February 16, 2018 | Week in Review

Hello, all,

I’m stepping in this Friday while Alin is out of the office. As always, more happened in the past week than we can begin to tap into here. Forefront in our minds are the students whose lives were taken. We take a moment of silence to acknowledge and honor them, and grieve with their loved ones. [long pause and deep breath]

  • For more than 10 years, the writers at The Brown Bookshelf have used Black History Month as inspiration for their flagship initiative, 28 Days Later, a month-long showcase of the best in Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult novels written and illustrated by Black creators. Their 2018 collection, currently at #16, is inspiring and we highly encourage you to check it out.
  • Ever heard of a sensitivity reader? They’re the folks who read books prior to publication to help authors sensitively and accurately portray characters if they’re of a different culture. Recently, Dhonielle Clayton, a sensitivity reader, author, and one of the chief executives of We Need Diverse Books, shared some insight into her work and its importance. You can learn more by reading the articles “What the Job of a Sensitivity Reader is Really Like” and “Sensitivity Reading Reinforces and Encourages a More Diverse and Aware Publishing Process.” She writes that, while “Many claim that sensitivity readers are diversity police officers telling (white) writers that they cannot write cross-culturally…one thing that gets left out of the conversation is that, when an author fails to write well-rounded, fleshed-out characters outside their own realm of experience, it’s, at its core, a craft failure. In simple terms: it’s bad writing.”
  • We heard that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will launch a new imprint, Versify, in Spring 2019, and that it will be curated by author Kwame Alexander! “‘I get asked what will make Versify different from other imprints,’ says Kwame Alexander. ‘The truth is we are not reinventing publishing. It’s the same ingredients in our kitchen as everyone else’s: we want to publish books for children that are smart and fun, that inform and inspire, that help children imagine a better world. My goal is just to make sure there are more chefs in the kitchen, more voice sin the room, that create unique and intelligent entertainment that electrifies and edifies young people.”
  • Mind overloaded at the end of the week? How about taking in a few short sound bytes about why we need diverse books?
  • And, ending on an uplifting note, we offer congratulations and felicidades to the authors and illustrators who received recognition at the recent American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards! Congrats to Ruth Behar for Lucky Broken Girl, Pablo Cartaya for The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, Celia E. Pérez for The First Rule of Punk, Susan Middleton Elya and Juan Martinez-Neal for La Princesa and the Pea, Monica Brown and John Parra for Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, and Xelena Gonzalez and Adriana M. Garcia for All Around Us! Visit Latinx in Kid Lit for links to reviews and more info about these authors, illustrators, and their respective works.

Best,
Keira

February 9, 2018 | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! I I hope everyone had blessed holidays and is looking forward to seeing what 2018 brings. For the moment, enjoy this latest list of resources!

– Thanks to the Children’s Book Council, we came across this list of 10 Native Books to Inspire the Young Ones and Young at Heart!

– One of our favorite authors, Matt de la Peña, has released a new book, Carmela Full of Wishes, a children’s book that offers a moving take on Dreamer from a young girl’s perspective. On his Twitter feed, de la Peña explains, “In a time when we openly speak of building walls, I was moved to tell the story of one young Dreamer, Carmela, who is filled with hope and heart and just a little dash of sass – like any other girl her age.”

– Courtesy of Beacon Broadside (an online venue for writers, thinkers, and activists) Paul Ortiz recently published an article Five Key Terms to Understand the Shared Struggle for Black and Latinx Rights. Ortiz is the author of An African American and Latinx History of the United States, among other titles.

 – Jessica Agudelo, a children’s librarian at New York Public Library, reviewed the new YA novel, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora¸ on Latinx in Kid Lit. Written by Pablo Cartaya, this story tells of Arturo Zamora and his life dealing with gentrification, cultural identity, family, and coming of age. The novel’s generating a lot of buzz! Agudelo seems to share the all-around positive press, closing her review with the observation that “This novel was a true joy to read from beginning to end. A rare feat, even in children’s literature.”

– For those getting ready to bring candy hearts into the classroom, Lee & Low’s post on Culturally Responsive Teaching: Valentine’s Day in the Classroom may be appropriate. “Do teachers have to succumb to the greeting card version of February 14th? Regardless of whether and how your school celebrates Valentine’s Day, there are meaningful themes tied to the holiday, and ways to weave them into your culturally responsive classroom.”

– Also, Debbie Reese of the blog American Indians in Children’s Literature recommends How Devil’s Club Came to Be by Miranda Rose Kaagweil Worl and illustrated by Michaela Grade. Reese notes that “If you and the children you’ll share Devil’s Club with are not Tlingit, you’ll want to do some research first, to provide some background knowledge about where the story takes place and what Tlingit people say about themselves.” This is at once commonsense and wise advice to keep in mind whenever using a book depicting a culture not your own.

