My aim for today’s ¡Mira Look! is to reflect on the main themes of 2012 and look towards our 2013 year. Our goal with ¡Mira Look! has been to highlight some amazing award winning books and authors that strive to bridge the gap between the multiple worlds our students live in. Through these posts, we try to give teachers, librarians and parents openings in which to engage our young readers in conversations about race, ethnicity, diversity, cultural knowledge, hardship and experience. Ultimately, we hope that through literature, our students can gain a deeper and more respectful understanding of themselves and the world in which they live.
Themes in this year’s posts included immigration and border studies, as in La Línea and Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller; poetry, as in Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People and Messengers of Rain: and Other Poems from Latin America; and, Caribbean culture, as in Grandma’s Records (2001) and Grandma’s Gift (2010). A strong theme running through all of these books is social justice. As a term, social justice can be loosely applied in order to recognize that understanding and equality can come through numerous avenues. For example, Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia, is a social justice story in that the protagonist saw the lack of access to education, reading, writing and literature as a basic violation of rights and that these skills were critical to equality. Marcelo in the Real World tackles social justice on the basis of understanding: we have to know how the different obstacles and identities effect and shape the ways in which we walk through the world. The books by Alma Flor Ada, Julia Alvarez and Guadalupe Garcia McCall tackle issues of identity, recognition and cultural sensitivity.
As we close out 2012 and look onward toward 2013, I want to reiterate what I said in the WWW post for Friday. Teachers and librarians: you absolutely make a difference in the lives of all who come into your classrooms. You have a heck of a job in juggling just the nitty-gritty of teaching, much less finding sensitive, engaging materials that foster dialogue. We at Vamos a Leer truly appreciate you! Our purpose is to be a resource for you: offer you ideas, guides, suggestions and frameworks for dealing with the difficulties and triumphs that shape our youths’ experience. We fully, 200%, encourage you to give us feedback on what we did well this year and what you would like to see in 2013.
Wishing you a wonderful winter season, wherever you are, however you celebrate.
P.S. All of the books and authors referenced here can be found through our archives at Vamos A Leer’s Mira Look Page.