April 21st | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! This week’s resources are diverse and I hope they are of interest to you.

– Check out how this College Student (Kaya Thomas) Created a Mobile Directory of 600 Books that Prioritize Diversity. After realizing that most of the characters in books she read didn’t look like her, “Thomas devised an iPhone app that functioned as a directory of 300 books showcasing characters of color.”

These Latin Americans Celebrated their Roots with a Mesoamerican Ballgame Championship in Tetiohuacán. This ballgame, known as “pitza” in the Classic Maya language, was celebrated over 3,000 years ago in the region and is today practiced as part of an effort to reclaim culture and history.

— Here is a book review of Mamá the Alien/ Mamá La Extraterrestre written by Rene Colato Laínez and illustrated by Laura Lacámara. This bilingual book is the story of how Sofía discovers the different meaning of the word “alien” and its implications for her mother. The book is published by Lee and Low Books, and is accompanied by a teacher’s guide.

– Check out the story of how “‘Lucía the Luchadora’ author wants more Latino kids to see themselves in picture books.” Author Cynthia Leonar “Garza, who has a background in journalism and writing, said she wanted to write her first picture book for kids like her — and for kids like her daughters. ‘I was looking for something I wasn’t finding,’ she said: picture books that featured kids who looked like her kids.” To top it off, Garza also wrote the story to help “little boys get the message that girls can be superheroes.”

–For an inspiring story of how literature can change one life and many lives all at once, we suggest you read this article about Rueben Martinez (winner of the Innovator’s Award at the L.A. Times Book Prize) and his view on reading and books. From humble roots, Reuben’s “barbershop-cum-bookstore Libreria Martinez Books and Art Gallery became one of the largest purveyors of Spanish-language books in the country, as well as a center for literacy advocacy whose influence continues to ripple nationwide.”

– Lastly, you should probably know about “The Great Language Game,” which is a simple but good way to pass the time individually or with your students.

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Smiling Faces. Reprinted from Flickr user Kay & Amy under CC©.

April 14th | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! This week’s resources are interesting and diverse. Enjoy!

– Remezcla recently reviewed Lilliam Rivera’s novel, The Education of Margot Sanchez, is a YA novel about a young Nuyorican growing up as a South Bronx Latina who struggles to fit in at her white prep school. “So she’s just trying to navigate that world. She’s going to assimilate and copy the people who are in power — and usually the people in power are the white people. Because that’s what her parents are teaching her to do.”

— Check out this book review of Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen. This “is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist,” and it includes a number of essays focused on the intersection of Latinx culture and feminism.

– For those of you who are teaching seniors and junior students, they might appreciate reading the story about Chelsea Batista, a Latina Accepted by 11 Med Schools [Who] Has a Message For Those Who Credit Affirmative Action. Chelsea expresses, “I was absolutely terrified that I wasn’t going to get into even one school that’s why I filled out so many applications.”

— Also, you can read about how one teacher invited her Students to Confront and Examine Their Own Biases Using the Images on Covers of Picture Books. She writes, “I have to help my students to recognize their own biases. I have to help them to see the biases that they hold and recognize what an impact they have on the way that they interact with the world.”

–Here is a quick preview of the book trailer for the beautiful Mexican children’s book Ella trae la lluvia by Martha Palacio Obón. On one level the story is about “a lost voice and a witch with blue hair that seems to know everything,” But one review also called it a story about “la violencia y los desplazados a partir de un relato fantástico y marítimo.”

– As Earth Day gets closer (April 22), you might want to check out Lee and Low Books Earth Day Poetry Collection.

— Lastly, listen to Latin America’s greatest authors read their works in this online treasure trove. Authors include Jorge Luis Borges, Enrique A. Laguerre, Amanda Berenguer, and many more.

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: #niunamenos. Reprinted from Flickr user Fernando Canue under CC©.

 

April 7th | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! This week I found interesting resources, I hope you enjoy!

– You might appreciate Mexican author Valeria Luiselli’s book-length essay, Tell Me How It Ends, if you are teaching about Central American migration, and especially about child migrants. “Until it is safer for undocumented folks to share their own stories, to argue on their own behalf, Luiselli makes for a trusted guide.”

— Check out these three authors shortlisted for the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. “The finalists were selected by a jury administered by the Bocas Lit Fest and made up of writing, publishing and educational professionals with expertise in young adult literature.”

–In this era of technological advancement you would expect children to use technology for reading but here are the reasons why children prefer to read books on paper rather than screens. “But young people do not have a uniform set of skills, and the contention that screens are preferred is not backed up by research.

– Here is a book review of the new YA novel Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar. Highly recommended by Latinos in Kid Lit, the reviewer expressed, “I read this book and couldn’t put it down and then gave it to my 11-year-old son to read and he couldn’t put it down.”

– Look at these 10 Exciting New Middle Grade Books with Latinx Main Characters (including the now familiar Lucky Broken Girl).

Lee and Low Books shared advice on how you can save federal funding for libraries and help teens.

