¡Mira, Look!: Yo soy Muslim

¿Hablas un poquito de español? ¿Por qué no acompañarme en nuestras series mensuales de literatura infantil? Desde ahora nuestras críticas literarias en el blog ¡Vamos a leer! se van a hacer también en la lengua de Cervantes, que tantos de nuestros seguidores dominan. Como reza el dicho, hay que profesar con el ejemplo; y con la inclusión del español pretendemos llegar a una audiencia más diversa pero, sobre todo, es una declaración de intenciones.

Book_Page_01En la serie de literatura infantil dedicada a la temática del amor por la comunidad este mes, vamos a introducir el libro Yo soy Muslim, una sugestiva colaboración entre el escritor Mark Gonzales y la ilustradora Mehrdokht Amini. Grosso modo Yo soy Muslim es una tierna carta de amor y empoderamiento de un padre hacia su hija, animándole a celebrar su riqueza cultural musulmana, hispanoamericana e indígena. Esta conexión no pasa inadvertida, pues es de amplia aceptación el que los padres, por una razón no del todo conocida, tengan una relación especial con sus hijas, en la misma medida en que las madres la tienen con sus hijos. Ahora vamos a escuchar el susurro paternal, que lentamente ofrece un desfilar de palabras que no hacen sino expresar su amor por nosotros y la idea de que polvo de estrellas fuimos y en polvo de estrella nos convertiremos:

Hay preguntas que nos hacemos cuando estamos aprendiendo qué significa ser humano… hay preguntas que este mundo te hará… ese día diles: yo soy musulmana, soy de Alá, de los ángeles y de un sitio tan antiguo como el tiempo. Yo hablo español, árabe y sueños.

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Imaginemos por un momento, todavía con los ojos cerrados, que papá también nos da la llave de nuestra ascendencia familiar, digna de respeto y admiración como todas aquellas que confluyen en este mundo que compartimos. Y nos hace ver que detrás de esa ascendencia familiar y sentimiento de orgullo y pertenencia a la misma, está mamá y los abuelos, que a su vez tendrían a sus mamás y papás y abuelos y abuelas. Y de esa bella destilación humana provenimos nosotros, que debemos ser la mejor versión posible; una de la que nuestros ancestros puedan estar orgullosos también, cerrando el círculo en un abrazo familiar.

Yo soy Muslim viene a compartir el orgullo de un padre por lo que representa su hija, un cruce de culturas en el que Alá, la lengua española y actitudes forjadas con perseverancia, respeto e integridad, han hecho posible y merecedor de la más alta estima el camino recorrido. Un padre que anima a su hija a reír y a soñar de forma inocente, sin dejarse vencer por aquellos que no lo hacen.Book_Page_11 Gonzales afirma que el libro fue escrito antes de la era Trump, y sin embargo es totalmente pertinente en un ambiente de xenofobia creciente; porque fomenta el respeto por la diferencia. La periodista Tasbeeh Herwees, de la publicación Good Education, lo califica como una auténtica defensa identitaria. Porque ser uno mismo manteniendo una firme sonrisa, en un ambiente ciertamente crispado por la intolerancia de unos pocos, se torna indispensable y un acto de resistencia de máxima valía. Hagamos caso a esta sugestiva fábula y abracemos, por encima de todo, una personalidad propia y no exenta de diálogo con los demás. Seamos uno y todos a la vez.

Recursos relacionados:

Simon & Schuster, el publicista, describe a su autor Mark Gonzales como un padre futurista y uno de los narradores de historias más innovadores de nuestro tiempo. Su portafolio abarca 20 países e incluye apariciones en TED Talks, HBO, la Universidad de Stanford y las Naciones Unidas. Yo Soy Muslim es su primera aventura en la literatura infantil. Actualmente el autor trabaja entre California y el norte de África.

