Although Craig Klein Dexemple is a super creative author, I had always wondered why his book ¡Papacito!, has been a book with such success and acceptance among students and teachers. It didn’t take long to find the answer as the moment I read it, I was hooked with the story and the book itself. The title, the bright colors, the illustrations and all that cultural information you find without even reading a line, all this immediately captivated me as a reader.
Papacito’s characters are the same characters you would find in a traditional Latin American family, where it is common for grandparents to live with the family of one of their children. Throughout Valeria’s story, Klein not only demonstrates that he perfectly understands the world of teenagers, but also uses his sense of humor in the same way our students do every day.
Craig Klein does not miss the opportunity to inform the reader about many aspects of the Colombian Caribbean culture and integrates them perfectly with the life of his characters. Now I understand well why Papacito has become a classic CI book for novice proficiency level students.
During the fall of 2018, I was invited to present at IWLA (Iowa World Language Association) fall conference. As in any conference, there is an exhibition hall where companies and authors offer their products. Craig Klein had a small table in a corner where he exhibited some of his titles. I was looking at the covers of his books when two women who were speaking Spanish approached the booth and curiously explored each one of the titles.
As many of you know, I am a person who loves to connect with world language colleagues, so I asked them if they were teachers. With a nervous smile they said no. They told me that they worked as part of the cleaning crew at the the university where the conference was held. They also told me that earlier in the morning they had seen Craig’s books and wanted to look at them closely. They wanted to buy some for their own children.
I know that for Craig this was a very special moment. I understood then, that Klein writes with his heart.
Bravo Profe Klein!
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