¡Mira, Look!: Pasando páginas / Turning Pages: My Life Story

Queridos lectores,

Continuing with our celebration of Women’s History Month, the next book we have chosen is Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. This autobiographical children’s book is actually written by Sotomayor and is illustrated by the award-winning Puerto Rican author and illustrator, Lulu Delacre. It is also available as a Spanish edition, Pasando páginas: La historia de mi vida.

The book opens with a description of Sotomayor’s bilingual and bi-worldly upbringing. Since childhood, she had to balance both English and Spanish, both New York where she was born, and Puerto Rico where her parents came from. Sotomayor’s story reflects in this way the story of many other girls who grew up in the Bronx, or in other parts of the world, whose parents are migrants, and grow up hearing of places that maybe they themselves have never been to. But still, they share a profound love for this plac; it constitutes a part of their own story and imaginary, and they have inherited a type of longing for it.

Sotomayor’s memories of family gatherings and her grandmother reciting nostalgic poems about her home in a faraway island, marked the beginning of her love for words. Through hardships and different life experiences, books were her constant friend, marking a path of discovery of our world, and of fictional ones.

This book shows us a complicated and beautifully interwoven narrative of struggle, sorrow, a child’s encounter with hardship, the powerful impact that family has in our lives, and the importance of books and education. Lulu Delacre’s illustrations entwines images of book pages with that of life experiences, and at one a point in the story the steps that Sotomayor takes towards a court house and her future as justice, are book pages.

 “every book I ever read took me the next step I needed to go in school and in life”

The love she has for them is all around her. Sotomayor mentions two particularly important books. In school she learned the importance of laws for society after reading Lord of the Flies, and about compassion and when she read the Bible. For her, “books were lenses, bringing into focus truths about the world around me.” An idea that goes hand in hand with the illustrations. Sometimes they show a landscape or a building and as a lens or a zoom, the image of Sotomayor’s story, which gives us the feeling of her life being one marked by a multitude of experiences.

 Turning Pages shows us the many pieces of the puzzle that make up Sotomayor’s story, marked by a feeling of wanderlust, resilience, and love of family. Before the story begins, and after it ends, there are several photos that show us her life. At the beginning there are pictures of her as a child and at the end pictures of her professional life and, in both, she is sharing moments with friends and family.

For more information about the book, watch this PBS interview with Sotomayor and this book trailer video.

Nos vemos pronto,

Carolina



Citation: All the above images were done by Lulu Delacre, and are from the book Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor.

¡Mira Look!: Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes

portraitsSaludos todos! Our book for this week is Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes, written by Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Raúl Colón (the same illustrator from last week’s book, Tomás and the Library Lady). Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes won the Pura Belpré Honor Book award for narrative in 2015, and perfectly embodies this month’s endeavor of honoring exceptional Latinos in children’s literature, as well as in society as a whole.

Each chapter of this wonderful compilation of portraits narrates the life and work of a Latinx hero, ranging from iconic activists such as Dolores Huerta and César Chávez, to trail-blazing intellectuals such as Sonia Sotomayor and Tomás Rivera, to some of my own personal idols, such as contemporary singer Joan Baez and 1920s author Julia de Burgos.

Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx

soniaAs the fall gets underway, we hope that all of the little ones are off to a good start.  Most students (and teachers) tend to start out with a great vision for how the year will unfold. Thus, it is a great time to explore what the word vision means. To most of us, vision signifies a goal or a dream. To our students, it means much the same; however, many, especially the younger ones, have yet to develop a voice for what exactly it means to have a vision, or goals. Since Hispanic Heritage month is also underway, we thought it would be appropriate to share with our students the inspirational story of one young Latina and what it means to follow one’s dreams.

Jonah Winter’s Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx/ La juez que creció en el Bronx exemplifies what can happen if someone follows his or her dreams. Continue reading

WWW: De Colores – The Raza Experience

Logo from the De Colores blog can be found at: http://decoloresreviews.blogspot.com/p/art.html

Logo from the De Colores blog can be found at: http://decoloresreviews.blogspot.com

The libraries are loaded with children’s books that address Latino culture. Some of these books provide multifaceted, culturally honest insight into the histories and experiences of Latino people. Many do not. It’s fair to say that we can easily fill a room with “multicultural” books that are superficial or even plainly dishonest.

Luckily, De Colores: “The Raza Experience in Books for Children” has recently hit the blogosphere, reviewing and critiquing “children’s and young adult books about Raza peoples throughout the Diaspora.” The blog’s contributors–a dream team of award-winning authors, educators, community activists, and artists–have already reviewed dozens of books, creating an essential resource for parents, teachers, and librarians who are interested in moving beyond token treatment of heroes and holidays.  Continue reading

¡Mira Look!: Cesar Chavez and the Struggle for Justice

sonia sotomayorHello faithful blog readers! I apologize for my lack of WWW post on Friday. Last week was especially busy getting ready for some distinguished and exciting talks. Today has proved much the same, but I’ve got a quick post with just a few more titles. Continuing our discussion from last week on the Latino struggle for civil rights, Katrina had some great suggestions for books to teach about famous Latino/a- Americans who have overcome adversity and championed a cause. Continue reading