As the week draws to a close, we are pleased to share our findings from happenings related to Latinx narratives, children’s literature, and multicultural education, but first we acknowledge the humbling power and strength of the many students and teachers who marched, stood, or took a knee this week to protest shootings within schools. To be inspired by the students’ actions and to fit them within a larger history of social protest by youth, visit the Zinn Education Project on Twitter.
We start with a piece from the NYTimes: “Black Kids Don’t Want to Read About Harriet Tubman All the Time.” It’s an article that resonates with a lot of our internal conversations here at Vamos a Leer. The author, Denen Millner, acknowledges the advances in making children’s literature more inclusive, but critiques the industry’s ongoing tendency to focus on the mirror images of “degradation and endurance” of her people. She writes, “You can fill nearly half the bookshelves in the Schomburg with children’s books about the civil rights movement, slavery, basketball players and musicians, and various “firsts.” These stories consistently paint African-Americans as the aggrieved and the conquerors, the agitators and the superheroes who fought for their right to be recognized as full human beings…Meanwhile, stories about the everyday beauty of being a little human being of color are scarce.”
Lee & Low’s blog, The Open Book, is offering an ongoing series exploring what culturally responsive teaching looks like at different grade levels, and offering concrete examples and resources to go along with that. This week, they focused on Grade 4: Studying Informational Text .
From the amazing Jacqueline Woodson’s Twitter feed, we were tuned into this feature of Slam Poet Elizabeth Acevedo Debuts Novel, ‘The Poet X’.When asked what gave her the idea to write the novel, Acevedo responds with ” I was teaching eighth grade English Language Arts at a school with a high population of students of Latin American descent. One day, one of my students asked me why we never read books with students that looked like her and her classmates. I decided to write a book for her, and her classmates, and my younger self, and my best friend, for anyone who wants to read a story from a place that feels familiar.” Definitely a new #TBR for us here at Vamos a Leer!
Dwelling for a moment on Acevedo, here’s another review of the book and its impact for reclaiming heritage for young adult readers. “While struggles with faith, family, and self-acceptance are not unique teenage experiences, it is their presentation through the lens of Xiomara’s Afro-Latina heritage that makes her story a startling standout. “
Edi Rodríguez at CrazyQuiltEdit tackled the issues of #kidlitwomen in two recent posts titled Black Girls Economics in Young Adult Fiction and Black Girls Economics in Young Adult Fiction part 2 or This is What Marley Dias Was Talking About, a sobering reminder of how little representation and opportunities exist for authors of color. This series is part of her March effort to celebrate “Women’s History month with 31 days of posts focused on improving the climate for osical and gender equality in the children’s and teens’ industry.” She invites everyone to join the conversation on her blog or follow on Twitter via #kidlitwomen. She opens her post on Black Girls Economics with this poignant quote from Jacqueline Woodson, “What am I going to do about a time of my life in which the brilliance of Black girls had no mirror?”
Continuing with the theme of #KidLitWomen, Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children’s Literature is running a “campaign to lift Indigenous women who have written books for children and teens.” Visit her blog to be inspired, open your mind to new writers, and benefit from her hard work in compiling amazing titles from which you can choose. As she notes in the conclusion to her March 10th post on the topic: “I made an Indigenous #KidLitWomen pdf for you that has book titles on it, plus some gorgeous covers! Right after the book title is the name of the Native woman. In parenthesis is that woman’s nation, followed by the publisher and year the book was published. Here’s what it looks like (and beneath the image of it, you’ll see the book list), but hit that pdf link and print it out as many times as you want! Take it with you to the book store, to the library… to your next book club meeting!”
We’re a bit late catching wind of this resource, but still couldn’t resist sharing: 21 Books for an Inclusive Read Across America Day. It starts with Yo Soy Muslim, which we recently reviewed here, as well as many of our other favorite titles, such as Drum Dream Girl, Separate is Never Equal, Mama’s Nightingale, and more!
Similarly, we wish we’d found this sooner, but it maintains its power today, because every month should be Black History Month! From The Conscious Kid, Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys. This is a “curated list of children’s books celebrating Black boys, in partnership with Moms of Black Boys United. These books center, reflect, and affirm Black boys, and were written and illustrated by Black authors and artists.
Finally, if you’re in the New York area in April, you might consider registering for The Color of Children’s Literature Conference organized by Kweli, an online magazine whose “mission is to nurture emerging writers of color and create opportunities for their voices to be recognized and valued….[their] vision is for a world where the narratives being told reflect the truth of our histories and the possibilities for our future.”
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.”
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!
Saludos todos! As many parts of the country recently celebrated Columbus Day, and we are quickly approaching Thanksgiving, we wanted to take the time to draw attention to a new educational campaign, Abolish Columbus Day, created by the Zinn Education Project (a project of Teaching for Change and Rethinking Schools). Teaching for Change and Rethinking Schools are both excellent resources for educators interested in multicultural teaching, diverse literature and social justice, and we’ve featured their resources many times here on the blog. This initiative aims at rethinking Columbus Day and the way in which our history remembers the genocide and continued colonial practices against the indigenous peoples in the United States and Latin America.
