May 27, 2009

Día 2009 North Carolina Surprises

On April 30th this year, I visited Forest View Elementary School in Durham, North Carolina. Second graders had prepared a surprise for me and their school mates. From memory, those cute students recited Book Fiesta: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day, Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros in English and Spanish. As I sat and listened, I thought about Día’s goals of connecting children to books, languages and cultures. What a way to start the day! The audience and I clapped and clapped as we did for another class that had memorized haiku from ¡Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué rico! I told the students that they were smarter than I was since I would have needed to look at the books to recite the poems. The art teacher had worked with her classes to create wonderful murals inspired by the two books.

I also had the pleasure of watching an impressive and energetic young librarian at the Durham County Library share my book The Race of Toad and Deer. That afternoon, the library surprised me with a trio playing Latin music in the library entry way before I spoke. I particularly enjoyed watching a librarian check in books to the rhythm of the music.

In Greensboro NC, I visited three schools to read and talk about Día and gave a reading for adults that evening at the Greensboro Public Library. It was wonderful to see students at Jones Spanish Immersion Magnet Elementary School excited about learning Spanish and to visit a school for newcomers, students working hard to make sense of their new country.

Every high school in Greensboro has a poet laureate. Isn’t that a great idea? I met with this diverse and talented group of young people for a poetry workshop and then attended a city-wide Día celebration, attended by about 2,000, that was combined with an arts event called Artbeat.

At North Carolina State University in Raleigh, I was fortunate to again speak to students graduating from the Elementary Education program. Warm congratulations to all graduates particularly those planning to work with young people. You are so needed!

May 18, 2009

Día in Detroit

What an exciting and gratifying time I enjoyed at Día celebrations in three cities. Thanks to my host, author and administrator Ethriam Brammer at Wayne State University, I spoke on his campus and at a school in SW Detroit. I also attended the annual Día celebration held in that part of the city. Because the attendance has grown through the years, this year the event was held in a park on a Sunday.

The idea for beginning the annual celebration came from Vicente Sánchez Ventura, the Consul of Mexico based in Detroit, a quiet, formal man with a deep commitment to education and literacy. He’d heard about Día while in Austin. He partnered with Matrix, a large human services provider, and they invited various community agencies to participate. It was moving for me to meet Consul Sánchez and to hear him describe the event in the park this year. “Just look,” he said to me in Spanish. “Unlike the noise and drinking that can be part of Cinco de Mayo celebrations, this is about families. Nothing is being sold, so everyone can attend. Thousands of books are being given away, and vendors are providing water and small snacks gratis. Families are enjoying lotería, puppet shows, face painting, listening to stories, and social service agencies are distributing information about their work.”

It remains a challenge for such annual culminating celebrations that honor children and celebrate a year of linking them to books, languages and cultures to be literacy celebrations. Focus can quickly move to the familiar: music, selling, entertainment for adults. It’s gratifying to participate in events at which committed adults (sporting great Día T-shirts) have worked together for months to create a child/family focused event that truly promotes literacy and how much fun it can be. Bravo to SW Detroit’s amazing and collaborative Día committee chaired by Debra Spring of Matrix! This group has created a fine model.

May 14, 2009

The Voces Blog

This is a good blog to add to your bookmarks or RSS feed. Voces, a place for and about Latino authors and their books; Spanish language translations; and news from the Latino book industry, is the blog of Adriana Dominguez, a ten-year veteran of the publishing industry. As she points out, her experience gives her a "unique insider's perspective" on Latino publishing and book market.

Her recent post about Día includes a roundup of recommended books.

May 11, 2009

Pat Interviewed on Las Comadres

Recently Macarena Salas interviewed Pat and Dr. Ortiz, a professor at the University of Texas/Austin, about bilingual books and education, as well as Pat's Book Fiesta! This interview is one of a series of national teleconferences produced by Las Comadres,a nationally known Latina organization empowering women to be actively engaged in the growing Latino/Hispanic communities through online and face to face networks. It's well worth a listen.

May 9, 2009

2009 Américas Awards

2009 Américas Book Awards for Children's and Young Adult Literature have gone to Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales (Roaring Brook/Porter) and The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle (Holt). The awards recognize U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected nonfiction (from picture books to works for young adults) published in the previous year in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. Click here to see this year’s honorable mentions and commended titles.

For more information about the award and CLASP click here.

May 8, 2009

Rhymes for the Little Ones

Read Me a Rhyme in Spanish and English
Rose Zertuche Treviño
ALA Editions, 2009
paperback (978-0-8389-0982-9)

Rose Treviño is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Houston Public Library, one of the largest library systems in the country that serves one of the biggest Spanish-speaking populations in the country. She is an active member of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the Texas Library Association (TLA), the Public Library Association (PLA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking. Her work has great impact on library services provided to Latinos on both the local and national level. Past chair of the Newbery Award Committee, Treviño is also a passionate advocate for Latino children’s literature. Amazingly, she has time to write, too! Her new book is a collection of ready-made bilingual storytimes for babies to primary school children.

