Marching on with our theme on immigration, there is so much more to it than just the process of coming to the United States. While that is certainly a large accomplishment, another aspect of immigration is readjustment and, to some degree, assimilation. Assimilation is often the most difficult among first generation Americans. However, assimilation doesn’t mean the loss of one’s culture as cultural riches are handed down from generation to generation. What does it mean to be Latino? Thus, this week, we are discussing Yes! We Are Latinos! by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy.
Ada and Campoy’s fairly new book (only published in August 2013) chronicles the lives of thirteen Latinos and Latinas living in the US. In the book, each character is provided with a fictional profile that describes the quest for their identity. Since each character is of a different nationality and appears throughout a different time point in history (think American Girl series), each profile is followed by nonfiction prose that provides the historical and social context explaining the profile of that character. Not only is this book useful at providing stories for which Latino students can relate, but it also helps non-Latino students understand the depth and variety of Latinos throughout US history.
Immigration is an issue that touches each of our students. While not all of our students may come from a family of, or indeed be, immigrants, immigration is a mainstream topic of discussion at the moment. Students see immigration debates on television, and they may even hear these conversations at home. Now, that is not to say that students always see or hear an accurate portrayal of immigration. This book may help educators and parents begin to frame immigration in the “non-traditional” sense by opening discussion on why people immigrate and the type of lives they face. While this book is for students ages 10 and up, it can help students better understand both immigration and the role of immigrants in the United States.
I hope you will take the time to check out Yes! We Are Latinos!
Until Next Time,
Errata: Thank you to the authors of this beautiful book for pointing out that F. Isabel Campoy is a co-author alongside Alma Flor Ada. We have corrected the omission above.