We are proud to announce a new author and a new book to the brycehedstrom.com line-up of quality independent authors.

Ben Lev (see his page here) is from northern California and has taught students from kindergarten through college for more than 30 years. He has a new book for level 1 Spanish readers, La identidad secreta, that helps fill a missing genre in Language Learner Literature: science fiction. Science fiction and fantasy are preferred by good readers (see below) and we should provide more of it to them. Our classroom libraries need to have genres that include all kinds of readers.

Ben Lev’s novel is sort of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of story and there is much to like in it:

– Repetition. Vocabulary and structures are repeated, but not overly so. The structures are woven into the story and don’t over-repeat and make it obvious or tedious. Students notice when we focus too much on certain vocabulary and repeat target words incessantly. It irritates them. The writing style here is closer to natural language use.

– Positive message. This is common in TPRS-style books, but the fantasy/science fiction-ish take is unique.

– Illustrations. There are plenty of graphics. Teachers and students are expecting more graphics now to support the text, so this is a plus.

– Guapo. The tie-in to and explanation about the Señor Wooly song “Guapo” (p. 26) is appealing and widens the book beyond itself. So many kids don’t get that the character in that fun song is a negative example.

– Glossing. The glossing of words that level 1 students are not likely to know is excellent, both in form and in content. Ben has a feel for what level 1 students know and need that only comes with years of teaching experience.

– Verb Tenses. Some past tense usage. The natural use of language is a plus. It gets students used to seeing those forms.

– Fake Product Names. This is clever. No copyright problems, but instantly recognizable to students.

– Clear Glossary. The glossary at the end of the book is outstanding. It is much easier to read and find words than many I’ve seen.