Vamos a Leer is back!

¡Hola a tod@s, y bienvenidos al año escolar 2019-20!  

We hope that your school year is off to a great start so far!  I have been working hard to update the blog with the selected books for this year’s book group and to include the option to view and request our book and thematic sets directly from the blog. Please check out the menu tabs at the top of the main page to see what we have available for teachers and submit your requests early and often! I am also working on some resources to promote Latinxs in STEM (spoiler!)

Last Monday, we had our first book group meeting to discuss Margarita Engle’s recent novel, Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots. This great read takes place in Los Ángeles during the ‘40s when the chaos of the Zoot Suit Riots (or, as Engle aptly calls them: “the Sailor Riots”) was ensuing between U.S. servicemen and Mexican-American teens. Our group consensus was that Jazz Owls is a quick read that presents a variety of perspectives—from “zooters” and “patriotic girls”  to police officers and reporters—as the plot unveils! 

We loved all the history that is tied into Jazz Owls in addition to all the key themes that could easily engage students in discussion, such as racism/ prejudice and challenging traditional gender roles. Our educators said they would like to use the text in class to teach varying perspectives and to get students engaged with the text by predicting what characters might do next. For more historical context and ideas of how you can incorporate this great read into the classroom, check out this guide for Jazz Owls. Read Engle’s Jazz Owls and let us know what you think!  

Our next book will be Jenny Torres Sánchez’s Because of the Sun, which discusses the struggles Dani faces when her mother is killed, and she is then forced to move from The Sunshine State (Florida) to The Land of Enchantment (New Mexico) to live with her aunt. Will she be enchanted by her new home?? We look forward to seeing you at Red Door Brewery‘s Downtown location (509 Central Ave SE) next month to discuss this great read!  Register here, it’s free!

¡Hasta pronto, lectores y educadores! 

Ericka 

Vamos a Leer is on Summer Break!

person-2468249_960_720Dear fellow readers,

Summer is most certainly upon us now, with just about every classroom emptied of students and teachers enjoying a much-needed opportunity to rest and relax.

Here at our Vamos a Leer offices at the University of New Mexico, everything is extra quiet after a busy year. As you can probably tell from our minimal posting lately, we’re taking a bit of a break from the blog this summer. Yet 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. We’re busy planning and preparing for the upcoming school year!

We’re in the process of selecting the books for our 2019-2020 book group now. There are so many great titles! I can’t wait to be back writing about them next year. I’m currently reading Meg Medina’s Merci Suarez Changes Gears, and, not surprisingly, it’s fabulous! You didn’t actually think we weren’t going to feature one of our favorite author’s Newbery Award Winning novels did you?!? I’m also looking forward to reading this year’s recently announced Américas Award winners. So many great books and so little time. Check back at the beginning of August for this year’s book list for our Vamos a Leer book group.

Even though the blog is on hiatus for a few months, we’re still here! Drop us a line, give us some ideas, ask us some questions, and join us in delving into summer books. Please continue to browse the blog and check out all of the great resources that have been added over the last year.

Happy reading,
Katrina

¡Nuevas guías educativas disponibles en español!

Queridos lectores,

Algunos de vosotros estaréis al tanto de que en nuestra sección Guía del Educador tenemos información últil y relevante de múltiples títulos juveniles para trabajar en el aula. Ahora, además, dichos títulos han sido traducidos al español para que puedan alcanzar una mayor audiencia. Son los siguientes:

RESUMEN DEL LIBRO: Ana Rosa es una escritora joven de doce años y vive en la República Dominicana, un país donde las palabras son temidas. Sin embargo, está rodeada por mucha inspiración—ver a su hermano buscar un futuro, aprender a bailar y amar, y buscar el significado de ser parte de una comunidad—por lo que escribirá mucho. Mientras lucha para encontrar su propia voz y la manera de proyectarla, Ana Rosa pone en práctica el poder de sus palabras para transformar el mundo a su alrededor y para superar las tragedias más inconcebibles.

