Reading RoundUp: Diversifying Women’s History (Month) with Hispanic Stories


Hello, dear readers!

It’s not often that I get the chance to contribute TWICE to the blog in one week, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to chime in on the conversation about diversifying Women’s History Month. I’ve been humming to myself over here in the office as I’ve been digging into children’s and young adult literature focused on women’s history – and Hispanic women’s contributions to history, in particular. While there are beautiful books by and about women peppered throughout the blog and in our previous Reading RoundUp posts, for this month I had the pleasure of finding and compiling books based on real life heroines. These are books that highlight the groundbreaking, earth-shattering contributions and hard work of Hispanic/Latina/Chicana and indigenous women in the United States, Cuba, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Chile. Sometimes their work was an act of personal triumph; at other times, it revolutionized society.  Their achievements break barriers in music, labor rights, school segregation, literature, and art.  Across the spectrum, their stories are absolutely worthwhile.

As a caveat, I should add that I haven’t personally read all of the books on this list — like The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande, When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago, and Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood — but they’re stellar publications if others’ reviews are anything to go by.  If you should add them to your bookshelf, please let us know what you think. They’re certainly on our TBR list now.

Side note: The descriptions provided below are all reprinted from the publishers’ information.

Without further ado, here are 15 children’s and YA books that we hope will expand your classroom and home discussions about Women’s History Month!

En solidaridad,
Keira

p.s. Remember that Teaching for Change is offering a discount in their TFC non-profit, indie bookstore in honor of Women’s History Month. Just use the code Women2017 at checkout!

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November 25th | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! I want to wish you a very peaceful, joyful, gratitude-filled, and unforgettable Thanksgiving break. As you recover from the revelry, I hope you enjoy our review for this week.

– Our friends at We Need Diverse Books shared 50 Mighty Girl Books Celebrating Diversity and Acceptance. I personally love the book The Colors of Us.

– Our Anansesem friends shared What’s Important to Us? The Value of Books, Libraries and Kid Lit in Caribbean Societies. “When we read picture books in particular, we enhance children’s visual literacy and teach them about the power of the image to render the visible world.”

Latinx in Kid Lit expressed their thoughts on Good Men & Bad Men: On Latino Masculinities in Joe Jiménez’s Bloodline. Sonia expresses “Bloodline by Joe Jiménez is an excellent example of the impact these polarizing views of Latino masculinity can have in the lives of Latino boys and young adults.”

– Lastly, from Multicultural Children’s Book Day, we found 10 Interesting Facts About the Mapuche People that can be shared with your classroom. “They were located between the Valley of Aconcagua to the Island of Chiloé in southern Chile, and in Argentina, in the region of Neuquén and the Patagonia.”

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Cartoon Books. Reprinted from Flickr user La Prehistoria en E.I under CC©.

Book Giveaway: I Lived on Butterfly Hill

¡Hola a todos!

I Lived on Butterfly Hill imageThis month we have a special book in store for you! We are giving away the novel titled I Lived on Butterfly Hill, written by Marjorie Agosín and illustrated by Lee White. This book is a winner of the 2015 Pura Belpré Author Award, and also a Commended Title of the 2015 Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. It is for ages 10-14, and it tells the story of eleven-year-old Celeste Marconi, her experiences during the beginning of the military coup in Chile, and her move to the United States due to governmental violations of liberty, danger and fear. During this time, Celeste’s parents are in hiding. It follows Celeste during and after the Pinochet regime, exposing her fears, anxieties and longings associated with her country. According to De Colores, “Magic and mysticism are important elements, and Agosín adds dimension and depth by showing how children and adults from the different cultures within Chile—including Nana Delfina, a Mapuche woman from the south of Chile, and Grandmother Frida, a Jewish refugee from Central Europe—incorporate the supernatural into their lives.” We hope the winner enjoys this book!

To be entered in the giveaway, comment on this post by March 31st. The winner will receive an email about where to mail the book.

Good luck!
Kalyn

WWW: Three Latin American Poets and a Translator

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I am incredibly excited to share this week’s resource from the Wide World of the Web, because this resource not only contains the translated work of three phenomenal female modernist poets from South America, but it also helps tell the background story of how these three women came to be bound together in the June 1925 Issue of Poetry Magazine.  This historic issue, published in New York during a time when modernists such as Ezra Pound and T.S. Elliot were working out ways to form a new poetic tradition for the 20th century, this June 1925 issue featured an astonishing thirty-one South and Central American poets.  Among them were poets Alfonsina Storni, Juana de Ibarbourou, and Gabriela Mistral (featured in Lorraine’s Mira Look post earlier this week).  In this amazing resource you will find the poets featured in 1925 organized according to country.  You can find Storni’s poem “Running Water” under Argentina, Mistral’s “Ecstasy” under Chile, and Ibarbourou’s “Bond” under Uruguay.  All three of these pieces are excellent examples not only of 20th century modernist poetry, but of the perspective of Western educated Latin American women of that time.

