LEE & LOW BOOKS has two writing contests for unpublished authors of color: the New Voices Award, for picture book manuscripts, and the New Visions Award, for middle grade and young adult manuscripts. Both contests, which are now open for submissions aim to recognize the diverse voices and talent among new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing.
In this guest post, we wanted to highlight another groundbreaking writing contest that’s bringing attention to marginalized voices and fostering a love of writing in students: the Celebrate America Writing Contest run by the American Immigration Council. Coming into its 19th year, the Celebrate America Writing Contest for fifth graders has been bringing attention to the contributions of immigrants in America through the eyes and pens of our youngest writers. Continue reading
From time to time here on the LEE & LOW blog we like to shine a spotlight on organizations, companies, or projects that move us. Today we’re featuring a special project close to our heart: the Children in Crisis Project from REFORMA, the National Association To Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos.
Last year, over 70,000 unaccompanied children crossed the Southern border into the United States. This is a true humanitarian crisis, with many of these children ending up in detention centers, awaiting immigration processing or deportation. They have few or no personal belongings, don’t know English, and have been separated from their families with no sense of if or when they will be reunited. Continue reading
In this guest post, Sara Burnett, education associate at the American Immigration Council, presents strategies and resources to enrich the classroom with the legacy of César Chávez. This blog post was originally posted at the American Immigration Council’s Teach Immigration blog.
“When the man who feeds the world by toiling in the field is himself deprived of the basic rights of feeding and caring for his own family, the whole community of man is sick.” — César Chávez Continue reading
Monica Brown is the author of several award-winning children’s books, including the Marisol McDonald series, and is a Professor of English at Northern Arizona University. Brown recently spoke to KNAU Public Radio about the power of dehumanizing language after a politician used the word “deportable” to refer to an immigrant. She has allowed us to reprint her comments below, and you can hear her radio segment here:
Deportable. The prefix de signifies removal, separation, reduction or reversal, as in deforestation or demerit. De reverses a verb’s action, as in defuse ordecompose. De is not often used with a noun, but it was last week. That’s when Republican Representative Steve King referred to one of First Lady Michelle Obama’s guests as “a deportable.” He tweeted it.
What an amazing week to see the response of last Sunday’s post and hear what many of you are facing, doing, and aspiring to in schools and communities. In addition to using children’s books to initiate conversations, deepen background knowledge, and humanize the events, here are eleven teaching resources to help you provide the best information, context, and perspective for your students.
- Colorín Colorado is a free bilingual service that presents information, activities, and advice for educators and Spanish-speaking families of English Language Learners. One of my favorite sections is “Reaching Out to ELL Students and Families” because it gives explicit tools on how to create a welcoming classroom environment, learn about our students’ backgrounds, and reach out to parents of ELLs.
- Educators For Fair Consideration (E4FC) offers educator guides to support teachers and school staff in supporting undocumented students in school and beyond graduation.
- Colorlines contributes award-winning daily reporting, investigative news, and analysis on issues of race with a subsection devoted to child migrants. They also have a campaign, Drop the I-Word.
As media coverage has intensified around the events of children crossing the U.S. border, many educators and families are wondering, “What should we tell our students?” For some children, this may be the first time they are learning of these countries. But for many others, these events may involve their own heritage or depict their families’ experiences. Using books to talk about the recent events can be an opportunity to learn about a new region and help children see the cultures and people beyond these events.
We’ve put together a list of 11 books (many of which are bilingual English/Spanish) that teach about the emotional journey families and children must undertake along with the physical journey. These stories allow children to see each other and themselves in characters who are living life to the fullest and refusing to let any obstacle stand in their way.
Whether you are looking to explore the themes of the DREAM Act, learn more about the journey of one’s own family, or see America from a different angle, these books reveal the complexities, challenges, joys, and surprises of coming to a new place. Join these characters as they share their challenges and excitement in moving to a new culture and new school, helping their families adjust, and juggling their home culture with a new culture.
Poet Jorge Argueta evokes the wonder of his childhood in rural El Salvador, a touching relationship with a caring father, and his confusion and delight in his new urban home.
Jaclyn DeForge, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching first and second grade in the South Bronx, and went on to become a literacy coach and earn her Masters of Science in Teaching. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. This is the third in a series of posts on thematic text sets.
One aspect of the Common Core that I get asked questions about all the time is thematic text sets. What are they? How do you know which books to use? What types of texts should you be pairing together?
Fear not! I’ve compiled some examples of text sets that cover one topic and span multiple genres and reading levels. Some of the titles you may already have in your classroom library, and others I think you’ll enjoy discovering. In my last two posts, I compiled books about the moon and books about Kenya. Today we look at books about immigration:
Loved Under the Mesquite? For a limited time, we’re sharing the first three chapters of Belpré winner Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s next book, Summer of the Mariposas, out in October! Summer of the Mariposas is a YA retelling of The Odyssey about five sisters who embark on a road trip through Mexico to return a dead man to his family, and come face to face with some monsters of Mexican folklore along the way. Enjoy, and let us know what you think!
I love comedy. Not doing comedy, but watching comedy, either in film or stand-up. Laughter is good for the spirit.
I like all kinds of comedians—from early Bill Cosby to Jon Stewart. I especially enjoy comedy that makes you think. Comedy can broach taboo topics like racism and stereotypes and make them fair game for open commentary. If done well, these comedic monologues on race can reveal the absurdity of people’s belief systems.
I searched YouTube for examples of race-based comedy that strikes a nerve and found a wide gamut. Will some of these clips offend some people? Maybe. But if you can push yourself outside your comfort level, looking past the profanity and at times crude subject matter, seriously (or humorously) consider what the comedians are trying to do. Are their jokes healing, even when they point out painful truths? Does a line exist, even for comedians, that should never be crossed, or can anything be made fun of in the context of comedy? Is it easier for a comedian who is a person of color to incorporate race in his/her act?