-Also, if you are in search of a new game for class, try Compound it All: The Compound Building Game. The game is meant to “expand your vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and even your math skills” and “is equally fun to play with friends and family.”

–As they do every year, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) has released its statistics on diversity in children’s and YA lit. Check out the latest ” This year, the number jumped to 28% – the highest year on record since 1994 (and likely the highest year ever). 2016 also marked a number of important award wins for authors of color…”

–In related news, the CCBC has also released their list of recommended books for 2017. Check out their 2017 compilation for “a fully annotated listing of 246 books published in 2016 for birth through high school and recommended by the CCBC professional staff.”

– Ever wondered if your school has a plan for bias incidents? Teaching Tolerance draws on schools in California as examples for how to respond.

– Lastly, if you’ve ever wandered what’s up with the recent appearances of the term “Latinx,” you might want to share Arianna Davis’ self-reflective piece on coming to terms with “Latinx.”

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: fist pump. Reprinted from Flickr user mike nerl under CC©.

 

March 31st | Week in Review

¡Hola a todos! Here are a few resources I’m happy to share with you.

– Diego Huerta traveled around Mexico as a photographer, capturing the  Breathtaking Beauty of Mexico’s Indigenous Communities. As Huerta says, “in Oaxaca something very interesting happens: there is a mix of the modern and the traditional, of the indigenous people and the mestizo people, that fight to conserve that indigenous part that they inherited,”

–Check out how you can use Books To Jump-Start Family Conversations on Race. “Combating racism doesn’t just mean changing the hearts and minds of bigots; it requires that passive bystanders become proactively engaged.”

-When teaching about immigration check out these 25 Kid and YA Books that Lift Up Immigrant Voices. Katrina’s written about and produced curriculum to accompany Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote, if you’re interested.

— Tracey Baptiste, author of the recent YA novel The Jumbies and professor of creative writing, shares her thoughts on diversity in literature and how “Storytellers wield power” in a recent article by Lesley University. “Society’s stories are told by ‘mostly white men of European descent,’ she said. ‘One small group of people with a limited world view.’”

–Debbie Reese, from American Indians in Children’s Literature, asks what happened to “A Second Perspective” at all the wonders? and, in the process, prompts a powerful discussion about publishers’ ability to limit critical conversations about books.

– There’s always one book on the shelf that a child loves. Sometimes reading it over and over can be tiresome, but check out this article for thoughts on Why Reading the Same Book Repeatedly Is Good for Kids.

–Teaching Tolerance has put together a “PD Café quiz” to see how much you know about the rights of English language learners.

— If you are teaching about immigration, you might appreciate the Huffington Post’s recent coverage of “This Gorgeous Blog [that] Fights Hate with Everyday Immigrant Stories.

– Lastly, here is a recent piece from NPR’s podcast, CodeSwitch, that talks about how Latino Players are Helping Major League Baseball Learn Spanish. “Much of the issues surround the inability of the Latino players to meaningfully communicate with the press.”

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: NODAPL. Reprinted from Flickr user Victoria Pickering under CC©.

March 24th | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! I am happy to be back and to share with you all of these amazing resources.

– The folks over at the Américas Book Award Facebook page have been on fire with recommendations for diversifying Women’s History Month. Here are a few highlights from their posts:

— As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, here is the story behind La Galería Magazine’s highlight of 10 Dominican Women and Herstory.

– Also in honor of Women’s History Month, here are 7 Paraguayan Women Who Have Changed History, courtesy of Remezcla.

— This month the Brown Bookshelf blog is highlighting exemplary authors and illustrators every day. On Day 16, they reached out to learn more about Haitian-American illustrator Alix Delinois, whose beautiful illustrations have appeared in books such as Edwidge Danticat’s Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (which Alice reviewed for Vamos back in Feb. 2016)

Latinxs in Kid Lit favorably reviewed the recent YA novel The Only Road by Alexandra Díaz, noting that it’s “chilling and heart-wrenching in the best possible way. From the moment that Jaime’s beloved cousin Miguel is killed by a local gang, the Alphas, it is evident that this book is going to take its reader on a perilous journey, tagging along with Jaime as he flees his small town in Guatemala for the United States.”

— Though we know we’re preaching to the choir when we talk about the importance of being bilingual, here’s a recent article that backs up our enthusiasm: The Sooner You Expose a Baby to a Second Language, The Smarter They’ll Be. “A new study shows that babies raised in bilingual environments develop core cognitive skills like decision-making and problem-solving — before they even speak.”

– Throughout the US there seems to be an increase in hate speech. Nowhere is the issue more depressing and critical than in the K-12 classroom, where students are particularly at risk for such vitriol. For everyone grappling with this, here’s an article focused on The urgency of addressing the rise of racist hate speech in K-12 schools.

— As a response to the current administration’s threats to defund libraries throughout the nation, Lee and Low Books reminded us about these 8 Ideas for Educators to get Students Excited About the Public Library.

– Because it’s relevant never seems to go away, we wanted to share again a piece that we’ve discussed before. One of our favorite authors, Monica Brown, who’s also a professor at Northern Arizona University, shares her thoughts on The Power of Dehumanizing Language.

