...una biblioteca es un gabinete mágico en el cual hay muchos espíritus hechizados. Despiertan cuando los llamamos; mientras no abrimos un libro, ese libro, literalmente, es un volumen, es una cosa entre las cosas.      - Emerson

Public Libraries Using Spanish



Today's the birthday of Scotty Gómez, the Chicano hockey jefe (see SOL 27) and of your humilde servidor.  Pictured at left is the woman who did all the hard work on that fateful solstice when Baby Flaco bounced onto the scene.  The family's youngest escuincle inherited his mom's stubbornness but not, sad to say, her sublime good looks.
    Now she's gone.  She died a couple weeks ago.  She was one of those sweet moms, the kind of mom a guy feels lucky to have watching out for him.  I'll bet you know the type.

...por eso quiero decirte con simples palabras
gracias, ...gracias por todo querida mamá...

–Gabriel Juárez, "Para mamá"

Margaret Jensen 1921-2001

SOL 69 Contents:

December 23, 2001
1. StoryPlace in Spanish: Interactive fun + learning online 
3. "The loving tongue..."
Poetas publish, learn, chat, all in the language of Cervantes
2. ¡A su salud!
Lavish Spanish-language health site on the Web
4. Home away from home, part II
Another Mexican town moves into cyberlandia
  5. Críticas pumps up its website
All articles now accessible gratis

1. StoryPlace speaks Spanish

Leave it to librarians to figure out this storytelling business and do it up right, whatever the format. is a  dazzling site that leaps right outta the screen at you and the kiddies with its delightful graphics and animation, its music and entertaining sounds, and its fun interactive content.

See for yourself as you explore their vast Spanish-language section.  You might begin with some animated stories at
lunch.asp?themeid=1 or
threelilcritters.asp where you can even give names to the characters.

 (There's a thematic index of all the preschool tales at

It doesn't stop there.  The Spanish side of the site also offers printable games, mazes and activities featuring characters from the stories, and a section of short reviews of Spanish-language children's books.

We have the librarians in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, NC to thank for all this.  They launched StoryPlace "to provide children with the virtual experience of going to the library and participating in the same types of activities the library offers.

"StoryPlace currently consists of two libraries, the Preschool Library and Elementary Library with new activities and themes being added each month."

If you'd like to find out more about the history and mission of this fine bilingual project, visit



2. Health information in a fabulous format

Dr. Tango has a truly marvelous webside manner, whoever s/he is.  The good doctor has put together a large, authoritative, and graphically rich medical information site, all in Spanish.  You can get to it via a number of avenues, thanks now to the good folks at Texas Health Resources.  Try  just for starters.

The package comprises three primary areas:
· The Enciclopedia de Salud, with definitions and explanations of medical terminology, resides at
· You'll find a pregnancy and childbirth information center at
· And a child safety guide, replete with pictures and facts on everything from tarantulas to bicycle helmets, awaits caring parents at

The "Healthtools" splashpage has links to all three, and more:

And here's a little bonus tip from Flaco: Those of you who study español in your spare time and are looking for labeled diagrams with those hard-to-find body parts like the paratiroides and zigoma should head straight to

Want to read more, in English, about this service and how it came to be? See

3. Poetry forum serves writers and readers in Spanish

I'll bet you're wondering about Gabriel Juárez, whose poem is quoted above.  No, he's not a famous wordsmith, but one of the 400 Spanish-language poetry enthusiasts whose work enriches a well-designed online forum called the Portal de la Poesía Virtual.  The site enables writers to publish their work, discuss their craft, and search for information and inspiration.

Juárez's entire poem, by the way, is posted at

4. Connecting globally with rural Mexico

You might recall that back in SOL 66 we featured JC Lopez's, a slam-bang virtual community centered, geographically, in Michoacán but really everywhere at once (a means, as Perfesser Phil Agre might say, to conduct "collective cognition" in the diaspora, wow).  Well, the November ish of Hispanic featured a little Mexican town that's gone digital in a big way–a link to home, for many, and a whole lot more besides.  Read about it at

5. Críticas site revamped

As the review and news source for the Spanish-language book business gears up for its new bimonthly schedule, the editorial content (minus the reviews) of the first four issues is yours to read  Here you'll find useful insider's guidance on the ins and outs of this growing and idiosyncratic subculture of the publishing world.
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