Choosing to Acknowledge the Many Different Facets of Our Common Stories

by Samantha Smigel and Julia López-Robertson, The University of South Carolina

SaldanaWe end our blog this month with a look at ¡Juventud! Growing up on the Border (Saldaña, 2013), a collection of short stories and memories from a variety of authors. Each author shares their growing up experiences with readers. Comprised of short stories and poems, so much can be said with so few words. The poetry and stories in this book are mesmerizing as each one reveals small moments to which all readers can relate. The words share memoirs, love, and family traditions from different perspectives and cultures. I [Samantha] felt as though I was in each of these families, making connections, relating to some of the events, all the while gaining perspective and compassion. Read More »

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ELL & NCLB: Let Me Count the Ways to Say “You Fail”

by Deb Drotor & Julia López-Robertson, The University of South Carolina

TestingThis week we revisit La Linea by Ann Jaramillo and focus our discussion on the ever present [over]testing of English Language Learners. Ann Jaramillo wrote La Linea for her students. She wrote to tell their story. In reality La Linea, is the story of many students who sit in America’s classroom today. Read More »

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La Linea: Crushing Carefully Crafted Illusions

by Jenna Noblin & Julia López-Robertson, The University of South Carolina

file0001406817967Miguel’s family is not very different from many immigrant families in America today, and yet this is not a story put into the news or shown in movies. Instead, it is hidden from the majority of America. From research and bits and pieces I have heard along the way, I knew that that the journey across the border into America was dangerous, but it was never shown to me just how much until reading La Linea. The closest representation I have ever seen on this topic was on the T.V. show Criminal Minds. Even that vision made the journey look safer than it really is, Read More »

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Who are our English Language Learners?

by Caitlin Walker & Julia López-Robertson, The University of South Carolina

classroom-433876_1280This past summer I taught EDRD 797: Assessment for English Language Learners; our class met Monday through Thursday for three hours during the month of June. Naturally we spent time discussing assessment, testing, the Common Core and all things related — however our richest discussions centered on the young adult novels we read and the connections that my students made between the novels and the professional literature. I infuse young adult literature in all my courses as a means to provide my students with some insight into the lives of the children and families that they may be serving in their schools. Read More »

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Using Literature to Investigate Problems Focused on Social Justice

by Deborah Dimmett

There is an abundance of young adult (YA) literature that lends itself to exploring issues of social justice. Introducing young adults to nonfiction books about societal and global dilemmas can be a very exciting way to engage youth in problem-based learning through literature. One issue that has local, national, and global implications deals with huge influx of unaccompanied and undocumented children from Central America. Read More »

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Children’s Books in the Language They Know

by Deborah Dimmett

Books about Haiti had a slight resurgence in the area of children’s literature after the 2010 earthquake. However, few books have made it in print in the language Haitian children know best – Creole. It has been easy for publishers to overlook this market for many reasons. Among them is that those in Haiti who can afford to purchase books are fluent in French as well as Creole. But Haiti’s population is estimated at nearly 10 million, nearly all of whom speak Creole with approximately 10% who are actually fluent in French. This raises the question as to why books in Creole are not nearly as plentiful as books in French. In a country where adult literacy has been stagnant at 48.7% Read More »

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A Future for Li Li Li Read!

by Deborah Dimmett

lilililogo-3One successful program launched after Haiti’s 2013 earthquake was Li Li Li Read! Its founder, Michelle Karshan, noticed that children whose families and homes had been uprooted by the earthquake were in great need of something that would brighten their day and take their mind off of the deplorable conditions in which they lived. Thus, in 2010 she created the program Li Li Li Read! for internally displaced children living in camps throughout Port-au-Prince and surrounding municipalities. Read More »

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A Community Where There Are No Books for Children to Read

by Deborah Dimmett

haiti-14023_640This summer I spent two weeks in Bainet, a seaside town in Haiti located about 60 miles from the capital. Over the past 11 years, I have visited this small town to provide seminars to teachers on strategies and methods that do not require many material resources. Most learning in Haitian schools takes place through rote instruction; and, when books are required, Read More »

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Transgender Characters in Children’s Picture Books

by Janine Schall

10000 Dresses coverAlthough I’ve been interested in children’s books with LGBT characters for over a decade, for a long time that actually meant children’s books with gay or lesbian characters. While picture books with characters who transgress gender roles have been around since the 1970s and picture storybooks with explicitly lesbian and gay characters have been around since 1989, a transgender character wasn’t introduced until 2008 in 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert. Read More »

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The Implied LGBT Character in Children’s Picture Books

by Janine Schall

In the first two posts of this series, I briefly discussed the history of picture books with LGBT characters and provided a general overview of the representations of the LGBT characters. This week I look at books where the characters are not explicitly named or depicted as LGBT, but where they are portrayed in ways that imply an LGBT sexual orientation.

These books fall into two main groups. The first has characters whose behavior and/or interests are different from the mainstream in ways that can be read as LGBT. Read More »

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