Global Explorations in Verse: Home of the Brave

by Andrea García, Keith Donnelly, and Michele McGuinness, Hofstra University.

Our writing for this week will take us to explore Home of the Brave, by Katherine Applegate (2008). This is the third book in the text set I created focusing on Global Explorations in verse for my children’s literature graduate course. In this story, we meet Kek, an 11-year-old refugee boy from Sudan, who is relocated to Minnesota escaping the civil war in his country, after witnessing the death of his father and brother. Unaware of her mother’s whereabouts, Kek joins his aunt and cousin in the U.S., and begins a memorable journey into learning to live in a different culture and in a different language. In this unforgettable story of hopefulness and resilience, Applegate makes use of spare free verse to tell Kek’s immigration story. Read More »

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Global Explorations in Verse: Call Me María

by Andrea García, Brooke Bendernagel, and Lindsey Brooks, Hofstra University.

  Confessions of a Non-Native Speaker
A poem
by María Alegre

I confess,
I had to steal English
because what I had
was never enough.
The sly taking
started as a word here,
a word there.
It was easy.
I slipped words
into my pockets,
my crime unnoticed
as the precious
spilled out
of unguarded mouths, Read More »

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Global Explorations in Verse: Serafina’s Promise

by Andrea García, Amanda Lev and Oddette Williams, Hofstra University.

IMG_0003Planning for teaching children’s literature in my graduate Literacy Studies program at Hofstra University provides me with the perfect opportunity to select books that invite readers to take on a global perspective. For the current fall 2014 semester, I was particularly drawn to selecting children’s literature featuring stories from different times in history; books that would allow us to engage in critical conversations about the everyday lives of strong characters, whose experiences could help shape our understandings of our ourselves and others. I also wanted to share novels written in free verse because Read More »

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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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