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The Importance of Family: Learning through Our Heritage

By Josh Hill, Kami Gillette, and Julia López-Robertson, University of South Carolina

Bishop (1990) discusses texts as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. Texts, Bishop explains, allow children to see into another person’s reality and should also allow children to see themselves and their own realities in a book. The three texts we discuss this month, Valerie Muñoz’s story, Los Hormigueros, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, and One Crazy Summer, can serve as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors and provide clear examples of Yosso’s (2005) notion of Community Cultural Wealth, specifically of familial and resistant capital.

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Evelyn Serrano: Rediscovering and Reconnecting with Cultural Heritage

by Josh Hill and Julia López-Robertson, University of South Carolina

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano is about a young Puerto Rican girl, Evelyn, coming of age in the Spanish Harlem neighborhood of New York City during the summer of 1969. Evelyn’s Abuela left Puerto Rico and moved in to the family’s tiny apartment adding to the already tumultuous time in their home and neighborhood. Not only is there one more body in their tiny apartment, she has taken over Evelyn’s bedroom. Their relationship changes however, when the Young Lords, a group of Puerto Rican activists, begin to agitate for change in the neighborhood. The Young Lords presence in the neighborhood causes Evelyn to become intrigued with her Puerto Rican heritage and family history leading her to see Abuela as a source of knowledge and connection to her past.

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano
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Coming Home to Los Hormigueros

By Valerie Muñoz and Julia López-Robertson

While considering what to write in the blog this month, it is difficult not to make connections to our current political situation, namely issues surrounding immigration. Almost a year ago, a colleague contacted me with excitement over a piece of writing that a preservice teacher in her writing methods class had crafted during a writer’s workshop. Los Hormigueros, the piece written by Valerie Muñoz, a graduating senior at the University of South Carolina, takes us into her life as she examines childhood memories based on true events. This story recounts the memories Valerie had as a young girl — a memory of when she became aware that she is an immigrant. We invite you to read Valerie’s story.

Los Hermigueros, traveling between Mexico and the U.S. Continue reading

Learning to Listen through Enrique and Jacqueline

by Melissa Summer Wells, Gina Crosby-Quinatoa, and Julia López-Robertson, University of South Carolina
Refugee
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Even the silence
has a story to tell you.
Just listen. Listen.
(Brown Girl Dreaming, “How to Listen #7, p. 278)

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We have enjoyed inviting you into the journeys of Enrique and Jaqueline as they made difficult choices, Continue reading

Jacqueline: The Girl Who Found a Home in Words

by Melissa Summer Wells, Julia López-Robertson, and Gina Crosby-Quinatoa, University of South Carolina

SitIn1
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Will the words end, I ask
whenever I remember to.
Nope, my sister says, all of five years old now,
and promising me/infinity. (p. 62-63)

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Our next stop on our tour of young protagonists searching for their places in the world brings us to Jacqueline Woodson, protagonist Continue reading

Enrique: The Boy Who Beats the Odds

by Gina Crosby-Quinatoa, Julia López-Robertson, and Melissa Summer Wells, University of South Carolina

Enrique

On March 2, 2000, he goes to his grandmother Agueda’s house. He stands on the same porch that his mother disappeared from eleven years before. He hugs Maria Isabel and Aunt Rosa Amalia. Then he steps off.
(p. 50)

This week we introduce you to Enrique Continue reading

Enrique & Jacqueline – Young Protagonists Searching for Their Place in the World: An Introduction

by Julia López-Robertson, Gina Crosby-Quinatoa and Melissa Summer Wells, University of South Carolina

VulnerabilityThis month we invite you to join us as we discuss two YA novels we read as a part of a course on Reader Response theories this past spring; we will be discussing Enrique’s Journey (The Young Adult Adaptation): The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Enrique’s Journey is the true story of a young teenager’s, Enrique, perilous voyage from his home in Honduras to find his mother in the United States. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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, Continue reading