I was rather taken with Witte's writing in this book too. As a German raised in Spain who has lived in the States for at least eighteen years, she has a good ear for the picture book format. The book reads slightly longer than the younger fare out there. Think Patricia Polacco rather than Kevin Henkes. I like her word choices as well. After staring longingly at her sister's hair the text reads, "Lola looks at herself in the mirror. Her hair is coarse and wiry like a terrier." Not just any dog, mind, but a terrier. When Lola actually learns the dance, the book then uses lots of fun terms that sound great when read aloud. From the "Toca toca TICA!" of Lola's heels to the "Snap! Snap!" of her fingers and the "Swish!" of her skirt, the book is fun to listen to.
Spanish words are also dipped into the narrative naturally. There are a fair number of books with bilingual words and phrases out there that insert said words into their text with all the grace of an elephant with gout. Witte, in contrast, slips the words in where they fit best. You might not even notice that they were there until you reached the end of the book and found yourself confronted with a Glossary of terms. It is worth noting that the book is sold in both an English version and a Spanish version, for those of you with significant Spanish language collections. (E. R. Bird)
On Creative Storytelling (GetLit! Workshop, Spokane 2015): I just wanted to say how much I appreciated your brilliant workshop at Get Lit. It was certainly worthwhile making the trip from Portland. I am still reaping benefits from your energy, creativity, and ideas. I appreciated your mix of groundedness and risk-taking, which I found inspiring and transformative. (Christi Krug, Wildfire Writing)
My favorite activity was closing my eyes and making zoo noises. Silly? Yes, yet I was able to physically imagine myself there. I could hear the birds, see them in my head. I heard a child ask to touch an animal, and could see it as a mental image. (…) I was able to realize just how significant physical, non-verbal communication really is. Acting out an idea with no words was far more difficult than I had previously imaged yet it demonstrated its importance in using language, gestures, etc. (Workshop participant, Spokane Get Lit! Festival, April 2015)