¡Hola a todos! The month has passed by very fast. As we end September, think about the accomplishments and hard work people have done in just this one month to advocate for diverse literature and how much work still remains.
– Blood Orange Press has begun a campaign to publish books where “people of color and Native communities can tell their own story.” If you want to support them, their project is titled #ReadInColor.
– Lastly, in Facebook, Rethinking Schools encourages us to find out more about the Zinn Education Project- Teaching A People’s History. “Zinn’s work offers an alternative perspective that students need in order to think more critically about key issues in history,” expressed commenter William Thomas.
“I never thought in terms of fear, I thought in terms of justice.” –Emma Tenayuca,
–From Flickr user Rich (Sparky_R); used under Creative Commons
As promised, today I want to provide you some great book titles to teach about Civil Rights in your classroom. I’m orienting this post much like the last in which I give you small snippets of information about a few resources so you can quickly decide which resources to further investigate for your classroom. Continue reading →
Today I thought I’d do something a little different in ¡Mira Look!. As Katrina and I are getting deep into the posts on Civil Rights teachings, I wanted to tailor today’s post towards non-fiction books for teachers about Latino history and Latino struggles for rights. Next week, I will pick up again with books for the kiddos, but I thought it may be useful to give teachers a foundational understanding of some of the events/themes we’ve been discussing in order to ease the conversation and Q/A the books for kids may present. As such, I’m not going to give an extensive review of each book like I normally do; rather, provide you with some quick information so you can decide what to get from the library or your local bookstore. Continue reading →
Monument to Joe. Photo provided courtesy of Flickr user James Marvin Phelps.
Civil Rights studies, within the context of Black History Month, give us a great opportunity to expand our umbrella of understanding in order to encompass other groups that experience racism, discrimination and prejudice. In addition, deepening our understanding of the ties that bind us together in our struggles can help all of us recognize that fighting against injustice does not have to be an extraordinary act, rather, our students can recognize that fighting for what is right is ingrained in all of us and can be taken up from small acts to significant feats. Today, my suggestion for teaching that lesson is to study the history, culture, society, struggle and successes of African diasporas in Latin America and the Caribbean. Continue reading →
For the next few weeks, my WWW posts will focus on resources that provide ideas to teach Black History Month through a Latino lens. What I mean by that is two-fold:
1) Focusing on Latino peoples, cultures and experiences that are also centered on an African identity and history. Afro-Caribbean cultures — from Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and numerous other Caribbean islands — have a deep history in helping to shape Afro-Latino identity, society, culture, history and tradition. Yet, even when the US has designated a special month for celebrating Black History, these cultures are largely left out of this dialogue. Black History Month generally focuses on the contribution of African-Americans, as well it should, as they themselves are largely left out of cultural studies and discourse to the detriment of all. However, what about the experiences of Afro- Puerto Ricans/Cubans//Dominicans/Haitians who also identify as estado unidenses (Americans)? Their history is equally important and should be researched and brought into our classroom discussions. Continue reading →
I just came across these resources and wanted to share them here, as both seem to be popular topics among our readers.
Latino Heritage Month and Hispanic Heritage Month Resource: The Zinn Education Project just recently wrote about one of our own Vamos a Leer featured authors: Margarita Engle. They highlighted her book: Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba. They write, “This book of historical fiction by Margarita Engle for ages 10+ tells the story of refugee ships from Germany during WWII, turned away from the U.S. and Canada, that sailed on to Cuba. Despite an intense anti-Semitic propaganda campaign waged by German government agents in Cuba, and the fact that the island of Cuba was much smaller and poorer, Cuba took in 65,000 refugees. This is the same number as were taken in by the U.S.” Their facebook page also lists a number of upcoming events in D.C. related to Latino literature, including the Americas Book Award on October 5th where you can meet Engle.
Rethinking Columbus Resource: Rethinking Schools editor Bill Bigelow recently wrote an interesting article for GOOD magazine. Not only does he make a great argument for the need to Rethink Columbus, but also links the same ideological issues surrounding our teaching of Columbus to the recent attacks on Tucson’s Mexican-American Studies Program. Check out Bigelow’s latest “If We Knew Our History” column for the Zinn Education Project at http://www.good.is/posts/our-lies-about-columbus-are-at-the-root-of-arizona-s-mexican-american-studies-ban.
As many of our readers seem to be very interested in resources for teaching about Hispanic Heritage Month, I thought I’d write a quick post with links to more resources I’ve come across recently. If you haven’t read other posts we’ve shared on the topic, check out Ailesha’s and Cindy’s ideas.