¡Mira, Look! Carmela Full of Wishes/ Los Deseos de Carmela

Queridos lectores,

Para cerrar febrero, hemos elegido una historia que habla sobre el amor hacia la familia. El libro del que hablaré a continuación fue escrito en inglés y cuenta también con una edición en español. ¡Animamos a los lectores a que comenten en ambos idiomas!

El libro infantil Carmela Full of Wishes o Los deseos de Carmela fue producido por el escritor estadounidense Matt de la Peña y por el ilustrador estadounidense Christian Robinson, cuya colaboración anterior fue el galardonado libro infantil Last Stop on Market Street. Ahora, los dos han producido otro libro espectacular, esta vez con una narrativa que gira alrededor del día de cumpleaños de una niña pequeña en una comunidad migrante.  La historia combina elementos del entorno social de Carmela, con su historia de amor fraternal y familiar. De manera sutil, elementos fuertes tales como la deportación de su padre y el desempleo, son intercalados con la ilusión de una niña ante la posibilidad de pedir un deseo.

Al inicio de la historia, Carmela sopla las velas de su pastel, pero no pide nada para sí misma. Su sueño ya se había cumplido, puesto que la niña ya era lo suficientemente grande como para acompañar a su hermano mayor en sus quehaceres diarios. Pero para él, tener a su hermana de compañía durante todo el día es menos que ideal, y esto introduce tensión entre ambos.

A lo largo de la historia ambos atraviesan altibajos. Para mí esta situación es interesante, ya que de la Peña no idealiza la relación fraternal. La mayor parte del libro, ambos pelean y se responden de mala manera. No obstante, es su hermano quién enseña a Carmela a encontrar belleza donde menos lo espera. Mientras caminan, encuentran un diente de león creciendo en el pavimento, y ella aprende que, si sopla las pelusas, podría pedir un deseo. Carmela se ilusiona e imagina todas las cosas que se podrían cumplir. Uno de sus deseos, es que su padre vuelva a casa, algo que no es posible al momento ya que él no tiene sus papeles en regla. Los deseos de la niña son acompañados por ilustraciones de papel picado que nos muestran cuales serían los deseos de Carmela.

Esta combinación refuerza la conexión de la historia de Carmela con su entorno social y cultural. El papel picado, es un elemento cultural importante en México. Se lo usa en celebraciones tales como el día de los muertos o pascua. Además, al inicio de la historia, de la Peña menciona el olor de las caléndulas, también conocidas como flor de muertos ya que se lo usa en esta celebración.  Lo que me lleva a pensar en la intención del autor y del ilustrador en reforzar la idea de la importancia de la familia y de la conexión con nuestra cultura.

La historia tiene componentes de la cultura mexicana, sin embargo, el hecho de que la historia no mencione directamente a ningún lugar o país hace que sea una historia con la que muchos lectores puedan identificarse. En su página oficial, el autor menciona su intención de mostrar a niños migrantes un personaje con el que ellos puedan identificarse. Además, menciona el hecho de que una gran cantidad de familias en Estados Unidos son de estatus mixto, es decir los padres tienen diferentes estatus migratorios. Para de la Peña, muestra la faceta humana de estadísticas y cifras que encontramos sobre familias y personas de distintas procedencias y situaciones.

Al final, ambos hermanos llegan a un entendimiento el uno del otro y la historia nos muestra que la belleza del amor fraternal no se basa en una idealización o armonía constante, si no en que al final del día siempre estamos los unos para los otros. El autor finaliza la historia con un final abierto, en el que el lector puede poner su propio significado. Para mí, es la realización de Carmela que su vida está llena de promesa, y que no necesita distraerse de su realidad ya que lo que la rodea tiene su propia belleza.

Para más información sobre el contenido del libro, visite estos links:

Nos vemos pronto,

Carolina


Citation: All the above images have been included and modified from the book
Carmela Full of Wishes

¡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.

April 13th| Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! There were so many books shared this week, I hope you enjoy them!

– Junot Diaz is forefront in many minds this week following the New Yorker’s release of his essay, “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma.” We acknowledge and honor his willingness to speak openly about what so many people must endure in silence. Long pause.

–  Check out Latinxs in Kid Lit’s review of the children’s book Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal. This book “illuminates an essential connection to ancestors. Inspired by her own name, Juana reminds readers that our names are not just our own, but a reflection of our culture as well.”

– Also from Latinx in Kid Lit, a review of Margarita Engle’s All the Way to Havana. “Together, a boy and his parents drive to the city of Havana, Cuba, in their old family car. Along the way, they experience the sights and sounds of the streets–neighbors talking, musicians performing, and beautiful, colorful cars putt-putting and bumpety-bumping along.”

