Mira, Look!: Por ahí viene el huracán

Queridos lectores:

Para cerrar el mes de abril, hemos elegido un libro escrito por la escritora puertorriqueña Laura Rexach Olivencia e ilustrado por la puertorriqueña Mya Pagán. Esta es la historia de una niña, Isabel, y su gato, Mau, antes durante y después del paso de un huracán por su isla.

El libro empieza con la fecha, “18 de septiembre de 2017,” en la cuál el huracán María llegó a Puerto Rico. En esta fecha, un narrador observador (en tercera persona) nos cuenta como en el primer grado todos los compañeros de Isa estaban emocionados porque las clases se habían cancelado. Es un punto de vista inocente de la llegada de un desastre natural, el cuál ella todavía no comprende bien. Esta idea es enfatizada por medio de onomatopeyas y del diálogo entre ella y su gato.

“Isa no logra escuchar bien la conversación. Algo de vientos bien fuertes y ráfagas e inundaciones. –¿Qué será una ráfaga?– le pregunta Ia al sabio Mau”

Este es un punto que cabe recalcar sobre este libro es que hay diversas palabras subrayadas, tales como plan de emergencias, las cuales tienen una definición al final del mismo.

A medida que se desarrolla la historia, somos testigos de como la gravedad de la situación comienza a afectar a su protagonista. Isabel siente mucho miedo a medida que la fuerza de los vientos aumenta y puede ver que sus padres muestran temor en sus rostros. Una vez que el huracán pasa, somos testigos de cómo el paso del mismo afecta a los vecinos de la isla y a los amigos de Isabel. Los padres de su amigo Nico han decidido mudarse ya que el huracán ha destruido su casa y “Lo han perdido todo.”

Isa siente una tristeza muy profunda, no sólo porque no sabe cuándo volverá Nico, si no porque su vida diaria ha sido interrumpida. No sabe cuándo podrá volver al colegio.

El libro termina con Isa teniendo un momento de paz al salir al monte y sentir que la brisa sopla entre los árboles. “A Isa le encanta volver a sentir la dulce brisa entre sus rizos revueltos. Los coquíes también han perdido su timidez y vuelven a unirse en concierto. COQUÍ COQUÍ COQUÍ.”

El hecho de que la historia no haya terminado con Isa volviendo al colegio o con su amigo Nico regresando a la isla nos muestra una realidad dura, que refleja la de varios niños en Puerto Rico. Los cuales, casi dos años después siguen sintiendo el paso del huracán.

Ciertamente recomendamos la lectura de este libro, con el acompañamiento de un/a maestro/a, para guiar y discutir la historia con los lectores. Este libro no cuenta con aluciones directas al huracán María, más allá de la fecha al inicio. Por lo tanto, información más allá del texto ayudará a los lectores a reforzar su comprensión sobre este tema.

-Para aprender más sobre la autora, visita su página de web

-Para leer otra reseña, visita el blog de Latinx in Kid Lit.

-Por otros cuentos sobre Puerto Rico, visita Social Justice Books: Puerto Rico, una bibliografía de títulos recomendados.

Carolina


Cita: Las imágenes pertenecen al libro Por ahí viene el huracán, por la ilustradora Mya Pagán

¡Mira, Look!: Pasando páginas / Turning Pages: My Life Story

Queridos lectores,

Continuing with our celebration of Women’s History Month, the next book we have chosen is Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. This autobiographical children’s book is actually written by Sotomayor and is illustrated by the award-winning Puerto Rican author and illustrator, Lulu Delacre. It is also available as a Spanish edition, Pasando páginas: La historia de mi vida.

The book opens with a description of Sotomayor’s bilingual and bi-worldly upbringing. Since childhood, she had to balance both English and Spanish, both New York where she was born, and Puerto Rico where her parents came from. Sotomayor’s story reflects in this way the story of many other girls who grew up in the Bronx, or in other parts of the world, whose parents are migrants, and grow up hearing of places that maybe they themselves have never been to. But still, they share a profound love for this plac; it constitutes a part of their own story and imaginary, and they have inherited a type of longing for it.

Sotomayor’s memories of family gatherings and her grandmother reciting nostalgic poems about her home in a faraway island, marked the beginning of her love for words. Through hardships and different life experiences, books were her constant friend, marking a path of discovery of our world, and of fictional ones.