– With Carnival season upon us, the blog Anansesem has provided [Book List] Caribbean Carnival in Books for Children — including Malaika’s Costume, which you might have noticed from Kalyn’s review on Monday. “It’s carnival season! Carnival, along with steel pan music, the traditional music of carnival, is one of the things our region is famous for. Although different islands have different carnival origin stories, carnival is a festival with both African and European origins.” And while you’re on topic, why not also check out their pertinent discussion on Caribbean Stereotypes in Children’s Books?

– Lastly, in the spirit of Carnival, you might appreciate Hip Latina’s list of 6 Latin American Celebrations, which covers countries from the Dominican Republic to Uruguay.

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Dessert Trucks. Reprinted from Flickr user carmaglover under CC©.

 

December 8th | Week in Review

¡Hola a todos! I wanted to let you all know that it has been my pleasure to gather resources for you. This will be my last post of the year, as we are approaching the holidays. I wish you all an unforgettable winter break full of love, harmony, and relaxation.

Latinxs in Kid Lit recommend the book North of Happy, a YA novel by Adi Alsaid, which offers a coming-of-age narrative focused on a young man whose life spans the US and Mexico, and who breaks norms to pursue his life’s passion: cooking. Reviewer Cecilia Cackley, a performing artist and children’s bookseller, states “It was…refreshing to read a book about a Mexican character that isn’t about immigration, drug wars, or poverty. My favorite parts of the book were the descriptions of Carlos cooking and his thought process as he selects ingredients or puts together a dish. ”

– Check out a new website dedicated to the late poet, Andrés Montoya, that was created by his brother, Maceo Montoya. Shared by La Bloga, the site commemorates the poet (1968-1999) and brings his work to new generations of readers. ““The late Andrés Montoya resided in Fresno, California. He had been a field hand, ditch digger, canner, and ice plant worker, and sometimes a teacher of writing.” – from the back cover of the iceworker sings and other poems.”

#DiverseKidLit has posted their December linkup! #DiverseKidLit is an amazing website dedicated to multicultural literature for children. It’s run by our lovely colleague, PragmaticMom. Each month, PragmaticMom proposes a new theme for the blogging community to explore, with all of the resources “designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.”

–Diario de Cultura explains why Los hispanohalantes ascienden ya a 572 millones, 5 millones más que hace un año.

— End-of-the-year booklists are popping up everywhere. Rich in Color is no exception. This is a blog dedicated to reading, reviewing, talking about, and otherwise promoting young adult books (fiction and non-fiction (starring or written by people of color or people from First/Native Nations. To be inspired in your YA reading, see their list, Audrey’s 2017 favorite books.

Goodreads recently shared their growing collection of Latino Book Lists. The lists range from themes like the “Immigrant Experience in Literature” to “Non-American Books that Every American Should.”

– Finally, from PopSugar, here are  50+ Books Every Latina Should Read in Her Lifetime. More than a few Vamos a Leer featured titles and authors appear on it, but there are many more titles to add to our TBR list! Enjoy!

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Purple Flower. Reprinted from Flickr Papa Pic under CC©.

 

December 1st | Week in Review

2017-11-28-image.png¡Hola a todos! It is super exciting that we are now in December, one of my favorite months. I hope you all enjoy this week’s resources.

– Latinxs in Kid Lit recommend the book Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown. In addition to the book review, they have shared a coloring activity sheet, book trailer, and discussion guide.

– When talking about media and identity in your class, you might want to share 20 Latina Superheroes and Villains by Hip Latina. Firebird or Bonita Juarez, born in Taos, New Mexico, is a woman who came into contact with radioactive meteorite fragments walking in the deserts around Albuquerque. She has appeared in West Coast Avengers and even in some Avengers storylines.

American Indians in Children’s Literature highly recommend the children’s book, The Water Walker, by Joanne Robertson. This is a story about a grandmother and her actions in saving water for future generations.

– Lastly, from the wonderful writer, Pat Mora, check out the book La Hermosa Señora: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe/ The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe. With her birthday coming up (December 12), this is a great book to talk about religion and culture. She even shared activities to accompany it.

Abrazos,
Alin


Image: Familias productoras en el salvador. Reprinted from Flickr user Mesoamérica Sin Hambre FAO-AMEXCID under CC©.

November 17th | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! We are already halfway through November! I cannot believe how fast this month is passing by. Here are this week’s resources.

