Zonia’s Rainforest

Written by Juana Martinez-Neal (Candlewick Press 2021)

Zonia is Asháninka, a member of “the largest Indigenous group living in the Pruvian Amazon, with a poulation estimated at more than 73,000”. Zonia’s Rainforest details all of the friendships she has with the many different animals that live in the verdant and lush rainforest. Towards the end of her day she come across a deforested patch of land, where nothing grows, and none of her friends can be seen, all of the vibrancy and life of the jungle is gone. Zonia answers the rainforest call for help, and encourages the reader that it is a call “we all must answer”.

Discussion Questions:

What call do you think Zonia is being asked to answer?

How can you play a role in protecting rainforests/and stopping deforestation?

What are some things you think Zonia can do to protect her rainforest?

Additional Resources:

The Authors website

The Asháninka Peoples

Zonia’s Rainforest Classroom Activities

Region: The Amazon (South America)

Ages: 3-6

My Day with the Panye

Written by Tami Charles

Illustrated by Sara Palacios

(Candlewick Press 2021)

Who? What? Where?

Fallon is a young girl living in the mountainous region of Haiti. Her story begins with a an eagerness and insatibale desire to carry the Panye. To carry the Panye is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years and is done around the world, it is the act of carrying and holding important items in the Panye on top of the head, as such it is practically a rite of passage for young girls like Fallon. On a visit to the market, wit her mother, Fallon keeps wanting to prove that she is ready to carry the panye without much success, her mother however has some lesson to teach Fallon first. Carrying the Panye is more than a method of transporting important goods it is also about grace and strength, and along the way Fallon learns the meaning of her mothers XX “Pitit, pitit, build your nest.”

Principle Themes:

Fallon, is taught patience throughout My Day with the Panye, she is eager to carry the basket all at once and carry barely contain her excitement, and her mother has to teach her the virtue of taking it one step at a time, “pitit, pitit, build your nest.” A rite of passage is another theme in the book, Fallon is so eager to learn in part because she sees so many other young girls and their mothers’ carrying the Panye so gracefully, yet Fallon learns that she too will be ready in her own time.

Discussion Questions:

Why is it important for Fallon to carry the Panye?

What message do you think “Pitit, pitit, build your nest” is trying to convey?

Can you think of any other rites of passage?

Additional Resources:

Tami Charles’ Website

Candlewick Press Teacher Tips

Region: Caribbean (Haiti)

Age: 3-7

The Grief Keeper

By: Alexandra Villasante published by Penguin Randomhouse (2019)

Who? What? Where?

Marisol and her younger sister, Gabi, are seeking asylum in the United States. The book begins with Marisol’s credible fear interview at an unnamed detention center. The two have fled El Salvador, leaving behind  their family, their home and the lives they once knew in search of refuge. The burden of ensuring Gabi’s safety weighs heavily on Marisol. Marisol fears they won’t be granted asylum, securing their future in the U.S. becomes ever more precarious, that is until she is offered a deal. Marisol must participate in a new experimental study in exchange for asylum. The experiment requires Marisol hold the grief of another, but the study never intended for her to meet the beneficiary. As Marisol navigates the grief of another as well as her own in this new and unfamiliar place, a relationship between her and the beneficiary of the experiment deepens. The Grief Keeper is a story of immigration as much as it is a story of love, and the depths to which Marisol will go to protect the ones she loves most.

Principle Themes

The Grief Keeper explores the many facets of trauma. Trauma impacts the main characters in different ways. At times it drives them a part, and at others it creates a shared bond. Love is a theme as central to the book as trauma. It is Marisol’s love for her sister that drives her to persist despite all that Marisol has already endured. The Grief Keeper explores these themes in tandem, unearthing how love and trauma inform each other.

Additional Resources:

An interview with Alexandra Villasante

Teaching the Grief Keeper

Review of the book by Latinxs in Kid Lit Blog

Region: North America/United States

Age: High School

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!

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism Educator Workshops

Join the Albuquerque Museum and The University of New Mexico Latin American & Iberian Institute for a series of free professional development workshops focused on the exhibit Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism. The works of art in this exhibition epitomize the vitality and expressiveness of modern Mexican art. They were produced in a pivotal period in Mexican history, when the nation sought to redefine itself through political, social, and cultural reforms.

The Women of Mexican Modernism 
Friday, February 19 • 3:30 p.m. MST 
Register at: http://bit.ly/3iul0N5

Identity and Representation Through the Lens of Mexican Modernism 
Friday, March 5 • 3:30 p.m. MST 
Register at: http://bit.ly/38Y1Wnf

Join us! LAII K-12 Afro-Latinidad Workshop Series

Join the LAII for the first installment in the Institute’s first-ever teacher workshop series on Afro-Latinidad! Throughout the series, we’ll discuss a variety of Afro-Latinx cultures across Latin America, a range of spiritual and cultural Afro-Latinx traditions, and a diverse selection of historical Afro-Latinx figures.

