2017 Américas Award Recipients

Buenos días a todas y todos! During the rest of this month I will be highlighting some amazing Latinx children’s and young adult literature authors and illustrators by introducing the 2017 award winners of the Américas Award, Pura Belpré and Tomás Rivera, which were awarded this past summer.

Today I will be introducing the Winners, Honorable Mention and Commended titles authors and illustrators for the 2017 Américas Award. As noted on their website, the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) founded this award in 1993 to encourage and commend authors, illustrators and publishers who produce quality children’s and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States, and to provide teachers with recommendations for classroom use. CLASP offers up to two annual book awards, together with a commended list of titles.

I also want to note that the Latin American & Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico, which works behind the scenes of this blog, is a proud sponsor of the Américas Award. The Américas Award is administered by CLASP, coordinated by Tulane University and Vanderbilt University, and supported by Florida International University, University of Florida, University of New Mexico, Stanford University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The Américas Award also shares resources relevant to current events, new books and the classroom on their Facebook page, which is worth checking out. Without further ado, the following titles were recognized as Winners, Honorable Mentions and Commended Titles by the 2017 Américas Award review committee. We hope they will make it to your classroom bookshelves!

 

Award Winners

Ada’s Violin written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. ISBN: 978-1481-430-951

The Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay has received international attention because of the extraordinary story of the children living in Cateura, home of the main garbage dump for the capital city of Asunciόn and how they became musicians using instruments made of recycled trash. Many of the townspeople work in the landfill earning as little as two dollars a day. Before the arrival of a consultant engineer to the landfill (Favio Chavez, who happened to be a musician), many of the children had no creative outlets and their futures seemed bleak. Ada’s Violin conveys the beautiful story of a young girl, Ada Rios, whose grandmother signs her up to learn how to play the violin through lessons given by Chavez. When there are more children interested in learning about music than there are instruments, Chavez turns to a local carpenter who begins to make instruments from recycled trash. At last, there are enough instruments for the children. Through diligent practice they develop the expertise to perform concerts for the local community. Their orchestra becomes so good, in fact, that they begin to perform in countries around the world. Coupled with magnificent illustrations, the author provides readers a background on the story, and website and videos links that teachers can use for extension activities, including a web address for how readers can help the orchestra. (Grades K-3) Continue reading

DACA Resources for Teachers

¡Buenos días!

In light of the devastating news of Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) being revoked, we would like to share some resources for teaching about DACA in the classroom.  Here at the Latin American & Iberian Institute of The University of New Mexico, we are all seeking ways to address this policy announcement and emphasize that we support our undocumented students.

At Vamos a Leer, we also acknowledge that this affects students and classrooms all over the United States. It is more important than ever for teachers to be allies for their immigrant student.

For those seeking more generalized resources on teaching about immigration, we invite you to look at our past posts on immigration. The Reading Roundup about Immigration may be particularly helpful when working with younger students.  .

We hope you find these resources useful!

En solidaridad,
Kalyn

 

Videos & Films

We would like to highlight the following interview with immigrant rights activist Jonatan Martinez, conducted here at The University of New Mexico. Jonatan participated in a walk to D.C., which resulted in the documentary American DREAMers, which we recommend checking out.

At UNM, our undocumented students have mobilized into an incredible, youth-led organization called the New Mexico Dream Team. As part of their efforts to create a safe, more inclusive campus and community for undocumented students and their families, they offer campus trainings. These are the “Dreamzone trainings,” and even if you can’t attend in person, their introductory video  offers some important starting points about why and how educators should become active allies and how they can serve as resources for undocumented students.

We also invite you to check out two films recently released which talk about DACA from personal standpoints. We have only watched the trailers, so if you watch them, please let us know what you think! The directors are offering free streams of these films for the month of September in solidarity with DREAMers around the country.

Articles

Teachers might find the succinct article, posted by United We Dream, useful for addressing prevalent questions regarding what this all means for current DACA holders.

Grace Cornell Gonzales with Rethinking Schools wrote a post titled “800,000 Reasons to Teach About DACA.” In her article, she highlights the importance of understanding and teaching what it means to be undocumented, and the fears with which undocumented youth are faced. In order to do so, Gonzales links Sandra Osorio’s article about teaching about deportation. She links a few videos explaining DACA, some of which are for more of a high school audience. Gonzales closes with ways that students and teachers can take action to support undocumented immigrants in the US.