This book shows us a complicated and beautifully interwoven narrative of struggle, sorrow, a child’s encounter with hardship, the powerful impact that family has in our lives, and the importance of books and education. Lulu Delacre’s illustrations entwines images of book pages with that of life experiences, and at one a point in the story the steps that Sotomayor takes towards a court house and her future as justice, are book pages.

 “every book I ever read took me the next step I needed to go in school and in life”

The love she has for them is all around her. Sotomayor mentions two particularly important books. In school she learned the importance of laws for society after reading Lord of the Flies, and about compassion and when she read the Bible. For her, “books were lenses, bringing into focus truths about the world around me.” An idea that goes hand in hand with the illustrations. Sometimes they show a landscape or a building and as a lens or a zoom, the image of Sotomayor’s story, which gives us the feeling of her life being one marked by a multitude of experiences.

 Turning Pages shows us the many pieces of the puzzle that make up Sotomayor’s story, marked by a feeling of wanderlust, resilience, and love of family. Before the story begins, and after it ends, there are several photos that show us her life. At the beginning there are pictures of her as a child and at the end pictures of her professional life and, in both, she is sharing moments with friends and family.

For more information about the book, watch this PBS interview with Sotomayor and this book trailer video.

Nos vemos pronto,

Carolina



Citation: All the above images were done by Lulu Delacre, and are from the book Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor.

¡Mira, Look!: Topilitzkuintli/El perro topil

¡Buenos días! Today we will continue our Indigenous Peoples book reviews with Topilitzkuintli/El perro topil. The story is written in Spanish by Elisa Ramírez Castañeda, translated to Nahuatl by Miguel Ángel Tepole, and illustrated by Francisco Toledo. Toledo is a significant Zapotec artist and activist from the Tehuantepec peninsula, and Ramírez Castañeda is a poet, sociologist and translator who works to spread the importance of indigenous cultures in both Native and non-Native communities. She is also author of the book titled La educación indígena en México, where she writes extensively about indigenous peoples of Mexico and their inclusion/exclusion in the Mexican nation and education. Toledo and Castañeda are also married with two children.

This Nahuatl story tells the tale of why dogs always smell each others’ rear-ends when they first meet one another. Kids will find this story silly and entertaining. In the story, dogs have been continually mistreated by humans. To resolve this, they decide to bring a message to the region’s leader, Señor Tlalocan, so that he will punish the humans. They choose one dog that would deliver the message, and name this dog the Perro Topil. Since the Perro Topil will be crossing rivers and mountains, the dogs carefully consider a safe place to keep the message during his journey. In the end, they decid to put it in the Perro Topil’s rear-end. Time goes by, and the message never reaches Señor Tlalocan.  We are to surmise that this explains why, even today, when dogs first meet, they smell each others’ rears in search of the Perro Topil and the message he carries.

I am happy to see the inclusion of Nahuatl in the text, especially since the story itself is from the Nahuatl people. If you are interested in the Nahuatl language and culture, you can check out a post I wrote a few weeks ago about The Princess and the Warrior by Duncan Tonatiuh. This post contains various links about the Nahuatl language, along with other indigenous languages in Mexico.

The paintings in this book are exquisite and exemplary of Francisco Toledo’s painting style. Each turn of the page reveals a new painting extending across two pages. These illustrations provide an opportunity to discuss the Mexican muralist movement, which greatly influenced Francisco Toledo’s work. For those unfamiliar with Mexican muralism, the Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR) website provides useful background information and lesson plans. PBS also has a lesson plan, “The Storm That Swept Mexico | Lesson Plan: Revolutionary Art,” that accompanies a video about the Mexican Revolution; however, the materials can stand alone in regards to their discussion of Mexican muralism. Apart from these lesson plans, students might also benefit from having the chance to discuss the similarities/differences between Toledo and other Mexican muralists.

Saludos,

Kalyn

October 27h | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and enjoys this week’s resources.

La Bloga posted a new book spotlight: “Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life” by Alberto Ledesma. “In this hybrid memoir, Alberto Ledesma wonders, ‘At what point does a long-time undocumented immigrant become an American in the making?’”

– Our American Indians in Children’s Literature friends still do not recommend: The Secret Project by Jonah and Jeanette Winter. Some people suggested that the original evaluation of the book was not clear and short so they went back to do an in-depth analysis, at which point they still expressed strong reservations.

