Here are a few resources that caught our eye in the past week from the world of diversity in children’s literature. Enjoy!
Junot Díaz has revealed his tour dates for his children’s book, ISLANDBORN. This is Díaz’s first venture into children’s books and he’s started off splendidly with this ” picture book [that] celebrates cultural diversity in the U.S. and poses questions about identity and belonging, as Díaz tells the story of a young girl’s imaginary journey back to her birthplace: ‘The Island.'”
Dolly Parton is known for many things, but not everyone knows she’s dedicated to promoting literacy in her home community. Just this week, she announced that she’s donated her 100 millionth book and has started a new partnership with the Library of Congress. Learn more on her website.
Latinx in Kid Lit shared a cover reveal for Bookjoy, Wordjoy, a new children’s book out by writer Pat Mora and illustrator Raúl Colón from Lee & Low Books.
From the blog, Blog on the Hyphen, we came across this great list of 10 Contemporary Afro-Latino Authors to Know. Regardless that Black History Month is officially over, these authors should still be making their way to your TBR list.
Lastly, De Colores shared a beautiful review of Jorge Argueta’s latest book, Agua, Aguita / Water, Little Water, written alongside illustrator Felipe Ugalde Alcántara “…for the great beauty and teaching that it encompasses, Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water / At Achichipiga At is highly recommended.”
I’m with you for one more week while Alin is away. It’s a treat for me to contribute here at Vamos a Leer. I hope you enjoy reading the resources as much as I enjoyed gathering them. Be well and have a good weekend!
Have you heard about the Children’s Africana Book Award, or CABA? It’s much like the Américas Award, but with a focus on Africa. In February, CABA is inviting readers everywhere to choose any week during the month as a “Read Africa Week.” They “invite teachers, librarians, parents, and concerned adults to kick off Black History Month with great books about Africa and continue reading about Africa all year.” Learn more at the CABA website, where they offer recommendations and reviews to get you started.
An NPR segment on February 19th focused on teaching about slavery using the Zinn Education Project. As the Zinn Education Project reports, “the segment addressed the question of ‘How Do You Teach Slavery?’ with Adam Sanchez, Zinn Education Project curriculum writer/teacher organizer. Sanchez, who has written extensively about teaching people’s history, is a high school U.S. history teacher and Rethinking Schools editor. Also on the show were Hasan Kwame Jeffries, chair of the Teaching Tolerance ‘Teaching Hard History’ Advisory Board and associate professor of history at Ohio State University, and Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance, Southern Poverty Law Center. The 1A show focused on a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center called ‘Teaching Hard History: American Slavery.’ The one-hour show is streaming online.”
With Black Panther sweeping the nation, some educators are curious about how to bring it into the classroom. One teacher did just that, designing a curriculum for “students who are seeing Black Panther, as a means to having them engage more critically and thoughtfully with the film. The curriculum assumes that students…have previous experience studying the African continent, its diversity, and colonialism.” To read Tess Raser’s curriculum for 5th-8th grades (and adaptable to high school), check out her Black Panther Film Movie Companion for Middle Grades.
Author Lyn Miller-Lachmann recently wrote a blog piece on “Seven Asian American Authors Speak Out,” recounting an afternoon when “more than 100 people, mostly teens and young adults” packed together in a room to hear Asian American authors discussing the writing experience and what it meant to find, read, and then write books with characters whose stories matched their own lives. As Miller-Lachmann observed, “The panelists offered fascinating insights from their experiences as well as valuable advice for all writers, whether they write own voices stories or develop characters from outside their personal experiences.”
NPR shared a piece on “Afro-Latino Musical Traditions,” which you can listen to anytime. “You can hear it there. African culture is embedded in the beats and rhythms of Latin America. And this is Black History Month.”
Last week we shared that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt launch Versify, a new diversity imprint. This week we learned that Penguin Young Readers is treading the same path, launching a new imprint “called Kokila, that will focus on diverse books for children and young adults….authors and illustrators already set to be published under the Kokila imprint include Pablo Cartaya, Sherine Hamdy, Myra El-Mir, Isabel Quintero, Zeke Peña, John Corey Whaley, Calista Brill, and Nilah Magruder.” Some of our favorites and TBR authors are on this list, so we’re excited to see what new books come to our shelves!
It is a hard week for many around the country. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and communities. For educators addressing this most recent violence in the classroom, please consider referring to Scholastic’s Resources for parents and educators for talking to children about the Las Vegas shooting. “No matter where you reside, it’s likely the young people you know will see the news headlines on television and online.” Like the quote says, it doesn’t matter where a person resides, children will be affected and classrooms should address this issue regardless of the subject being taught.
Finally, for those who are turning the page to other conversations, here is a smattering of other recent resources and materials:
In a moment when traumatic stories and experiences are forefront, it’s important to take a moment and offer students a celebratory perspective of their cultures. Classroom Communities shared a personal note in this regard with their article on “Celebrating through Stories” during Hispanic Heritage Month. “As a young African-American girl it was hard for me during the month of February when I felt that Black History month was spent learning about slavery and hardship. The celebratory aspect was often lost for me. As a teacher I have tremendous power over how students feel during these months of celebration. In our classroom community we choose to celebrate stories, authors, and people who represent this rich culture of beauty and strength.”
Latinx in Kid Lit flipped the script and shared A Letter from Young Adult Readers to Latinx Writers About Race, Gender, and Other Issues. “I asked students to create suggestions of what they hoped to see in Latinx literature for youth. What follows is a list of suggestions gathered from our collective conversation and survey of Latinx literature for youth, including comments composed by my students for those who are currently writing and those who hope to write for young readers. Students also kept in mind those in publishing and award committees.”
And as a last note to send us with positive thoughts for the day, there are beautiful new books swirling around in the blogging world right now. A few that caught our eye:
From Latinx in Kid Lit, a book review ofMartí’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad, written by Emma Otheguy and illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. “The back cover features an actual portrait of José Martí, and a quote: ‘And let us never forget that the greater the suffering, the greater the right to justice, and that the prejudices of men and social inequalities cannot prevail over the equality which nature has created’…beyond Cuba, Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad comes at an important time when even young readers are thinking about how we might make the world a more just place.”
From LGBTQ Reads, an interview with Anna-Marie McLemore, author of Wild Beauty, of which the author writes that “Wild Beauty is my bi Latina girls and murderous, enchanted gardens book. It’s the story in which I gave myself permission to go all in with the feel and setting of a fairy tale, but with the focus on the kind of girls we often see left out of fairy tales.”