Para conocer más acerca de este libro, incluyendo las ilustraciones de Mehrdokht Amini, visitar  las siguientes páginas web:

Recursos educativos relacionados con la diversidad e integración del mundo musulmán:

  • Rethinking School’s Rethinking Islamaphobia: poderoso artículo y plan lectivo de un educador musulmán y un desarrollador de currículo que cuestiona hasta qué punto la educación religiosa es efectiva para combatir la intolerancia arraigada en los EEUU. Este recurso puede ir ligado a What Is Islam?, un artículo que recopila nociones básicas sobre el islam y el mundo musulmán.
  • PBS LearningMedia: el islam en América, un plan lectivo que anima a los estudiantes a explorar la diversidad religiosa y cultural dentro del islam.
  • Teaching Tolerance: Debunking Stereotypes About Muslims and Islam: actividad que busca derribar estereotipos sobre el islam.

 

¡Espero que te haya gustado la recomendación de hoy!

Sigue atento a nuestra serie del mes.

Santi

 

February 3rd | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! I really hope you find the resources I shared helpful. I know it was enjoyable collecting them.

Latinos in Kid Lit shared a book review of When the Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie McLemore. We haven’t read this one yet at Vamos a Leer, but it looks really interesting: “Teaching this novel opens up the opportunity to research different legends, traditions, and cultural practices in relation to gender plurality and sexuality.”

Continue reading

National Picture Book Month

¡Hola artistas!

What makes picture books unique? They have both words and pictures! To celebrate November’s National Picture Book Month I wanted to take a moment to recognize one of my favorite artists, Yuyi Morales, whose work we have had the privilege of showcasing here at Vamos a Leer.

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As Neoshia wrote in 2013, Morales is a Mexican author and illustrator who was born in Xalapa, Mexico. She immigrated to the United States as an adult. Although she has written most of her work while in residence in California, she maintains her Mexican roots. In fact, much of her work has been influenced by her childhood in Mexico in what is known as the “City of Flowers” and her Mexican heritage. In her YouTube video, Why I Love Picture Books, Morales herself recounts her first encounter with picture books as “love at first sight.”

Morales’ multimedia techniques, including the puppet making she began experimenting with in 1995 when she moved to the United States, set her apart from many illustrators. To see some of her creations, check out her art-infused website that echoes the liveliness and vivid colors of her books,  learn about your favorite characters within them, and even how they were made! Some of my favorite parts include:

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You can learn more about Morales and view more of her artwork at PaperTigers (which celebrates books and artists from around the world), and at Let’s Talk Picture Books’ Illustrator Spotlight.

We’ve also talked about Yuyi Morales at Vamos a Leer – be sure to take a re-look at some past posts:

Wishes for a creative noviembre,

Hania

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Image: “Breakfast.” Reprinted from Yuyi Morales’ website, Frida’s Photo Album.

Image: “Death waiting and waiting for grandma beetle.” Reprinted from Yuyi Morales’ website, Death’s Photo Album.

 

 

 

 

¡Mira Look!: Fiesta Femenina, Celebrating Women in Mexican Folktale

fiesta femeninaSaludos todos! Welcome to this month’s first blog post! Throughout the month of March we will be celebrating Women’s History Month by focusing our attention on wonderful women in history, literature and our every-day lives. More specifically, this month we will feature books about female icons in Latin America, the representation of women in indigenous folklore, and the every-day experiences of female protagonists in works of children’s literature. These books will celebrate the life and role of women in societies across the Americas, and the enduring inspiration of women’s history. Furthermore, with this month’s theme, we aim to diversify our understanding of Women’s History Month by focusing on timeless female icons and heroic activists, but also on the every-day women who have sustained life, love and culture over the years. Women worthy of recognition are all around us and this month we celebrate their infinite contributions.

fiesta femenina 2We are starting the month off with Fiesta Femenina, Celebrating Women in Mexican Folktale, written by Mary-Joan Gerson and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez. In this collection, Gerson has compiled a series of Mexican folktales, drawing from Maya, Aztec, Mixtec and Yaqui traditions. The tales have been selected for their strong female protagonists, in an effort to highlight the role of women in Mexican folklore. Gerson explains her intentions in the introduction of the book: Continue reading

WWW: Back in Activism!

