¡Mira, Look! Carmela Full of Wishes/ Los Deseos de Carmela

Queridos lectores,

Para cerrar febrero, hemos elegido una historia que habla sobre el amor hacia la familia. El libro del que hablaré a continuación fue escrito en inglés y cuenta también con una edición en español. ¡Animamos a los lectores a que comenten en ambos idiomas!

El libro infantil Carmela Full of Wishes o Los deseos de Carmela fue producido por el escritor estadounidense Matt de la Peña y por el ilustrador estadounidense Christian Robinson, cuya colaboración anterior fue el galardonado libro infantil Last Stop on Market Street. Ahora, los dos han producido otro libro espectacular, esta vez con una narrativa que gira alrededor del día de cumpleaños de una niña pequeña en una comunidad migrante.  La historia combina elementos del entorno social de Carmela, con su historia de amor fraternal y familiar. De manera sutil, elementos fuertes tales como la deportación de su padre y el desempleo, son intercalados con la ilusión de una niña ante la posibilidad de pedir un deseo.

Al inicio de la historia, Carmela sopla las velas de su pastel, pero no pide nada para sí misma. Su sueño ya se había cumplido, puesto que la niña ya era lo suficientemente grande como para acompañar a su hermano mayor en sus quehaceres diarios. Pero para él, tener a su hermana de compañía durante todo el día es menos que ideal, y esto introduce tensión entre ambos.

A lo largo de la historia ambos atraviesan altibajos. Para mí esta situación es interesante, ya que de la Peña no idealiza la relación fraternal. La mayor parte del libro, ambos pelean y se responden de mala manera. No obstante, es su hermano quién enseña a Carmela a encontrar belleza donde menos lo espera. Mientras caminan, encuentran un diente de león creciendo en el pavimento, y ella aprende que, si sopla las pelusas, podría pedir un deseo. Carmela se ilusiona e imagina todas las cosas que se podrían cumplir. Uno de sus deseos, es que su padre vuelva a casa, algo que no es posible al momento ya que él no tiene sus papeles en regla. Los deseos de la niña son acompañados por ilustraciones de papel picado que nos muestran cuales serían los deseos de Carmela.

Esta combinación refuerza la conexión de la historia de Carmela con su entorno social y cultural. El papel picado, es un elemento cultural importante en México. Se lo usa en celebraciones tales como el día de los muertos o pascua. Además, al inicio de la historia, de la Peña menciona el olor de las caléndulas, también conocidas como flor de muertos ya que se lo usa en esta celebración.  Lo que me lleva a pensar en la intención del autor y del ilustrador en reforzar la idea de la importancia de la familia y de la conexión con nuestra cultura.

La historia tiene componentes de la cultura mexicana, sin embargo, el hecho de que la historia no mencione directamente a ningún lugar o país hace que sea una historia con la que muchos lectores puedan identificarse. En su página oficial, el autor menciona su intención de mostrar a niños migrantes un personaje con el que ellos puedan identificarse. Además, menciona el hecho de que una gran cantidad de familias en Estados Unidos son de estatus mixto, es decir los padres tienen diferentes estatus migratorios. Para de la Peña, muestra la faceta humana de estadísticas y cifras que encontramos sobre familias y personas de distintas procedencias y situaciones.

Al final, ambos hermanos llegan a un entendimiento el uno del otro y la historia nos muestra que la belleza del amor fraternal no se basa en una idealización o armonía constante, si no en que al final del día siempre estamos los unos para los otros. El autor finaliza la historia con un final abierto, en el que el lector puede poner su propio significado. Para mí, es la realización de Carmela que su vida está llena de promesa, y que no necesita distraerse de su realidad ya que lo que la rodea tiene su propia belleza.

Para más información sobre el contenido del libro, visite estos links:

Nos vemos pronto,

Carolina


Citation: All the above images have been included and modified from the book
Carmela Full of Wishes

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October 27h | Week in Review

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¡Hola a todos! I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and enjoys this week’s resources.

La Bloga posted a new book spotlight: “Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life” by Alberto Ledesma. “In this hybrid memoir, Alberto Ledesma wonders, ‘At what point does a long-time undocumented immigrant become an American in the making?’”

– Our American Indians in Children’s Literature friends still do not recommend: The Secret Project by Jonah and Jeanette Winter. Some people suggested that the original evaluation of the book was not clear and short so they went back to do an in-depth analysis, at which point they still expressed strong reservations.

— Also, Beacon Broadside shared a Q & A with editor Jennifer Browdy – a Latin American and Caribbean professor at Simon’s Rock College in Massachusetts. She speaks about her involvement in the book Women in Writing Resistance: Essays on Latin America and Caribbean, offering a behind-the-scenes take on what inspired it and why it’s important.

–Check out why the blog De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children recommends the short story collection, Cuentos de SanTana/SanTana’s Fairy Tales, is recommended.

Children’s Book Council posted the latest Q & A with Author Anna-Marie McLemore and her latest book Wild Beauty. “Writing inclusive stories was a matter of letting the truth I already know have a place in my work.”

