Sobre Marzo: Más Resources for Teaching About Latinx and Latin American Women

Vamos a Leer | Más Resources for Teaching about Latinx and Latin American Women

Hola a tod@s!

This month we’re joining many around the country in celebrating Women’s History Month. Of course, we hope that the discussion of womyn (past, present, and future) can be constant and valued within the standard curriculum that’s used all year long, but we don’t deny that Women’s History Month provides a timely opportunity to hone in and heighten that effort. More than just acknowledging women, though, we want to draw attention to the diversity of women whose struggles and experiences have led us to the present day. Unfortunately, information that goes beyond the White (largely middle class and US-focused) experience is scarce. It’s rather hard to identify, let alone come by, resources that  shine a light on the breadth and depth of women’s experiences.

While they get some props for trying, even the Smithsonian Education division only goes so far toward remedying the lack of materials. On their Women’s History Teaching Resources site, for instance, they offer materials that focus on African American Women Artists and Native American Women Artists, but make no mention of Hispanic/Latina/Chicana women!  In all honesty, though, the portal was just recently launched and we can only hope that the content is still a work in progress.

On a more positive note, organizations such as Teaching for Change are making significant strides toward diversifying the conversation. Starting March 1st, they’re daily highlighting diverse books featuring women’s accomplishments every day AND offering a 20% discount on book purchases from their non-profit, indie bookstore (code Women2017). Check out their page on “Women’s History Month: A Book Every Day” for the details.

And courtesy of Colours of Us,  blog dedicated to multicultural children’s books, we’ve been enjoying “26 Multicultural Picture Books About Inspiring Women and Girls” and “32 Multicultural Picture Books about Strong Female Role Models

For our part, we’re going to bring you suggestions for worthwhile children’s and YA literature over the next few weeks, all with the goal of highlighting women’s accomplishments. Stay tuned for our blogging team’s thoughts and contributions! If you’re hard at work diversifying the conversation in your classroom, please share your experiences with us — we’d love to hear what you’re doing to change the world!

En solidaridad,
Keira

Reading Roundup: Loss and Resolution in Latinx YA Literature

Vamos a Leer | Loss and Resolution in Latinx YA LiteratureBuenos días a todas y todos,

Happy fall!  I hope this finds you each doing well and enjoying the changing of seasons.

Fall, my favorite time of year!  For me, it is characterized not only by the falling leaves, the crisp air, and the distinct scents that come with the changing temperature, but also with a gentle nostalgia, heightened reflection, and sense of calm.  In accordance with our theme for this month, we’re honoring this moment of reflection by pulling together a Reading Roundup that highlights strong protagonists who have experienced some form of loss and resolution in their lives. We hope that this will also be good preparation for teachers who are looking for resources that can help bring these difficult topics into the classroom.

Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Laura Resau

laura resauThis week we turn our attention to Laura Resau, author of this month’s featured book. Resau is originally from Baltimore. She received her Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and French from St. Mary’s College in Maryland. Upon graduation, Resau earned her certification in teaching English as a Second Language. She applied for jobs internationally due to a desire to travel, so when she was offered a job in Oaxaca, Mexico, she jumped at this opportunity. During her stay in Oaxaca, Resau became fluent in Spanish and learned some Mixtec (an indigenous language spoken in the region) as well. Resau would return to the United States to earn her Master’s degree in cultural anthropology at the University of Arizona, where she began working on What the Moon Saw (her first book). Continue reading

Book Review: What the Moon Saw

whatTheMoonSawWhat the Moon Saw
Written by Laura Resau
Published by Yearling, 2008
ISBN: 978-0440239574
Age Level: 8 and up

BOOK SUMMARY:

Clara Luna’s name means “clear moon” in Spanish. But lately, her head has felt anything but clear. One day a letter comes from Mexico, written in Spanish: Dear Clara, We invite you to our house for the summer. We will wait for you on the day of the full moon, in June, at the Oaxaca airport. Love, your grandparents.

