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Books are much harder to obtain in Guatemala than in the United States or Europe. Casa Rosario has a library of Spanish grammar books and dictionaries which are always accessible for the students to use. If you plan to be living with a family in San Pedro or if you plan to travel around Guatemala or Latin America, we advise you to bring along  three small books which will help you when you are away from the school:
  • The smallest Spanish-English dictionary that will fit in your back pocket and you can carry with you at all times, or a Spanish dictionary for your smart phone. If it is for your smart phone, spend the money to get one that is entirely on the phone and does not need an internet connection. The first time I traveled with my smart phone the dictionaries I had required an internet connection and were therefore virtually useless unless I wanted to spend big bucks.
  • A small Spanish grammar. As your classes will be in Spanish it is often helpful for beginners to be able to review the grammar after classes in your own language. 
  • A pocket-seized book of phrases for travelers. Armed with this and you dictionary (to substitute words for your specific situation) you should be able to get through most basic travel situations.

You should be able to get all three books for under  $25.00. Travel light, don't bring any more Spanish books than these. You will not need them, and it is likely the school has them. If you don't bring them it is unlikely you will find ones as good in Guatemala. There are no bookstores in San Pedro. What follows are some books available on the web which fit the bill. You may be able to find other books available which are equally as good or better.

If you want to buy your books online, I have linked the books listed below to the Amazon.com site, but before you use it I suggest you go to www.booksense.com and try to purchase your books there. This site of independent booksellers will link you up to a local bookstore. For these books the price should be nearly the same. You will have to do a search. I suggest entering the following searches to find the books:
  • Ina Ramboz (author search)
  • Spanish travelers (keyword search)
  • Spanish English pocket dictionary (keyword search)
  • Spanish grammar (keyword search)

Through this site I found the three books at a local bookstore just a few blocks from my house. Total price: $21.

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GRAMMAR:
. Spanish Verbs and Essentials of Grammar by Ina W. Ramboz. Available from Amazon about $8 new. It is one I liked best for help with grammar when I was studying Spanish fifteen years ago. It is still available with a new cover. This book is very clear and concise and its size makes it easy to travel with.
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POCKET DICTIONARIES:
. The most important thing about a pocket dictionary is that you will feel comfortable having it in your pocket or backpack at all times. Do NOT bring a big or medium sized dictionary. The school has them and they will burden you down. I'm listing several which are small and cheaply available on the web (No, I haven't checked them out in person). My preference however is to go to a good bookstore and look through what they have because they vary greatly in the qualities which you might want such as: completeness of definition, size, open-ability, pronunciation guide, etc.
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PHRASE BOOKS:
  • Latin American Spanish for Travelers by Berlitz seems to be out of print, but it is a very good small book. The size is a real plus. The day I checked I found two copies for sale through http://www.bookfinder.com/. They were $3 plus shipping.
  • The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Spanish Phrases. This book is a little larger (7.5" x 4.5") and more expensive ($10).
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  COMBINATION  PHRASE–DICTIONARY
. I haven't seen this one in person, but it might work out as both a dictionary and a phrase book in one.
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For questions and answers in English call me in San Francisco, California at (415) 282-7654 (I will be away from December 25 to January .) or email me at .

Mailing address:
Casa Rosario Spanish School
Canton Sanjay
San Pedro la Laguna
Depto. Sololá
Guatemala, C.A.

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