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

WWW: The Meaning behind Día de los Muertos

¡Feliz viernes a todos!

Thanks for stopping by the blog this week!  In light of the upcoming celebrations for Día de los Muertos, I am featuring a great short film (about three minutes in length) that really moves the viewer to understand the meaning and importance behind Día de los Muertos.

Vamos a Leer | WWW: The Meaning behind Día de los MuertosFrom the description of the publishers, “[In] this beautifully animated, and heart felt, short film about a little girl who visits the land of the dead, […] she learns the true meaning of the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos.”  The main character is first seen at the cemetery, visiting the gravesite of a loved one, when she finds a flower that pulls her into the party of afterlife.  She is given guidance by a friendly skeleton, who feeds her fruits and bread, and turns out to be the very loved one who’s gravesite the little girl was visiting.  It’s a brief, three-minute-long film that can explain Día de los Muertos in a much easier, more emotional relatable way than just reading a description of the holiday online or out of a book.  We think this short could be easily incorporated into a class discussion about Día de los Muertos, and could be used as a base for discussing traditions, afterlife, honoring the dead, and multicultural holidays. Continue reading

Book Giveaway: Arrullos de la sirena, The Rooster who went to his Uncle’s Wedding, The Three Golden Oranges, The Lizard and the Sun/La lagartija y el sol, Rosa Raposa!

Good afternoon, everyone!

I want to start by saying thank you to all who continue to comment each week and by saying congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway!  This week, we are giving away a bit of a bigger package.  This week’s giveaway includes Alma Flor Ada’s Arrullos de la sirena, The Rooster who went to his Uncle’s Wedding, The Three Golden Oranges, The Lizard and the Sun/La lagartija y el sol, and F. Isabel Campoy’s Rosa Raposa.

Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: Arrullos de la sirena, The Rooster who went to his Uncle’s Wedding, The Three Golden Oranges, The Lizard and the Sun/La lagartija y el sol, Rosa Raposa!The first book, the very recently published, Arrullos de la sirena, written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Jairo Linares Landinez, is a collection of rhyming verses, written in Spanish, which “captures the sheer joy felt upon the birth of a child.”  According to the Amazon description for the book, “The musicality of the poems makes them ideal for reading aloud.  Each one will evoke imagery for older children while being as soothing as a lullaby for younger ones.”  Great for all ages and quick to read, this book would make a great addition to any bilingual or Spanish speaking classroom! Continue reading

WWW: Migrating Ancestors and the Flight of the Monarch

¡Feliz viernes a todos!

Whether you’re joining for the first time or you stop by frequently, thanks for checking out my post this week!  In light of the upcoming celebrations of Día de los Muertos, I wanted to highlight one small detail involved in the holiday that sometimes gets overlooked: the Monarch migration!  Vamos a Leer | WWW: Migrating Ancestors and the Flight of the MonarchThese butterflies fly south for the winter, sometimes over 100 miles per day as they migrate from the United States to southern Mexico.  The Monarch Butterflies are a small detail among many in the celebration of Día de los Muertos; however, this detail is of particular importance because many people believe the butterflies migrating are the souls of their ancestors returning to celebrate the holiday with them.

In recognition of this belief, this week’s World Wide Web post brings you a few different resources – all of which are available on the same website!  The first resource is a Teacher’s Guide to teaching about the Monarch Butterfly.  The guide explains the background of the Monarch migration and the cultural importance of the migration.  It includes many activities for the classroom, such as a slideshow (available in English and Spanish) that explains many aspects of the traditional celebration of Día de los Muertos, topics for discussion in the classroom, and research ideas for students.  There is also a Resource list with links to more information on how the celebrations of Día de los Muertos take place and some of the foods that are made in preparation.  It would be great to make Pan de los Muertos for a classroom cultural celebration!  Aside from the Teacher’s Guide emphasized here, the website includes a great deal of information about Monarch Butterflies in general, including updated maps on the butterflies’ travels and news of their progress.  The section titled Kids includes many resources for students to interact with, such as charts about the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly and the importance of its migration.  It would be a great resource to work with in the classroom to highlight themes of tradition, migration, and the benefits of cross-country movement. Continue reading

WWW: La Llorona and Learning Through the Wails

¡Feliz viernes a todos!

