Winter Celebration Resources

¡Buenos días! As everyone prepares for the holiday season, we thought we’d wrap up our posts for this year by sharing some winter and holiday literature resources.

Two years ago we put together a Reading Roundup of 10 Children’s Books About Latino Winter Celebrations, which you might reference if you’re looking for engaging books for your young ones in the coming weeks. Some of these books have been reviewed in more depth by Alice and Katrina: The Miracle of the First Poinsetta, José Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad, A Piñata in a Pine Tree, ‘Twas Nochebuena, and La Noche Buena: A Christmas Story.

In addition, if you visit our Las Posadas/Winter Celebrations tab, you can find more posts related to Latin American/Latinx holiday celebrations. Also, Colleen wrote a Reading Roundup about Latino/a Children’s & YA Books Honoring Immigrant Experiences in the Winter Season, which I recommend checking out. Although not all of them are holiday related, most are. Finally, Katrina has written several En la Clase posts about the holiday season, including one about literature for teaching about Las Posadas, and another that highlights 3 books for teaching about the holiday season.

We hope you are able to use these resources in the classroom as the winter holidays approach!

Saludos y felices fiestas,

Kalyn

¡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

December 1st | Week in Review

2017-11-28-image.png¡Hola a todos! It is super exciting that we are now in December, one of my favorite months. I hope you all enjoy this week’s resources.

– Latinxs in Kid Lit recommend the book Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown. In addition to the book review, they have shared a coloring activity sheet, book trailer, and discussion guide.

– When talking about media and identity in your class, you might want to share 20 Latina Superheroes and Villains by Hip Latina. Firebird or Bonita Juarez, born in Taos, New Mexico, is a woman who came into contact with radioactive meteorite fragments walking in the deserts around Albuquerque. She has appeared in West Coast Avengers and even in some Avengers storylines.

American Indians in Children’s Literature highly recommend the children’s book, The Water Walker, by Joanne Robertson. This is a story about a grandmother and her actions in saving water for future generations.

– Lastly, from the wonderful writer, Pat Mora, check out the book La Hermosa Señora: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe/ The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe. With her birthday coming up (December 12), this is a great book to talk about religion and culture. She even shared activities to accompany it.

Abrazos,
Alin


Image: Familias productoras en el salvador. Reprinted from Flickr user Mesoamérica Sin Hambre FAO-AMEXCID under CC©.

November 10th | Week in Review

¡Hola a todos! I am always delighted to assemble the resources for you!

— Here are the Premio Fundación Cuatrogatos 2017. Cuatrogatos is a nonprofit organizations that works to promote Spanish culture, language, and education, with a focus on children’s and young adult books. Its annual award was established to recognize high quality books created by Ibero-American writers and illustrators. This year’s list of award winners highlights 90 books written in Spanish.

Latinxs in Kid Lit shared the book reviews of Lola Levine Meets Jelly and Bean as well as The Rooster Would Not Be Quiet by reviewer Dora, a bilingual reading specialist for k-3. Dora includes great teaching tips in her review!

– If teaching kindergarten, you might want to check out The Latino Family Literacy Project’s short book trailer for the children’s book Fun with ABC’s – Loteria Style.

– For those teaching older grades, you might be interested in teaching about the Role of Women in Drug Cartels as represented in popular media. “In short, the reality is this—on screen, we’re accustomed to seeing the women of the drug cartels as mere background players. But on the ground, things couldn’t be more different. Now that the DEA has captured El Chapo, it is a “queenpin” from the Medellín cartel’s past—Maria Teresa Osorio de Serna—who remains one of the few figures left on their most wanted list.”

– You might already be familiar with “the 12-year-old-trailblazer fighting for equality in kids’ books,” but if not you should definitely read more about her story and be inspired for how you and your students can help change the world.

– Still looking for more inspiration? How about reading “How YA Literature is Leading the Queer Disabled Media Revolution”? “When you’re marginalized, it’s hard to find yourself reflected in media. When you’re marginalized in multiple ways, that difficulty is multiplied tenfold…”

– We hate to break it to you, but Dr. Seuss’ work is “complicated.” Read more about how “Dr. Seuss Draws Fresh Scrutiny.” “Seuss, like any other author, was a product of his time,” Martin said. “Fortunately, some authors grow and figure out that maybe some of the things they wrote early on were harmful and they try to make amends. Seuss did that.”

