June 25, 2010

PatMora.com is Now a Great Website for Kids!

We're thrilled that Pat's website has been selected as a Great Websites for Kids by the Association of Library Service to Children, (ALSC) a division of the Amerrican Library Association. As the press release notes, Pat's site was added to the recommended list of exceptional websites for children ages 14 and younger and joins a select group of author sites.

June 17, 2010

Voices of the Ancestors

Looking for an entrancing title for your book group or just a good summer read? Try Pat's family memoir, House of Houses, a rich blend of poetic language and elements of magical realism.

Questions for your personal reflection or to enjoy with your book group or class.

1. In what ways is House of Houses like and unlike other memoirs you've read?

2. Why do you think memoirs have become such a popular genre?

3. Name the person you connected to most in the book and describe the reasons why.

4. The author asks "Why do certain events become central memories, part of the core life story we create about ourselves?" (page 24) How would you answer?

5. Spanish words and phrases are used throughout the book. How does this affect your reading and understanding of the memoir?

6. How is your family like and unlike the Mora family?

7. Look through family photographs taken before you were born. Choose one and write a page about it. Would you like to share your piece with your reading group? A family member or friend?

8. The author refers to her childhood home as the "house of houses." What does she mean? Would you describe your childhood home as your "house of houses"? If not, what three or four words would you use to capture your feelings?

9. What humorous scene and sad scene most appealed to you? Why?

10. The family stories in this memoir are organized through different seasons or rhythms - the rhythms of the garden, the church liturgy, the family. What seasons or rhythms would you use to organize your family's stories?

June 10, 2010

Literacy Nights at the Public Library

Anne Kissinger of the Milwaukee County Federated Library System wrote about "Literacy Nights at the Public Library" on this week's ALSC list-serv. We liked this idea so much we wanted to share it.
The Wauwatosa Public Library, a member of MCFLS, held two literacy nights each with a different approach. The first, for adults, was a summer reading promotion and included
communication, research, vocabulary games, book talks, story telling, library support and library programs. Kissinger credits the successful participation to the help of Title 1 teachers who spoke with parents/caretakers one-on-one or sent home invitations to the event, as many of the adults were not library users.

The second literacy night was held at an elementary school and included adults and children. The public library held read-alouds to different grade levels and talked about the summer reading program. Other activities included showing the viral video "Gotta Keep Reading," an author visit, reader's theatre by students and a book swap.

What great methods for attracting adults and children to the library and reading! What ideas do you have for "Literacy Nights"?

Do you have people attending your programs that speak a language other than English? Consult this suberb list from Language Castle, Making Families Who Speak Other Languages Feel at Home in Your Program for invaluable tips.

June 3, 2010

A New Día Dynamo

Exciting Reminder: April 2011 is Día’s 15th Anniversary! Some of you have been members of what I think of as the National Día Community from the beginning and some of you are deciding to join us now in linking all children to books, languages and cultures. As part of the celebration, by April 1, I’m going to honor 15 Día Dynamos, adding one a month. How special to add Rose Treviño.

At the end of April, my friend Rose died. I’d met her years ago thanks to our mutual friend Oralia Garza de Cortés and thanks to ALA. Rose was an early supporter of Día and served on its National Advisory Committee at ALSC. A Texas librarian deeply committed to all children including the under-served, Rose promoted Día when she was head of children’s services at the San Antonio Public Library where she discovered bookjoy as a child, and later championed Día at the Houston Public Library. I believe it was Rose, who when she was on the ALSC Board, was a grand champion who encouraged the Board to offer to be Día’s national home.

Rose will be remembered by many for a host of reasons: because she was an exemplary librarian and the first Latina to chair the Newbery Award Committee, for her books: Read Me a Rhyme in Spanish and English (2009) and The Pura Belpré Awards: Celebrating Latino Authors and Illustrators (2006), and for the gracious way she treated all who knew her. I miss my friend Rose with whom I could always talk deeply about Día’s purpose and importance. From personal experience, Rose knew how hard it is to be a literacy advocate for families not viewed by all as important. She always cheered me up and assured me that better days were ahead, that Día mattered and would grow and grow.

As we begin planning for Día’s 15th Anniversary April 2011, I carry Rose’s memory and hope with me. She is Día’s angelita, inspiring us to be brave and creative in linking all children to books. Join us.