October 21st | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! I am sorry for the technical difficulties last week! We promise not to send you the same post three times in a row again, even if we’re really excited about it.

Now that we’re back on schedule, here is the week in review. Let us know if we overlooked any marvelous resources!

— As we wrap up Hispanic Heritage Month, Read Diverse Books recommended a list of books to Read During and After Latinx Heritage Month. I’ve read A House of My Own by Sandra Cisneros and The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande, but clearly have a long list of TBR ahead of me!

– Our Rethinking School friends shared on their Facebook page an important article that highlights How the Stress of Racism Affects Learning.

— Also, on the blog Reading While White, Allie Jane Bruce shares Thoughts on Stereotypes and offers a perspective that we share here at Vamos a Leer: “…we need to pay attention when characters are given stereotypical traits.”

Latinx in Kid Lit shared an example of the positive influence of bilingual education in Californians, Having Curbed Bilingual Education, May Now Expand it. “What we want is for individual schools to be able to decide what they think is best for the students, whether that’s a dual language or some other way.”

– Over at the De Colores blog, we read a moving review of the children’s book Dos Conejos Blancos / Two White Rabbits written by Jairo Butrango and illustrated by Rafael Yockteng. Recently selected as an Américas Award Commended Title, this is a book to add to your collection!

— Lastly, Lee & Low Books shared the new Curated Books App by We Need Diverse Books. “OurStory is a database comprised of more than 1,200 curated books reflecting diverse characters and themes that librarians, educators, parents, and children can search for reading recommendations.”

Abrazos,

Alin Badillo


Image: Ballet Folklorico Performers. Reprinted from Flickr user Jennifer Janviere under CC©.

¡Mira, Look!: Letters to My Mother

letters to my motherFirst, please allow me to say that I hope you are celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day well. Usually, we wouldn’t post on a holiday. However, the issue of civil rights is so large that there is simply so much literature available for review that relate to the topic. So today, we have a book for you! For this week, we will be discussing Teresa Cárdenas’s Letters to My Mother. While it does not necessarily deal with civil rights, this book includes a discussion of race and racism that is appropriate for young adults.

Letters to My Mother is a book about a young, Afro-Cuban girl who goes to live with family members after the death of her mother. In this book, this young lady communicates with her dead mother by writing letters to her. In fact, this whole book is a compilation of letters, each of which begins with “Mamita” or “Querida Máma.” While it is clear that the narrator is struggling to deal with the loss of her mother, she is finding it equally difficult to acclimate to her new surroundings. While the death of one’s mother, especially at a young age, is a difficult situation, her family’s attitude towards her compounds the issue. This young lady is taunted by her own family because of her dark skin. They utilize stereotypes regarding people with dark skin, and they make her feel like an alien in her own skin. As she begins to find a life outside of her family, she meets other young people who are also suffering from issues of identity.  Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Rethinking Thanksgiving

This photo is courtesy of Flickr user jpstanley.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user jpstanley.

As the weather gets cooler and the holidays draw near, it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Specifically, how will we discuss it in our classrooms this year? Traditionally, conversation on Thanksgiving has been about the hardships of the Pilgrims, their trusty pals the Indians, and how, at harvest time (in November in Massachusetts? Yea right!), they all sat down for a peaceful, tasty meal. Now, we know that this is not the true version of events, and that the story of Native American interactions with newly-arrived Europeans is much more involved than that. So how can we communicate this with our students? Should we communicate this to our students?

For this week’s post, we are going to take a look at a resource for educators (well, it’s technically addressed to parents, but the content is equally relevant to teachers). We will be looking at Michael Dorris’ “Why I’m Not Thankful for Thanksgiving.” This article was published on behalf of Rethinking Schools and is available in its entirety for free on their website. Continue reading

WWW: Using Editorial Cartoons to Teach Social Justice

pazIf I had to choose one point to take from our recent professional development workshop on Alice Leora Briggs’ depiction of the violence in Juárez, it is this:

Artists play a critical role in exposing injustice.

It’s true. Hypocrisy and greed are never safe around an artist. And among artists, there can be none more unabashedly political than an editorial cartoonist. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s: “Teaching Tolerance” website has a powerful series of political cartoons that can help students explore social justice issues while building important language skills like irony, satire, caricature, dialogue, etc… Continue reading

WWW: Ted-ED

Flickr Creative CommonsUser: PraveenbenK

Flickr Creative Commons
User: PraveenbenK

I have been a big fan of the TED talks for a while now. I think their combination of innovation, heart, imagination and information is unmatched in our age of pessimism, misinformation and discouragement. Given that, imagine my elation when my sister and brother-in-law turned me on to TED-ED, the TED site dedicated to teachers. Let me break down all the greatness that is TED-ED first, then highlight a few videos I think will be useful for your classroom discussion on race. Continue reading

¡Mira Look! Our next theme: Race in YA Literature

"Hopscotch Kids"--Flickr CC user Elvert Barnes

“Hopscotch Kids”
–Flickr CC user Elvert Barnes

As Katrina and I start our next theme of posts, ‘Race in YA Literature’, I want to spend today discussing race and giving you some resources for how to pinpoint and discuss racial stereotyping in text. Without getting too dogmatic, I want to stress the importance of discussing race with our kids. Race is a socially constructed concept used to categorize and create hierarchy among people. There is nothing biological about it, that is just an argument used to make it seem grounded in science and therefore true. Continue reading

¡Mira Look!: Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida

Perico, or parrot, was what my Dad called me sometimes. It was from a Mexican saying about a parrot that complains about how hot it is in the shade, while all along he’s sitting inside an oven. People usually say this when talking about ignorant people who don’t know where they’re at in the world.”

Continue reading