March 2, 2018 | Week in Review

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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

¡Mira, Look!: Xóchitl, la niña de las flores

¡Hola a todos de nuevo!

Hoy vamos a hablar de Xóchitl, la niña de las flores del autor Jorge Argueta y el ilustrador Carl Angel, asentados ambos artistas en la ciudad de San Francisco y alrededores. Si te gustaron nuestras críticas pasadas, acompáñanos y déjate llevar por otra bonita historia en español, de esas que adquieren tanto más sentido cuando se cuentan en nuestra propia lengua.

3Xóchitl, la niña de las flores es una historia de superación ofrecida simultáneamente en español e inglés, que enfatiza la importancia de la comunidad, y es contada a través de la mirada inocente de una niña salvadoreña en San Francisco, muy muy lejos del país y la cultura que la vieron nacer. La historia se desarrolla circularmente desde un momento inicial donde el papá y la mamá de Xóchitl [Xochi] trabajan arduamente para salir adelante, pintando casas o trabajando de lo que encuentra y limpiando casas respectivamente. La mamá de Xóchitl también se dedica a vender flores frescas por el barrio, ayudada en ocasiones por su hija.

Ambas disfrutan mucho vendiendo flores juntas, por lo que saltan de alegría cuando el papá les propone mudarse a otra casa con patio trasero y convertir este en un vivero para sus queridas flores. Cuando la comunidad se vuelca en ayudarlos y en crear un espacio limpio y bonito, listo para que vengan a vivir las flores y las plantas, don Roberto, el dueño del lugar, aparece amenazando con denunciarles a las autoridades por entretener a toda clase de gente en una zona residencial.4

Y es aquí donde entra en juego el sostén de la comunidad, la fuerza resultante de algo más que la suma de todos los elementos, que se pondrá de acuerdo para convencer al dueño de las ventajas de tener un vivero en vez de un basurero. La historia, pasado este mal trago, cierra su ciclo con el acercamiento de la familia de Xóchitl y don Roberto.

Una vez más la inocencia es el hilo conductor de esta historia de final feliz sí, pero con una pátina de valores como el esfuerzo y la superación personal que trasciende, dejándose llevar por detalles preciosistas incrustados en vivencias que reflejan ese impulso tan humano de seguir hacia delante en cualquier circunstancia. El Salvador se menciona como una nebulosa de recuerdos que no hacen sino transportarnos a San Francisco, a miles de kilómetros; una ciudad con fuerte presencia de emigrantes—muchos de ellos hispanoamericanos, pero parte inevitable de un país con una lengua y una cultura diferentes.2

De una forma casi magnética, el libro nos invita a mirar a nuestros vecinos y preguntarnos qué hay más allá de lo superficial. Nos invita a cultivar nuestro respeto por los demás y a regar con abundante agua fresca las relaciones en comunidad. Porque la vida de barrio es un bonito microcosmos, un jardín en el que plantar esas flores que son personas y relaciones, y que perfectamente podrían echar sus raíces a nivel macro. Quizá universalizar nuestros barrios sea una manera de superar tanto individualismo.

El autor Jorge Argueta se inspiró en una historia real del barrio de Mission District en la ciudad de San Francisco para escribir Xóchitl, la niña de las flores, y se lo dedica cariñosamente a todas las arduas trabajadoras que venden flores en las calles para sacar adelante a sus hijos. Este poeta y profesor nacido en El Salvador lleva en San Francisco desde los años 1980, tiempo durante el cual ha tenido oportunidad de escribir otros libros como Una película en mi almohada, ganador en 2002 del Premio Américas a la Literatura Latinoamericana y el IPPY por Ficción Multicultural para el público juvenil.

Por su parte, el ilustrador Carl Angel, tiene en su haber obras como Lakas and the Manilatown Fish o Mga Kuwentong Bayan: Folk Stories from the Philippines. En su caso su contribución también está dedicada a la gente de Mission District.

Recursos relacionados y enfocados en la aplicación educativa para la promoción de los valores de respeto, esfuerzo y unión de la comunidad:

¡Espero que os haya gustado la recomendación literaria de hoy!

Nos vemos en unos días para seguir echando nuestra imaginación a volar y de paso reflexionar sobre el papel que queremos desempeñar en nuestras sociedades.

