Benjamin and the Word / Benjamín y la palabra (Paperback)
by Daniel A. Olivas
Illustrations by Don Dyen
Spanish translation by Gabriela Baeza Ventura
Publication Date: March 31, 2011
A thought-provoking bilingual picture book that explores racism on the playground.Look Inside
While Benjamin waits for his father to pick him up from school, he doesn’t hear the screams of the kids playing dodge ball on the playground. The only thing he hears is, “a word. The word.” Earlier that day, Benjamin beat his friend James while playing handball, and James retaliated by calling Benjamin “the word.”
With soft, watercolor illustrations that complement the text, Benjamin and the Word / Benjamín y la palabra is a compelling look at name-calling and intolerance. When confronted with James’ epithet, Benjamin and the reader set off on a poignant journey to understanding and forgiveness. Exploring tough issues of bigotry, racial dualities, and cultural difference, Benjamin, James, and the reader will never be the same after bigotry on the playground.
Originally published as a five-part series in the Los Angeles Times’ Kids’ Reading Room section, Olivas’ book has already won acclaim from readers and even received a letter of praise from the Anti-Defamation League. A perfect discussion-starter both in the classroom and at home, Benjamin and his struggle will enrich the way that readers ages 4 to 8 think about diversity and tolerance.
“A perfect discussion starter for name-calling and bullying.”—Teaching Tolerance
“In the pressure-cooker of elementary school, where high stakes testing is winning out over funding for anti-bias education, Olivas helps us understand the effect name-calling has on young people and how parents can effectively talk to their children about hate.”—Abraham Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League
DANIEL A. OLIVAS is a frequent contributor of children’s stories to the Los Angeles Times’ Kids Reading Room. His children’s poetry also appears in Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers, edited by Pat Mora (Lee & Low Books, 2001). Olivas’ books for adults include Assumption and Other Stories (Bilingual Press, 2003) and The Courtship of María Rivera Peña (Silver Lake Publishing, 2000). He practices law in Los Angeles with the California Department of Justice. The author makes his home in the San Fernando Valley with his wife and son.
Learn more at danielolivas.com.
DON DYEN is a nationally recognized artist who is highly respected for his ability to capture the essence of contemporary culture. Dyen has been honored for his illustrations of sports and political subjects and, more recently, children’s books. He illustrated This Is the Sea that Feeds Us (Dawn Publications, 1999). He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.
Learn more at dondyenillustrator.com.
Accelerated Reader Quiz #87913
ATOS English: 3
ATOS Spanish: 3
ATOS Interest Level: Lower grades
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