10 Children’s and YA Books Celebrating Latinx Poetry and Verse

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Hello all –

I am thrilled to be celebrating National Poetry Month with you!  As with many of you, poetry holds a dear place in my heart.  As a young person, I recall writing poem after poem and finding such liberation in exploring my voice, playing with syntax and line breaks, and testing out vocabulary that had yet to find a place in my daily life.  Poetry allowed for a freedom and creativity that was unmatched in other mediums.  And because of this, I believe that writing poetry enables us to develop our own voice, author our own truths, and honor our own experiences; all of which play an integral part in a young person’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.

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Reading RoundUp: 10 Children’s and YA Books with Diverse Latinx Perspectives

 

Vamos a Leer¡Buenos días a todos y todas!

As mentioned in Keira’s Sobre Septiembre post, this month’s Reading Roundup is related to the theme of Hispanic Heritage Month. To guide the direction of this month’s book list, I decided that it was imperative for me to determine what I believe Hispanx/Latinx heritage to be. Initially the task seemed easy enough, as I have certainly carved out an understanding of how I define my own Chicana/Latina heritage. Yet, as I attempted to make connections on a grand scale, I found myself unable. I felt as though I were distilling the vibrancy of an entire collective of people down to a single ingredient, a generalization, and a superficiality.

How does one meaningfully capture the range of cultural practices, traditions, languages, religions, geography, race, and ethnicity – just to name a few – of those who identify as Latinx? How could I be so bold to answer for others the deeply personal question of how they define their heritage? I am only able to define my own.

After much thought, I decided that the best way to view the tapestry of “Hispanx/Latinx heritage” was to hang it up, step back, and explore each pictorial design individually. For that reason, this month’s list will be focused on literature that possesses strong and individual narratives; where the author’s experiences, values, and diversity can seep through the text, allowing their unique Latinidad to be known.

Some of the narratives are rooted in reality, as in Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White. Others are teeming with imagination and the fantastical, as in The Jumbies. Others still may be representative of someone’s reality, somewhere, as in ¡Sí! Somos Latinos/Yes! We are Latinos, or even Niño Wrestles the World.

I invite you to explore and articulate how you define your own unique heritage, or ask your students about theirs. Is the way you define your heritage different from that of your family? Is there literature that represents you? What would be an important element of your heritage that you would want to share with others?

I hope that you enjoy these books as I did and that the diversity within the Latinx experience abounds from their pages!

Mis saludos,

Colleen

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Book Giveaway: Poesía eres tú and Todo es canción

book giveaway april¡Buenas!

In light of Poetry Month, we are giving away two poetry anthologies in the Spanish language. The two books are Poesía eres tú: Antología poética, written by F. Isabel Campoy and illustrated by Marcela Calderón, and Todo es canción: Antología poética, written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by María Jesús Álvarez.

These books would be great for Spanish language learners and ideal for the classroom. The poems draw from everyday happenings, illuminating the beauty and creativity that exists in our day to day activities. Through these poems, I think that children will be inspired to write poetry themselves. Both of the authors have divided their poems into categories, so you can easily find different poetry themes you are in the mood for. I encourage you to check out Alma Flor Ada’s webpage about this book, where you can find a book description, author’s note, book review, and a video of Alma Flor Ada reading the poem “Bilingüe” from her book. Isabel Campoy also has a description of her book on her website that I recommend taking a look at.

To be entered in the giveaway, comment on this post by April 30th. If your name is chosen, we will email you about mailing the book to you.

Good luck!
Kalyn

Book Giveaway: Love, Amalia/Con cariño, Amalia

¡Hola a todos!

Love, Amalia

In the spirit of love and Valentine’s day, we are giving away both the Spanish and English versions of Alma Flor Ada’s, Love Amalia/Con cariño, Amalia. In this book, when Amalia’s best friend moves away, her grandmother is there to cheer her up. According to Alma Flor’s website, “Amalia finds great comfort in times shared with her grandmother: cooking, listening to stories and music, learning, and looking through her treasured box of family cards.” Love, Amalia/Con cariño, Amalia demonstrates the importance of love, family, friends and inner strength. It would be the perfect addition to the classroom, especially with the discussion questions and activities that Alma Flor provides on her website in both English and Spanish. Neosha reviewed this book in more detail, and I recommend that you check out her post.

To be entered in this giveaway, comment on this post by February 29th. If your name is chosen, we will email you about mailing the book to you.

¡Suerte!