Santi

Poets and Poems: #NationalPoetryMonth

Hello, all!

Our wonderful children’s book reviewer, Alice, is away from the blog this week. In  place of her review, we thought we’d share this beautiful resource developed by Bookology Magazine: Poetry Mosaic.

In honor of #NationalPoetryMonth, Bookology has invited authors to read their original poetry and is compiling the recordings into a mosaic of poets and poetry, with a new author highlighted each day. All of the poets selected are amazing, but here are a few of our Vamos a Leer favorites: Jorge Argueta, Pat Mora, and Margarita Engle. Argueta and Engle read both English and Spanish versions of their poems, so this is an even better start to the day for our bilingual readers. Take your pick of language!

Jorge Tetl Argueta     Pat Mora     Margarita Engle
Hope you enjoy this poetic start to the day as much as we did!

Cheers,
Keira

10 Children’s and YA Books Celebrating Latinx Poetry and Verse

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Hello all –

I am thrilled to be celebrating National Poetry Month with you!  As with many of you, poetry holds a dear place in my heart.  As a young person, I recall writing poem after poem and finding such liberation in exploring my voice, playing with syntax and line breaks, and testing out vocabulary that had yet to find a place in my daily life.  Poetry allowed for a freedom and creativity that was unmatched in other mediums.  And because of this, I believe that writing poetry enables us to develop our own voice, author our own truths, and honor our own experiences; all of which play an integral part in a young person’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.

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5 Latino/a Children’s and YA Books Honoring Immigrant Experiences in the Winter Season

 

2016-December-Reading-RoundUp.pngBuenos días a todas y todos,

The Vamos a Leer theme for this month, as written in Keira’s Sobre Deciembre post, is focused on winter celebrations.  I was eager to explore children’s and YA literature around this topic in hopes of finding books that are reflective of the diverse familial celebrations, religious and spiritual practices, and cultural traditions throughout Latin America.  However, it would be disingenuous to state that this eagerness remained after learning the outcome of the election.  Rather, like many others, I began to reflect on the multiple uncertainties that our communities face.  More specifically, what will the future hold for those that are from other countries and living in the United States?  With everything that I read being filtered through this lens, I decided it was best to reframe the theme a bit.

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10 Latinx Children’s Books on Food as Culture and Heritage

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Buenos días a todas y todos,

I hope this day finds you each doing well!

As the holidays near, we are invited to reflect on the significance that such days play in our own lives and in the lives of others.  We are reminded that the way we experience holidays differs from those around us: from one family to the next, one culture to the next, and from one generation to the next.  Notwithstanding these differences, there remains a constant and a uniting force: food.

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October 14th | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! Here is the latest Week in Review:

– Our friends at Lee & Low Books posted on their blog an Alternative History Book List. The list is part of acknowledging Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day, for which, they write, “we are offering a series of blog posts that look at pieces of history that have been hidden, silenced, altered, or swept under the rug.”

Teaching Tolerance shared on their Facebook page The Problem with Columbus ‘Discovering’ America. “The idea of a holiday to celebrate the people who lived in the Americas before Christopher Columbus ever set foot there got its start in the 1970s.”

Teaching for Change recommended on their Facebook page the new children’s book “Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds.” By Jorge Terl Argueta and illustrated by Alfonso Ruano. The book “describes the challenges of leaving one’s homeland and the journey north.”

–Also, Lee & Low Books shared  a piece by one of our favorite authors, Guadalupe García McCall, in which she discusses reasons why some History is Not on Text Books.

–Thanks to our friends at the Tulane University’s Stone Center, we discovered Google’s latest Arts and Culture initiative: the Latino Heritage and Cultures project, which offers a wide range of resources, “from ancient artifacts to contemporary street art, [to] explore the depth and diversity of Latino cultures.”

– Lastly, Rethinking Schools shares 9 Teaching Resources that Tell The Truth About Columbus. “States and cities are increasingly recognizing Indigenous Peoples, but appropriate and readily available lesson plans have fallen behind the trend.”

Abrazos,
Alin

p.s. We’re sending this out just a bit ahead of time, as UNM is on Fall Break today and tomorrow! Enjoy the autumn weather!!


Image: Illustration, Somos como las nubes / We are like the clouds  by Jorge Argueta and Alfonso Ruano.

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