I don’t mean to deluge you with endless ¡Mira, Look! postings, but I have one last tidbit to share with you before next week: ¡Sí, se puede! This is a particularly special book for me to post about, because the book’s illustrator, Francisco Delgado, is actually joining us next week in Albuquerque to lead a professional development workshop for teachers. He’s going to present on “Teaching About the Border and Social Justice With Art” on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, from 5-8 p.m. at the LAII. Talk about an exciting speaker!
Delgado’s work is broad, encompassing a range of community interests, social activism, education, and art. ¡Sí, se puede! is indicative of those interests. The book covers a serious topic (the “Justice for Janitors” strike that took place in L.A. April, 2000), with sensitivity. Cinco Puntos Press, the book’s publisher, describes it with the following: “Carlitos’ mother is a janitor. Every night while he sleeps, his mother cleans in one of the skyscrapers in downtown L.A. One night, his mamá explains that she can’t make enough money to support him and his abuelita the way she needs to unless she makes more money as a janitor. She and the other janitors have decided to go on strike. Will he support her and help her all he can? Of course, Carlitos wants to help but he cannot think of a way until he sees his mother on TV making a speech in support of the strike. Finally, Carlitos knows how he can show his mamá how proud he is of her. He and the other children in his class make posters and Carlitos joins the marchers with a very special sign for his mom! Si, Se Puede! has an essay written by acclaimed author Luis J. Rodriguez about Dolores Sanchez, one of the women involved in the L.A. Janitor’s Strike. The book also has a poster with a poem by Rodriquez, and information about unions directed to grades 4-6.”
This book, much like The Streets Are Free, is an excellent resource for discussing social justice action and agency with your students. Check it out through the Zinn Education Project, where there’s also a link to an article by Linda Christensen of Rethinking Schools talking about how to use the book in all grades!