#IndigenousReads by Indigenous Writers: A Children’s Reading List. For centuries, Indigenous people have been represented in literature with stereotypes created and perpetuated by people not of an indigenous background. Now, Indigenous writers are taking it upon themselves and breaking into the publishing industry to share their own stories. ‘Most of what kids see in books today are best sellers & classics that stereotype & misrepresent Native people in history. There’s a lot of bias in them. The books that I recommend are ones that can counter that bias in several ways. One, they’re not stereotypical. Two, most of them are set in the present day, which is important in countering what we see in a lot of children’s & young adult literature, which says that we vanished, we didn’t make it to the present day, and of course we did.’ -Debbie Reese, Nambe Pueblo, of American Indians in Children’s Literature”

– The social movement and organization We Need Diverse Books has released a curated, book-finding app for librarians and teachers who want to find diverse books. The app is called Our Story. “An interactive quiz helps you find the perfect book.”

– Our friends at De Colores have highly recommended the bilingual book, 13 Colors of the Honduran Resistance/ 13 Colores de la Resistencia Hondureña, by Melissa Cardoza and translated by Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle. The book includes 13 short bilingual stories and essays compiled in honor of Berta Cáceres Flores, a social and environmental activist in Honduras who was assassinated in March of 2016. “Originally written in beautiful, poetic Honduran vernacular Spanish by Melissa Cardoza and with a careful idiomatic English translation by Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle—along with 13 black-and-white photos that visually highlight the diversity of the struggle—13 colores documents the resistance of all the abuelas, powerful sisters, and mamas who struggle to feed their children.”

– Find out which books to keep or toss with the help of the blog Booktoss. Their latest post (“Volume 3”) suggests skipping Skippyjohn Jones and treasuring La Princesa and the Pea. “Booktoss means we, the Literary Gatekeepers, need to be willing to see the problems with books and simply toss them aside. Yes. I said it. Toss the book aside. No burning or censoring (understand the difference between censoring and  boycotting, please!). Just get rid of the racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist book and move on.”

– Congratulations to the 20 books that made it to the Premio Fundación Cuatro Gatos 2017. This year there were over one thousand publications representing 20 countries from which to choose!

– Lastly, Latinxs in Kid Lit shared a recent review in which Evangelina Takes Flight by Diana J. Noble is recommended for older young adults. The reviewer, Cris Rhods, a doctoral student at A&M University who focuses on the construction of identity in young adult literature, writes that “Diana J. Noble’s Evangelina Takes Flight is timely to a startling degree. As a work of historical fiction, Noble’s portrayal of upheaval in Mexico caused by the Mexican Revolution and Pancho Villa’s raids on farming villages remains relevant to this day. In confronting the racism and xenophobia rampant at the border, where shops display signs declaring ‘No Dogs! No Negroes! No Mexicans! No Perros! No Negros! No Mexicanos!’, Evangelina’s story parallels contemporary struggles for racial equality (92). As racial tensions build both in the text and in real life, Evangelina’s stand to keep her school desegregated feels remarkably current, and in its demonstration of child activism, Evangelina Takes Flight holds up a powerful example.”

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Holguin, Cuba. Reprinted from Flickr user Piviso under CC©.

November 10th | Week in Review

¡Hola a todos! I am always delighted to assemble the resources for you!

— Here are the Premio Fundación Cuatrogatos 2017. Cuatrogatos is a nonprofit organizations that works to promote Spanish culture, language, and education, with a focus on children’s and young adult books. Its annual award was established to recognize high quality books created by Ibero-American writers and illustrators. This year’s list of award winners highlights 90 books written in Spanish.

Latinxs in Kid Lit shared the book reviews of Lola Levine Meets Jelly and Bean as well as The Rooster Would Not Be Quiet by reviewer Dora, a bilingual reading specialist for k-3. Dora includes great teaching tips in her review!

– If teaching kindergarten, you might want to check out The Latino Family Literacy Project’s short book trailer for the children’s book Fun with ABC’s – Loteria Style.

– For those teaching older grades, you might be interested in teaching about the Role of Women in Drug Cartels as represented in popular media. “In short, the reality is this—on screen, we’re accustomed to seeing the women of the drug cartels as mere background players. But on the ground, things couldn’t be more different. Now that the DEA has captured El Chapo, it is a “queenpin” from the Medellín cartel’s past—Maria Teresa Osorio de Serna—who remains one of the few figures left on their most wanted list.”

– You might already be familiar with “the 12-year-old-trailblazer fighting for equality in kids’ books,” but if not you should definitely read more about her story and be inspired for how you and your students can help change the world.