— Lastly, to end on a slightly positive note, we thought we’d highlight this news story from Colombia, even though it circulated back in 2015. ‘Trashy’ books: garbage collector rescues reading material for Colombian children. Let it remind us this week that one person and one book truly can change the world! “She used to read me stories every night,” said Gutierrez, who has traveled to book fairs in Mexico and Chile to share his experience of starting a library with discarded reading material. “To me, books are the greatest invention and the best thing that can happen to a human being.”

Abrazos
Alin Badillo


Image: Peace Art. Reprinted from Flickr user mbelle131under CC©.

March 10th | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! Here are some timely resources that I hope will be of use to you. Unfortunately, next week I’ll be absent from the blog because it’s our spring break, but I’ll definitely be back the following week with more to share.

As a side note (but an important one!), we want to take a moment to add our  voices to the chorus of advocates who are incensed that the Zinn Education Project would be banned in Arkansas. Here at Vamos we’re devout supporters of their efforts to teach students the diverse histories of this nation. Check out the preceding link not only to learn more about what’s happening, but also for suggestions on how to support the Zinn Education Project in its valuable work!

– Here is a recent article on “America’s Forgotten History of Illegal Deportations.” It offers some uncomfortable parallels between historical and current immigration policies and conversations.

— From Remezcla, here are 20 Can’t-Miss Movie Picks From the San Diego Latino Film Festival that “highlight Latin American and US Latino culture.” The films are diverse and cover important topics, from migration to identity.

– The U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, offered his thoughts recently on America’s current climate, the importance of poetry, and “what Americans should be reading now.”

— Where do Boys Belong in Women’s History Month? is a question our friends at Lee and Low Books have raised, along with ideas “to think about when teaching women’s history so both boys AND girls grow and learn.”

–If you are teaching about Caribbean culture, race and racism, immigration and exile, or strong female protagonists, you might appreciate learning about a new Haitian YA novel that hits on all of those issues – and more. From Anansesem: The Caribbean Children’s Literature Magazine, we found a remarkable interview with Ibi Zoboi, a Haitian writer, as she talks about her book, American Street, in which she shares the migration story of a young woman, Fabiola Toussaint.

– Lastly, Latinos in Kid Lit posted a book review of The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera, a YA novel that touches on “issues of peer pressure, family expectations, gender bias, and community.”

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Teaching for Change. Reprinted from Flickr user Teaching for Change under CC©.

March 3rd | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! Happy beginning of March! Here are various resources that I am glad to share.

– Just for kicks, I thought you might enjoy Remezcla’s compilation of recipes for perros calientes: Journey Through Latin America’s Weird and Wonderful Hot Dog Creations. My mouth was watering!

– Also by Remezcla, here is an Intimate Look at Las Patronas, the Mexican Women Who Feed Migrants Traveling on La Bestia.

– Check out Teaching For Change’s initiative to provide A Book Every Day in honor of Women’s History Month and to “highlight grassroots women’s history.”

– The Children’s Cooperative Book Center (CCBC) recently released their “Multicultural Statistics for 2016.” As with most years, the breakdown is a reminder that the world of publishing. “Two broad categories–Asian/Pacifics and Latinos–saw a notable jump in numbers this year for both ‘by’ and ‘about.’ The numbers for African and African Americans and First/Native Nations remained disappointingly static or dropped. Those mixed numbers reflect our mixed feelings: It’s both an exciting and frustrating time for multicultural literature advocates.”

Bustle revealed the cover of Celia C. Pérez’s forthcoming novel, The First Rule of Punk. We’re excited by the accompanying book description, which reads “novel about a 12-year-old Latina girl who causes anarchy at her middle school when she forms a punk band book” and equally hyped to learn that the publication was the result of an entirely Latina creative group – from author to cover illustrator and everyone in between!!

– Given the conversation on “fake news,” this Teaching Tolerance post on Learning How to Know in 2017 from Teaching ToleranceLastly, from Teaching Tolerance seems apropos. “The devaluing of shared truth, deepening political polarization and the mainstreaming of hate have created a steeper climb toward the goal of helping students evaluate and think critically about the content they consume. Educators thus need to better understand how students access and integrate information, and how media works.”

-If you are teaching about immigration you might want to share NY Time’s publication of Vizguerra’s piece on Why She Will Not Leave. “Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to extend my stay of deportation. I sought sanctuary in the church because, like that of millions of other immigrants, my future in this country was thrown into doubt.”

– Finally, we’ve just now heard about the #OwnVoices hashtag and social movement effort started last year. It’s a movement that complements We Need Diverse Books. You can read more about it via Kayla Whaley’s piece, #Own Voices: Why We Need Diverse Authors in Children’s Literature, on the Read Brightly blog, where she writes that “Given the history of marginalized groups being spoken about, and for, in all areas of society, it’s especially important that we don’t ignore diverse voices by focusing only on diverse content.”

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: #NiUnaMenos. Reprinted from Flickr user Laura Moraña under CC©.