El Camino del Café by Adriana Ramirez
EL CAMINO DEL CAFÉ is an engaging and inspiring story written for Spanish 4 students. It is the perfect novel to read with your level 4 classes, AP and IB Spanish classes. It will take you around the world, showing you the journey coffee beans took before they arrived to this beautiful land, where they could finally reach their perfect state. By the end of the novel, your knowledge about coffee and your way of appreciating it will definitely change. This novel has a lot of cultural components that will bring students closer to the coffee culture in Colombia. It has a glossary, alphabetically organized, including common expressions that are part of our day to day language. Synopsis: “Por décadas, el café de Colombia ha sido reconocido a nivel mundial como el mejor y el más suave. Según los expertos, sus granos tienen los atributos perfectos. Pero, ¿de dónde es originario el café y cómo llegó a Colombia? Esta es una historia maravillosa, que llevará al lector por una aventura alrededor del mundo, mostrándole el camino del café.”
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There's this Netflix show called Jugar con Fuego about a coffee plantation in Colombia. I had just started watching it when this book came out. I grabbed the book and took it with me... to Barcelona... where I started it at a coffee shop over a rich tiny mug of espresso and finished it on the beach. On that beach a man on the blanket next to mine asked about it. He was Colombian visiting Barcelona and noticed me reading it. We talked about how it is true -- that Colombian coffee really is the best coffee. Every part of this story is wrapped up in memories of coffee for me. That's what the book is like. It pulls memories of generations of coffee growers until you can deeply smell the beans of generation after generation of Colombian coffee. It's a deep understanding of the history of every cup you drink from now on, and each page is a flavorful sip.
So you probably heard Dr. Stephen friggin' Krashen raves about this book, so what do you care what I have to say about it? Well, here I go anyway!
Here are 5 (more) reasons to read it:
1. Reputation- when Adriana Ramirez puts out a book, you just buy it. You know it will be perfect Spanish and that your kids will love it. The woman is a pro at TPRS, which is stories, after all.
2. Authenticity- hmm a Colombian writing about the history of coffee. You would bet that it is the real deal, and you would be right! It is very informative and thoroughly tells the true story of how coffee got to where it is today! Plus, Adriana is a native speaker who is also highly literate in Spanish and an excellent writer, lending a great deal of authenticity to this book.
3. It’s sneaky- you are learning a lot of history as you go about how coffee was first cultivated, where it came from, how it got to where it is today... it’s all told in a series of stories. I found myself rooting for characters, heartbroken, scared and overjoyed- all during a history lesson!
Side note: It also makes your coffee taste better! I *almost* drank it black. (Coffee, why are you so much more delicious with cream?!)
4. 2 for the price of 1!- It’s a story within a story! All of the above stories are being told to other modern day main characters your students will relate to. It isn’t just a bunch of fascinating, true historical stories. Everything is tied together in another story with a satisfying twist at the end.
5. Challengingly comprehensible- this is engaging and comprehensible especially for level 3 and above, in my opinion. It is nice to have something more challenging with a broader range of vocabulary for Spanish 3 and 4.