 – When talking about U.S.-Latin America experiences and education, you might appreciate Hip Latina’s observations on how French Montana’s Dreamers Campaign Gives First Grant to Kansas City School. Inspired by French Montana’s campaign, We Are the Dream, “two educators at Alta Vista Charter High school created a scholarship program to aid the smartest graduating undocumented students get to college.”

–Also, when highlighting the importance of language and tradition,  don’t miss La Bloga’s cultural reflection post, Yoeme Mask Carvers and Artists : La Familia Martinez by Antonio SolisGomez. Here, you can meet artista Feliciana and her “clay figures, depicting Yoeme figures, Deer Dancers, Pascola’s, Fariseos etc…” Yoeme are indigenous people whose ancestral homelands are found in Sonora, Mexico.

— Cynthia Leitich Smith, author behind the blog Cynsations, posted a video of Rudine Sims Bishop on Mirrors, Windows & Sliding Glass Doors. Dr. Bishop, professor emerita from Ohio State University, is the scholar behind the now well-known article from 1990 that coined the metaphors of windows, mirrors, and doors in children’s and YA literature. If you enjoy hearing Dr. Bishop speak, we also recommend you visit Reading While White’s reflection on the ongoing importance of her work, “Rudine Sims Bishop: In Appreciation.”

– Don’t miss the list of 2017 Middle Grade Novels about Finding One’s Voice and Identity by Gathering Books. If you find yourself interested in My Name is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela and Neruda: Poet of the People, you might want to read more about them courtesy of our own Vamos bloggers.

— Great news! New Online Spanish-Language Bookstore Comes to U.S. April 15, 2018.Check out the new Libros in Español.

–Here is a video posted by Colorín Colorado on why positive body language matters when working with ELLs

-Lee and Low shared their culturally responsive approach to Earth Day. Parrots over Puerto Rico is featured in this post. You can learn more about the book by reading our own Vamos review!

– View the best books on immigration by Five Books.

–Finally, here’s a compilation of the Top 5 Latinxs Poetry Picture Book List as shared by the wonderful Pragmatic Mom.  It’s a great list!

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Costa Rica 2012. Reprinted from Flickr user The Leaf Project under CC©.

DACA Resources for Teachers

¡Buenos días!

In light of the devastating news of Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) being revoked, we would like to share some resources for teaching about DACA in the classroom.  Here at the Latin American & Iberian Institute of The University of New Mexico, we are all seeking ways to address this policy announcement and emphasize that we support our undocumented students.

At Vamos a Leer, we also acknowledge that this affects students and classrooms all over the United States. It is more important than ever for teachers to be allies for their immigrant student.

For those seeking more generalized resources on teaching about immigration, we invite you to look at our past posts on immigration. The Reading Roundup about Immigration may be particularly helpful when working with younger students.  .

We hope you find these resources useful!

En solidaridad,
Kalyn

 

Videos & Films

We would like to highlight the following interview with immigrant rights activist Jonatan Martinez, conducted here at The University of New Mexico. Jonatan participated in a walk to D.C., which resulted in the documentary American DREAMers, which we recommend checking out.

At UNM, our undocumented students have mobilized into an incredible, youth-led organization called the New Mexico Dream Team. As part of their efforts to create a safe, more inclusive campus and community for undocumented students and their families, they offer campus trainings. These are the “Dreamzone trainings,” and even if you can’t attend in person, their introductory video  offers some important starting points about why and how educators should become active allies and how they can serve as resources for undocumented students.

We also invite you to check out two films recently released which talk about DACA from personal standpoints. We have only watched the trailers, so if you watch them, please let us know what you think! The directors are offering free streams of these films for the month of September in solidarity with DREAMers around the country.

Articles

Teachers might find the succinct article, posted by United We Dream, useful for addressing prevalent questions regarding what this all means for current DACA holders.

Grace Cornell Gonzales with Rethinking Schools wrote a post titled “800,000 Reasons to Teach About DACA.” In her article, she highlights the importance of understanding and teaching what it means to be undocumented, and the fears with which undocumented youth are faced. In order to do so, Gonzales links Sandra Osorio’s article about teaching about deportation. She links a few videos explaining DACA, some of which are for more of a high school audience. Gonzales closes with ways that students and teachers can take action to support undocumented immigrants in the US.

The Southern Poverty Law Center also published an article regarding DACA, which we recommend checking out.

Sana Makke with Teaching For Change also wrote an article this week about high school students in Washington D.C. walking out to protest DACA.

What can you do?

Here is an article with ideas for what we can do in order to support DACA. Organizations like Cosecha and United We Dream are good places to start when looking for how to offer support.

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