– We were excited to read that “A New Database Catalogues 1,300 Children’s Books About People of Color.” And they’re cataloging the books with nuanced search terms, which means that we can both find diverse literature and analyze how stereotypes can be reproduced even within the so-called diverse book world. “So far Aronson and her team have read and processed 1,300 books, with around 200 backlogged books left. The database can be searched with combinations of tags, like ‘Vietnamese,’ ‘Muslim,’ and ‘beautiful life’ to find books appropriate for different occasions, lessons, and readers. The database also reveals patterns in the ways kids are taught about people of color: Of the 10 books starring a Brazilian kid currently published in the US, half are about soccer. Half the books about Asian or Asian American characters are about culture, like The year of the sheep, about Chinese Zodiac signs, and a quarter are about folklore, like The ghost catcher, a retelling of a myth about a Bengali barber. About 2% of these have characters categorized by the database as ‘oppressed.’” Check out the Diverse Book Finder to explore its catalog.

– Finally, we have to share a recent post from The Open Book blog run by the wonderful folks at Lee & Low Books: Celebrate Native American Heritage Month + Poster Giveaway.  “Historically, Native people have been silenced and their stories set aside, hidden, or drowned out. The #NoDAPL movement and the fight against racist portrayals for sports mascots  brought Native American voices to the forefront of the news last year, but the issues that the community still have to deal with shouldn’t be brushed aside. This is why it’s especially important to continue to read stories about Native characters, by Native voices which brings us to some exciting news: last month, we brought back to print a special 40th Anniversary  edition of Simon J. Ortiz’s beloved children’s book The People Shall Continue, which traces the history of Native and Indigenous people in North America. It includes updated illustrations by Sharol Graves and a new afterword by the author. It’s also available in a Spanish translation which you can purchase here.”  Visit their blog to learn more and request a free poster for your classroom!

 

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Valparaiso, Chile. Reprinted from Flickr user Paula Soler-Moya under CC©.

¡Mira, Look!: The Llama’s Secret: A Peruvian Legend

¡Buenos días! We will close out this month’s Peruvian theme with The Llama’s Secret: A Peruvian Legend, written and adapted by Argentina Palacios and illustrated by Charles Reasoner. The book is also available in Spanish.

The author, Palacios, builds the following story: a family in the Peruvian highlands has a llama that they cherish very much. The llama makes their lives much easier, particularly because it is able to transport things necessary for the family’s day to day activities. One day, the llama will not eat, even after the father of the family takes him to various fields of enticing grass. Finally, the llama explains to the father that a great flood is coming, and that they need to walk to the highest mountain with his family in order to escape it. Along the way, the llama tells all of the animals they encounter about the flood. As a result, pairs of animals walk in a line to the top of the mountain. The most stubborn of the animals, the foxes, do not believe the llama’s tale. The disbelieving foxes go leisurely, so slowly that in the end the tips of their tails stay in the water. It is for that reason that foxes have black-tipped tails. While the animals are atop the mountain, and just as the lake nearly reaches them, everything goes dark; they are experiencing a solar eclipse. During this time, the animals are afraid that Inti, the sun, has died. However, the llama assures them that it is only resting in the waters of the great lake, Mamacocha.

Continue reading

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©.

¡Mira, Look!: La muerte del sol y otros cuentos del antiguo Perú

¡Bueno días!

Rostworowski coverToday I will be continuing our Peruvian adventures with María Rostworowski’s book of stories, titled La muerte del sol y otros cuentos del antiguo Perú (The Death of the Sun and Other Stories from Ancient Peru). The book is written in Spanish and consists of 6 short stories, each between 3 and 6 pages of text in length. It is worth noting that María Rostworowski  (1915-2016) was a notable Peruvian historian whose work focused largely on pre-Spanish Peru and the Incan Empire. This children’s book is one of several which she wrote. Illustrated by Peruvian artist Beatriz Chung,  this lovely edition includes illustrations that are bright, lighthearted and filled with people, animals and elements of the natural world. Both the text and illustrations give life to natural beings.

I am excited to share this book not only because of its historical content, but also because of its geographical breadth. Many times our children’s books overly simplify depictions of a country or people, yet this book captures some of Peru’s vast ecological diversity by spanning the desert coast, Amazonian jungle, highland Andes, and so on. Continue reading