Over the past several weeks, we have discussed various aspects of immigration. One of the goals of this blogger is to redirect the discourse on immigration within the classroom. The discussion surrounding immigration shouldn’t center on “bad people” who cross the border to “steal.” Rather, it should focus on the myriad of people who come to the US, why they come, and what happens when they get here. Another important thing to keep in mind is that immigration is not only an issue that impacts adults; thus, our attention should also go to seeing how younger children deal with immigration as well as young adults. This week, we turn our attention to a book written for kids ages four to eight that embraces this discussion on immigration by demonstrating how it can provide people with a unique experience yet allow them to maintain their ties to their cultural past as well. We will be discussing Duncan Tonatiuh’s Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin.
In Dear Primo, two cousins, Charlie and Carlitos, correspond with each other across the border. One lives in Mexico, while the other lives in the United States. Each boy leads a very different life, yet they are both similar. The book describes the very different lives of the two little boys through their eyes, but it also describes the overarching similarity: childhood. While the artwork in the book is inspired by the ancient art of the Mixtecs and other cultures of Mexico, it is also filled with Spanish phrases here and there throughout the book. The unique artwork allows the book to be both a fun and an easy read for young readers.
We have chosen to showcase Dear Primo this week because of its underlying message which is that while we may live across geographical borders, we all share similarities of character. We may not all have the same experiences as they may be contingent upon geographical location, but there are certain things that we all share in common. Likewise, though our family members have moved to a new environment, they are still much like we are. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges in the discussion of immigration when it comes to children is the notion that all people are alike in one way or another, regardless of border issues.
I hope you will check out this interesting read for young readers!
Until Next Time,