Because You Are Here
by Carina Salva
Trafford Publishing

"I am smart because you are here."

Our world gets smaller every day. As our communities and neighborhoods get more diverse, it becomes increasingly more likely that we will encounter and interact with people speaking a language different from your own. With that in mind, Carina Salva, from the Philippines, has produced what she terms to be "the first multi-lingual children's inspirational book." Augmented by her own illustrations, Because You Are Here consists of several familial images captioned by various daily affirmations, printed in English, Spanish, Chinese, French, and Tagalog. It is designed to be read together by parent and child, to demystify the idea of foreign languages to the latter and, in some cases, the former.

The author, who has worked as a nanny and a teacher, is clearly dedicated to children; her passion shines clearest through her illustrations, which are vibrantly colorful and compelling, aimed at the little ones. "I am healthy because you are here" depicts two scenes, for example: A mother feeding her child a meal of tacos, salad and fruit, and a happy grouping at a family-friendly farmer's market. People of differing ethnic backgrounds are of course represented: A mother in a sari plays with kids at a playground, and a charming Asian family celebrates a birthday. Salva expresses her gratitude to "the Beck kids" who assisted her with the drawings, which have a pleasing, childlike feel, and dedicates the book to her now-grown son.

Because You Are Here would likely prove most suited to beginning readers, as, at only fourteen pages, it is light on text. However, one mustn't mistake quantity for quality, and, in her idea to produce a children's book to break down cultural and linguistic walls, the author may have hit on an engaging concept worthy of further attention. This is a good idea that could be fleshed out a bit more, even provide the start of a series. It can provide an enjoyable and interactive experience for parents teaching their children to read.

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