Book guide: Sembrando historias

New Book Guide: Sembrando Historias: Pura Belpre, bibliotecaria y narradora de cuentos

Click here to learn more about this read and to add Anika Aldamuy Denise’s book to your collection.

In Sembrando Historias, Anika Aldamuy Denise shares Pura Belpre’s story. Belpre was the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York who was dedicated for sharing her passion for reading and storytelling with readers of all ages. Throughout the story, illustrator Paola Escobar depicts Belpre’s experiences starting in Puerto Rico and then shifting to New York beautifully. Learn more about Belpre’s experiences as she fought to get Puerto Rican folklore represented and celebrated in the States through this great read and our book guide on it. click here to access the guide in Spanish.

Look at the contrast in the images below that depict Puerto Rico and New York, and are featured in this text.


Book Review: Luna dentro de mí

Book Review of Luna dentro de mi

Aida Salazar’s Luna dentro de mi shares Celi Rivera’s story of growing into her womanhood and her experiences that her friends have discovering their identities. This time in every youth’s life is full of questions and unbearable challenges; however, Celi shows us how we can rely on our friends, family, and our own voices to uncover our true selves. This read rivals Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret by promoting cultural diversity along with gender and sexuality awareness. In Luna dentro de mi, Celi’s mom wants to host a traditional celebration to celebrate the beginning of Celi’s cycle despite Celi feeling unsure about the celebration. Will she find her voice and identity? Check out our book guide to learn more.

New STEM Guide: The Legend of Lupe Hernández

The Legend of Lupe Hernández

We’ve created a new STEM guide to explore the Legend of Lupe!

image from:

It’s 2021. Hand sanitizer is essential along with face masks and keys when you go out. But, do you know who created hand sanitizer, why hand sanitizer was created, or who hand sanitizer was originally invented for?

According to Laura Barton’s 2012 article published in The Guardian, Lupe Hernández, a nursing student in Bakersfield, California in the late ’60s, invented hand sanitizer to help doctors keep their hands sanitized while going room to room to visit patients. However, prior to this article, there is no previous mention of Hernández nor has she or her family been located in Bakersfield. So, does Lupe Hernández even exist? Did Hernández invent hand sanitizer?

Check out the latest STEM guide to uncover this mystery and to teach students how to identify credible sources. Click here for the full guide, and share your thoughts below on the Legend of Lupe.

Black History Month 2021

Feliz Black History Month!

February first is the start of Black History Month! To help your students learn about and celebrate Afro-Latinos and Black history and culture in Latin America, check out our materials from last year’s workshops centered around Afro-Latino traditions and significant figures from Latin America.

What does the phrase “representation matters” really mean?

Check out this STEM guide that explores the experiences of Dr. Guimarães from Brazil

Check out this film guide to learn more about the Buena Vista Social Club:

Grades 11-12 (in English) Lesson Plan

Want more materials? Check out our other lesson plans and guides from last year’s workshops here.

Mi Papi Tiene Una Moto by: Isabel Quintero

Review of Mi papi tiene una moto

Isabel Quintero provides us with a heartwarming tribute to her father in her latest book, Mi papi tiene una moto (available in English as My Papi has a Motorcycle). This heartwarming tale shares the admiration and love that Daisy has for her hardworking father. In this story, Daisy shares with us about the motorcycle rides that she looks forward to wit her father; the two pass around their home town and greet neighbors, family members, neighborhood pets. Along their journey, Daisy shares the feelings, sounds, and smells that she finds along the way.

El hogar es un sentimiento

que se lleva consigo.

In this heartwarming story, Quintero inspires readers to celebrate and appreciate their homes and their families. For Daisy, her home and her family are always present within her; how do you carry your home with you? Quintero’s storyline and Zeke Peña’s illustrations also inspire us to bring awareness to our feelings and senses. How would you describe your home? How does it feel, smell, sound, and look? Click here to check out the full guide in Spanish.

Review of Tania de Regil’s Un Nuevo Hogar

Tania de Regil’s Un nuevo hogar (4-8yrs)

Saludos queridos lectores! We recently read Tania de Regil’s Un nuevo hogar (available in English as A New Home). This story tells the story of two young kids who share their worries and fears about their families’ upcoming moves to very different places. Although these two young kids do not know each other and do not interact, Regil shares their stories side by side as the young boy and his family plan to move from New York to Mexico City and as the young girl and her family plan to from Mexico City to New York.

Regil parallels the two young kids’ stories to show what each child loves about their home city and as each express their similar fears and hopes about their new homes. This story encourages readers to think about and cherish their families and their homes. What makes your home special to you? This story also encourages readers to recognize their feelings and fears. Big changes, such as moving to a new city in a new country, can be scary for readers of all ages; however, these changes can also be full of hope and promise!

Review of Perkins’s Between Us & Abuela

Review of Mitali Perkins’s Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border (ages 3 – 6)

& Our Book Guide with Supplemental Activities and Resources

In Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2019) , María, a young, clever and quick-witted girl from Southern California, narrates her family’s story about celebrating Las Posadas at the annual La Posada Sin Fronteras celebration that occurs at the aptly named Friendship Park, which is along the border between Tijuana, MX and San Diego, CA. Prior to this celebration, María introduces us to her younger brother, Juan, and her Mamá, Sylvia. María explains that sadly she hasn’t seen her Abuela in five years; however, both María and Juan are elated that they will see their Abuela (albeit through the fences along the border) and thus are busy making final touches to their homemade presents for their Abuela.

