February 23, 2018 | Week in Review

2018-02-23-WWW

Hello, all,

I’m with you for one more week while Alin is away. It’s a treat for me to contribute here at Vamos a Leer. I hope you enjoy reading the resources as much as I enjoyed gathering them. Be well and have a good weekend!

  • Have you heard about the Children’s Africana Book Award, or CABA? It’s much like the Américas Award, but with a focus on Africa. In February, CABA is inviting readers everywhere to choose any week during the month as a “Read Africa Week.”  They “invite teachers, librarians, parents, and concerned adults to kick off Black History Month with great books about Africa and continue reading about Africa all year.”  Learn more at the CABA website, where they offer recommendations and reviews to get you started.
  • An NPR segment on February 19th focused on teaching about slavery using the Zinn Education Project.  As the Zinn Education Project reports, “the segment addressed the question of ‘How Do You Teach Slavery?’ with Adam Sanchez, Zinn Education Project curriculum writer/teacher organizer. Sanchez, who has written extensively about teaching people’s history, is a high school U.S. history teacher and Rethinking Schools editor. Also on the show were Hasan Kwame Jeffries, chair of the Teaching Tolerance ‘Teaching Hard History’ Advisory Board and associate professor of history at Ohio State University, and Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance, Southern Poverty Law Center. The 1A show focused on a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center called ‘Teaching Hard History: American Slavery.’ The one-hour show is streaming online.”
  • With Black Panther sweeping the nation, some educators are curious about how to bring it into the classroom. One teacher did just that, designing a curriculum for “students who are seeing Black Panther, as a means to having them engage more critically and thoughtfully with the film. The curriculum assumes that students…have previous experience studying the African continent, its diversity, and colonialism.” To read Tess Raser’s curriculum for 5th-8th grades (and adaptable to high school), check out her Black Panther Film Movie Companion for Middle Grades.
  • Author Lyn Miller-Lachmann recently wrote a blog piece on “Seven Asian American Authors Speak Out,” recounting an afternoon when “more than 100 people, mostly teens and young adults” packed together in a room to hear Asian American authors discussing the writing experience and what it meant to find, read, and then write books with characters whose stories matched their own lives. As Miller-Lachmann observed, “The panelists offered fascinating insights from their experiences as well as valuable advice for all writers, whether they write own voices stories or develop characters from outside their personal experiences.”
  • Bustle recently highlighted the cultural invisibility of Afro-Latinx cultures by publishing a piece on How Afro-Latinx People Made Huge Contributions to Black History – Then Got Erased. “As scholars Juan Flores and Miriam Jimenez Roman write in the journal Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, ‘the groups are presented as adversarial and mutually exclusive: either you are Latino [sic] or you are Black.’ Often times, celebrations of Black History Month follow this paradigm, without recognizing Afro-Latinx people as foundational to Black history.”
  • NPR shared a piece on “Afro-Latino Musical Traditions,” which you can listen to anytime. “You can hear it there. African culture is embedded in the beats and rhythms of Latin America. And this is Black History Month.”
  • Last week we shared that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt launch Versify, a new diversity imprint. This week we learned that Penguin Young Readers is treading the same path, launching a new imprint “called Kokila, that will focus on diverse books for children and young adults….authors and illustrators already set to be published under the Kokila imprint include Pablo Cartaya, Sherine Hamdy, Myra El-Mir, Isabel Quintero, Zeke Peña, John Corey Whaley, Calista Brill, and Nilah Magruder.” Some of our favorites and TBR authors are on this list, so we’re excited to see what new books come to our shelves!

 

Cheers,
Keira


Image: Beadwork from KwaZulu-Natal, a province in South Africa. Reprinted from Flickr user Karen Lotter under CC©.

February 16, 2018 | Week in Review

Hello, all,

I’m stepping in this Friday while Alin is out of the office. As always, more happened in the past week than we can begin to tap into here. Forefront in our minds are the students whose lives were taken. We take a moment of silence to acknowledge and honor them, and grieve with their loved ones. [long pause and deep breath]

  • For more than 10 years, the writers at The Brown Bookshelf have used Black History Month as inspiration for their flagship initiative, 28 Days Later, a month-long showcase of the best in Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult novels written and illustrated by Black creators. Their 2018 collection, currently at #16, is inspiring and we highly encourage you to check it out.
  • Ever heard of a sensitivity reader? They’re the folks who read books prior to publication to help authors sensitively and accurately portray characters if they’re of a different culture. Recently, Dhonielle Clayton, a sensitivity reader, author, and one of the chief executives of We Need Diverse Books, shared some insight into her work and its importance. You can learn more by reading the articles “What the Job of a Sensitivity Reader is Really Like” and “Sensitivity Reading Reinforces and Encourages a More Diverse and Aware Publishing Process.” She writes that, while “Many claim that sensitivity readers are diversity police officers telling (white) writers that they cannot write cross-culturally…one thing that gets left out of the conversation is that, when an author fails to write well-rounded, fleshed-out characters outside their own realm of experience, it’s, at its core, a craft failure. In simple terms: it’s bad writing.”
  • We heard that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will launch a new imprint, Versify, in Spring 2019, and that it will be curated by author Kwame Alexander! “‘I get asked what will make Versify different from other imprints,’ says Kwame Alexander. ‘The truth is we are not reinventing publishing. It’s the same ingredients in our kitchen as everyone else’s: we want to publish books for children that are smart and fun, that inform and inspire, that help children imagine a better world. My goal is just to make sure there are more chefs in the kitchen, more voice sin the room, that create unique and intelligent entertainment that electrifies and edifies young people.”
  • Mind overloaded at the end of the week? How about taking in a few short sound bytes about why we need diverse books?
  • And, ending on an uplifting note, we offer congratulations and felicidades to the authors and illustrators who received recognition at the recent American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards! Congrats to Ruth Behar for Lucky Broken Girl, Pablo Cartaya for The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, Celia E. Pérez for The First Rule of Punk, Susan Middleton Elya and Juan Martinez-Neal for La Princesa and the Pea, Monica Brown and John Parra for Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, and Xelena Gonzalez and Adriana M. Garcia for All Around Us! Visit Latinx in Kid Lit for links to reviews and more info about these authors, illustrators, and their respective works.

Best,
Keira