The Southern Poverty Law Center also published an article regarding DACA, which we recommend checking out.

Sana Makke with Teaching For Change also wrote an article this week about high school students in Washington D.C. walking out to protest DACA.

What can you do?

Here is an article with ideas for what we can do in order to support DACA. Organizations like Cosecha and United We Dream are good places to start when looking for how to offer support.

September 15th | Week in Review

2017-09-15-WWW-01-01¡Hola a todos! I am very excited to start sharing resources again with you all.

Latinos in Kid Lit has just launched a new series called “Spotlight on Middle Grade Authors.” They’re kicking it off with a feature on Margarita Engle, the Young People’s Poet Laureate. Check it out to hear her describe the birth of her passion for writing.

Rethinking Education shares why Spanish Fluency in the U.S. decreases with each generation. “About 88 percent of Latinos ages 5 to 17 in 2014 said they either speak only English at home or speak English ‘very well,’ compared with 73 percent in 2000.”

–Rethinking Education also posted 9 Bilingual Children’s Books That Make Learning a New Language Easy, a list catered specifically to Spanish teachers.

–For those of you teaching middle or high school history, Rethinking Schools shared Justice for Dreamers- Punish the Authors of Forced Migration, an article that explains how foreign policies creates forced migration.“The perpetrators of the “crime” are those who wrote the trade treaties and the economic reforms that made forced migration the only means for families to survive

— Lastly, Remezcla featured Google latest initiative, which involved the launch of  One of the Largest Digital Collections of Latino Art and History. “The collection features more than 2,500 pieces of art through 90 exhibits.”

Abrazos
Alin Badillo

Welcome (back) to our team!

¡Hola a todas y todos!

Introducing the Vamos a Leer team members for the 2017-2018 school year! If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you might recognize some of us, as we are all blog returnees. We are excited to continue sharing knowledge with and learning from all of you.

Hasta pronto,

Kalyn

Katrina Dillon, Blogger-in-Chief

I am ​an education consultant ​with k-12 outreach at the Latin American and Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico. I recently finished my PhD in Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies and am now back in the elementary school classroom.  I also have experience teaching at the preschool, middle school, and university levels.

Keira Philipp-Schnurer, Blog Manager

I oversee the community education (outreach) programs at the Latin American and Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico, which means I work with fantastic community and campus partners to plan cultural events, academic symposia, and teacher workshops, among other activities. Most days are a whirlwind and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Kalyn Finnell, Blogger

I am a dual degree Master’s student at the University of New Mexico, studying Latin American Studies and Community & Regional Planning. As part of my Master’s thesis I am currently working with a community in Cusco, Peru, where I have spent time living and studying the Quechua language. When I’m not blogging or studying, I’m working as the President of the Student Organization for Latin American Studies (SOLAS) at UNM. I am excited to be engaged in the k-12 community, and to help support the teaching of Latin America in the classroom.

Alin Yuriko Badillo Carrillo, Blogger

I am a second year Master’s Student in the Latin American Studies program at the University of New Mexico. I am the Vice President of the Student Organization for Latin American Studies (SOLAS) at UNM, amd I work with k-12 outreach programs at the UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute, where I get to contribute to bringing a different perception to this blog. I am a first in my family to graduate from high school, college, and now as a Master’s student. I am very excited to share my perspectives and I look forward to hear your thoughts.

Valeria García, Contributor

¡Hola y mucho gusto a todos! I am a fourth year Master’s student in Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico, and I am a third year law student at UNM as well. I work mainly with translating K-12 curriculum materials for Vamos a Leer, as well as collaborating with other initiatives that the Latin American and Iberian Institute takes on with k-12 programs. My focuses for my Masters is on human rights discourse and domestic violence/child abuse in Latin America, and I hope to practice criminal defense for indigent communities in New Mexico. I’m very excited to contribute to this amazing blog!

Jacob Sandler, Contributor

I research Isthmus Zapotec poetry and other cultural products from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region in southern Mexico. Currently I am studying Anthropology and Economics through the Latin American & Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico. I grew up in Trenton, NJ and Philly.

 

Our Next Good Read. . .Reputations / Las reputaciones

Join us on Monday, October 9th at Tractor Brewing (1800 4th St NW) from Reputations/Las reputaciones | Vamos a Leer | Juan Gabriel Vasquez5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  Throughout the year we will be alternating our young adult book choices with adult novels.  In October we are reading Reputations / Las reputaciones by Juan Gabriel Vásquez.  This book is available in both English and Spanish (each version is hyperlinked above)!