In Ibarbourou’s “Bond”, the poet replaces common articles of feminine adornment to symbolize the suffering endured by societal pressures of beauty.  Ibarbourou (spelled Ibarbouron in the 1925 edition), who was a lifelong advocate and writer on women’s rights in Uruguay and abroad, replaced diadems with a crown of thorns and earnings with “two burning coals vermilion.” Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: My Name is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela

gabbyHello again readers! After a bit of delay due to spring break, we are back with another great recommendation for a biographical children’s book about an inspiring Latina. My Name is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela: The Life of Gabriela Mistral/la vida de Gabriela Mistral written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, is a bilingual homage to poet, teacher, and the first Latina to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, Gabriela Mistral.

Here is a description of the book from Google Books:

Gabriela Mistral loved words and sounds and stories. Born in Chile, she would grow to become the first Nobel Prize-winning Latina woman in the world. As a poet and a teacher, she inspired children across many countries to let their voices be heard. This beautifully crafted story, where words literally come to life, is told with the rhythm and melody of a poem. My Name is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela is beautiful tribute to a woman who taught us the power of words and the importance of following our dreams. The story of Gabriela Mistral will continue to inspire children everywhere.

Gabby ReadingThe story begins with Gabriela’s childhood and an explanation of her pen name. “It is a name I chose myself because I like the sound of it.” It goes on to describe her home and village located near the Andes Mountains in Chile, and different experiences that she had while growing up. Gabriela taught herself to read so that she could read other peoples’ stories and also so that she could tell her own. As a little girl she would play school with other children and she always pretended to be the teacher. Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: The Composition

compositionHello there readers! Yesterday we were out of the office for the Martin Luther King Jr Day holiday, but today we are back with a great review. We here at Vamos wanted to use the month of January to express themes of human rights and immigration and we have chosen some wonderful children’s books that can be used in the classroom to teach on these issues. This week I bring you The Composition (ages 8 and up) written by Antonio Skármeta and illustrated by Alfonso Ruano. The book has won the UNESCO Tolerance Award, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and the Américas Award in 2000. Here is a synopsis from the publisher:

Life is simple for Pedro, he goes to school, does his homework and, most importantly, plays soccer. But when the soldiers come and take his friend Daniel’s father away, things suddenly become much more complicated. Why, for instance, do Pedro’s parents secretly listen to the radio every evening after dinner? And why does the government want Pedro and his classmates to write compositions about what their parents do in the evening? Humorous, serious and intensely human, this powerful picture book by Chilean writer Antonio Skármeta presents a situation all too familiar to children around the world. And for children it provides food for thought about freedom, moral choices and personal responsibility.

Useful for bilingual classrooms, the book is available in separately published English and Spanish language versions.

Just like our featured young adult book of the month, Caminar, written by Skila Brown, The Composition carefully tackles the issue of growing up under a military dictatorship through the eyes of a young boy.

We meet our protagonist, Pedro, on his birthday. He’s a young boy living in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship. Soccer defines his life, as it does for many young boys in Latin America. One of the pivotal scenes comes as he is gifted a soccer ball to play with his neighborhood friends. During a game, Pedro makes a goal but, as he runs in celebration, he notices that everyone else is distracted watching a scene playing out across the street: the father of Pedro’s friend is being taken away by soldiers.

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WWW: Día de los Muertos at the National Hispanic Cultural Center

Teacher Workshop at the NHCC

Teacher Workshop at the NHCC

The phenomenon of Día de los Muertos can be traced through Mesoamerica, where death initiated a journey of the soul through the nine levels of Chicunamictlán (The Land of the Dead). Origins can also be traced through Europe, where the popes of four centuries grappled with paganism, eventually establishing All Saints Day and All Souls Days on November 1st and 2nd.

The National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) has launched a Día de los Muertos website, exploring these fascinating origins, including the origins of specific elements like ofrendas and calaveras. The Día de los Muertos website also features lesson plans for ofrendas (all grade levels), calaveras (elementary), papel picado (all grade levels), and sugar skulls (all grade levels). Continue reading