– Lastly, from America Reads Spanish, check out the upcoming release (31st of this October) of the book Las Aventuras de Batgirl en Super Hero High by Lisa Yee. In this book, award-winning author Yee follows DC comics’ female superheroes and villains, creating mystery, thrills, and laughs for her readers.

Abrazos,
Alin Badillo


Image: Teotihuacan Aztec Ruins, Mexico City. Reprinted from Flickr user Chrisinphylly5448 under CC©.

WWW: The Dream is Now

Vamos a Leer | WWW: The Dream is Now ¡Feliz viernes a todos!

I hope everyone has enjoyed their first few weeks of classes!  If your weeks were anything like the normal first few weeks of the school year, it’s probably safe to say they have been busy as ever.  Is anyone ready for a movie break?  I know I am.  This week, I introduce a short documentary that is available as an online resource.  It’s just thirty minutes long, but it packs a powerful message.  The film is called The Dream is Now and it is about how the broken immigration system in the United States affects the lives of those with the “undocumented” status living in this country.  With this resource, I’m building on the themes that Keira elaborated on earlier this week: resources to honor and understand Latin American cultural influences and experiencesContinue reading

WWW: Teaching the Realities of Border Crossing

Border 1 NatGeoWhy do you think people choose to cross the border?  That is the first of the “questions to consider” in the teaching resources section of the website for “The Undocumented”, an acclaimed documentary that aired last year on PBS, and covers the deadly journey across the Sonoran desert undertaken by so many north-bound migrants in hope of a life in the United States.

This website is fantastic; not only is it completely interactive and offers an in-depth, teacher-friendly resources section, it also offers the ability to play a unique video game, “The Migrant Trail”, designed as a supplementary medium for the documentary. Continue reading

WWW: NPR – Borderland Dispatches

Santa Muerte - Image from NPR Borderland: Dispatches

Santa Muerte – Image from NPR Borderland: Dispatches

Journalist Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition recently traveled 2,500 miles along the US/Mexico border, photographing and documenting what he saw:

We were seeking stories of people, goods and culture that cross the border. Heavily fortified though it is, the border remains the place where two nations meet, trade, clash and influence one another. It’s a place to see history — how the United States spread across the West, into lands that once belonged to Mexico — and a place to glimpse both nations’ emerging futures. We meant to explore big issues like immigration, crime and business through the personal stories of people who cross.

The resulting stories document various aspects of life along the border, including the tales of immigrants, asylum seekers, musicians, vendors, students, border patrol agents, cartel hitmen, and ordinary folks on both sides of the line. Continue reading

WWW: Resources for Teaching about the Border

border

Photo from Flickr CC user: Wonderlane

UNM’s Latin American and Iberian Institute previously hosted a K-12 professional development workshop on teaching about the US-Mexico border. Keira and Katrina created an accompanying online resource for educators that I have personally found to be extremely helpful for understanding the complexity of the region.

Resources for Teaching about the Border is a gateway to dozens of carefully crafted K-12 lesson plans that were created by the Kellogg Institute, the Bracero History Archive, New Mexico State University’s Center for Latin American & Border Studies, Teaching Tolerance, and dozens of other reputable organizations.

Lesson plans cover diverse border issues in the areas of history, economics, immigration, media, and physical landscapes. Some examples include: Continue reading

WWW: PBS Documentary – “The Graduates / Los Graduados”

The GraduatesChastity lives with her mother and three brothers in a homeless shelter in the Bronx. She’s trying to graduate high school. Her mother, who dropped out of school, explains: “She sees exactly what happens if you don’t have an education. She sees that. She loves school; thank god she loves school. . .”

Chastity’s story is featured in Part I of the Bernardo Ruiz documentary, “The Graduates,” which aired on PBS on Tuesday. The 55 minute video is now available to stream online in English and Spanish. Part I, titled “The Girls,” gives first-hand accounts of challenges facing Chastity and other Latinas who fight through discouragement, discrimination, poverty, pregnancy, and violence to receive their diplomas.

The film intersperses the girls’ stories with commentary from family members, school officials, social workers, activists, and San Antonio’s Mayor Julián Castro. The end result is an illuminating and genuine tearjerker that made this blogger grateful for his relatively cushy high school experience.  Continue reading

WWW: “The Undocumented”

Photo by Flickr CC User: DrStarbuck

Photo by Flickr CC User: DrStarbuck

In 1994 the United States launched Operation Gatekeeper, effectively militarizing the US-Mexico border. Within three years, agents strapped with M4 rifles and .40 caliber submachine guns patrolled their newly-installed fences 24 hours a day. The INS budget and the size of the Border Patrol doubled during the same period and the easiest routes north were sealed. Policymakers envisioned human action in economic terms, expecting that people would make a “cost-benefit decision” before deciding to journey across more dangerous terrain. They believed that no rational actor would assume the “cost” of crossing Arizona’s Sonora Desert in the summertime.

Policymakers were wrong. Each day this summer, countless migrants will begin 4-5 day treks in 110 degree heat for a chance to live and work in the United States. Many will never make it out of the desert. Continue reading