In case you missed Keira’s Sobre Enero post, this month’s theme honors the many individuals, real or imagined, who populate the rich landscape of Latin@ literature for children and young adults. This month’s Reading Roundup brings together a few of these heroes, both sung and unsung, whose actions inspired positive change. While it is a monumental task to choose just a few of the many wonderful books that are out there, I’ve narrowed down the list to books that will encourage our students and children to honor their own truths. I also hope that these books will help expand the literary canon beyond those heroes whose stories are taught repeatedly. The books below encompass a diverse panorama of experiences, accomplishments, and outcomes. To name a few, these remarkable figures displayed their passion through art, literature, activism, and even by simply passing on their knowledge to new generations. May you enjoy these works as much as I enjoyed finding them!
Happy New Year!
Buenos días a todas y todos,
I hope this day finds you each doing well!
As the holidays near, we are invited to reflect on the significance that such days play in our own lives and in the lives of others. We are reminded that the way we experience holidays differs from those around us: from one family to the next, one culture to the next, and from one generation to the next. Notwithstanding these differences, there remains a constant and a uniting force: food.
¡Saludos, todos! Here is our second book for this month, again following the themes of civil rights and child activism. Our book for this week, That’s Not Fair! / ¡No Es Justo!: Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice/La lucha de Emma Tenayuca por la justicia, is a bilingual book written by Carmen Tafolla and Sharyll Tenayuca and illustrated by Terry Ybáñez. This compelling tale, best for grades 2-6, recounts the biographical story of Emma Tenayuca, a young, Mexican-American activist. This book is an excellent contribution to our effort to diversify the immigrant narrative, as it exposes not only the initial hardships of immigrating to the U.S., but also the myriad of injustices and human rights abuses that have existed and still do exist for Mexican-Americans upon arrival in the U.S. Emma Tenayuca, from a very young age, recognizes the importance of education and the unfairness of the society around her. Her sympathetic viewpoint, coupled with a focused desire to redress wrongs, leads her to become a pioneer for Mexican-American rights in the U.S.
The illustrations nicely complement the themes of the story, the rights of Mexican-American laborers and pecan-shellers, and reinforce Emma’s bold agency throughout. In a review of the book, Beverly Slapin of De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children, comments upon the illustrations: “Ybáñez’s full-bleed double-spread illustrations, rendered in watercolor and pen-and-ink on a palette of bold, flat colors with bright highlights, are reminiscent of traditional Mexican murals. While Emma’s red sweater on almost every page focuses the reader’s attention on the subject, the pecan trees and branches that frame each illustration focus the reader’s attention on the issue.” Indeed, the illustrations, as you can seen in the image to the right, subtly show images of trees (the border) and pecans (the illustration on the back wall), reminding readers of the issues at hand. Continue reading