When bilingual educator, children's author and recording artist José-Luis Orozco noticed the need for rich, oral language activities in children's heritage language, he began writing songs and recapturing games grounded in rich oral traditions. For over forty years he's written and composed bilingual songs, games, rhymes and poems for young children.  In celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, José-Luis talks about his newest album !Come Bien! Eat Right! and the messages he wants to share with families and teachers.

Tell us about your new album !Come Bien! Eat Right!

The album “Come Bien” is a selection of bilingual songs, games, and dances to promote nutrition, healthy eating habits, dual language, traditions and fitness for children, parents and teachers. You will recognize some well known songs, like De Colores, but the lyrics has been changed which promotes healthy habits.

How did you come up with the topic on ‘eating right’?

I'm a strong believer in promoting healthy habits in children. I wanted to contribute and respond to the current epidemic of diabetes, obesity and heart problems, which are affecting many children and adults. Each of the songs in this album promotes healthy living! 

What’s the message you want families to get from this album?

I want families to enjoy the content of these songs in both languages, but also, to pay attention to the advise I am giving. I want to inspire families to prepare and cook healthier meals, and to dance and sing to promote good health among their family members! 

 How do children benefit from learning songs in a second language?

When children learn a second language, they also learn how to appreciate and respect other cultures and are more likely to have higher levels of achievement in school.

Why is it important to include families in children’s musical experiences? What strategies can teachers use to involve families?

The United States is now more diverse than ever. There is a great need to learn a second language to get ahead in the job market. It is important to involve families in the teaching process in order for children to succeed in school and in life. Teachers can create opportunities in their classrooms for parents to get more involved. For example, by asking parents to share a family tradition, a recipe, etc. Teachers should also provide opportunities for parents or family members to share stories, songs, and information in their primary home language. Another great idea to involve parents is to invite parents for an afternoon and have the students learn the dance and song together.

Listen to the spanish and english versions of 3 songs from !Come Bien! Eat Right!