¡Mira Look!: Miracle on 133rd Street

Image result for miracle on 133rd street lesson plansSaludos todos! I hope everyone had a nice and relaxing Thanksgiving break! This week we’re continuing with our November themes of food and the cultural importance of food while also transitioning into our brief December focus on winter celebrations. We’ve spent November highlighting the importance of food in cultural celebrations and rituals as well as community environments, which has been a nice way for us to bridge the celebrations of late October and early November such as Day of the Dead, late November celebrations such as Thanksgiving, and December celebrations such as Christmas and Las Posadas.

133rd-1 Our book for this week, Miracle on 133rd Street, written by Sonia Manzano and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, focuses on the frantic energy of the yuletide season, as a family tries to find space for their holiday roast. The oven is too small in the family’s tiny, New York City apartment, forcing them to journey through the halls of their apartment complex, seeking help from their diverse neighbors, all of whom are also anticipating and preparing for their own holiday celebrations. The plot of finding space for the holiday roast is what drives the story showing how food facilitates community and brings people together. Food is at the crux of this exciting and endearing plot, as it is for many of us celebrating the holidays.

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¡Mira, Look!: Sonia Manzano

Photo is courtesy of the Library of Congress website

Photo is courtesy of the Library of Congress website

Hello, everyone! I know this is going to be a busy month with Halloween and Día de los muertos celebrations, but we wanted to take some time this week to examine prominent Latina writer and actress Sonia Manzano. Manzano, daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, grew up in the South Bronx. She developed an interest in the performing arts at a young age. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York City as well as Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Manzano gained acclaim as an actress in the 1970s when she joined the production of Godspell. Since that time, Manzano has performed in other on-stage productions. Manzano also portrayed the character of María on Sesame Street for ten years, and she would later go on to write for the show. For her work as a part of the writing staff at Sesame Street, Manzano has won fifteen Emmy awards. Continue reading

Book Review: The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

The Revolution of Evelyn SerranoThe Revolution of Evelyn Serrano
Written by Sonia Manzano
Published by Scholastic Press, 2012
ISBN:   9780545325059
Age Level: Grades 5 and Up

Description (From GoodReads):

There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and stepfather. Her true feelings about growing up in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, and her attitude about Abuela, her sassy grandmother who’s come from Puerto Rico to live with them.

Then, like an urgent ticking clock, events erupt that change everything. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, dump garbage in the street and set it on fire, igniting a powerful protest.

When Abuela steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action. Tempers flare, loyalties are tested. Through it all, Evelyn learns important truths about her Latino heritage and the history makers who shaped a nation.

Infused with actual news accounts from the time period, Sonia Manzano has crafted a gripping work of fiction based on her own life growing up during a fiery, unforgettable time in America, when young Latinos took control of their destinies.

My thoughts:

This book accomplishes something that no other young adult book I know about does: it tells the story of the Puerto Rican Civil Rights Movement during the late 1960s in New York City, while contextualizing it within Puerto Rico’s own tumultuous history.  The majority of the time when we teach about the Civil Rights Movement, it’s limited to a few famous African-Americans.  While this certainly doesn’t do justice to the widespread social activism of the African-American community and its supporters, it also leaves out Latino/a involvement in this same social movement. Continue reading

Washington, D.C. Event: Exploring Latino and Latin American Literature for the K-12 Classroom

Americas Award Workshop email_FINALWe usually highlight our local Albuquerque, New Mexico events, but this opportunity in D.C. is so exciting that we had to share it in case any of our readers would be able to attend! We wish we could be there!!

Monday, September 23, 2013, is a day of activities dedicated to the Américas Award, with a workshop in the morning for teachers and librarians, and an afternoon award ceremony open to the public.  Below are details concerning both:  Continue reading

Our Next Good Read. . .The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

Join us October 7th at Bookworks from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  We are The Revolution of Evelyn Serranoreading The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano (Grades 5 and up) by Sonia Manzano.

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

There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and stepfather. Her true feelings about growing up in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, and her attitude about Abuela, her sassy grandmother who’s come from Puerto Rico to live with them. Continue reading

Book Giveway!! The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

Sonia-Manzano-ReadsWe’re giving away a copy of The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano written by Sonia Manzano–our featured novel for October’s book group meeting (and just in time for Hispanic Heritage month)!! Check out the following from Kirkus Review: Continue reading

¡Mira Look!: The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

evelyn serranoAs our current Vamos A Leer theme, we’ve been discussing race in YA literature and I took my first book recommendation hot off the press from the 2013 Pura Belpré Award list. The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano is the 2013 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book winner and it is well deserved. In this historical fiction novel, written in exciting, inviting and descriptive English with smatterings of Spanish (technical, slang and geographically specific) Manzano traces the lives of New York Puerto Ricans during the late 1960s when the Young Lords emphatically put their struggle into the public eye. Continue reading