Fourteen-year-old Clara has never met her father’s parents. She knows he snuck over the border from Mexico as a teenager, but beyond that, she knows almost nothing about his childhood. When she agrees to go, she’s stunned by her grandparents’ life: they live in simple shacks in the mountains of southern Mexico, where most people speak not only Spanish, but an indigenous language, Mixteco.

The village of Yucuyoo holds other surprises, too– like the spirit waterfall, which is heard but never seen. And Pedro, an intriguing young goat herder who wants to help Clara find the waterfall. Hearing her grandmother’s adventurous tales of growing up as a healer awakens Clara to the magic in Yucuyoo, and in her own soul. What The Moon Saw is an enchanting story of discovering your true self in the most unexpected place.

My Thoughts:

I first read What the Moon Saw two summers ago and absolutely loved it. It’s such a sweet story. It doesn’t have the harshness or grittiness like some of the books we’ve reviewed for Vamos a Leer. It won’t break your heart the way Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe does. Yet, it’s a beautifully written and moving read. I couldn’t put it down.  Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Red Glass

Red GlassAs we are aware, immigration is a complex issue. Sometimes, it can mean leaving behind one’s family, and other times, it can mean losing one’s family. As many people clamor to cross the border looking toward a new future in the North, they embark upon dangerous journeys. Not all survive this journey, and this is a reality that families must face on both sides of the border. Thus, we turn to a book that discusses this subject and describes the tale of one child who lost everything while going through this journey, gained a new family, and then had to reconcile with how he would continue in the journey of life. This week, we will be discussing Laura Resau’s Red Glass.

Red Glass follows a young woman, Sophie, who goes to the hospital with her parents one day. There, they meet a little boy, Pedro, who traveled along with his parents and coyote across the dessert and into Arizona. When he is discovered, he is found severely dehydrated, the lone survivor of the trip. Thus, Pedro goes to live with Sophie and her family. Nearly a year later, Pedro’s family in Mexico makes contact with him, which leads to a trip home and a decision for Pedro to make. Continue reading

WWW: Ocean in a Saucer

Laura Resau's Office - image from the Ocean in a Saucer blog.

Laura Resau’s Office – image from the Ocean in a Saucer blog.

For my next few blog posts, I decided to feature other, unique blogs dedicated to Latin American young adult literature. Laura Resau’s blog is called Ocean in a Saucer because writing novels, to Resau, feels like “trying to fit a raging, deep, sparkling, infinite thing like the ocean” into a saucer.

In case it wasn’t obvious from this imaginative quote, Resau is an extremely thoughtful, interesting person. Her background is in cultural anthropology and ESL-teaching. She has lived and traveled in Latin America and Europe, which has inspired her books. She has taught English in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca, and she donates royalties to indigenous rights organizations in Latin America.

This blog is just cool. I visited looking for lesson plans and was quickly sidetracked by the apparently awesome life of a writer. Resau has been typing out her masterpieces in a whimsical trailer/writer’s pad (complete with butterflies, bells, trapeze outfits, and an altar with the Virgin of Juquila), visiting amazing places like Portugal, and meeting (and no doubt, inspiring) the students that read her books. Continue reading

Our Next Good Read. . .What the Moon Saw

Join us April 7th at Bookworks from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  We are whatTheMoonSawreading What the Moon Saw (ages 8 and up) by Laura Resau

Here’s a sneak peek into the book: (from Goodreads)

Clara Luna’s name means “clear moon” in Spanish. But lately, her head has felt anything but clear. One day a letter comes from Mexico, written in Spanish: Dear Clara, We invite you to our house for the summer. We will wait for you on the day of the full moon, in June, at the Oaxaca airport. Love, your grandparents.

Fourteen-year-old Clara has never met her father’s parents. She knows he snuck over the border from Mexico as a teenager, but beyond that, she knows almost nothing about his childhood. When she agrees to go, she’s stunned by her grandparents’ life: they live in simple shacks in the mountains of southern Mexico, where most people speak not only Spanish, but an indigenous language, Mixteco.
Continue reading