— Also, Beacon Broadside shared a Q & A with editor Jennifer Browdy – a Latin American and Caribbean professor at Simon’s Rock College in Massachusetts. She speaks about her involvement in the book Women in Writing Resistance: Essays on Latin America and Caribbean, offering a behind-the-scenes take on what inspired it and why it’s important.

–Check out why the blog De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children recommends the short story collection, Cuentos de SanTana/SanTana’s Fairy Tales, is recommended.

Children’s Book Council posted the latest Q & A with Author Anna-Marie McLemore and her latest book Wild Beauty. “Writing inclusive stories was a matter of letting the truth I already know have a place in my work.”

– Lastly, from America Reads Spanish, check out the upcoming release (31st of this October) of the book Las Aventuras de Batgirl en Super Hero High by Lisa Yee. In this book, award-winning author Yee follows DC comics’ female superheroes and villains, creating mystery, thrills, and laughs for her readers.

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Teotihuacan Aztec Ruins, Mexico City. Reprinted from Flickr user Chrisinphylly5448 under CC©.

Tomás Rivera Book Award Recipients

¡Buenos días a todos y todas! Continuing with our 2017 Latinx children’s and young adult literature award winner announcements, which included the Américas Award and Pura Belpré Award recipients, today I will be announcing the winners of the 2017 Tomás Rivera Book Award Winners. The Tomás Rivera Book Award was established in 1995 by Texas State University College of Education, and was developed to honor authors, illustrators and publishers depicting the Mexican American experience. It was named after Dr. Tomás Rivera, poet, author, educator, and alumnus of Texas State University.

The 2017 Tomás Rivera Book Award Winners include one children’s book and one young adult book. If interested, you can follow the Tomás Rivera Book Award on Facebook, and you can also check out past awards on Texas State University College of Education’s website. We hope some of these titles make it to your classroom bookshelves!

Saludos,

Kalyn

 

2017 Award Winners

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood
written by Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael López
. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016. ISBN: 978-0544357693

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood is the triumph of a community against the darker forces of social decay. What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine!

Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation—and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big.


The Memory of Light written by Francisco X. Stork. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2016. ISBN: 978-0545474320.

In The Memory of Light, Stork tells the story of 16-year-old Vicky Cruz and her experiences and recovery after an attempted suicide. When Vicky wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital, she knows one thing: After her suicide attempt, she shouldn’t be alive. But then she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she’s never had. But Vicky’s newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up, sending Vick back to the life that drove her to suicide, she must try to find her own courage and strength.

Inspired in part by the author’s own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one – about living when life doesn’t seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.

 

September 15th | Week in Review

2017-09-15-WWW-01-01¡Hola a todos! I am very excited to start sharing resources again with you all.

Latinos in Kid Lit has just launched a new series called “Spotlight on Middle Grade Authors.” They’re kicking it off with a feature on Margarita Engle, the Young People’s Poet Laureate. Check it out to hear her describe the birth of her passion for writing.

Rethinking Education shares why Spanish Fluency in the U.S. decreases with each generation. “About 88 percent of Latinos ages 5 to 17 in 2014 said they either speak only English at home or speak English ‘very well,’ compared with 73 percent in 2000.”

–Rethinking Education also posted 9 Bilingual Children’s Books That Make Learning a New Language Easy, a list catered specifically to Spanish teachers.

–For those of you teaching middle or high school history, Rethinking Schools shared Justice for Dreamers- Punish the Authors of Forced Migration, an article that explains how foreign policies creates forced migration.“The perpetrators of the “crime” are those who wrote the trade treaties and the economic reforms that made forced migration the only means for families to survive

— Lastly, Remezcla featured Google latest initiative, which involved the launch of  One of the Largest Digital Collections of Latino Art and History. “The collection features more than 2,500 pieces of art through 90 exhibits.”

Abrazos
Alin Badillo

March 3rd | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! Happy beginning of March! Here are various resources that I am glad to share.

– Just for kicks, I thought you might enjoy Remezcla’s compilation of recipes for perros calientes: Journey Through Latin America’s Weird and Wonderful Hot Dog Creations. My mouth was watering!

– Also by Remezcla, here is an Intimate Look at Las Patronas, the Mexican Women Who Feed Migrants Traveling on La Bestia.

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