¡Mira, Look!: Dreamers/Soñadores

Queridos lectores,



In February we celebrate different kinds of love, and we can think of no better way to do it than by reading Dreamers by Mexican author, Yuyi Morales. This beautiful children’s book, which is available in Spanish as well as Soñadores, tells Morales’ own history of immigrating from Xalapa, Mexico, to the United States.

The book centers around a young mother and her infant son who struggle to understand the new place in which they find themselves, and the language – which they do not speak. From the first page, love of self, of family, and of language compel the characters forward. A poetic voice and striking imagery guide the reader through new beginnings and discovery.

The illustrations are much like the story, captivating and bittersweet. Through the contrast of colorful drawings depicting culture and identity, over a grey and brown background, we can experience the feeling of traveling to a new, unfamiliar, and at times unwelcoming world, while carrying our own.

One of Morales several gifts for her readers is that she shows us both the light and darkness embedded in immigration stories. She does not shy away from hardship and struggle, which does come with parting ways with our homes or with our country. However, Morales also draws on her own story’s resiliency and agency.

One of the illustrations show a young mother in a colorful dress and her son entering an unfamiliar and opaque city, while the clouds above them reveal hidden messages: “Say something,” “What?” “Speak English.” Messages that the mother stares at in sadness. Under the same sky, a banner with the letters “Give thanks” stand in front of them, making the reader feel a tension between what is publicized and portrayed in society vs what immigrants experience in their everyday lives.

Nevertheless, light emerges at the end of this metaphorical tunnel when both characters make a life changing discovery: the public library. A place where books become their guiding friends and a source of wonder. Color starts returning to the pages until it becomes prominent. Images, drawings, animals, and books share the page happily in front of mother and son enjoying the magic of a written world. The background is still brown and grey, but color becomes a protagonist. Closing the story with a message of agency and hope of having found a home and a voice in two languages.

“We are stories. We are two languages. We are lucha. We are resilience. We are hope.”

Morales concludes the book with an author’s note to provide young readers with the parallels to her own history. In sharing so openly, she calls upon her readers to share their own stories, urging them to recognize the value in their own voices:

 “Now I have told you my story. What’s yours?”

We hope that this book might encourage young readers to do just that: to relish their own stories and to speak their own truths. It is with our warmest recommendation that we encourage you to make space for this book front and center on your shelves.

For those who may want to know more about Morales and this work:

 Nos vemos pronto,

Carolina


Citation: All the above images have been included and modified from the book Dreamers by Yuyi Morales.

March 2, 2018 | Week in Review

2018-03-02-WWW

Hello, all,

Here are a few resources that caught our eye in the past week from the world of diversity in children’s literature. Enjoy!

  • Junot Díaz has revealed his tour dates for his children’s book, ISLANDBORN. This is Díaz’s first venture into children’s books and he’s started off splendidly with this ” picture book [that] celebrates cultural diversity in the U.S. and poses questions about identity and belonging, as Díaz tells the story of a young girl’s imaginary journey back to her birthplace: ‘The Island.'”
  • Dolly Parton is known for many things, but not everyone knows she’s dedicated to promoting literacy in her home community. Just this week, she announced that she’s donated her 100 millionth book and has started a new partnership with the Library of Congress. Learn more on her website.
  • Latinx in Kid Lit shared a cover reveal for Bookjoy, Wordjoy, a new children’s book out by writer Pat Mora and illustrator Raúl Colón from Lee & Low Books.
  • From the blog, Blog on the Hyphen, we came across this great list of 10 Contemporary Afro-Latino Authors to Know. Regardless that Black History Month is officially over, these authors should still be making their way to your TBR list.
  • We’re excited to share Lee & Low’s news that they’re starting the Más Pinata collection as part of their Bebop Books imprint. “Más Piñata is a series of leveled books for Emerging and Beginning Readers, available in both Spanish and English. Más Piñata offers rich, culturally-relevant stories that support meaningful literacy development in guided reading and biliteracy settings.”
  • Lastly, De Colores shared a beautiful review of Jorge Argueta’s latest book, Agua, Aguita / Water, Little Water, written alongside illustrator Felipe Ugalde Alcántara  “…for the great beauty and teaching that it encompasses, Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water / At Achichipiga At is highly recommended.”

Cheers,
Keira

October 27h | Week in Review

2017-10-27-image.png

¡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©.

WWW: De Colores – The Raza Experience

Logo from the De Colores blog can be found at: http://decoloresreviews.blogspot.com/p/art.html

Logo from the De Colores blog can be found at: http://decoloresreviews.blogspot.com

The libraries are loaded with children’s books that address Latino culture. Some of these books provide multifaceted, culturally honest insight into the histories and experiences of Latino people. Many do not. It’s fair to say that we can easily fill a room with “multicultural” books that are superficial or even plainly dishonest.

Luckily, De Colores: “The Raza Experience in Books for Children” has recently hit the blogosphere, reviewing and critiquing “children’s and young adult books about Raza peoples throughout the Diaspora.” The blog’s contributors–a dream team of award-winning authors, educators, community activists, and artists–have already reviewed dozens of books, creating an essential resource for parents, teachers, and librarians who are interested in moving beyond token treatment of heroes and holidays.  Continue reading