6 Things I’m Thinking About 11/9

This week’s round-up is focused on celebration – celebrating up-and-coming children’s books artists, Latino American stories, and the young first-gen and immigrant-origin youth that are making the United States a better, brighter place. Read on for more!

  1. We Need Diverse Books announced their 2016 Walter Dean Myers Award Winners! These are the up-and-coming children’s/YA authors to look out for. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for their work!
  2. Are you thinking about holiday shopping for little ones? (Or maybe you’re a children’s lit fan yourself! If so, you’re in good company.) Here’s list of Latino children’s books everyone should have on their bookshelves. Enchanted Air made the list in the YA category!fullsizerender-2
  3. I really resonated with Latina American author Meg Medina’s reflections on Writing the American family: “My parents came to the United States during the mass political exodus of the Cuban upper and middle class in the 1960s. All these years later, I still find joy in writing about families grappling with transition and about how children fit into that dynamic over time.” Lots of great book recommendations here, too!
  4. Dreamers – the young, bright undocumented students protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act – are some of the United States’s greatest assets. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein explains in an editorial.
  5. A study from the U.S. Dept. of Education finds the real, measurable economic gains propelled by… new American graduates! First-gen and immigrant youth reading this blog, your voices are SO important, and you’re going to make us all proud 🙂

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    First snowfall! The white-frosted view on the way to my 9am Spanish class.

  6. Last of all, snow has powdered the grounds of my university! Which also means final exams are around the corner. I’m going to take a hiatus for the next week or so as I replace reading YA with some old French philosophers. Wish me luck, and I’ll see you on the other side!

6 Things I’m Thinking About 12/03

Read ahead for 6 thoughts on racism in education and bilingual language learning. In addition, educators and artists speak about the current state of American politics.

  1. Continuing this discussion about how lack of representation in publishing can harm children, The Atlantic’s article on “How Racism Contributes to the Achievement Gap” addresses some painful truths about the psychological damage of racism in the education space. grwaoi9eioq-delfi-de-la-rua.jpg
  2. I was moved by this op-ed on the power of bilingualism, from author Héctor Tobar: “For Latino immigrant children, Spanish is the key that unlocks the untranslatable wisdom of their elders, and that reveals the subtle truths in their family histories… And they are more likely to see the absurdity in the rants of xenophobes and racists.”
  3. Furthermore, bilingualism benefits everyone, not just English Language Learners. The Hechinger Report finds that the benefits extend to young Black students, too.
  4. From Chalkbeat: Three undocumented teachers, fueled by passion to open doors for all students through education, talk about the implications of the presidential election.
  5. Read the Declaration in Support of Children on The Brown Bookshelf. Hundreds of authors and illustrators signed affirming their dedication to use their art and expression to act against the bigotry that has been given a platform in the United States. I’m inspired to be a (small) part of this community of activists and artists.
  6. Black Friday is a big deal in my thrifty family. If you found amazing sales this past week, would you consider donating some of your savings to the We Need Diverse Books fundraiser? As I outline in the previous posts this past week, the work that WNDB does is not only important, but effective and achieves actionable results.

Have a wonderful weekend! Get ready for an exciting new book review next week… 🙂

Review: Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

Today, I am so excited to share a book that instantly spoke to my own life – one of those rare, brilliant shimmers of belonging. You know the feeling. When a book knows you so well, it puts words to your inarticulate emotions. When a book is a beacon light of not-alone-ness.


Full disclosure: Advanced Readers copy obtained as a gift from a friend whose parents own a small bookstore. (I love this friend all the more for bringing this book into my life.)

Growing up, I didn’t think that Filipina girls were important enough to be the heroine. Happily, I was wrong. Read on, and maybe, in ways different from mine, this book will be a light for you, too.
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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?

Words matter. So let’s talk about “illegal alien.”

Last night, with Halloween on the mind, we were thinking about creepy creatures. Monsters. Ghosts. Aliens, maybe?

Tonight, let’s talk about something else that should give us chills: How everyday language permits dehumanizing thoughts and actions toward people. Okay, it’s not a monster, but this should be frightening because this is a real problem that impacts real people.

This day after the Halloween revelry, we’re going to talk about the use of the word “illegal alien.”

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