To all who are joining for the first time or who are following the posts each week, thank you for stopping by the blog!  We are kicking off the new month by celebrating and acknowledging the personal histories of our families and communities.  In light of this focus, I thought I’d emphasize the importance of oral histories, traditions, and story-telling by highlighting a few interconnected resources, with a focus on La Llorona!  Vamos a Leer | WWW: La Llorona and Learning Through the Wails As Keira mentioned in her “Sobre Octubre” post, the myth of La Llorona can serve as a means of understanding story, history, and memory. Her’s is a story that has been passed down as a myth among generations.  By looking at how her story has endured and evolved, we can open up conversations about storytelling and oral histories within our own families and communities.

So, the first resource I highlight here details how the Latin American legend of La Llorona (the wailing woman, the weeping woman, the crying woman) has developed and changed throughout the years, both in Latin America and in the United States.  The website also has a number of interviews from community members, each of whom give a different account of La Llorona’s history, as they have been taught by their families.  I particularly enjoyed the clips that described who La Llorona is, what she looks like, and what traditions have come about in her honor/memory.  These interviews, along with the timeline, can be a great way to start conversations not only about La Llorona, but about storytelling and oral histories as a means to transfer traditions from one generation to the next.

The second resource is a lesson plan created to help teach students how to be storytellers with their own traditions and histories.  The teacher starts by giving an example of an oral history, like La Llorona, and then proceeds to work with students to create their own stories.  This lesson plan is particularly interesting because it allows the teacher to connect the process of storytelling to the genre of ancient epics and serves as a bridge from the students’ own personal experiences to literature written many generations ago.  The lesson plan has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards in New Mexico for grades nine through twelve, which are detailed under the standards tab for each grade individually.  This plan also links to other related resources that can be used in conjunction with the one I have included above.

Using La Llorona as a starting point, the students can interactively create their own oral histories with the help of the lesson plan provided above.  Even further, teachers can use commonly talked about oral traditions to connect what the students already know to what they need to learn!  These resources can help incorporate Hispanic Heritage into common curriculum requirements, reviving the standard curriculum and making it more relatable.  I hope these resources can bring to you and your students a new perspective on reading and relating to older materials, all in time for Día de los Muertos!

With warmest wishes,

Charla


Image: Photo of “La Llorona” Signs. Reprinted from Flickr user baldiri under CC ©.

Book Giveaway: The Malachite Palace, Jordi’s Star, The Unicorn of the West, AND Alma Flor’s Narration of Them (CD)!

Good afternoon, everyone!

Congratulations to the winner of last week’s giveaway and thank you to all who commented!  This week, you can win three of Alma Flor Ada’s books and her narration of them on CD!  The three books are The Malachite Palace, Jordi’s Star, and The Unicorn of the West.

Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: The Malachite Palace/Jordi’s Star/The Unicorn of the West/AND Alma Flor’s Narration of Them (CD)!The first of the three, The Malachite Palace, was written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Leonid Gore.  The book description reads “This original fairy tale celebrates the importance of freedom and the need to take responsibility for one’s own freedom.  Although the queen, the governess, and the lady-in-waiting all believe that the young princess is too delicate and refined to play with the neighborhood children, the princess herself decides otherwise.”  The School Library Journal recommends the book for children in pre-school up to grade three (ages four to eight years old).  On the same page with the book descriptions on Alma Flor’s website, there is a coloring page that you could print out and have the students color after reading the story together. Continue reading

Book Giveaway: Tuesday Giveaways!

Good morning, everyone!

As you may have realized, I have been posting every Tuesday about books you can win simply by reading and commenting on the post!  This series of Tuesday Giveaways, made possible by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, is nine weeks long and truly offers something for every one of our readers!

Vamos a Leer | Tuesday Giveaways!

Some of the books are bilingual or have Spanish and English versions. Some are accompanied by an audio recording of the author’s reading of the stories or sing-along music. Not to mention that the books span a variety of age groups.  Here’s the schedule you can look forward to: Continue reading