October 6th | Week in Review

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Hola a todos,

It is a hard week for many around the country. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and communities. For educators addressing this most recent violence in the classroom, please consider referring to Scholastic’s Resources for parents and educators for talking to children about the Las Vegas shooting. “No matter where you reside, it’s likely the young people you know will see the news headlines on television and online.” Like the quote says, it doesn’t matter where a person resides, children will be affected and classrooms should address this issue regardless of the subject being taught.

You might also consider this article addressing how to Harness Effects of Negative News on Young People using Literacy for Healing. “The right books and stories can open doors for meaningful conversations and propel young people toward civic engagement.”

And as we acknowledge Las Vegas, so we also acknowledge the ongoing recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and Mexico. For those who embrace this as a teachable moment, here is an excellent syllabus of essential tools for critical thinking about the Puerto Rican debt crisis.

Finally, for those who are turning the page to other conversations, here is a smattering of other recent resources and materials:

  • In a moment when traumatic stories and experiences are forefront, it’s important to take a moment and offer students a celebratory perspective of their cultures. Classroom Communities shared a personal note in this regard with their article on “Celebrating through Stories” during Hispanic Heritage Month.  “As a young African-American girl it was hard for me during the month of February when I felt that Black History month was spent learning about slavery and hardship. The celebratory aspect was often lost for me. As a teacher I have tremendous power over how students feel during these months of celebration. In our classroom community we choose to celebrate stories, authors, and people who represent this rich culture of beauty and strength.”
  • Remezcla’s 10 Books With Well-Developed, Complex Afro-Latino Characters.
  • Rethinking Schools shared how you can take the fight against white supremacy into schools. “…But more than that, we need a history that helps us learn how to move beyond tearing down statues and toward tearing down the racist system that those statues represent.”
  • For more resources for Hispanic Heritage Month, Colorín Colorado has a great book list for elementary schools.
  • If you would like to teach about Indigenous people, consider using animated shorts that celebrate 11 of Mexico’s Indigenous Languages.
  • Latinx in Kid Lit flipped the script and shared A Letter from Young Adult Readers to Latinx Writers About Race, Gender, and Other Issues. “I asked students to create suggestions of what they hoped to see in Latinx literature for youth. What follows is a list of suggestions gathered from our collective conversation and survey of Latinx literature for youth, including comments composed by my students for those who are currently writing and those who hope to write for young readers. Students also kept in mind those in publishing and award committees.”
  • And as a last note to send us with positive thoughts for the day, there are beautiful new books swirling around in the blogging world right now. A few that caught our eye:
    • From Latinx in Kid Lit, a book review of Martí’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad, written by Emma Otheguy and illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. “The back cover features an actual portrait of José Martí, and a quote: ‘And let us never forget that the greater the suffering, the greater the right to justice, and that the prejudices of men and social inequalities cannot prevail over the equality which nature has created’…beyond Cuba, Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad comes at an important time when even young readers are thinking about how we might make the world a more just place.”
    • From LGBTQ Reads, an interview with Anna-Marie McLemore, author of Wild Beauty, of which the author writes that “Wild Beauty is my bi Latina girls and murderous, enchanted gardens book. It’s the story in which I gave myself permission to go all in with the feel and setting of a fairy tale, but with the focus on the kind of girls we often see left out of fairy tales.”

 Image: We Can End Gun Violence. Reprinted from PA PENN Live under CC©.

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October 21st | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! I am sorry for the technical difficulties last week! We promise not to send you the same post three times in a row again, even if we’re really excited about it.

Now that we’re back on schedule, here is the week in review. Let us know if we overlooked any marvelous resources!

— As we wrap up Hispanic Heritage Month, Read Diverse Books recommended a list of books to Read During and After Latinx Heritage Month. I’ve read A House of My Own by Sandra Cisneros and The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande, but clearly have a long list of TBR ahead of me!

– Our Rethinking School friends shared on their Facebook page an important article that highlights How the Stress of Racism Affects Learning.

— Also, on the blog Reading While White, Allie Jane Bruce shares Thoughts on Stereotypes and offers a perspective that we share here at Vamos a Leer: “…we need to pay attention when characters are given stereotypical traits.”

Latinx in Kid Lit shared an example of the positive influence of bilingual education in Californians, Having Curbed Bilingual Education, May Now Expand it. “What we want is for individual schools to be able to decide what they think is best for the students, whether that’s a dual language or some other way.”

– Over at the De Colores blog, we read a moving review of the children’s book Dos Conejos Blancos / Two White Rabbits written by Jairo Butrango and illustrated by Rafael Yockteng. Recently selected as an Américas Award Commended Title, this is a book to add to your collection!

— Lastly, Lee & Low Books shared the new Curated Books App by We Need Diverse Books. “OurStory is a database comprised of more than 1,200 curated books reflecting diverse characters and themes that librarians, educators, parents, and children can search for reading recommendations.”

Abrazos,

Alin Badillo


Image: Ballet Folklorico Performers. Reprinted from Flickr user Jennifer Janviere under CC©.

September 9th | Week in Review

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Hola a todos! I am very excited to share with everyone my first “official” post. Going forward, we’ll be using Friday’s World Wide Web column as an opportunity to bring you current conversations and resources related to teaching about Latinx culture. I hope you enjoy reading the materials as much as I enjoy collecting them!