– Still looking for more inspiration? How about reading “How YA Literature is Leading the Queer Disabled Media Revolution”? “When you’re marginalized, it’s hard to find yourself reflected in media. When you’re marginalized in multiple ways, that difficulty is multiplied tenfold…”

– We hate to break it to you, but Dr. Seuss’ work is “complicated.” Read more about how “Dr. Seuss Draws Fresh Scrutiny.” “Seuss, like any other author, was a product of his time,” Martin said. “Fortunately, some authors grow and figure out that maybe some of the things they wrote early on were harmful and they try to make amends. Seuss did that.”

– We were excited to read that “A New Database Catalogues 1,300 Children’s Books About People of Color.” And they’re cataloging the books with nuanced search terms, which means that we can both find diverse literature and analyze how stereotypes can be reproduced even within the so-called diverse book world. “So far Aronson and her team have read and processed 1,300 books, with around 200 backlogged books left. The database can be searched with combinations of tags, like ‘Vietnamese,’ ‘Muslim,’ and ‘beautiful life’ to find books appropriate for different occasions, lessons, and readers. The database also reveals patterns in the ways kids are taught about people of color: Of the 10 books starring a Brazilian kid currently published in the US, half are about soccer. Half the books about Asian or Asian American characters are about culture, like The year of the sheep, about Chinese Zodiac signs, and a quarter are about folklore, like The ghost catcher, a retelling of a myth about a Bengali barber. About 2% of these have characters categorized by the database as ‘oppressed.’” Check out the Diverse Book Finder to explore its catalog.

– Finally, we have to share a recent post from The Open Book blog run by the wonderful folks at Lee & Low Books: Celebrate Native American Heritage Month + Poster Giveaway.  “Historically, Native people have been silenced and their stories set aside, hidden, or drowned out. The #NoDAPL movement and the fight against racist portrayals for sports mascots  brought Native American voices to the forefront of the news last year, but the issues that the community still have to deal with shouldn’t be brushed aside. This is why it’s especially important to continue to read stories about Native characters, by Native voices which brings us to some exciting news: last month, we brought back to print a special 40th Anniversary  edition of Simon J. Ortiz’s beloved children’s book The People Shall Continue, which traces the history of Native and Indigenous people in North America. It includes updated illustrations by Sharol Graves and a new afterword by the author. It’s also available in a Spanish translation which you can purchase here.”  Visit their blog to learn more and request a free poster for your classroom!

 

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Valparaiso, Chile. Reprinted from Flickr user Paula Soler-Moya under CC©.

November 3rd | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! I cannot believe we are already in November! Time is going by fast. I hope you enjoy the compiled resources; I always enjoy gathering them.

– Puerto Rico is still very much in our hearts and minds here at The University of New Mexico, but apparently it’s not in most US classrooms. Courtesy of Teaching for Change, here is a list of “Puerto Rican Children’s Literature for Social Justice: A Bibliography for Educators” by Marilisa Jimenez Garcia, PhD. “Recent national news reflects the public’s lack of knowledge of the U.S. as a country in possession of colonies, such as Guam and Puerto Rico. In a 2016 poll, many Americans were unaware that Puerto Ricans born on the island were U.S. citizens. Moreover, Puerto Ricans remain one of the largest Latinx populations in the U.S. with a continuous migration and diaspora resulting from over a century and half of U.S. interventions and economic upheaval.”

– Latinx in Kid Lit continue with their excellent reviews of recent books by Latinx authors. Among their more recent reviews are Marta Big and Small and The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra, as jointly reviewed by Ruby Jones. Ms. Jones has worked in public libraries since 2007.

– De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children always brings us sharply focused reviews of Latinx children’s books – many not by Latinx authors. In one of their latest features, they share some of the reasons why Home at Last by Susan Middleton Elya is not recommended “…But this unrealistic and didactic story serves only to reinforce the stereotype of Mexican women…”

– La Bloga recently shared an interview with Hector Luis Alamo, an editor and publisher for Enclave as well as a guest columnist for Chile’s Prensa Irreverente. In this interview, this Latino artivist shares his experience of how he became passionate about reading, his favorite poems, and how he came to find his career path.

– In our offline conversations, we talk frequently about how books can serve as windows, mirrors, and doors. Lee & Low Books focused on the “mirrors: possibilities in their latest post on their blog, The Open Book, where they emphasized the importance of “Mirror Books” in the classroom.

– Lastly, as Día de los Muertos takes this week, we thought it important to share Teaching Tolerance’s recent post on Let Día de los Muertos Stand on Its Own. “This holiday, which is distinctly different from Halloween, presents a wonderful opportunity to foster empathy among students.”

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Monumento al Nazareno, Venezuela. Reprinted from Flickr user Wilmer Osarlo under CC©.