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Palatero Man

Ring! Ring! Ring!

Can you hear his call?

Paletas for one! Paletas for all!

When you read Palatero Man by Lucky Diaz to your students, you will quickly hear them joining in this joyful refrain. It’s a story of a young boy as he travels through his neighborhood in Los Angeles in search of the Palatero Man, or ice cream man!

This beautiful, vibrant picture book provides us with many possible teaching points. Here are just a few:

  1. Taking risks – I modeled taking a risk to my student as I attempted to read many words in Spanish, a language I do not speak. I said to my students, “I don’t know exactly how to do this, but I’m going to do the best I can.” 
  2. Solving unknown words – The students used clues in the text to solve the meaning of the Spanish words throughout the text. 
  3. Understanding the author’s message – We discussed the importance of community, and helping others.

This book also helped me to deepen my connection with J. J is an English Language Learner who is in second grade. He is struggling to learn to read, but even more is struggling to identify himself as a learner. As you can imagine, we have desperately been trying to help J feel connected and confident. I asked J to give me a little tutoring session before I read the story to his class. He enthusiastically helped me to pronounce the Spanish words in the text accurately. Or, as accurately as I could manage.

Lucky Diaz, author and songwriter

You can’t end your read aloud time without listening to the song that inspired the story. It is performed by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band.

Other resources: 

  1. Watch this video featuring Lucky Diaz making paletas with his daughter
  2. Read this interview with Lucky Diaz
  3. Another interview with Lucky Diaz


A real palatero man!

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