Since this week is Valentine’s Day (as I’m sure any teacher is more than aware of as they prepare for classrooms to be bombarded with glitter, hearts and chocolate) I thought I’d share some books that could help generate some classroom conversation around the topic of love, and not just romantic love, but love for friends, family, community, or self. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we teach about emotions, and specifically love. Emotions are a seemingly basic part of our human experience, but how much time do we really spend discussing these things, helping our students understand their emotions, or deal with situations or experiences that bring about difficult emotional responses? If we look at our common core, standardized test based curriculum, there doesn’t seem to be much space for topics like this, yet they seem like such essential parts of an education that prepares our students to be successful both in and outside of the classroom. Literature is one way to begin to encourage these kinds of conversations with our students. When I think back to my own k-12 education, rarely did any of the books we read touch on a topic such as love, or if they did, there was never any explicit conversation about the role of love in the story, its meaning or significance. Below I’ve shared various books that engage with the idea of love, while also touching on Latin@ themes in one way or another. We’ve featured all of them here, so I’ve linked to each book’s Educator’s Guide to help you find ways to integrate it into your lesson plans. I’ve also tried to provide general descriptions of the ways in which love is engaged in the book.
- Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Love for family, community, romantic love)
- Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Love for family)
- Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Love for family)
- The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano (Love for family and community)
- Estrella’s Quinceañera by Malín Alegría (Love for family, romantic love)
- Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (Love for family, romantic love)
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Love for family, friends, self, romantic love)
- The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina (Love for family, romantic love)
- Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Love for family, community, romantic love)
- The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sís (Love for community, environment)
For older students, you may want to consider using “Love is. . .An Advanced English Lesson Plan.” Created for ESL students, I think it would be engaging and interesting for all students.
Many of the books above are most appropriate for upper elementary students or older. For younger children, check out these posts with great suggestions for multicultural children’s literature for Valentine’s Day:
- Multicultural Valentine’s Books from Multiculturalism Rocks!
- Valentine’s Day: 10 Multicultural Children’s Books About Love from I’m Not the Nanny
If you have any other book suggestions, please share them in the comments below!
This Friday is also International Book Giving Day!! All the more reason to get excited about February 14th! You can show some love by giving away a book that day!
Here are three suggestions from the official website on how to celebrate:
1. Give a Book to a Friend or Relative.
Celebrate International Book Giving Day by giving a child a new, used or borrowed book.
2. Leave a Book in a Waiting Room or Lobby.
Choose a waiting room where kids are stuck waiting and there are few to no good books available. Purchase a good book, and deposit your book covertly or overtly in your waiting room of choice. The goal here is to spread the love of reading to kids, so choose a fun book, nothing controversial.
For more information click here to go to the official website.
You can also download a full size poster version of the picture below here (it’s available in a number of languages, including Spanish).