RESUMEN DEL LIBRO: Anita de la Torre nunca dudó de su libertad mientras vivía en la República Dominicana. Pero para su doceavo cumpleaños en el año 1960, muchos de sus familiares han emigrado a los Estados Unidos, su tío Toni ha desaparecido y la policía secreta aterroriza a su familia por su supuesta oposición al dictador de su país. Mientras sus años en la secundaria deberían enfocarse en la escuela, los niños, sus hermanas y la pubertad, Anita también brega con palabras de código, escapes peligrosos y complots de asesinatos. Inspirada por la perseverancia y fuerza inmedible de su familia, Anita lucha por superar sus miedos y hacer un escape dramático hacia la libertad, dejando atrás todo lo que antes conocía.

RESUMEN DEL LIBRO: Ella era pequeña, rápida y bonita. Su madre le llamaba colibrí. A los cuatro años fue secuestrada, separada de su familia mientras estaban en un autobús lleno de gente en la ciudad de Guatemala. Desde entonces, ha estado viajando con Tío, el exsoldado y viajero pordiosero que le ha puesto el nombre de Rosa. Tío siempre le ha dicho a Rosa que él buscó a sus padres sin éxito. No hay mucha esperanza de que Rosa encuentre a su familia, pero ella aun así los recuerda y los anhela.

Cuando era joven, Tío consultó con videntes y adivinos que le dijeron que Rosa le traería buena suerte—un tesoro tan grande que le duraría toda su vida. A causa de estas noticias, Tío decide quedarse con Rosa todo ese tiempo. Juntos han viajado de pueblo en pueblo en la sierra de Guatemala, batallando para sobrevivir con la esperanza de encontrar el tesoro. Pasan ocho años y Rosa ahora tiene doce años. No han encontrado el tesoro y Tío casi ha perdido la esperanza. Cuando Tío se enoja, se vuelve más peligroso que las demás amenazas que rodean a Rosa.

RESUMEN DEL LIBRO: Después de que el padre de Tyler fuese lastimado en un accidente de tractor, su familia es forzada a emplear a trabajadores migrantes mexicanos para que ayuden a salvar su rancho en Vermont. Tyler no sabe qué pensar sobre estos trabajadores. ¿Son indocumentados? Y qué se puede pensar sobre las tres hijas, especialmente Mari, la hija mayor que se siente orgullosa de su herencia hispana, pero que también se siente conectada a su vida americana. Su familia vive con un miedo constante de ser descubiertos por las autoridades y de que los regresen a México donde vivían en pobreza. ¿Podrán Tyler y Mari llegar a ser amigos a pesar de sus diferencias?

Esperamos que esta información sea de vuestro interés y que los títulos que aquí ofrecemos favorezcan el desarrollo personal de los/las estudiantes así como su capacidad crítica y lingüística; que es el objetivo último de nuestro blog Vamos a Leer.

El que lee mucho y anda mucho, ve mucho y sabe mucho- Miguel Cervantes de Saavedra

We Hear You. Our Response to the Continued #MeToo Movement

Earlier this week, Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom, someone whom we deeply admire, responded to our review of Matt de la Peña’s Carmela: Full of Wishes. She called our attention to de la Peña’s position as one of the accused in the #metoo movement that emerged in recent years among the world of children’s literature.

Rather than respond with another brief comment, we’re taking this as the long overdue moment to acknowledge the #metoo movement and its impact on our work with the Vamos a Leer blog.

While we imagine that many of you are familiar with it, here’s a bit of background. When the #metoo movement in children’s book publishing began in February 2018, prompted by Anne Ursu’s article, “Sexual Harassment in the Children’s Book Industry,” it led to open and difficult conversations across platforms.

