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.”
¡Hola a todos! It is super exciting that we are now in December, one of my favorite months. I hope you all enjoy this week’s resources.
– Latinxs in Kid Lit recommend the book Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown. In addition to the book review, they have shared a coloring activity sheet, book trailer, and discussion guide.
– When talking about media and identity in your class, you might want to share 20 Latina Superheroes and Villains by Hip Latina. Firebird or Bonita Juarez, born in Taos, New Mexico, is a woman who came into contact with radioactive meteorite fragments walking in the deserts around Albuquerque. She has appeared in West Coast Avengers and even in some Avengers storylines.
—American Indians in Children’s Literature highly recommend the children’s book, The Water Walker, by Joanne Robertson. This is a story about a grandmother and her actions in saving water for future generations.
– Lastly, from the wonderful writer, Pat Mora, check out the book La Hermosa Señora: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe/ The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe. With her birthday coming up (December 12), this is a great book to talk about religion and culture. She even shared activities to accompany it.
Image: Familias productoras en el salvador. Reprinted from Flickr user Mesoamérica Sin Hambre FAO-AMEXCID under CC©.
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!
Hope you enjoy this poetic start to the day as much as we did!
In case you missed Keira’s Sobre Enero post, this month’s theme honors the many individuals, real or imagined, who populate the rich landscape of Latin@ literature for children and young adults. This month’s Reading Roundup brings together a few of these heroes, both sung and unsung, whose actions inspired positive change. While it is a monumental task to choose just a few of the many wonderful books that are out there, I’ve narrowed down the list to books that will encourage our students and children to honor their own truths. I also hope that these books will help expand the literary canon beyond those heroes whose stories are taught repeatedly. The books below encompass a diverse panorama of experiences, accomplishments, and outcomes. To name a few, these remarkable figures displayed their passion through art, literature, activism, and even by simply passing on their knowledge to new generations. May you enjoy these works as much as I enjoyed finding them!
Happy New Year!
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.
Saludos todos! Our book for this week is Tomás and the Library Lady, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Raúl Colón. Although last week we focused on Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian at the New York City Public Library, this week we are focusing on the legacy of Tomás Rivera, another symbol of Latin American literature and Hispanic-American heritage. Like Belpré, Rivera loved literature and pioneered outreach projects to the Hispanic-American community. As an author, poet and professor, he was beloved for his enthusiasm and his passion for teaching, learning, and books. While we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the many sensational figures associated with that legacy, we are turning our attention this week to another exceptional figure.
Some of you may recognize Tomás Rivera’s name from one of my earlier posts featuring the 2016 Tomás Rivera Award recipients. The award, which is bestowed in memory of Rivera and his love for literature, honors exceptional Latinx children’s and young adult books. In line with many of the values now symbolized by Rivera’s legacy, this story shows the intercultural and intergenerational power of literature, as well as the timeless beauty of a shared culture.
Hola a todos! I am very excited to share with everyone my first “official” post. Going forward, we’ll be using Friday’s World Wide Web column as an opportunity to bring you current conversations and resources related to teaching about Latinx culture. I hope you enjoy reading the materials as much as I enjoy collecting them!
– Marley Dias is our new heroine! She’s a young woman who’s made national headlines through her efforts to rethink school reading lists. If you haven’t joined her fan club yet, check out the NY Times blog article on “#1000BlackGirlBooks Campaign Expands.”
– “Moomins and Tintin are great, but where are new translated children’s books?” This article that Daniel Hahn wrote for The Guardian talks about the importance of translating children’s books into different languages.
–The Pittsburgh Carrier highlights the need for diverse children’s literature with their article on “Child Watch…Children of Color Need to See Themselves in Books”
–Education Week recently shared an article focused on “Teaching Global Children’s Literature: What to Read and How to Read.” Here’s a snippet to pique your interest: “Teachers must attend to which cultures are represented, underrepresented, misrepresented, and invisible in children’s books (what to read) as well as recontextualize these books within the history, culture, and time from which they emerged (how to read).”
