April 7th | Week in Review


¡Hola a todos! This week I found interesting resources, I hope you enjoy!

– You might appreciate Mexican author Valeria Luiselli’s book-length essay, Tell Me How It Ends, if you are teaching about Central American migration, and especially about child migrants. “Until it is safer for undocumented folks to share their own stories, to argue on their own behalf, Luiselli makes for a trusted guide.”

— Check out these three authors shortlisted for the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. “The finalists were selected by a jury administered by the Bocas Lit Fest and made up of writing, publishing and educational professionals with expertise in young adult literature.”

–In this era of technological advancement you would expect children to use technology for reading but here are the reasons why children prefer to read books on paper rather than screens. “But young people do not have a uniform set of skills, and the contention that screens are preferred is not backed up by research.

– Here is a book review of the new YA novel Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar. Highly recommended by Latinos in Kid Lit, the reviewer expressed, “I read this book and couldn’t put it down and then gave it to my 11-year-old son to read and he couldn’t put it down.”

– Look at these 10 Exciting New Middle Grade Books with Latinx Main Characters (including the now familiar Lucky Broken Girl).

Lee and Low Books shared advice on how you can save federal funding for libraries and help teens.

-Also, if you are in search of a new game for class, try Compound it All: The Compound Building Game. The game is meant to “expand your vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and even your math skills” and “is equally fun to play with friends and family.”

–As they do every year, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) has released its statistics on diversity in children’s and YA lit. Check out the latest ” This year, the number jumped to 28% – the highest year on record since 1994 (and likely the highest year ever). 2016 also marked a number of important award wins for authors of color…”

–In related news, the CCBC has also released their list of recommended books for 2017. Check out their 2017 compilation for “a fully annotated listing of 246 books published in 2016 for birth through high school and recommended by the CCBC professional staff.”

– Ever wondered if your school has a plan for bias incidents? Teaching Tolerance draws on schools in California as examples for how to respond.

– Lastly, if you’ve ever wandered what’s up with the recent appearances of the term “Latinx,” you might want to share Arianna Davis’ self-reflective piece on coming to terms with “Latinx.”

Alin Badillo

Image: fist pump. Reprinted from Flickr user mike nerl under CC©.


Book Review: He Forgot to Say Goodbye

This is a review of one of last spring’s featured books.  I got a little behind, so I decided to wait to share it until we were back posting regularly. It actually worked out better than I could have hoped because this book pairs up so well with our September featured novel, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces.  They’re both written in a journal or diary like confessional style, but this one has two male protagonists, while Gabi has a female protagonist.  It’d be great to have your class read both and do a comparative analysis.

He Forgot to Say Goodbye
Written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Published by Simon and Schuster 2010

Age Level: 12 and Up

Book Summary:

Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegrove don’t appear to have much in common. Ram lives in the Mexican-American working-class barrio of El Paso called “Dizzy Land.” His brother is sinking into a world of drugs, wreaking havoc in their household. Jake is a rich West Side white boy who has developed a problem managing his anger. An only child, he is a misfit in his mother’s shallow and materialistic world. But Ram and Jake do have one thing in common: They are lost boys who have never met their fathers. This sad fact has left both of them undeniably scarred and obsessed with the men who abandoned them. As Jake and Ram overcome their suspicions of each other, they begin to move away from their loner existences and realize that they are capable of reaching out beyond their wounds and the neighborhoods that they grew up in. Their friendship becomes a healing in a world of hurt.

My Thoughts:
Continue reading

Book Review: La Línea

La Linea by Ann JaramilloLa línea
Written by Ann Jaramillo
Published by Roaring Book Press, 2006
ISBN: 9780312373542
Age Level: 10 and up


Miguel’s life is just beginning. Or so he thinks. Fifteen-year-old Miguel leaves his rancho deep in Mexico to migrate to California across la línea, the border, in a debut novel of life-changing, cliff-hanging moments. But Miguel’s carefully laid plans change suddenly when his younger sister Elena stows away and follows him. Together, Miguel and Elena endure hardships and danger on their journey of desperation and desire, loyalty and betrayal. An epilogue, set ten years after the events of the story, shows that you can’t always count on dreams–even the ones that come true.

My thoughts:

La Línea is about the journey of two young teenagers trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border to be reunited with their family in California.  It’s an incredibly poignant and moving novel.  The trip North is hard for Miguel and Elena, and it’s not always easy to read about what the two had to endure.  I certainly cried through a number of parts.  It’s difficult to read about how dehumanizing and traumatic the experience is.  While it’s fiction, it’s based on the lived experiences of some of Jaramillo’s own students.  Knowing how close the story is to the accounts of many immigrants makes the reading even more intense.  Jaramillo manages to communicate the danger, violence, and sacrifice while avoiding overdramatizing the emotions, which allows the story to remain accessible both to students who have had similar experiences as well as those who haven’t. Continue reading

Our Next Goodread. . .Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

We’re almost back from our summer hiatus, but wanted to post this announcement for our first book group meeting of the new school year.  We are so excited for the upcoming year!  I’m really looking forward to talking with you all about this month’s selection.

Join us September 8th at Bookworks from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  We are Yaqui Delgadoreading Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Ages 13 and Up) by Meg Medina.

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

One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is.
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

¡Mira, Look!: Love, Amalia

love amaliaIn this age, it is not uncommon for people to constantly migrate. Whether it be from town to town, city to city, state to state, or country to country, it is a fact that many people are migrants. Thus, we want to kick off our immigration theme with a book for middle grade (grades 3-7) readers that discusses how migration, even if it is just one’s family or friends that leave, can impact one’s identity. This week, we will be discussing Alma Flor Ada’s Love, Amalia (or Con cariño, Amalia).

In this book, Amalia is a young girl who lives in Chicago. One day, she learns that her best friend, Martha, will be moving to California with her family. Amalia, who is already close to her grandmother, develops a closer relationship with her Abuelita. She learns a considerable amount about her family and Mexican heritage from her. Most importantly, she is Amalia’s biggest source of comfort. When Amalia loses Abuelita, she is sad. However, she begins to realize that she was lucky to have been able to know her grandmother as well as she did.  Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba

Firefly LettersOver the past several weeks, we have discussed how civil rights impact all people. This week, we would like to turn to a book written by Margarita Engle that puts a different spin on the idea of civil rights. All minority groups have had to fight for their rights, and this includes women. It is also important to note that the fight for civil rights is not specific to the United States. Nearly all countries in Latin America have seen similar movements by minority groups–and these struggles are not necessarily recent. This is evident in Engle’s The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba, a book discussing the women’s rights movement in Cuba in the 19th century.

This book, written in prose, is most suitable for middle grade readers. It tells the story of Fredrika Bremer, a real life suffragette, from Swedish. Engle chronicles Bremer’s real life trip to Cuba in 1851 in this historical fiction. Elena, the daughter of Bremer’s wealthy host family, and Cecelia, a slave, join Bremer in her journey through the Cuban countryside. Engle chronicles the journey of these women and their personal development throughout the book. The Firefly Letters is a 2011 Pura Belpre Honor Book for Narrative.  Continue reading