6 Things I’m Thinking About

Read on for 6 things about undocumented immigrant children and how, on the policy level, schools support immigrant-origin students!

  1. Still waiting to receive your copy of Something in Between? In the meantime, read “My Life as an Undocumented Student”, an extremely moving essay by Pultizer Prize-winning Filipino American journalist Jose Antonio Vargas.
  2. How did people in this country fight for immigrant students’ right to education? Let’s talk about Plyler v. Doe.
  3. Mexican American children’s book author Duncan Tonatiuh talks about the importance of seeing more Latino kids in children’s books. Though I blog YA, his Pura Belpré Award-winning book Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & her Family’s Fight for Desegregation is definitely on my to-read list.  


    Source: Goodreads.com

  4. Unfamiliar with the landmark Mendez v. Westminster case for desegregation of “whites only” and “Mexican only” schools, a desegregation case that took place 10 years before Brown v. Board? It took place just by my hometown, and I didn’t even find out about it until I visited the Civil Rights Museum in college!  Catch up on this compelling case here.
  5. I’ve never thought of this before, and now I realize its little talked-about cruciality. This NPR article on how schools can act to reach children of migrant farm workers will put our educational system in an entirely new light. Every child, no matter what, has a right to a quality education.
  6. Are you looking for more picture books? (Always.) One that I think is particularly salient is Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestre, a bilingual book by René Colato Laínez and illustrated by Laura Lacamra. It’s about a little girl who sees her mother’s resident alien card and immediate jumps to fantastical conclusions. I had the pleasure of working on this book as a publishing intern. Read Lainez’s essay illuminating “No More ‘Illegal Aliens’” essay here!

Source: Lee & Low Books

Have a fantastic weekend! What will you be reading?


A Literary Weekend in Providence, RI

Since coming to college, Providence has become a beloved second home. But as a newly minted book blogger, I often find myself longing to be in New York, the storied center-of-it-all where everyone seems to be brushing shoulders, having deep and impassioned conversations beside a cupcake spread.

But this weekend, Providence showed its love for children’s books in this city’s own, quietly eminent ways. Read on for more about the Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books Authors and Illustrators and a reading from an author who brings authentic, diverse stories to children’s bookshelves across the country.


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I, Too by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

I’m sharing one of my favorite poems because there are no better words to reflect the problematic, fractious nature of an American history we are called upon to challenge today; and yet, there are no better words to muster pride.

It is from a place of intention and reflection (on what America is, on how I want to recognize the dignity of my fellow Americans) that I say I am celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day today. I hope you and your loved ones are having a wonderful weekend as well.

6 Things I’m Thinking About

The 6 things that intrigued me from this past week. Read on for diversity in literature news and how schools can support immigrant/first-gen children!


  1. October is Filipino American History Month! Celebrate with these books by Filipino authors. Look out for Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz on this blog soon.
  2. Diverse books meets Netflix:  Publishers Weekly reports the We Need Diverse Books organization will soon be launching OurStory, an app that curates #ownvoices stories written from traditionally marginalized perspectives. One of my favorite picture books, Juna’s Jar, is in the database!
  3. If you’re looking for new ways to visualize “mirrors” and the need for diversity in children’s books, ReadingSpark has a thought-provoking  infographic. The illustrations underscore the fact that kids do take notice. So let’s do better!

  4. A Nashville middle school that specializes in nurturing the needs of recent immigrant students is the topic of this story from Chalkbeat. How do they do it? “Creative teaching,” article explains, so that teachers “aren’t just relying on English to help students master grade-level material.” But isn’t it so that creative, adaptive teaching methods benefit all students?
  5. I encourage readers from California to consider Proposition 58, which would give schools more freedom to expand bilingual programs for some of the most linguistically diverse kids in the country. So proud of my multilingual home state.
  6. The latest episode of the This American Life podcast follows a Somali refugee who wins a lottery that could make his dreams of living in the United States come true. Gripping, honest, and told with journalistic integrity above all, “Abdi and the Golden Ticket” invites reflection on the privilege of citizenship, and what it takes to become a naturalized citizen.

A corgi walks onto campus and suddenly life is filled with new meaning. Have a happy Indigenous Peoples Day weekend!

Representation & the YA Novel

Let’s be clear: Representation matters.

In a 1990 essay on the paucity of representation of children of color in children’s literature, Rudine Sims Bishop wrote of books as windows into others’ worlds and doors into new experiences. Anyone who grew up a lover of stories can attest to this joy, the sparking of wonder in a book.

Sims points out that books are also mirrors. Children can see themselves in positive, empowering light, reflecting their possibilities. But what happens when we consider children of color, who comprise 50% of public school students but who only populate roughly 13%  of children’s stories? Where are their mirrors, and what possibilities do they see?

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