Saludos todos! I’m back with my weekly Mira, Look posts after a short time off for Spring Break. This month we have been celebrating Women’s History Month by featuring books about the wonderful women found throughout history and within our personal lives as well. This week I’ll be reviewing three books from the Colección Antiprincesas. This collection is meant to feature “grandes mujeres,” or prominent women in history, in order to show that women don’t have to be your typical “princess”; in fact, many of these women were so formidable precisely because they went against gender norms and fought for what they believed in.
The Colección Antiprincesas has received a lot of media attention, specifically through channels (blogs, magazines, etc.) that focus on Latinx literature for children, such as Remezcla’s post, These Anti-Princess Books Give Young Girls Badass Latina Heroines to Look up to. Since these new releases have been talked about so much within the children’s literature community, I thought it was a good idea to contribute my views and join in the discussion. Needless to say, we also greatly welcome the input of our readers in fostering a larger, dynamic discussion about this collection and Latinx children’s books in general!
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!
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!
In case you missed Keira’s Sobre Enero post, this month’s theme honors the many individuals, real or imagined, who populate the rich landscape of Latin@ literature for children and young adults. This month’s Reading Roundup brings together a few of these heroes, both sung and unsung, whose actions inspired positive change. While it is a monumental task to choose just a few of the many wonderful books that are out there, I’ve narrowed down the list to books that will encourage our students and children to honor their own truths. I also hope that these books will help expand the literary canon beyond those heroes whose stories are taught repeatedly. The books below encompass a diverse panorama of experiences, accomplishments, and outcomes. To name a few, these remarkable figures displayed their passion through art, literature, activism, and even by simply passing on their knowledge to new generations. May you enjoy these works as much as I enjoyed finding them!
Happy New Year!
As you’ve read in recent posts, this month we’re celebrating women’s history through sharing resources about strong Latin American and Latina women. With such a focus, it would be remiss not to highlight Frida Kahlo as part of this month. Of course, we would advocate for teaching about Kahlo anytime of year, but I think she is of incredible importance when we’re discussing women who have changed the way in which we think about female identity and the role of women in society. We’ve made great strides in gender equality, and it’s important to recognize the multitudes of women (and men) who have helped to make that happen. I particularly appreciated the discussion in the article “Embracing the Modern Female Heroine–In All Her Forms” by the Children’s Book Cooperative (CBC). It’s vital that we continue to highlight the ways in which we are challenging and redefining what it means to be a woman in today’s society because it is certainly happening and our students need to be aware of it:
“While the challenges of ethnic, racial, and sexual diversity still loom large, I found some comfort this past year in seeing an emergence of strong, complex, and challenging female characters depicted in modern entertainment. Women depicted making morally questionable choices. Women whose principle dilemmas didn’t revolve around a dashing leading man. Women who took on what society often dictates as standard male personality traits (physical and emotional strength, relentless determination, and even questionable moral conduct) and redefined them as their own. Women who traveled down paths of their own making, shaped by a clear understanding of who they are as people, and holding onto that identity with all they have.” (From Embracing the Modern Female Heroine–In All Her Forms)
¡Feliz viernes a todos!
Don’t look now but we’ve already arrived in March! Three months into the new year and we are shifting from Black History to Herstory. As a starting point for the month, I thought it might be nice to open with a post that highlights many of the important Latin American women in history that could make their way into your classrooms this month! In this resource, Paola Capó-García collects brief histories of each of the several important women she introduces.
Aside from the ever popular Frida Kahlo and Sor Juana Inéz de la Cruz, whom we have discussed on the blog in years past, the featured resource also introduces less cited women in Latin American history, like Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. Tying into our theme of activism in Latin America, Las Madres were the women in Argentina during the “Dirty Wars” who protested the disappearance of their children and grandchildren in front of the presidential palace. Continue reading
As you may have noticed, throughout the month of March we have been celebrating inspiring Latinas. This week I’d like to draw your attention to another biographical book – this one by award-winning author and illustrator, Yuyi Morales. In 2014, Morales added to the growing set of children’s biographies by creating a multimedia book about an important inspirational influence of hers, Frida Kahlo. Viva Frida is a book that stands out as extremely unique in its artistic qualities.
Awarded the 2015 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award and recognized as a 2015 Caldecott Honor Book, here is a description from Goodreads:
Frida Kahlo, one of the world’s most famous and unusual artists, is revered around the world. Her life was filled with laughter, love, and tragedy, all of which influenced what she painted on her canvases. Distinguished author/illustrator Yuyi Morales illuminates Frida’s life and work in this elegant and fascinating book.
The book takes us through various images of Frida in different scenes with multiple objects. In the beginning of the book we see our protaganista as a delicate ceramic figurine. Frida evolves into two-dimensional form, floating through the pages, and then becomes more and more texturized until we eventually see her on canvas as a painting of herself.
**Blogger’s note: I would like to apologize for a small error on last week’s ¡Mira, Look! post. It was, in fact, not the last post of the year. We will be publishing posts through May and that was a publishing error on my behalf!**
After having spent the last month talking about immigration, one of the largest social issues of our time for a multitude of reasons, I thought it would be nice to turn our attention to something a little bit lighter this week. Frida Kahlo was one of the most prominent surrealist artists of the 20th century. Her life, along with her work, has become immortalized because of her popularity and unique story. Not only was she an important artist, but she was also a Mexican artist. Thus, for this week, I would like to draw your attention to a few books about Frida Kahlo, whom I’ve specifically chosen for this because she is a unique personality whom many people reference in popular culture. Continue reading