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.
¡Hola a todos! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Below are numerous resources that touch on identity, family, and testimony. I know I’ve shared a lot, but there were just so many to choose from this week! I hope these are of use to everyone. Have a wonderful weekend.
— Rethinking Schools shared Tackling the Headlines: Teaching Humanity and History. One of the main takeaways: “The best antidote to Trump’s xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and fossil-fuel soaked future is critical thinking.”
– Our Lee & Low Books friends shared Valentine’s Day Children’s Books that Celebrate Familial Love. Even if it is no longer Valentine’s Day, it is important to stress the value of familial love. It’s a theme we’re talking about all month long.
Hello all –
I hope that this day finds you each doing well.
This week I’m offering something a bit different than our typical Reading RoundUp. In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to share with you information about Read Africa Week, a literacy initiative that takes place from February 1 – 7 and highlights the wonderful resources of the Children’s Africana Book Award (CABA).
Much like we refer to the Américas Award when looking for juvenile literature focused on our main region, Latin America, CABA highlights juvenile literature by African authors and about African culture. The award was created by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association (ASA) to encourage the publication and use of accurate, balanced children’s materials about Africa.
Organized by CABA colleagues at Howard University (including the Center for African Studies and the School of Education), Read Africa Week “invites teachers, librarians, parents, and concerned adults to introduce young people to kick off Black History Month with great books about Africa and continue reading about Africa all year.” Check out the recommended books here! Similar to other organizations promoting diversity in literature, the books recommended are vetted by African Studies scholars to provide “accurate, balanced, books [that] can change and expand what we know, think and feel about Africa.”
In February we’ve turned to upcoming holidays and other celebrations as a means of shaping our emphases. Perhaps you’re thinking about these holidays and other celebrations right now and are pondering how to fit them into your classroom. For Valentine’s Day, for instance, we were inspired to think about a more nuanced way to approach the holiday — one that moves us beyond candy hearts and red-tinted art projects. Our focus is going to be on love as a broader concept — love of self, of community, and of world. It’s a theme that seems more appropriate than ever given all of the negative sentiments and outright hatred circulating among at the moment.
I hope everyone is having a great week! I’m glad to be back with our Reading Roundup. This month’s list goes with our theme of Afro-Caribbean narratives. In the spirit of Black History Month, we are highlighting the importance of inclusive conversations in the classroom focused on race and diverse narratives, with a focus on civil rights. As Keira emphasized in her Sobre Febrero post, it’s important for these conversations to continue beyond the “heritage month” period, and so I hope that you’ll use this Reading Roundup list as year-round inspiration in your classroom.
While compiling these titles, I took extra care to include books that simultaneously celebrate the cultural diversity and richness of Afro-Caribbean peoples and acknowledge their difficult histories, including narratives related to slavery, repression, and what it means to be a part of a diaspora community in exile. Together or individually, I’m hopeful that these titles will prompt meaningful conversations with and among your students. Below are a few resources that may be helpful as you undertake that effort (thanks to Charla for her earlier posts highlighting some of these materials!) Continue reading
Saludos, todos! We are concluding this month’s theme of books on Haiti with a historical treat from the late Haitian artist and writer, François Turenne des Près (1907-1990), who is considered one of Haiti’s greatest painters. After his death in 1990, his son, Josquin des Près, uncovered his father’s collection of Haitian folktales and decided to compile the materials into a collection of stories for children. He complemented the stories with paintings of everyday Haitian life which his father had produced throughout his lifetime. According to a review by Publisher’s Weekly, “The legacy of the late Haitian artist and writer Turenne Des Près (1907-1990) is vibrantly preserved in this beautifully produced collection of 12 folktales. The stories, originally published in Haiti in 1949 without illustrations, are paired here with paintings culled from the more than 300 works executed by Turenne Des Pres.”
Although this book is meant for children, adults will also enjoy its amazing historical import. As stated by Publisher’s Weekly, “The book has the sophisticated feel of a museum catalogue, yet it is zesty enough to maintain a child’s attention.” For younger readers, it would be best as a read-aloud; older children may want to read it independently. Continue reading
¡Feliz viernes a todos!
I am so happy you are reading today because I am showcasing a great resource from Teaching for Change, which is another blogging site full of great teaching guides and supporting resources for the classroom. This week, to honor our themes of Afro-Caribbean cultures, Black History Month, Haiti, love and community, I am highlighting their resource for Teaching about Haiti. Because of all the supporting documents available through the page, this resource makes including Haiti in classroom discussion even easier! According to Teaching for Change, “It is important for students to gain a deeper understanding of the history and the roots of…Haiti. The U.S has been involved with Haiti for centuries, yet it has received little attention in textbooks or the curriculum. Part of our commitment to the people of Haiti can be to not only increase our support but also our awareness. As informed citizens, we can advocate for respectful and constructive relations with Haiti in the months and years ahead.” Continue reading