Sobre Abril: Latinx Children’s Literature Celebrating the Natural World and the Beauty of Poetry

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Hola a tod@s!

As March and Women’s History Month wrap up, I’ve been pleasantly distracted by the birdsong outside my window, the patter of rain that passed over our desert city last night, and the many spring flowers bursting from the ground. With National Poetry Month coming next week, I’m compelled to think in poetic terms. This piece from Neruda seems appropriate:

La Primavera

El pájaro ha venido
a dar la luz:
de cada trino suyo
nace el agua.

Y entre agua y luz que el aire desarrollan
ya está la primavera inaugurada,
ya sabe la semilla que ha crecido,
la raíz se retrata en la corola,
se abren por fin los párpados del polen.

Todo lo hizo un pájaro sencillo
desde una rama verde.


The Spring

The bird has come
to give us light:
from each of its trills
water is born.

Between water and light, air unfolds.
Now the spring’s inaugurated.
The seed knows that it has grown
the root pictures the flower
and the pollen’s eyelids finally open.

All this done by a simple bird
on a green branch.

Here at Vamos a Leer we’re heartily embracing the sentiment of spring and poetry. In the coming weeks, we’ll share resources that highlight both, from children’s books that look at the natural world in a variety of ways to poetry for younger and older readers alike.

We hope you enjoy our findings as much we’ve enjoyed discovering them.

Cheers,
Keira

 

September 16th | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! I hope you have a good weekend. Enjoy the materials for this week. I know I had a really fun time gathering them. Let me know what you think, I would love to hear your thoughts.

– As the 50th anniversary of UNESCO’s founding of International Literacy Day, we wanted to share with you The Literacy Project, where they honor past and present efforts to reduce literacy at a global scale.

– Our Américas Award friends shared on their Facebook page an important article that highlights the reality of diverse children’s book. BookRiot’s Justina Ireland questions “Where Are All the YA Books for Kids of Color: September Edition.”

— Also, on their Facebook page Teaching for Change shared a story of a school that questioned, “How Diverse is Our Classroom Library?”

–Here is a quick six-minute read on Where to Find “Diverse” Children’s Books by Melissa Giraud, co-founder of EmbraceRace.

— Congratulations to Cuban-American author Meg Medina and Mexican-American author Anna-Marie McLemore who are on the prestigious 2016 National Book Awards Longlist: Young People’s Literature

– Lastly, again from Teaching for Change, we discovered the Smithsonian’s Global Folklorist Challenge where young people between the ages 8-18 are challenging and inspired to interview the elders in their community.

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Latin American Flags. Reprinted from Flickr user Steven Damron under CC ©.

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Celebrate Earth Day By Reading Kid Lit Books As An Ecocritic

¡Feliz viernes a todos!

Happy Earth Day!! This week, I am reblogging an excellent post by Marianne Snow Campbell. Her idea to read any book about the environment through a critical lens is a great way to introduce critical thinking outside the classroom context. She includes examples from books for different age groups and even includes activity ideas for the classroom! Check it out!

With warmest wishes,

Charla

Latinxs in Kid Lit

By Marianne Snow Campbell

Earth Day is here again!  It’s a time to honor the natural world that surrounds us, consider how we can take better care of the environment, and take action keep our planet healthy and beautiful. In schools, many teachers and students will join together to read and discuss books with environmentalist lessons – The Lorax, The Great Kapok Tree, a variety of picture books about recycling and picking up litter. Last year, Lila Quintero Weaver shared a beautiful post about books celebrating “Latin@ Heroes of the Planet” and other “Earth Day-friendly books with Latin@ connections.” I love the strong messages that these texts carry and believe that they should play a prominent role in educating children about conservation and ecology.

However, reading literature with overt lessons about the earth isn’t the only method for learning about environmentalism. There’s another, somewhat subtler, approach – ecocriticism. Ecocriticism…

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WWW: Who are the Latin American Women in History?

¡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

WWW: Back in Activism!

¡Feliz viernes a todos!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday break. Thank you for joining me again. This semester we are kicking off with a focus on activism. You may notice that many of our upcoming posts connect and highlight important activists in Latin America, the organizations they belong to, or the programs they founded. In honor of the focus on activism, I am highlighting some of Ana Teresa Fernández’s recent work on “erasing” the U.S.-Mexico border—using art!

Vamos a Leer | WWW: Back in Activism!Ana Teresa Fernández is a Mexican-American artist. She and a group of thirty volunteers teamed up to paint the border fence in Nogales, Sonora a light blue color in order to blend it with the sky. In her video about the project, Fernández talked about the fence as a “symbol of hate and pain.” She thought to change that by making it invisible (at least a piece of it). Her work constitutes activism “because it re-contextualizes a possibility. It makes you not see the border — just for a split second — and [makes you see] how two countries can exist, or coexist, peacefully,” said Fernández in an interview with Raquel Reichard from Latina. To her, the problem of the border fence is that it divides two groups of people who could otherwise live in harmony. The idea, while earning support from many people, sparked hate in some who have taken to writing hate mail and nasty correspondence to the artist. Continue reading

Sobre Enero: Resources on Latin@ Civil Rights, Social Justice, and Youth Activism

Vamos a Leer | Resources on Latin@ Civil Rights, Social Justice, and Youth ActivismFeliz año nuevo a tod@s.

We’re glad to be back after a rejuvenating winter break and excited to engage in new conversations with you! We begin the year by focusing on issues of civil rights and social justice that are meaningful to people everywhere, but particularly relevant to Latin@ and Latin American communities. This month we focus not only on how to teach young people about injustices, but more importantly offer ideas for how they can take a stand against it. In the next few weeks we’ll discuss how children and youth can push back against prejudice and discrimination in their lives and in broader society.

Our dedicated bloggers will tackle the question in a few ways:

  • Alice, our children’s book reviewer, will focus on books that profile child activists who face and combat issues such as poverty and immigration rights
  • Katrina, our En la Clase expert, will look at Latin@ children’s literature and how it can be used to teach about civil rights and to encourage student activism
  • Charla, our WWW researcher, will share resources related to art through activism and children as activists.

Continue reading

Book Giveaway: Merry Navidad!

Good afternoon, everyone!

Can you believe that the holidays are upon us!  I cannot!  Although we are sad to say that this is our last week of the Tuesday Giveaways for this semester, we are happy to have given out so many great books thanks to Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy’s gracious donation and we want to encourage you to look out for some more giveaways in the spring!  Vamos a Leer | Book Giveaway: Merry Navidad!Our final giveaway of the semester will be Merry Navidad!, co-authored by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, illustrated by Viví Escrivá, and translated into English by Rosa Zubizarreta.  This book is described as a “warm and vibrant collection of traditional Spanish Christmas carols, or villancicos, [in which] authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy bring to life the holiday traditions of Latin America and Spain. The creative English adaptations by Rosalma Zubizarreta both capture the spirit of the originals and add a new dimension to the songs. And Spanish illustrator Viví Escrivá‘s spirited illustrations are perfect backdrops for the lyrics, adding rich holiday flavor.”  It would be a great addition to classroom holiday activities for all age groups. Are you ready for a sing-along? Comment below and let us know! Have a happy and safe holiday season and don’t forget to check back in the spring for more giveaways!

Until spring,

Charla


Image: Photo of Merry Navidad! Reproduced from Alma Flor’s website.