We asked Rose to answer some questions about her book and she graciously agreed.

Tell us the story behind Read Me a Rhyme in Spanish and English – why did you write this book?
I was approached by an editor at ALA Editions and asked if I would consider writing a book with ideas to help those who work with bilingual children. As a children's librarian, I offered bilingual storytimes for children for many years and thought I'd give it a try. I used many of the songs, rhymes, and fingerplays that my Mom had taught me as a child.

Describe your research process; what were your sources?
My best sources were my Mom, my Aunt Bea, and my daughter-in-law, Vicky. I also contacted Jose-Luis Orozco, author and songwriter and requested permission to use a few of his renditions of traditional songs. Over the years, I had learned different versions at conferences and workshops and kept these in my idea file.

Give us a sample of one of the rhymes you included in the book.

Here is one from the chapter for babies:
This nursery rhyme is a favorite with babies. Ask parents to hold baby’s hand open and tap the baby’s palm as the simple verse is recited.

Pon, pon, tata,
Pon, pon, la la,

Mediecito pa’ la papa;
A little sock from papa;

Pon, pon, tía,
Pon, pon, maybe,

Mediecito pa’ sandía;
A little sock for baby;

Pon, pon, pon,
Pon, pon, pon,

Mediecito pa’ jabón
Wash my socks

Y me lavan mi camisón.
And nightie.

Thank you Rose!

May 6, 2009

May is Latino Books Month

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has designated May as Latino Books Month and encourages booksellers, librarians, and others in the book industry "to promote reading among Latinos in their communities, and to raise awareness of the rich variety of books authored by Latinos that are available, in both English and Spanish." The AAP has various resources available on their website for download, among them recommended reading lists for adults and children; a guide to starting a reading group; Get Caught Reading/Aja! Leyendo posters; and information on planning author events.

Literacy Teamates

Becoming Teammates: Teachers and Families as Literacy Partners
Charlene Klassen Endrizzi
NCTE (978-0-8141-0273-2)

Charlene Endrizzi's new book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning about strengthening the partnerships between parents and teachers as they work toward mutual literacy goals. She graciously agreed to tell us about her work and the ideas in her book.

Tell us about the work you do as faculty at Westminster College.
As a teacher researcher, both symbiotic roles help describe my daily work. Teaching literacy courses to my undergraduate and graduate students is my passion yet I also feel compelled to inquire about literacy learning alongside teachers in classrooms. My love of children’s books enables me to continually explore new avenues for connecting students with texts, thus enabling them to understand themselves and their world more completely. Currently I am on the advisory board of the World of Words, an International Collection of Children’s and Adolescent Literature, housed at the University of Arizona. Our goal is to build bridges of understanding across cultures through books.

Your book, published by NCTE, Becoming Teammates: Teachers and Families as Literacy Partners, focuses on teacher and family collaboration. What led to your writing this book?
I began exploring the role of family-school literacy partnerships 16 years ago when I started teaching at Westminster. I carried out three key partnerships between graduate students, preservice teachers, classroom teachers and their students’ families over twelve years. I draw from these three diverse settings to describe an array of avenues for helping teachers build literacy partnerships with families.
Becoming a mother eight years ago also significantly shifted my understanding of the power of families as each child’s first and last learning partner. Teachers need to reach out to families, investigate their diverse funds of knowledge, and consider how to build upon these rich resources as they create their literacy curriculum.

What was the most significant point(s) you learned about partnering with families?
When teachers and families combine their different wisdoms and resources, they create a synergetic force for learning. As teachers reach out to families and learn about their distinct ways of knowing, their vision of each child and literacy learning is dramatically transformed.
Teachers have endless opportunities for building a more vibrant community of learners that includes families. One delightful exploration I share evolved from an author study conducted with a second grade teacher, Karen Tarka Jones, and her students. Before Pat Mora came to visit Westminster College several years ago, these second graders carried out a Family Stories study by first exploring Pat’s remarkable books. Using her books as inspiration, children then authored their own family stories tales. This exploration concluded with children sharing their treasures with parents at a family literacy gathering where Karen and I also explained our beliefs about Writing Workshop.

What’s your personal definition of Bookjoy!
As a mother of an eight year-old boy, I delight in jointly exploring texts like Spiderman comics and Molly Bang. Right now I am trying to convince my son, Bryce that females have the right to read the Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden, if they happen to be a mother of a boy.
As a teacher researcher, I am thrilled to watch my preservice teachers discover and fall in love with texts like Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora, or I See the Rhythm by Toyomi Igus and Michele Wood. Last month I experienced great satisfaction as I observed my Reading Specialist graduate students conducting a literacy advocacy project. They advocated for and initiated classroom and school-wide celebrations like The National African American Read-In (sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English), Read Across America, and El dia de los ninos.

Many thanks to Charlene for taking time to share with us.

May 1, 2009

SpanglishBaby Celebrates Día

In honor of Día, blog SpanglishBaby ("Raising Bilingual Kids") posted a great interview and article about Día and Pat's new book Book Fiesta. Check out the entry here.