A number of acclaimed authors and illustrators drew criticism as women and men began speaking out for the first time. Drew Himmelstein, writing a response piece published by SLJ a month later, observed that “Ursu’s story weaved a narrative that emphasized the patterns and power dynamics that enable sexual harassment at publishing houses, literary conferences and other children’s publishing settings. The piece painted a vivid picture of sexual harassment suffered by authors, illustrators, editors and others that is prevalent even in a female-dominated industry and feeds off of the power discrepancies endemic to the publishing world.”

As space was created to discuss the sexual harassment and unequal power dynamics within the publishing industry, difficult conversations ensued. Among the accused were individuals who had been long revered by many, and whose books held treasured spots on the shelves. This, though, is part of the power of this movement: that individual voices could be heard despite legendary reputations. Matt de la Peña was among those whose names were raised with concerns regarding his conduct toward women.

Similar to many others, de la Peña’s career is characterized by award-winning publications and programming, but these accomplishments should not drown out the voices of the women who have accused him, as Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom pointed out. Thank you, Mia, for making sure that we heard their voices.

We stand with Mia and others working in the field of diversifying children’s literature, particularly for Latinx audiences. To read how others have engaged in this conversation, see De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children and Latinos in Kid Lit – bloggers who responded last year to the #metoo movement, and offered resources to learn more.

Going forward, we will do our best to acknowledge when an author or illustrator has been accused. We will annotate our past posts to include a link to this discussion and will do our best to avoid featuring those individuals in the future. We hear the voices of the men and women who have spoken out, and we stand with them.

~ Vamos a Leer

Introduction to New Writer: Carolina Bucheli

Queridos lectores,
I am very excited to tell you that I will be reviewing children’s books for ¡Vamos a Leer! My name is Carolina Bucheli and I am currently in my second semester of my MA in Latin American Studies. I am a Teaching Assistant for the Spanish and Portuguese department and a Graduate Assistant for the Latin American and Iberian Institute, where I will be assisting with this blog. Last semester I was the communications coordinator for the Student Organization for Latin American Studies, where among other responsibilities I oversaw the redesign of their website.

I am originally from Quito, Ecuador, and I came to the US in 2015 for my undergraduate program. I graduated in 2018 with a BA in English Studies and Spanish, and a minor in Communication and Journalism from the University of New Mexico (UNM). During this time I took several literature, creative writing, film, and multimedia classes that enriched my academic and creative work.

Books and writing have always played an important role in my life. In college I was able to explore the creative side of my work even further and I was able to work on a project called Voids of Ink, which combined my poetry and my multimedia skills. I presented my videos and my written poetry and photography in events promoted by the Spanish and Portuguese department, which were attended by UNM students and faculty. I have also published a poem and a couple of photographs, the latest one being an image of a laser from a lab in the Physics and Astronomy department which was selected as image of the week by the international magazine Optics and Photonics News (OPN).

I hope you enjoy my blog entries and I look forward to working in this wonderful literary world of ¡Vamos a Leer!

Nos vemos pronto,

Carolina

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019

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Dear Vamos a Leer friends and followers,

Feliz año nuevo! Here we are, ready to leap into 2019 with new reviews of children’s books and suggestions for how to enrich your classroom experience for all students.

We are excited to be back with you this term and sharing in the world of multicultural literature for children and youth, and no week seemed so perfect as this week, on the eve of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) (1/25/19).

Now in its 6th year, MCBD was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom, whose mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

We’re pleased not just to celebrate MCBD from afar, but to actively participate with reviews. Stay tuned for Katrina’s discussion on that front! In the meantime, here’s more about the 6th annual MCBD:new logo

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library GuildTheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board!

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s EyesDescendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on it Growing Book by BookHere Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s ClassKid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media:

MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00 pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party ( a prize every 5 minutes!). GO HERE for more details.

FREE RESOURCES from MCBD:

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag:

Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Hang in there! Back soon!

eugenio-mazzone-190204-unsplash.jpgHi all,

We’re busy behind the scenes planning new content to bring you, but it’s taking us longer than anticipated. Thanks for hanging with us! We’ll be back from the archives before long.

Happy reading,
Keira


Photo by Eugenio Mazzone on Unsplash