Kalyn

WWW: Rhythms Bring the Holiday to Life!

¡Feliz viernes a todos!

Here we are, already in December! This semester just flew right by.  Before delving into winter celebrations in Latin America, I just want to quickly extend gratitude to everyone reading, whether you are here for the first time or have been following my posts this entire semester.  Thank you for your readership, especially during the busy holiday season that is now upon us (Ahh!).

In the past, we have focused our December posts mostly on Las Posadas (you can find a number of our past Las Posadas posts here).  This year, I am including a musical playlist to offer both a complement to our presentations of Las Posadas and also a broader view of winter celebrations in Latin America.  I have a couple links to feature here that can be used in the classroom or for your own personal knowledge to aid in creating a culturally informed holiday discussion and celebration in your classroom.

Vamos a Leer | WWW: Rhythms Bring the Holiday to Life!The first feature is a very diverse musical playlist, which includes music from Spain, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the United States.  Feliz Navidad from Smithsonian Folkways adds rhythm to the celebration of the holidays throughout the Spanish-speaking countries of the world!  Incorporating villancicos, aguinaldos, bulerias, zambas, and arrullos, this is truly a musical voyage through Christmas celebrations in Latin America.  To take it a step further, I am featuring another link to a musical map, which is a great way to illustrate where each different rhythm originates.  This world map is overlaid with the contents of the music from the first playlist, and in addition, playlists that collect music from holiday celebrations in other parts of the world (mainly, Africa and Eastern Europe, with various other locations, as well).  Continue reading

Book Giveaway: Merry Navidad!

Good afternoon, everyone!

Can you believe that the holidays are upon us!  I cannot!  Although we are sad to say that this is our last week of the Tuesday Giveaways for this semester, we are happy to have given out so many great books thanks to Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy’s gracious donation and we want to encourage you to look out for some more giveaways in the spring!  Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: Merry Navidad!Our final giveaway of the semester will be Merry Navidad!, co-authored by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, illustrated by Viví Escrivá, and translated into English by Rosa Zubizarreta.  This book is described as a “warm and vibrant collection of traditional Spanish Christmas carols, or villancicos, [in which] authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy bring to life the holiday traditions of Latin America and Spain. The creative English adaptations by Rosalma Zubizarreta both capture the spirit of the originals and add a new dimension to the songs. And Spanish illustrator Viví Escrivá‘s spirited illustrations are perfect backdrops for the lyrics, adding rich holiday flavor.”  It would be a great addition to classroom holiday activities for all age groups. Are you ready for a sing-along? Comment below and let us know! Have a happy and safe holiday season and don’t forget to check back in the spring for more giveaways!

Until spring,

Charla


Image: Photo of Merry Navidad! Reproduced from Alma Flor’s website.

Book Giveaway: Tales our Abuelitas Told/Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas!

Good afternoon, everyone!

We are in week eight of the giveaway series so make sure you comment this week for your second-to-last chance to win!  Thank you again to all who continue to comment each week and congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway!  This week’s giveaway includes Tales our Abuelitas Told, and the Spanish translation, Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas, written by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy.  Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: Tales our Abuelitas Told/Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas!The book has won many recognitions, including the Literary Guild Medal, and the Kirkus Review Kirkus Best Books award.  In Tales our Abuelitas Told, “Twelve stories from varied roots of Hispanic culture come together in a colorful collection that includes talking ants, magic bagpipes, dancing goats, and flying horses. In some cases the tales emphasize a moral, such as looking for the good in any bad situation as in ‘Catlina the Fox.’ In others, the story illustrates the importance of friends, as in the case of ‘The Bird of One Thousand Colors.’  The authors seek to trace the origins of the stories through personal source notes, citing variants of the original story and the historical themes behind the tales. Of note is a tale of Juan Bobo that is included in this collection. Juan Bobo has entertained children and adults for more than five centuries with his antics and absent-mindedness. While Juan Bobo is well known by many, ‘The Bird of One Thousand Colors’ is a story that Alma Flor Ada was unable to trace to an original source, although she remembers being told the story by her grandmother.  Throughout the collection, culturally accurate illustrations catch the eye with vivid colors and intricate details that convey aspects of the story. Each story leads naturally to the next, keeping alive the oral traditions of a rich culture that spans the continents.”  The authors’ note tells that this book was indeed written as a way to keep the abuelitas memory alive and pass on the stories they once told.  School Library Journal recommends the book for grades three and up. Continue reading