–neaToday (the blog of the National Education Association) brings up how to honor and acknowledge students’ heritage in the classroom through pronouncing their names correctly: The Lasting Impact of Mispronouncing Students’ Names
– Lastly, from the NY Times, many of us here at Vamos a Leer found Kwame Alexander’s discussion of “Children’s Books and the Color of Characters” super meaningful.
I realize it’s still November, but based on our search statistics, many of you are already looking for books, lesson plans, and resources for teaching about winter celebrations like Christmas and Las Posadas. I’m impressed! You all are far more organized than I was when I was in the classroom. You’ll definitely want to check out this week’s giveaway of Merry Navidad! In previous posts we’ve discussed our philosophy for how to approach teaching about cultural celebrations and traditions in a way that’s authentic and meaningful. Many of those same ideas are relevant here as well.
First, I thought I’d share some of the ideas I’ve written about in past posts on teaching about winter celebrations. This time of year was always one of my favorites times to be in the classroom because the possibilities for engaging and interesting lessons were endless. When I taught third grade, at the beginning of each December I began a unit on three winter celebrations: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Las Posadas. As a child, I remember talking about Hanukkah in school, but the extent of what we learned seemed to be limited to eating latkes and learning a song and game about dreidels. I wanted to go beyond that. I wanted my students to have a deeper understanding of cultural traditions that may be different from the ones they or their families personally observe. Continue reading
In last week’s En la Clase I talked about using Round is a Tortilla and Green is a Chile Pepper as the basis for a poetry activity based on gratitude, gratefulness, and awareness. This week I’m highlighting Gracias ~ Thanks, another beautiful book illustrated by John Parra and written by Pat Mora. As the title suggests, thankfulness is the main theme of the book, making it the perfect book for this time of year. The publisher’s description writes, “There are so many things to be thankful for. . .Straight from the heart of a child flows this lighthearted bilingual celebration of family, friendship, and fun. Come share the joy, and think about all the things for which you can say, ¡Gracias! Thanks!” Like last week’s books, Gracias ~ Thanks is a book written with young children in mind, so it’s great for your pre-school or early elementary students. But, with such an important and universal theme, it’s great for encouraging a mindfulness of the everyday things for which we can be thankful in older and younger students alike. Plus, each page is written in English and Spanish, so it’s great for English, Spanish, or bilingual classrooms.
In all of our busyness, it’s easy to take for granted the people or things that make our lives so special. Mora’s poetic words and Parra’s beautiful illustrations turn the very commonplace things in our lives into reasons to celebrate. They highlight the ways in which the ordinary actions of family and friends can make our lives such lovely experiences. Not only is it a fun book to read, but it easily lends itself to writing activities. Continue reading
¡Saludos, todos! Our themes for November will be food, harvest, and, of course, giving thanks! We have a lot of great books lined up, all of which speak to the different ways of celebrating these themes with family and friends. I am extra excited about this week’s book as it provides a wealth of resources for both educators and every-day readers (please take this as a warning that this post is longer than usual, but well worth it).
This week I will be reviewing “Yum! MmMm! Que Rico! America’s Sproutings / Brotes de la Américas“, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Rafael López. The book is available in both English and Spanish editions, although I will be reviewing the latter. In this wonderful collection of poetry, Pat Mora takes us on a gastronomic journey of the Americas through a series of fun haikus. Each poem focuses on a crop native to these continents, culminating in a full harvest of celebration and praise. The descriptions of food and cuisine alongside the bright, multicolored illustrations at once awaken the senses while guiding readers through the history of agriculture in the Americas. Mora introduces her book by acknowledging the influence of her anthropologist husband who teaches about the origins of agriculture, an inspiration that certainly resonates throughout her collection. Readers will undoubtedly revel in this delicious feast of knowledge, art and poetry. Continue reading