¡Feliz viernes a todos!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday break. Thank you for joining me again. This semester we are kicking off with a focus on activism. You may notice that many of our upcoming posts connect and highlight important activists in Latin America, the organizations they belong to, or the programs they founded. In honor of the focus on activism, I am highlighting some of Ana Teresa Fernández’s recent work on “erasing” the U.S.-Mexico border—using art!

Vamos a Leer | WWW: Back in Activism!Ana Teresa Fernández is a Mexican-American artist. She and a group of thirty volunteers teamed up to paint the border fence in Nogales, Sonora a light blue color in order to blend it with the sky. In her video about the project, Fernández talked about the fence as a “symbol of hate and pain.” She thought to change that by making it invisible (at least a piece of it). Her work constitutes activism “because it re-contextualizes a possibility. It makes you not see the border — just for a split second — and [makes you see] how two countries can exist, or coexist, peacefully,” said Fernández in an interview with Raquel Reichard from Latina. To her, the problem of the border fence is that it divides two groups of people who could otherwise live in harmony. The idea, while earning support from many people, sparked hate in some who have taken to writing hate mail and nasty correspondence to the artist. Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: The Miracle of the First Poinsettia

Children's Book Review: The Miracle of the First Poinsettia by Joanne Oppenheim | Vamos a Leer Saludos, everyone! This week marks the beginning of our December themes. We are starting a bit early, since the staff here at Vamos a Leer will be leaving for winter break half-way through December (more details to follow). We want to make sure that we have enough time to put out at least a few winter-themed book reviews before we leave for the holidays. Our December themes will focus on the winter season and winter celebrations in Latin America.

This week I will start by reviewing The Miracle of the First Poinsettia, written by Joanne Oppenheim and illustrated by Fabian Negrin. This holiday tale is best for ages 5-9. It is written in English with Spanish words interspersed throughout, and tells the story of a young, Mexican girl who learns to give gifts from the heart. Oppenheim’s story is a retelling of a traditional Mexican myth about the creation of the first Poinsettia flowers in Mexico. These flowers are sometimes called “flores de la Noche Buena,” or “flowers of Christmas Eve.” According to Oppenheim’s Author’s Note: “They decorate homes and churches all over the world at Christmas time. In Mexico they are so plentiful they still go like weeds. They brighten gardens and remind us of hope, the joy and the miracle of Christmas!” With glowing illustrations, this tale of love and kindness will surely warm the hearts of readers as the winter chill sets in. Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: ¡Yum, MmMm, Qué Rico!

Children's Book Review: Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! Brotes de las Américas by Pat Mora | Vamos a Leer¡Saludos, todos! Our themes for November will be food, harvest, and, of course, giving thanks! We have a lot of great books lined up, all of which speak to the different ways of celebrating these themes with family and friends. I am extra excited about this week’s book as it provides a wealth of resources for both educators and every-day readers (please take this as a warning that this post is longer than usual, but well worth it).

This week I will be reviewing “Yum! MmMm! Que Rico! America’s Sproutings / Brotes de la Américas“, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Rafael López. The book is available in both English and Spanish editions, although I will be reviewing the latter. In this wonderful collection of poetry, Pat Mora takes us on a gastronomic journey of the Americas through a series of fun haikus. Each poem focuses on a crop native to these continents, culminating in a full harvest of celebration and praise. The descriptions of food and cuisine alongside the bright, multicolored illustrations at once awaken the senses while guiding readers through the history of agriculture in the Americas. Mora introduces her book by acknowledging the influence of her anthropologist husband who teaches about the origins of agriculture, an inspiration that certainly resonates throughout her collection. Readers will undoubtedly revel in this delicious feast of knowledge, art and poetry. Continue reading