Reading RoundUp: 10 Children’s and YA Books with Diverse Latinx Perspectives

 

Vamos a Leer¡Buenos días a todos y todas!

As mentioned in Keira’s Sobre Septiembre post, this month’s Reading Roundup is related to the theme of Hispanic Heritage Month. To guide the direction of this month’s book list, I decided that it was imperative for me to determine what I believe Hispanx/Latinx heritage to be. Initially the task seemed easy enough, as I have certainly carved out an understanding of how I define my own Chicana/Latina heritage. Yet, as I attempted to make connections on a grand scale, I found myself unable. I felt as though I were distilling the vibrancy of an entire collective of people down to a single ingredient, a generalization, and a superficiality.

How does one meaningfully capture the range of cultural practices, traditions, languages, religions, geography, race, and ethnicity – just to name a few – of those who identify as Latinx? How could I be so bold to answer for others the deeply personal question of how they define their heritage? I am only able to define my own.

After much thought, I decided that the best way to view the tapestry of “Hispanx/Latinx heritage” was to hang it up, step back, and explore each pictorial design individually. For that reason, this month’s list will be focused on literature that possesses strong and individual narratives; where the author’s experiences, values, and diversity can seep through the text, allowing their unique Latinidad to be known.

Some of the narratives are rooted in reality, as in Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White. Others are teeming with imagination and the fantastical, as in The Jumbies. Others still may be representative of someone’s reality, somewhere, as in ¡Sí! Somos Latinos/Yes! We are Latinos, or even Niño Wrestles the World.

I invite you to explore and articulate how you define your own unique heritage, or ask your students about theirs. Is the way you define your heritage different from that of your family? Is there literature that represents you? What would be an important element of your heritage that you would want to share with others?

I hope that you enjoy these books as I did and that the diversity within the Latinx experience abounds from their pages!

Mis saludos,

Colleen

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Reading Roundup: 10 Children’s Books About Día de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos Reading Roundup

¡Buenos Días!

It’s that time of year! This week I’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite Día de los Muertos books, from which students can learn more deeply about the holiday’s traditions and history. The Día de los Muertos fiesta is a time for honoring and remembering. It is a time for celebrating family, ancestors, history, and loved ones who have passed away. It is mainly celebrated in Mexico, Guatemala and the United States, fusing Native Mesoamerican traditions with Spanish traditions. On our site, you can click on our Día de los Muertos tab under “Our Most Popular Themes” to see our many posts about Day of the Dead. Just this week Charla posted a video that teaches the meaning behind Día de los Muertos, and Katrina posted about Pictorial Input Charts for teaching about it in the classroom. Furthermore, we have a Halloween and Día de los Muertos Roundup of Books that is worth checking out. I hope you enjoy this month’s Reading Roundup, and that it helps with the teaching of this exciting holiday!

¡Saludos!
Kalyn

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Sobre Octubre: Resources on Día de los Muertos, Remembering, and Celebrating

Sobre Octubre: Resources on Día de los Muertos, Remembering, and CelebratingHi, everyone,

I’m here to wrap up our September focus on “Resources to Honor and Understand Latin American Influences,” and introduce you to the themes we’ll be tackling in October: Día de los Muertos, remembering, and celebrating.

Before I talk about our upcoming month, I have to acknowledge that we’re still smack dab in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), and here at Vamos a Leer remain caught in a love-hate relationship with it.  Even while HHM promotes the discussion about Latin@/Hispanic culture, it minimizes the conversation to stereotypes and relegates the information to one month out of the year, effectively communicating to students that Latin@/Hispanic heritage offers a “break” from the real curriculum; it’s apart from authenticate knowledge. There are many, many reasons why this is problematic. Katrina has discussed some of them on the blog, joining other educators such as Enid Lee and Deborah Menkart who advocate for a “beyond heroes and holidays” approach to education. In short, she’s advocated for a classroom where discussions of other cultures are not limited to one month out of the year, but instead are integrated meaningfully throughout the curriculum.

But we’re not suggesting dismissing HHM completely. Instead, much like readers who responded to a recent poll on “How do you feel about Hispanic Heritage Month? Tell us” organized by LatinoUSA, we suggest that HHM is “what you make of it.” Let’s use this an opportunity to start (or better, continue!) meaningful conversations about Latin@/Hispanic heritage, but conversations unfettered by the arbitrary dates of Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. Continue reading

Reading Roundup: 10 Bilingual Children’s Books about Immigration

Vamos a Leer | Reading Roundup: 10 Bilingual Children's Books About Immigration

¡Buenos días!

For this month’s booklist I’ve compiled a “Reading Roundup” of 10 recommended bilingual books that look at the subject of Latin America/US immigration through the eyes of children. The titles are generally for ages five and up, and all include both English and Spanish text in the same edition.  We don’t propose that this is a definitive list of the best books on the topic, but we do highly recommend each of the books included here.

Although immigration is a dense and complicated topic, children’s books offer an accessible yet meaningful way to approach it – children can relate to the characters at eye-level.  This can be powerfully authenticating for students who have experienced these issues themselves. It may also be traumatizing and emotional for them, so know your students and be prepared to provide a supportive environment when reading this book. As for students who have never been exposed to immigration except through the generalizations and stereotypes heard on the news, these intimate stories involving family, acceptance, and struggle offer a worthwhile alternative and provide the space for the development of empathy. Continue reading