After a long bus journey and waiting in line for their turn, María, Juan, and Mamá finally get their chance to see and talk with their beloved Abuela who stands on the other side of the border, in Mexico. Their time spent together goes by quickly as they sing Las Posadas, pass hugs and kisses through the fences, and catch up on other family members that live on either side of the border. At the end of their time together, María tries to pass the scarf that she and Mamá have made for Abuela through the fence when she is stopped by Border Patrol Agents that explain that it is forbidden to pass things through the fence. However, this inspires crafty María to find a different way to ensure that Abuela can receive her Christmas gifts without disobeying the Border Patrol’s rules.

Author: Mitali Perkins; Illustrations by: Sara Palacios; Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (2019)

Check out our full book review and educator guide on Between Us and Abuela here.

Have you read this heartwarming story? Share your thoughts below! How do you plan to celebrate Las Posadas this year?

Book Group Recap: Juana & Lucas

Book Group Recap: Juana & Lucas

¡Saludos a tod@s! We hope everyone is hanging in and doing well in this crazy time.

This month’s *virtual* book group discussed Juana & Lucas (grades k-3; lexile 870L) by Juana Medina. This heartwarming story takes place in the magical city of Bogotá, Colombia and mimics a Junie B. Jones or Judy Moody -esque style. The story focuses on Juana, who struggles with seeing a value in learning English as a second language. In addition to this dilemma, Juana also faces social and academic challenges as the new school year begins; however, fortunately for Juana, she has a superb support team that includes Lucas (her loyal perrito), Juli (her best friend), Mami and her abuelos.

The main themes that we identified in this fun read were: friendship, the importance of language learning, and expressing emotions. Despite the challenges that Juana faces throughout the text, her relationships with Lucas and Juli are admirable and help readers to cherish the important relationships in their own lives. One of Juana’s most prominent struggles is mastering the strange sounds that make up the English language, which leads Juana to wonder whether it is even important to learn another language. These struggles are very relatable for language learners of all ages! They also provide the opportunity to reflect upon why it is so important to learn another language. Like many kids her age, Juana experiences many feelings that vary from the disappointment she feels with her struggles to the excitement Juana experiences on her way to Astroland. Juana expresses her emotions in English and Spanish, which can serve as an example for learners and speakers of both languages. Check out the guide we created for ideas on how to promote language learning to your little readers, click here!

If you enjoyed this read, check out Medina’s sequel: Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas!

¡Feliz mes de la historia de la mujer!

¡Feliz mes de la historia de la mujer!

Women’s History Month is here! Which inspiring women are you teaching your students about this month? Share their names in the comments below!

When it comes to women from Latin America and Latinas from the U.S., there is a long list of mujeres poderosas from which to choose. Here I will spotlight a few Latinas who have paved the way for future generations interested in STEM.

First, we have Mirna Roman; she the tica (costariqueña) who was the first Indigenous doctor in Costa Rica. This trailblazer is from the Ngäbe community and became inspired to practice medicine by watching her mom treat her siblings. We’ve created a STEM guide in Spanish that includes interviews of Roman and a reflective follow-up activity. Click here to access it!

Next up, we have Ellen Ochoa. Did you know that in addition to being the first Hispanic astronaut Ochoa has also made and patented 3 inventions? Our lesson plan on Ochoa is in English and perfect for grades 3-6; it includes two interviews of Ochoa in which she reflects upon her achievements and goals for future generations. Click here to check it out!

Last, but certainty not least, is Nicole Hernandez Hammer. Hernandez Hammer is a climate scientist, who spent her early childhood in rural Guatemala and is currently based in Florida where she works with communities who are most afflicted by climate change. Our STEM guide on Hernandez Hammer is in English and features an interview of this advocate in addition to a news article that addresses the impacts of climate change in Florida. Click here to learn more about this current issue!

Here’s to mujeres poderosas everywhere!
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them.

Is there another Latina in STEM that you want to see featured in one of our STEM guides? Drop her name in a comment below!

Book Group Recap: Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

¡Feliz (casi) primavera, lectores y educadores!

This month, we discussed Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s Under the Mesquite (Grades 7-12; Lexile 990L) at our book group. This is a very heartwarming read about Lupita, a high schooler who experiences and overcomes challenges both at home with her family and at school with her peers. Lupita’s experiences and challenges are very relatable to readers of all ages. Click here to view our book guide. For extended notes on Under the Mesquite, check out our previous post about it by clicking here.

McCall begins Under the Mesquite with a definition of the mesquite tree that attests to its strength and resilience to endure harsh climates and its adaptability. It becomes clear from the beginning of the text that this resilient tree symbolizes this key theme that we see as Lupita is put in tough situations and valiantly overcomes these challenges.

Consider creating a memory box as a way to extend Under the Mesquite with your class! As Lupita grows and faces different difficulties in her life, she journals her memories of her mother, family, friends and cities in her blue book. Her interest in saving the memories of loved ones allows her to write stories that will revive the moments. It is from the desire of keeping the memories of her loved ones that the activity of memory box is thought. Students will put a drawing, an object, a photograph, a note and other things in a box that keeps the memories of their loved ones, places or moments of their lives. And finally, they will keep this box in their classroom as a door that will lead them to the memories.

Join us next month! On April 9th, we will meet at Ponderosa Brewing (1761 Bellamah Ave NW) to discuss Juana and Lucas by: Juana Medina. (Grades 2-4)