International Day of Peace

UN-PeaceHappy Peace Day, folks!

Today, September 21, is recognized as the International Day of Peace by the United Nations. As the UN describes it, “Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.” It’s a moment to pause and reflect on peace or to literally cease firing at one another.

In 2018, #PeaceDay overlaps with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The two being intertwined, it seems an apt opportunity to talk about how peace can only be achieved by bringing about a world in which human rights are upheld for all, and human rights can only be upheld if we start from a place of mutual understanding, respect, and empathy. UNHumanRights

If you’re to broach this conversation with students, books can help shape their understanding – as can just getting to know one another beyond tropes and stereotypes.

  • From Medium, a 2016 article on “Children’s Literature as a Vehicle for Peace” by Summer Edward, Editor-in-Chief of Anansesem.
    “…is there anything more important than creating a peaceful world for our children? If we are not here on earth to be vehicles for peace, to add our voice, our energy and our talents to the task of creating a better world, then what are we here for? Is social justice an elite tool to be wielded in the hands of a few acclaimed activists or is it a human imperative to which each individual is called? These are serious questions for each and every human being.” 
  • 50 Books About Peace and Social Justice” from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC).
  • Social Justice Books. Run by Teaching for Change, this website provides “more than 50 carefully selected lists of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators.”
  • Picture Books with a Message” from the Teach Peace Now website. This is a long list of carefully selected books on topics such as Anti-War and Peace Education,  Activism and Social JusticeAnti-Racism/Anti-Bias Books, Anti-Bullying, and Conflict Resolution | Kindness & Caring | Cooperation, among others.
  • 30 Children’s Books About Diversity that Celebrate Our Differences” from Bookriot.
  • 2018 We’re the People Summer Reading List.” This may be last but is certainly not least. It’s a curated collection of books that celebrate “diversity and all its intersections” put together “by and about IPOC (Indigenous and People of Color), people with disabilities, and people from the LGBTQ| community. Chosen books are thoroughly discussed, vetted and given second reads.”

Let us know in the comments if there are other resources you turn to for discussing peace, change making, empathy, and human rights with your students, or other ways you frame these discussions.

~ Keira

 

 

 

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March 30th| Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! This week we have a bunch of wonderful Q&A’s with authors and recommended books to read, enjoy!

– We recently came across Catalina and the King’s Wall by Patty Costello and published by Eifrig Publishing- a children’s book that might prompt children to think critically, albeit perhaps implicitly and without knowing the broader political context, about what it means when a country seeks to build an impenetrable wall to keep out another country. “When Catalina overhears the king planning to build a wall, she fears her family won’t ever be able to visit. Catalina tricks the king into building walls that droop, drip, swirl, and swoosh away. But now the king demands an impenetrable wall. Luckily, Catalina has the perfect ingredients to bake up a family reunion! Through beautiful illustrations and enjoyable prose, kids learn how to stand by their convictions of inclusivity and kindness even when powerful people tell them not to.”

 – De Colores recomends My Year in Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver. The book is recomended for 4-7th grade and is about the story of Luisa Olivera’s starting of middle school during the Vietnam war. The book is “a brilliant, fast-moving story that will resonate with middle-grade readers and could not have been published at a better time.”

–Check out this Q&A session with Latinx in Kid Lit and illustrator Jacuqueline Alcántara about her debut picture book, The Field.

– While discussing indigenous history, you might want to check out how Goni and El Zorro fall and $10 Million is awarded to Indigenous Bolivian survivors in landmark human rights case shared by Latin America News Dispatch. The case was “charged that the Bolivian military massacred more than 60 citizens in September and October of 2003 in the city of El Alto, which neighbors La Paz, in what is often referred to as the October Massacre, or Black or Red October.”

–Our friend, Pragmatic Mom, shared 10 diverse picture books on fine artists, one of which is our favorite Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos. If you want to know more, check out Latinx in Kid Lit’s  review of it here.

– Gathering Books shared their first part (out of two) of Biographies of Fantastically Great Women. Because every day is women’s day, they shared this 32-page book about over 13 international women who made a difference in the world.

–When discussing about gender and sexuality in Latin America you might appreciate why GLAAD Is Calling For LGBTQ Representation In Latin Media With #InclusiveScreens by Hip Latina.  GLADD expresses that “it’s an issue with its #InclusiveScreens / #PantallaInclusivas campaign that seeks to increase Afro-Latinx, Indigenous and all LGBTQ characters of color in Latino media

–In honor of the 100th anniversary of Hernández’s birth, La bloga recommended Danza! Amalia Hernández and Mexico’s Folkloric Ballet by Duncan Tonatiuh. Tonatiuh’s books have received many awards and accolades from Pural Belpré and “with Tonatiuh’s distinctive Mixtec-inspired artwork and colorful drawings that seem to leap off the page, Danza! will enthrall and inspire young readers with the fascinating story of this important dancer and choreographer.” If you are interested but would like more insight, you might want to check Latinxs in Kid Lit and Vamos a Leer book reviews.

– If you were still wondering why diversity in science fiction and fantasy is so critical than you might appreciate the Q&A session with Sauantani Dasgupta shared by CBC Diversity. The author truly believes that “sci-fi and fantasy narratives help us imagine the futures we want, or don’t want. Diverse science fiction and fantasy – narratives in which indigenous characters and characters of color, LGBTQI+ characters, and characters with disabilities and other marginalized identities are central to the story and not just sidekicks – help write diversity into everybody’s future imaginings.”

–Here is an interview with Lee Francis IV on Native Publishing, Bookstores & Indigenous Comic Con. Mr. Lee Francis IV is the owner of Red Planet Comics and Books here in Albuquerque and founder of Native Realities. To Lee Francis IV, the company started “in 2015 and have published 10 titles to date. When we started, the idea was to fill the gap in Indigenous literature.”

