Community Highlight: Anansesem Introduces Starred Review

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Hi all,

The summer months may seem quiet at times, but really there’s a veritable buzz of activity.  In the world of children’s literature, authors, illustrators, publishers, reviewers, librarians, and even teachers (whose summer breaks are rarely ever actual breaks) are hard at work pushing for diversity, representation and accuracy. Anansesem is in this vanguard.

A brief aside for those unfamiliar with the organization. In their own words,

Anansesem is an online magazine devoted to Caribbean children’s and young adult literature written by both new and established writers. It was founded in 2010 to encourage the writing and illustration of Caribbean literature for and by young people. Major issues are published twice a year in .pdf format while guest posts and online-only features are published throughout the year. 

We are proud to have published some of the most distinctive and distinguished voices in Caribbean literature for young people. Previous contributors to the ezine have included Alix Delinois, Floella Benjamin, Ibi Zoboi, Itah Sadu, Lynn Joseph, Margarita Engle, Nadia L. Hohn, Olive Senior, Tracey Baptiste, Vashanti Rahaman and Verna Wilkins. 

The ezine invites submissions of Caribbean short stories, poetry and illustrations for children regardless of the geographical location of either the author or characters. We also publish book reviews, interviews and non-fiction. Submissions by Caribbean citizens get first priority.

We’re huge fans of Anansesem here at Vamos a Leer, and frequently turn to them to help contextualize and better understand the Caribbean literature that crosses our desks. Their latest announcement has us even more over the moon than usual. They’ve introduced starred reviews! This means that they’re putting the power of meaningful and informed reviews back in the hands of the Caribbean community. Read more about why they’re doing this, what they aim to achieve, and how they’ll go about it, in the announcement from Summer Edward, Anansesem editor-in-chief: Introducing the Anansesem Starred Review (And Giving Caribbean Books For Young People The Reviews They Deserve).

Their May issue (forthcoming) introduces starred reviews for Marti’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy and Beatriz Vidal, The Field by Baptiste Paul and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara, All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Mike Curato, and Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender. The issue also includes, among other items, spotlights on illustrators Lulu Delacre and Rosa Colán Guerra. Check their website for the full PDF (nominal cost associated) or a free sample of the publication.

Happy reading,
Keira

Catching our Breath and Celebrating the Américas Award

Dear fellow readers,

Summer is most certainly upon us now, with just about every classroom emptied of students and community libraries filled with youth reading summer book lists.

Here at our Vamos a Leer offices at the University of New Mexico, everything is extra quiet after a busy year. Some of our nearest and dearest student bloggers, including Alin and Kalyn, have graduated this term from their master’s program with us, and are moving on to new adventures; our last student blogger, Santiago, is thankfully still with us one more year, but at the moment is tthrough Mexico and Spain, among other places; our education consultant and blogger-in-chief, Katrina, is catching up to life after a wonderful year in the classroom; and I am spending these  days trying to catch up on reading and mapping out our titles for the coming year (it’s a hard life, eh?!). person-2468249_1920Yet even while this feels a bit calmer than the frenetic school year, there’s still much afoot just outside our doors in the world of children’s literature. The Américas Award was just announced in Spain, for example, as part of the annual congress of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), with four of our absolutely favorite writers acknowledged as the top recipients. Winners include Ibi Zoboi’s American Street and Duncan Tonatiuh’s DANZA! , and Honorable Mentions include Margarita Engle and Mike Curatos’s All the Way to Havana and Ruth Behar’s Lucky Broken Girl. Plus there’s a whole list of Commended Titles that are either already on our shelves (hello, Bravo!, Marti’s Forest World, Song for FreedomRubén Darío, Lucia la luchadora, among others) or just crying out to be read (The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, The First Rule of Punk, Sing Don’t Cry, and more).

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Here at Vamos we’re fortunate to support the Américas Award through our university’s involvement with the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, and we’re particularly excited to be a part of it in 2018 because the award is celebrating 25 years! Stay tuned for details about anniversary celebration activities during Hispanic Heritage Month.

All of which is to say, we’re still here! Drop us a line, give us some ideas, ask us some questions, and join us in delving into summer books.

Happy reading,
Keira

Global Read Webinar Series

2018-02-08-Global-Webinar-SeriesHello, everyone!

We’re pleased to pass along the information concerning a new Global Read Webinar Series which is co-sponsored by an organization with which we work closely, the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP).

This new webinar series is FREE and open to all, and will emphasize reading across cultures and diverse social justice books for 7-12th grade classrooms.

The first webinar is happening tomorrow, February 8, at 6:00 -7:15 PM CST. Margarita Engle, one of our beloved authors here at the LAII and the current national Young People’s Poet Laureate, will discuss her book Lion Island.
February 8, 2018 Webinar Description:
The Américas Award explores the diversity of Latin America by focusing on Cuba with award winning author, Margarita Engle. Engle, the national Young People’s Poet Laureate will discuss her book Lion Island and share teaching and discussion ideas to explore the story of Antonio Chuffat, a young man of African, Chinese, and Cuban descent who becomes a champion for civil rights. Discuss the historical context and learn more with the author and Associate Director of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies and founder of the Américas Award, Julie Kline. This webinar is sponsored by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (of which the LAII is a member) with additional support from Tulane University’s Stone Center for Latin American StudiesFlorida International University and The University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies.
Series Description:
Once a month, the World Area Book Awards will sponsor a 60 minute webinar on a book recognized by one of the awards and facilitate a discussion with the author on how to incorporate the book into the classroom. The spring webinar series focuses on social justice. We encourage you to read the books with your colleagues, students, and community, and then join us to hear more from the author. The books are appropriate for students in grades 7-12. If participating in all four webinar sessions, participants will receive a certificate of completion. Be sure to join the conversation with our webinar hashtag #2018ReadingAcrossCultures. All sessions are free and open to the public. All times listed refer to Central Standard Time (CST). Sponsored by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, the South Asia National Outreach Consortium, the Middle East Outreach Council, and African Studies Access Council.
To learn more and to register, visit the Global Read Webinar Series website.

