Happy New Year!! I hope all of you had a wonderful winter break and find yourself relaxed, refreshed and ready to begin 2013 with your students!
As many of you may remember, in early December The New York Times published a much discussed article “For Young Latino Readers, an Image Is Missing” about the lack of literature with Latino main characters and themes. With all of the work that comes with the end of a semester, I didn’t get a chance to follow-up on the article or any responses to the issues that it raised. But, I was reminded of it today when reading the latest post from The Hispanic Reader. In her post, DeLeón linked to two different articles that offer titles written by and about Latinos. I thought both articles listed excellent books, some of which I was familiar with, but many that I had never heard of. I would definitely recommend reading both pieces: “Searching for Latinos in Children’s Literature: A Reading List” and “Books for Young Latinos Exist – Just Not in the Classroom”.
Now, I’m not really one who typically makes many New Year’s Resolutions. Not that I don’t set goals, I just never seem to be patient enough to wait until January to start something. But, as I realized how many great resources are out there that I’ve never heard of, I decided to make a New Year’s Resolution: read more books by and about Latinos. Now, I already read at least one book a month for our Vamos a Leer book group, but I’ve realized that there are so many incredible resources out there, that one a month just isn’t enough. As a former elementary and middle school teacher, I always felt it was important to offer a wide variety of literature and reading in my classroom, especially works that reflected the lives and interests of my students. Now, my jobs focus more on collaborating with classroom teachers and teaching student teachers in the college of education. I’ve realized that it is just as important to be knowledgeable about these kinds of resources (even though I’m not in the classroom) so that I can pass on this information to the teachers and students I work with now. My hope is that I’ll also be able to share many of the books I read here on the blog with our many teacher readers. When I was in the classroom, I never struggled with a desire to share diverse literature with my students, my issue was always time–I never seemed to have enough time to research and read many of the titles I came across. Hopefully, my new resolution will help to do some of this work for the interested teachers out there. And, of course, Ailesha will continue her wonderful World Wide Web and ¡Mira, Look! posts that offer great suggestions for classroom resources too.
So, over the next few weeks, I’m going to put together my own list of books I’d like to read this year. I’m planning on using the two articles above to get my list started. Cindy L. Rodriguez also put together a great list in a post from earlier this year, where I’m sure I’ll find some more great titles. As soon as it’s finished, I’ll share my list of reading for 2013. I’d love to hear any suggestions you have–your favorite books or just ones you’ve heard about but never gotten the chance read. If you’d like to join me in my resolution–I’d love the company!! Share your thoughts (and book titles) in the comments below! You may also want to check out our “collection” of titles on our own Latin American Young Adult Literature Bookshelf.
And, if you’re looking to add to your own book library or collection, be sure to participate in our monthly book giveaway! We’ve also just posted our most recent Educator’s Guide on this month’s featured book Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck, so be sure to check that out too!
Happy New Year! Here’s to another great year of reading!!