– Marley Dias is our new heroine! She’s a young woman who’s made national headlines through her efforts to rethink school reading lists. If you haven’t joined her fan club yet, check out the NY Times blog article on “#1000BlackGirlBooks Campaign Expands.”

– “Moomins and Tintin are great, but where are new translated children’s books?” This article that Daniel Hahn wrote for The Guardian talks about the importance of translating children’s books into different languages.

–The Pittsburgh Carrier highlights the need for diverse children’s literature with their article on “Child Watch…Children of Color Need to See Themselves in Books

–Education Week recently shared an article focused on “Teaching Global Children’s Literature: What to Read and How to Read.” Here’s a snippet to pique your interest: “Teachers must attend to which cultures are represented, underrepresented, misrepresented, and invisible in children’s books (what to read) as well as recontextualize these books within the history, culture, and time from which they emerged (how to read).”

–neaToday (the blog of the National Education Association) brings up how to honor and acknowledge students’ heritage in the classroom through pronouncing their names correctly: The Lasting Impact of Mispronouncing Students’ Names

– Lastly, from the NY Times, many of us here at Vamos a Leer found Kwame Alexander’s discussion of “Children’s Books and the Color of Characters” super meaningful.

 Abrazos,
Alin Badillo

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Sobre Septiembre 2016: Diversifying Hispanic Heritage Month with Children’s and YA Books

Vamos a Leer | Sobre Septiembre 2016 - Hispanic Diversity and Culture in Children's and YA LiteratureDear all,

We’re excited to see Vamos a Leer return for another academic year! We’re jumping into blogging beginning this September by focusing on themes related to Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15).

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Reading Roundup: 10 Afro-Caribbean Children’s and Young Adult Books

Feb 2016 Afro-Caribbean Narrative

¡Buenos días!

I hope everyone is having a great week! I’m glad to be back with our Reading Roundup. This month’s list goes with our theme of Afro-Caribbean narratives. In the spirit of Black History Month, we are highlighting the importance of inclusive conversations in the classroom focused on race and diverse narratives, with a focus on civil rights. As Keira emphasized in her Sobre Febrero post, it’s important for these conversations to continue beyond the “heritage month” period, and so I hope that you’ll use this Reading Roundup list as year-round inspiration in your classroom.

While compiling these titles, I took extra care to include books that simultaneously celebrate the cultural diversity and richness of Afro-Caribbean peoples and acknowledge their difficult histories, including narratives related to slavery, repression, and what it means to be a part of a diaspora community in exile.  Together or individually, I’m hopeful that these titles will prompt meaningful conversations with and among your students.  Below are a few resources that may be helpful as you undertake that effort (thanks to Charla for her earlier posts highlighting some of these materials!) Continue reading

Sobre Octubre: Resources on Día de los Muertos, Remembering, and Celebrating

Sobre Octubre: Resources on Día de los Muertos, Remembering, and CelebratingHi, everyone,

I’m here to wrap up our September focus on “Resources to Honor and Understand Latin American Influences,” and introduce you to the themes we’ll be tackling in October: Día de los Muertos, remembering, and celebrating.

Before I talk about our upcoming month, I have to acknowledge that we’re still smack dab in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), and here at Vamos a Leer remain caught in a love-hate relationship with it.  Even while HHM promotes the discussion about Latin@/Hispanic culture, it minimizes the conversation to stereotypes and relegates the information to one month out of the year, effectively communicating to students that Latin@/Hispanic heritage offers a “break” from the real curriculum; it’s apart from authenticate knowledge. There are many, many reasons why this is problematic. Katrina has discussed some of them on the blog, joining other educators such as Enid Lee and Deborah Menkart who advocate for a “beyond heroes and holidays” approach to education. In short, she’s advocated for a classroom where discussions of other cultures are not limited to one month out of the year, but instead are integrated meaningfully throughout the curriculum.

But we’re not suggesting dismissing HHM completely. Instead, much like readers who responded to a recent poll on “How do you feel about Hispanic Heritage Month? Tell us” organized by LatinoUSA, we suggest that HHM is “what you make of it.” Let’s use this an opportunity to start (or better, continue!) meaningful conversations about Latin@/Hispanic heritage, but conversations unfettered by the arbitrary dates of Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. Continue reading

WWW: Hispanic Heritage Cultural Tour

¡Feliz viernes a todos!

Thanks for joining me again this week!  In an effort to show how immigration has truly impacted the United States, I am featuring a resource from the Smithsonian Education website.  Vamos a Leer | WWW: Hispanic Heritage Cultural TourSince this month is Hispanic Heritage Month, the Smithsonian has put together a Hispanic Heritage Cultural Tour that can be completed online without even leaving the classroom.  On this virtual tour, users can find descriptions of the twelve objects showcased, and links to related objects, along with activities that explain their cultural significance, and quizzes to check comprehension.  Users will also notice that there is a list of resources that can be used in conjunction with this tour.  Students can even use the Interactive Lab Notebook to take notes and can refer to them at any time.

The objects, some of which include a short-handled hoe, a uniform from Roberto Clemente’s time playing for the Pirates, and a carnival mask, to name just a few, are all accompanied by descriptions of what they represent for the Latino community.  Many of the objects also illustrate ways in which the Latino community has influenced or impacted the United States.  For example, the Devoción de Nuevo Mexico art piece shows the influence Latin American art has had, while the carnival mask illustrates the maintenance of Latino traditions even in the United States.  Each object showcased on the tour can be a discussion point for the importance of immigration! Continue reading