Introduction to New Writer: Santiago Carrasco García

¡Hola a todos! ¿Cómo estamos? First of all, I should humbly ask for everybody´s acceptance in this amazing ¡Vamos a leer! project, and should too thank you all in advance. My name is Santi Carrasco García and I am originally from Madrid, Spain. I always liked to tell stories, or take an active part of them, so I am looking forward to joining this story-driven blog. While growing up, my family got used to see my craving for different paths—first for becoming a veterinarian (which was my initial career path, given my love for dogs), and then a teacher (preferably of Spanish literature), and then a pilot, a flight attendant (to travel the world), a writer, a photo journalist, and a long list thereafter.

Finally, in college, I was so confused that I decided to focus on Journalism. It seemed like the most natural choice, for I have always love writing and reading, and especially doing so the other way around: reading (plus watching tons of movies), and then writing. After getting my BA in Journalism at the Complutense University of Madrid, I got fully immersed in theatre and languages, which were my ever-lasting, not-to-date-accomplished wishes. I did miss, though, the academic environment, so I went back to school at the Autonoma University of Madrid to get my MA in Spanish Teaching as a Second Language. This, more than anything, was supposed to lead me abroad to distant cultures, and finally opening myself up to the WORLD (yes, in capital letters).

Indeed, it provided me the opportunity to work at Instituto Cervantes here in Albuquerque, NM where I got to practice my communication skills, and ultimately led me to pursuing a second MA in Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico. I cannot recall how many times I have believed in the what a wonderful world motto, as beautifully sung by Louis Armstrong. I believe all the decisions taken by us, no matter how little sense they may make in a precise moment, do find their way to finally piece together and organically follow the stream of those lyrics.

Because I love communicating and telling stories, observing and exchanging in relating to other people, writing and reading, traveling, and lastly but foremost watching movies, I am in Albuquerque, NM and surely the life trip will further in unimaginable, surprising, and potentially exhilarating roads; just as literature does.

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Let´s get lost in its complex and rewarding time together.

New Year triumphs and obstacles

¡Buenos días!

Before we begin our weekly book reviews next month, we want to start off the new year discussing the importance and optimism conveyed by the December ruling in Arizona regarding ethnic studies programs in public schools. On December 26, 2017, federal appeals court judge Wallace Tashima ruled the 2010 law banning ethnic studies programs in Tucson schools unconstitutional; Tashima ruled that the ban violated both the 1st Amendment’s freedom of speech and the 14th Amendment, as he deemed the law racially motivated, obstructing equal protection. The said ban was directed primarily at Mexican Studies programs, and it had led to Tucson’s dissolving of the Mexican American Studies program in 2012 due to the holding of state funds. In this ruling, the judge stated that the said law can no longer be enforced, and that the Tucson Unified School District cannot be punished or threatened for ignoring the law.

For more information, check out this article in the LA Times.

Nonetheless, alongside this triumph, immigrant students continue to face extraordinary challenges. The Trump administration’s recent announcement that the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of Salvadorans who have been authorized to live and work in the United States since calamitous earthquakes in 2001 has been revoked. Close to 200,000 Salvadorans who have called the United States home for over fifteen years will have to leave the United States by September of 2019. The Temporary Protected Statuses of Haitians and Nicaraguans were also revoked a few weeks ago by the Trump administration, affecting about 59,000 Haitians and 2,500 Nicaraguans. At the same time, our government continues to belabor and postpone supportive action for the recipients of DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. These policy changes, and lack thereof, risk tearing apart families and seriously affect our students and communities. It is important that we keep them forefront in our thoughts and actions as we begin a new year, and remember that even in the smallest of actions like choosing a book for our students, we are fighting for the rights of peoples and families from all nations who are part of this country.

We start this new year with these successes and obstacles forefront – both experiences encouraging us to push for the rights and uplifting of all peoples. In the midst of the crazy and difficult world in which we live, it is important that we celebrate the victories that support our communities across the Americas, that we fight unjust policies, and that we continue to honor our different histories. Here on the blog we will continue by celebrating lesser told narratives through our daily work, perseverance and appreciation for diverse voices.

Saludos,

Kalyn

¡Feliz año!

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone enjoyed the holidays these past few weeks. Here at Vamos a Leer we are busy preparing for this semester’s blog posts. In the meantime, we would like to share Latinx in Kid’s Lit’s post of 2018 Titles By/For/About Latinx!! We hope you enjoy exploring these new books! Stay tuned for more content starting in February!


Saludos,

Kalyn

Happy Holidays!

¡Buenos días!

We hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season thus far. At Vamos a Leer we want to wish everyone joyful celebrations before we take a break until January. Here in Albuquerque the farolitos are already shining the path for Las Posadas celebrations. We hope your holidays are festive and full of life!


Until next year,

Kalyn


Photo by Jack Parsons