Here’s a sneak peek into the book: (from Goodreads)

A brilliant novel about the power of politics and personal memory from one of South America’s literary stars, the New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Things Falling.

Javier Mallarino is a living legend. He is his country’s most influential political cartoonist, the consciousness of a nation. A man capable of repealing laws, overturning judges’ decisions, destroying politicians’ careers with his art. His weapons are pen and ink. Those in power fear him and pay him homage.

After four decades of a brilliant career, he’s at the height of his powers. But this all changes when he’s paid an unexpected visit from a young woman who upends his sense of personal history and forces him to re-evaluate his life and work, questioning his position in the world.

In Reputations, Juan Gabriel Vásquez examines the weight of the past, how a public persona intersects with private histories, and the burdens and surprises of memory. In this intimate novel that recalls authors like Coetzee and Ian McEwan, Vásquez plumbs universal experiences to create a masterful story, one that reverberates long after you turn the final page.

We hope to see you there!

We’ll also be raffling off a copy of November’s featured book, American Street (Grades 9 and up)Join us that evening to be entered!

Hello! Welcome Back!

Hello, dear friends!

It has been a long time since we last connected. I hope this finds you well as the school year gets underway!

We’re finally back at it and looking forward to a year of sharing resources with you dedicated to Latin American/Latinx literature in the classroom and the wealth of possibilities that accompany this focus. To get us started, I’m pleased to share our list of 2017-2018 titles with you. We hope you’ll join us each month as we read these books with our local book group here in Albuquerque, and follow along as our blogging team shares complementary children’s book reviews and related ideas.

Happy reading,
Keira

2017-08-21-Vamos-a-Leer

Athe-jumbiesugust 12: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Corinne La Mer claims she isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters made up by parents to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest, and shining yellow eyes follow her to the edge of the trees. They couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they? When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger at the market the very next day, she knows something extraordinary is about to happen. When this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, danger is in the air. Severine plans to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and to save her island home.


lucky-broken-girl

September 11: Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

In this unforgettable multicultural coming-of-age narrative—based on the author’s childhood in the 1960s—a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed. Ruthie’s plight will intrigue readers, and her powerful story of strength and resilience, full of color, light, and poignancy, will stay with them for a long time.

Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times


reputations.jpgOctober 9: Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

Javier Mallarino is a living legend. He is his country’s most influential political cartoonist, the consciousness of a nation. A man capable of repealing laws, overturning judges’ decisions, destroying politicians’ careers with his art. His weapons are pen and ink. Those in power fear him and pay him homage.

After four decades of a brilliant career, he’s at the height of his powers. But this all changes when he’s paid an unexpected visit from a young woman who upends his sense of personal history and forces him to re-evaluate his life and work, questioning his position in the world.

In Reputations, Juan Gabriel Vásquez examines the weight of the past, how a public persona intersects with private histories, and the burdens and surprises of memory. In this intimate novel that recalls authors like Coetzee and Ian McEwan, Vásquez plumbs universal experiences to create a masterful story, one that reverberates long after you turn the final page.


american-streetNovember 13: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

American Street is an evocative and powerful coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Everything, EverythingBone Gap; and All American Boys.

In this stunning debut novel, Pushcart-nominated author Ibi Zoboi draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodouculture.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?


like-water-for-chocolate.jpgDecember 11: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

The bestselling phenomenon and inspiration for the award-winning film.

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico blends poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

This classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother’s womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef, using cooking to express herself and sharing recipes with readers along the way.


maximilian-and-the-mystery-of-the-guardian-angel

January 8: Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Lubre Thriller by Xavier Garza

Margarito acts like any other eleven-year-old aficionado of lucha libre. He worships all the players. But in the summer just before sixth grade, he tumbles over the railing at a match in San Antonio and makes a connection to the world of Mexican wrestling that will ultimately connect him—maybe by blood!—to the greatest hero of all time: the Guardian Angel.

