GREENFIELD — With stories, songs and crafts, the Hancock County Public Library eased young readers into the Spanish language.

Children’s librarian, Jena Mattix, tried out a new event at the library last week focusing on stories and activities in both Spanish and English. Right now, the library has a small number of patrons whose first language is Spanish, but Mattix said she believes those numbers are growing.

Library staff say children who learn more than one language have stronger vocabularies and critical thinking skills.

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She read the book “Round is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes,” by Roseanne Thong. The book takes shapes in English and pairs them with items in Spanish, for example: ventanas (windows) are square.

Mattix also read “My Colors, My World,” by Maya Christina Gonzalez, which is written in both Spanish and English. She asked attendees to try saying Spanish names for colors aloud.

Mattix had attendees sing the song “10 Little Fingers,” in both Spanish and English. She gave handouts to participants with children’s songs in Spanish and English, including “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” or “Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas y Pies,” in Spanish.

To end the story time event, Mattix provided cutouts of shapes with the Spanish word for the shape on them, and attendees were able to create a picture.

Greenfield residents Katie Ketchen and her daughter, Elsie, 6, attended last Wednesday’s event.

“We do as many of these as we can,” Ketchen said. “I home school, and I like to mix it up and do more interactive things.”

She added that she and her daughter are learning Spanish together.

In the past, the library has hosted a sign language story time, Mattix said, but this is the first time that it has offered a bilingual event for youngsters.

The sign language story time event was well-attended, she said.

Children’s desk manager Cathy Riley said there may not be a lot of interest in Spanish story time in Hancock County, but Mattix plans to continue with multicultural programs from a variety of cultures.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.