We’ll spend our first workshop discussing resources for curriculum about the Afro-Latinx traditions of Bomba (Puerto Rico), Santeria (Cuba), and Carnaval (Brazil). Lessons will include reading, video, music, and podcast components and will include content in both English and Spanish. Participants will receive certificates of professional development and curriculum resources.

Register for tomorrow’s workshop at: https://unm.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUudumvqTssHtNJjUUiJpPW-leXCKp8TH5s

All three workshops will complement one another but can also stand alone so please join us for as many as you can!

Workshop Schedule:

Afro-Latinx Cultural Traditions
Friday, October 23 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/3iCmKT0

Significant Afro-Latinx Figures
Friday, December 4 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/34qfLHQ

Zooming in on Afro-Latinx Culture in Mexico
Friday, February 5 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/3cZ8GSx

For more information or questions, contact us at laiioutreach@unm.edu.

LAII K-12 Educator Newsletter: October


Happy fall, educators! We hope it’s been a great start to a new season for you and your students under these unusual circumstances. In our October newsletter, we share ideas and prepared lesson plans to help incorporate Hispanic and Latinx themes into your learners’ studies this month. ¡Disfrútalo! 

Join Us!: LAII K-12 Afro-Latinidad
Teacher Workshop Series

Join the LAII for the Institute’s first-ever teacher workshop series on Afro-Latinidad! Throughout the series, we’ll discuss a variety of Afro-Latinx cultures across Latin America, a range of spiritual and cultural Afro-Latinx traditions, and a diverse selection of historical Afro-Latinx figures. All three workshops will complement one another but can also stand alone so please join us for as many as you can!

Workshop Schedule:

Afro-Latinx Cultural Traditions
Friday, October 23 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/3iCmKT0

Significant Afro-Latinx Figures
Friday, December 4 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/34qfLHQ

Zooming in on Afro-Latinx Culture in Mexico
Friday, February 5 • 3:30 PM
Register at: bit.ly/3cZ8GSx

For more information or questions, contact us at laiioutreach@unm.edu.

Current Events

October 12 – Indigenous People’s Day

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors indigenous peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. This activity guide about Indigenous Peoples’ Day for high school students includes an article from the Smithsonian paired with in-depth questions to assess comprehension. Following is an interactive vocabulary exercise based on the Smithsonian article and another article about Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The second article from NPR gives students another perspective on the holiday and asks them to consider the two articles to complete an opinion writing activity. 

Download the Indigenous People’s Day Activity Guide


November 1 & 2 – Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos is a day of commemoration – an opportunity for individuals to come together to focus on their loved ones who have passed away, and to honor, revere, and celebrate their memory. Far from the somber tones of many Western European or North American funeral services, Día de los Muertos is a time of celebration. It is believed that upon these two nights of the year the deceased may return and visit with the living.  In partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the LAII developed a curriculum guide to provide hands-on art activities and literacy exercises to bring Día de los Muertos to the classroom.

Download the Dia de los Muertos Activity Guide


November 11 – Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a federal holiday to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Did you know Hispanics and Latinos make up the second largest minority group that serves as active-duty military? This activity guide for middle school students includes an article about Sergeant Leroy Arthur Petry, who received the medal of honored followed by comprehension questions. Students will then watch the medal of honor ceremony paying close attention to extra details the article did not offer. A class discussion follows and, lastly an at home research activity where students learn about a Latino veteran and then share their findings with classmates. 

Download the Veterans Day Activity Guide

Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased In Eighteen Years?

Hello, all,

’tis the season, I suppose, to question the paucity of publishers working with multicultural children’s literature.  Yesterday I shared an NPR article with you and today I bring you a blog post from Lee & Low Book’s blog, The Open Book.  While we’re pondering the question here at Vamos a Leer and our readers are musing on it in their living rooms, classrooms, coffee shops, and libraries, Lee & Low went ahead to do a public poll of academics, authors, librarians, educators, and reviews to see “if they could put their fingers on the reason why the number of diverse books has not increased.”  And they didn’t poll just anyone – the people who offer answers in the blog post are among the top minds and writers working toward multicultural literature for children.

It’s a great, albeit troubling, read. Check it out here: Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased In Eighteen Years?

Cheers,
Keira

 

Do White-centric books sell better?

Hello, all,

I hope the summer months are treating you well.  In case you’re not using your free time to track NPR’s Morning Edition, I wanted to pop in here and share one of their recent articles.  It piqued my interest and may do the same for you.

“Do White-centric books sell better?” So asks a recent article, “As Demographics Shift, Kids’ Book Stay Stubbornly White,” by NPR.  The article aired on Morning Edition on June 25, 2013.  It points out an issue that forms the basis of many of our discussions here at Vamos a Leer – “that when it comes to diversity, children’s books are sorely lacking; instead of presenting a representative range of faces, they’re overwhelmingly white.” Continue reading