An interview with founder Daniela Pérez for a behind-the-scenes look at her Spanish Explora bookazines for kids ages 7-12
Is your bilingual child always ready for a new adventure? Look no further than Explora bookazines!
When we discovered Explora Mag (a book quality magazine for children ages 7-12), we fell in love. We have every engaging edition, and highly recommend them for families looking to increase their Spanish language and literacy time at home.
Explora bookazines will take your child on themed adventures around the world. They’ll want to pick up their Spanish bookazine to explore exciting facts, informational stories, poetry, even interviews with real kids from around the world!
Full of eye-catching photos and illustrations, activity pages like word searches, comprehension questions, and coloring pages, these are quality resources you can keep and read again and again. Learn about world monuments, fascinating museums, or the Spanish language all over our globe!
I can’t wait to get you the inside scoop on these enticing new Spanish magazines for kids. Read on to discover more about Daniela Pérez, the founder and editor of Explora Mag, and why you and your child will love Explora bookazines!
What gave you the idea to start Explora Bookazine?
I have been carrying this idea for more than 10 years in my mind since the moment I noticed my Spanish immersion students didn’t have quality Spanish resources at home to read here in the U.S.A. Something fun that would motivate them to keep practicing reading in Spanish at home. As they get close to 3rd grade Spanish is not fun for them anymore so I knew they needed something.
I have been writing about travel for different magazines and blogs for the last seven years as I spend my summers in Europe looking for good stories. Exploring new places has always fascinated me, finishing high school I did not ask for a celebration party, instead I asked my parents for a ticket to go to Argentina. That was the beginning of many great adventures around the world. I enjoy reading with my students, nieces and nephews. So I combined my love for teaching, traveling, reading, and writing in what is today Explora bookazines.
Our first bookazine about Museos was our very humble beginnings as our first issue. I used most of my photos from previous trips and I called friends to help me out. My knowledge about printing and creating a magazine was very vague but I took the leap. Very glad I did!
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What inspired you to become a teacher?
My dad is a school principal and my mom is a teacher. We moved from Santiago, the capital of Chile for them to run a small rural school in the southern part of Chile. I was five years old when we made the transition. Seeing them working at the school which connected our community inspired me to do what I do today. I strongly believe in the power of education to positively impact our communities.
Believe me, when going to college, I didn’t think at that time that being a teacher was a good career choice, I went in a different direction my first year of college. Finally, teaching found me back and I completed my B.A in Elementary Education. As I was learning English, I got very interested in the process of second language acquisition, so I pursued an M.A. in the Science of Second Language. Now, I have spent 16 years of my life working in Spanish immersion schools around the country. 4th grade is my favorite grade!
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What do you want parents and teachers to know about your bookazines?
I want parents to know that reading is fundamental to our kids’ lives in any language. It is the foundation to their education, careers, and personal development. We created Explora bookazines so kids can be engaged with reading in Spanish while learning about other places around the world. Global citizenship is more important than ever before as we are all interconnected. Having a sense of curiosity is also vital to resolve our world problems as we have to see things from a different perspective.
I want teachers to know that kids have a voice at any age, that we can also learn from their point of view. So if you have inspiring writers in your classrooms their voices can be heard through their articles in our bookazines or online at our website. Once kids see their articles published, they become writers for life!
I also want them to know that we are not planning to have ads in our bookazines, that is too much distraction for our readers. That is why we relied 100% on our parents and teachers referring us to other families that would enjoy our bookazines.
Tell us a little about behind the scenes as you and your team creates an edition of Explora.
We are constantly working to produce the best bookazine for kids in Spanish. We do our best to choose themes that are relevant to our readers. Ideas come while talking with people, something we saw on TV, read in a book or a photo that we see. I do the preliminary research to figure out if we can find enough information about the topic. Then, I plan the layout of how the theme will be presented, contact the rest of the team that are also teachers in Spain and Chile and we divide the work to start researching and writing the articles. Sometimes we know kids that visited the place mentioned so we reach out to their parents.
Once I have all the articles, we edit them, and make all the necessary changes. This is a very time-consuming task that has to be done very carefully. Once I know the articles are fantastic, I get together with the graphic designer. We choose the colors for the issue, look for the photos, and together we plan the look out of our new bookazine. When everything is done, we do a final revision before going to printing.
From idea to the publication it takes us around three months to complete the work for one issue. We are constantly working on more than one issue at a time. This bookazine takes a lot of collaboration and work to be done well.
We currently publish Explora bookazines monthly as a digital issue, sometimes we will print some issues as our budget allows us. It is a smaller bookazine than the one we were publishing before but we noticed our kids needed a small amount of information at a time, so we want to honor natural ways of learning. We are also all about themes with our bookazines since this is fundamental to language development. In every issue we are very conscious to use natural ways we humans learn languages, giving our kids the opportunity to develop their language skills organically. We even write out the number of the pages in Spanish so kids keep seeing and remembering them!
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What kinds of interesting content can kids enjoy on your website?
Every week we have new articles online for kids to read for free in Spanish. A couple of times a month we send PDFs with activities to the people subscribing to our newsletter to keep encouraging Spanish at home as well as ideas to practice Spanish.
We accept submissions by kids so feel free to reach out if your child or student has a great idea.
For this summer, we are doing a Free Reading Challenge in Spanish to encourage kids to keep reading. Parents can sign up at any time.
We do have more plans for other fun activities for kids in development, more to come!
What is one of your favorite parts of creating the bookazines?
That I am free to have as many questions about our world without judging my thinking. My inner child curiosity kicks in and I can see the world as the most wonderful and exciting place.
The many trips to the library for research and all the things I read gives me a lot of joy too. Through this process I have also been in contact with people that I otherwise would not have met, like the zookeeper, the museum director and many others.
Creating something new every month is a fabulous challenge for our team. Seeing kids giving us feedback about our work makes those moments precious. I know kids are learning in a fun way, my students are the first ones to tell me what they like or don’t like about the bookazines, they are also expanding their view of the world, they see the name of a country and they can easily find it on a map.
Why do your students and readers love Explora bookazines?
They love it because they are learning about the world around them without too much thinking. They read about places that are new to them. What’s more, they can see that kids from other parts of the world are not so different from them. I know for sure kids love word searches!
It’s important to me to write a personalized note in Spanish with every bookazine that I mail. Kids feel encouraged to keep learning Spanish. I will write these notes as long as time allows me to do it.
We hear that you have a podcast?
Yes, one of our goals this summer is to bring back our podcast for kids at Explora. This podcast is about fun conversations with kids in Spanish from around the world. We talk about sports, animals, places, music, anything that is getting our attention at the moment. I am the one producing these podcasts, so I have to get busy uploading them online.
Take a listen to Explora’s podcast here!
Thank you Jenna for asking great questions about Explora Bookazines!
Check out Explora!
Get 20% off of any product at the Explora Shop until June 24th, 2022. Use code: Bilingual balance
Thanks so much to Daniela for giving us the inside scoop on these amazing new magazines for kids! If you’d like to order your own Explora bookazines, head to Explora Mag’s website. Whether in print or online, you and your child won’t be disappointed by these quality and engaging Spanish articles! Get your bilingual child headed out on an exciting adventure today!