Xavier Garza was born in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. An enthusiastic author, artist, teacher, and storyteller, his work is a lively documentation of the dreams, superstitions, and heroes in the bigger-than-life world of south Texas.


the-inexplicable-logic-of-my-life

February 12: The  Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

A “mesmerizing, poetic exploration of family, friendship, love and loss” from the acclaimed author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. (New York Times Book Review)

Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?
This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.


the-only-road

March 12: The Only Road by Alexandria Diaz

“Powerful and timely.” —Booklist (starred review)
“An important, must-have addition to the growing body of literature with immigrant themes.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

Twelve-year-old Jaime makes the treacherous and life-changing journey from his home in Guatemala to live with his older brother in the United States in this gripping and realistic middle grade novel.

Jaime is sitting on his bed drawing when he hears a scream. Instantly, he knows: Miguel, his cousin and best friend, is dead.

Everyone in Jaime’s small town in Guatemala knows someone who has been killed by the Alphas, a powerful gang that’s known for violence and drug trafficking. Anyone who refuses to work for them is hurt or killed—like Miguel. With Miguel gone, Jaime fears that he is next. There’s only one choice: accompanied by his cousin Ángela, Jaime must flee his home to live with his older brother in New Mexico.

Inspired by true events, The Only Road is an individual story of a boy who feels that leaving his home and risking everything is his only chance for a better life. It is a story of fear and bravery, love and loss, strangers becoming family, and one boy’s treacherous and life-changing journey.


how-i-became-a-nun.jpgApril 9: How I Became a Nun by César Aira

“A good story and first-rate social science.”―New York Times Book Review. A sinisterly funny modern-day Through the Looking Glass that begins with cyanide poisoning and ends in strawberry ice cream.

“My story, the story of ‘how I became a nun,’ began very early in my life; I had just turned six. The beginning is marked by a vivid memory, which I can reconstruct down to the last detail. Before, there is nothing, and after, everything is an extension of the same vivid memory, continuous and unbroken, including the intervals of sleep, up to the point where I took the veil .” So starts Cesar Aira’s astounding “autobiographical” novel. Intense and perfect, this invented narrative of childhood experience bristles with dramatic humor at each stage of growing up: a first ice cream, school, reading, games, friendship. The novel begins in Aira’s hometown, Coronel Pringles. As self-awareness grows, the story rushes forward in a torrent of anecdotes which transform a world of uneventful happiness into something else: the anecdote becomes adventure, and adventure, fable, and then legend. Between memory and oblivion, reality and fiction, Cesar Aira’s How I Became a Nun retains childhood’s main treasures: the reality of fable and the delirium of invention.

A few days after his fiftieth birthday, Aira noticed the thin rim of the moon, visible despite the rising sun. When his wife explained the phenomenon to him he was shocked that for fifty years he had known nothing about “something so obvious, so visible.” This epiphany led him to write How I Became a Nun. With a subtle and melancholic sense of humor he reflects on his failures, on the meaning of life and the importance of literature.


shame-the-stars

May 14: Shame the Stars by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Eighteen-year-old Joaquin del Toro’s future looks bright. With his older brother in the priesthood, he s set to inherit his family s Texas ranch. He s in love with Dulcena and she s in love with him. But it s 1915, and trouble has been brewing along the US-Mexico border. On one side, the Mexican Revolution is taking hold; on the other, Texas Rangers fight Tejano insurgents, and ordinary citizens are caught in the middle.

As tensions grow, Joaquin is torn away from Dulcena, whose father s critical reporting on the Rangers in the local newspaper has driven a wedge between their families. Joaquin s own father insists that the Rangers are their friends, and refuses to take sides in the conflict. But when their family ranch becomes a target, Joaquin must decide how he will stand up for what s right.

Shame the Stars is a rich reimagining of Romeo and Juliet set in Texas during the explosive years of Mexico s revolution. Filled with period detail, captivating romance, and political intrigue, it brings Shakespeare s classic to life in an entirely new way.”

Our Next Good Read. . .Lucky Broken Girl

Join us on Monday, September 11th at Tractor Brewing (1800 4th St NW) from Lucky Broken Girl | Vamos a Leer | Ruth Behar5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  We are reading Lucky Broken Girl (Grades 6 and up) by Ruth Behar.

Here’s a sneak peek into the book: (from Goodreads)

Based on the author’s childhood in the 1960s, a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed.

Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen, a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger. She comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.

We hope to see you there!

We’ll also be raffling off a copy of October’s featured book, Reputations / Las reputaciones (Adult)Join us that evening to be entered!