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Costa Rica. Reprinted from Flickr user Pere Aleu Casanovas under CC©.

¡Mira Look!: Sélavi / That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope

Children's Book Review: Sélavi / That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope by Youme | Vamos a LeerSaludos, todos! Our featured book for this week is Sélavi / That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope, written and illustrated by Youme. This creative non-fiction book tells the story of young orphan children living in Haiti. Left parent-less due to fighting, violence, and poverty, these children band together and become a family of their own. This beautiful tale of love, compassion and goodwill narrates the real-life story of an orphan boy, Sélavi, and other children like him who created their own orphanage, extending a hand to all those other children in need. Eventually these same orphaned children began a radio show called Radyo Timoun, where they, to this day, advocate for children’s rights.

At the back of the book is an essay written by Edwidge Danticat, one of the most prominent and prolific contemporary Haitian writers, sharing some personal experiences and historical context to frame Youme’s story. As many of you know, we frequently feature Danticat’s books on our blog. In this particular essay, she notes that “My birthplace, Haiti, is a land of incredible beauty, but for many, it is also a place of great sadness.” Youme’s tale does a lovely job of embodying these two dualities—the laments of many of Haiti’s children, as well as their inspiring courage, hope and beauty.

selavi 2Danticat also shares some historical facts: “In 1804, the slaves (of Haiti) revolted and won their independence, making Haiti the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere. Along with the American Revolution, Haiti’s was the only successful rebellion in North America.” Danticat’s essay continues with additional information on both Haiti’s history and contemporary Haiti, contributing a valuable component to this story and especially to the use of this story in the classroom. Finally, Danticat’s essay concludes with one final wish: “Being a child of Haiti myself, I can only hope that Sélavi’s story will be repeated in the lives of many other children, among them future writers, radio and television journalists, who will continue to tell—and show—their stories in such moving and powerful ways that the rest of the world will no longer be able to neglect them.” Youme’s story is one attempt at elevating and drawing attention to these children’s powerful stories. Continue reading

¡Mira Look!: Running the Road to A B C

Children's Book Review: Running the Road to A B C by Denizé Lauture | Vamos a LeerSaludos, todos! This week’s featured book is Running the Road to ABC, written by Haitian author Denizé Lauture and illustrated by Reynold Ruffins. With stunning illustrations and compelling lyrical prose, this wonderful picture book tells the story of six Haitian children and the miles they travel to get to school. In doing so, Lauture’s tale takes readers on a visual and poetic journey of Haiti’s various landscapes, both geographical and social. While exposing some of the present-day hardships in Haiti, such as running barefoot over rough terrain to get to school, Lauture proudly depicts values such as strength, determination, and a love of learning.

abc 2Lauture introduces his book by dedicating it “To all children who, smiling and laughing,/ laughing and singing,/ singing and smiling,/ stand tall at the golden thresholds of their lives/ and welcome learning and teaching,/ and teaching and learning,/ as the two most endearing experiences in life.” A love and dedication to learning is certainly at the crux of this tale. As Lauture openly embraces the beauty in teaching and learning, his lovely, undulating prose is in itself didactic. Throughout the tale Lauture makes ample use of repetition and symmetrical sentence structures (such as “learning and teaching,/ and teaching and learning”), which can help young readers remember new vocabulary, keep up with the story, and witness the flexibility and playfulness of words. In addition, his long, flowing sentences tend to continue on and on without punctuation, reflecting the long and persistent, yet melodically joyful journey of the schoolchildren. Moreover, the lack of punctuation may reflect the cadence of Haitian Creole, which is generally not a written language. As a result, Lauture’s prose suggests a melody that would make the story perfect for reading out loud—a treat for listeners, and a celebration of Haiti’s rich oral tradition. Continue reading

WWW: Teaching the Realities of Border Crossing

Border 1 NatGeoWhy do you think people choose to cross the border?  That is the first of the “questions to consider” in the teaching resources section of the website for “The Undocumented”, an acclaimed documentary that aired last year on PBS, and covers the deadly journey across the Sonoran desert undertaken by so many north-bound migrants in hope of a life in the United States.

This website is fantastic; not only is it completely interactive and offers an in-depth, teacher-friendly resources section, it also offers the ability to play a unique video game, “The Migrant Trail”, designed as a supplementary medium for the documentary. Continue reading

En la Clase: “Stitching Truth: Chilean Arpilleras in the Classroom” (part 1 of 2)

As Ailesha shared in her ¡Mira, Look! post this past week, our last thematic series of posts for this school year focuses on human rights.  Much of our work through with k-12 arpillerateachers is based on thematic workshops that connect Latin American content with human rights issues.   In collaboration with the National Hispanic Cultural Center, we held a series of workshops this spring around the exhibition, “Stitching Resistance: The History of Chilean Arpilleras,” which is on view at the NHCC from October 19, 2012 through January, 2014. Continue reading

¡Mira Look!: Human Rights and Taste of Salt

a taste of salt2As we shift our focus from poetry to human rights, I found myself sadly unsurprised at the lack of great children’s and YA literature on human rights and Latin America. On the one hand, everything can be boiled down to human rights; and indeed, much of what we discuss on Vamos centers on the idea that one of those rights is the right to be in a diverse, culturally sensitive, exploration centered classroom, where all students see themselves and their future potential in the books they read, the stories they hear and the arts they craft. On the other hand, if everything is boiled down to human rights, does that take away some salience  from those pillars of Rights that everyone is entitled to? Or does discussing rights necessarily encompass all our daily interactions? Continue reading