What do you wish for — Love? Health? Happiness? Friendship? Sometimes the wishes are for yourself, your family, a specific person, or even the world. This week’s blog takes a look at wishes made and how those wishes go awry, from wanting a friend to make the basketball team to wanting to be liked. In each case, when the wishes go awry, the wisher is left wondering how to undo those wishes. In the process, we learn about each of the wishers — who they are, aspects of their character, and what they most value. Are they foolish? Are they greedy? Or do they just want to help better themselves and their family?
Most of us have thought about what we would do if granted wishes and like Tanya in One Wish (Harrison, 2016). We are wish savvy — we know we must be careful about what we wish. However, not everyone makes their wishes carefully…
I bet most of us have considered “do overs,” what we would re-do in our life if given a chance. Maybe we would change a conversation, an action (or lack thereof), or a decision. In The Wish List by Eoin Colfer, Lowrie McCall’s list consists of four things he wished he had done in his life. Furthermore, the fate of Meg Finn’s soul depends on her success in helping him complete his wish list. School Library Journal describes their journey as “both humorous and poignant, as Lowrie confronts his regrets and Meg strives to attain salvation.”
Think back to some of your earliest memories of wishing, perhaps when blowing out birthday candles, wishing upon a star — particularly a shooting star or the first star of the night, throwing a penny in a wishing well or fountain, getting the long end of the wishbone, blowing on a dandelion puff, or maybe writing a wish on a piece of paper and tying it to a tree or hiding it under a rock. Continue reading
by Carmen M. Martinez-Roldan and Katherine Lorena del Carmen Keim-Riveros
In our last blog of the month we focus on how the authors’ incorporation of non-English words in Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean literature can contribute to a better understanding and appreciation of the richness and complexities of Latino culture and the bilingualism of their communities. The books discussed through this month were all English-based texts, in which the authors purposefully incorporated the linguistic repertoire Continue reading
by Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán & Richelle Jurasek
This week we continue our focus on Afro-Caribbean influences in Latino children’s literature but also start addressing Indigenous perspectives. Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal, another historical fiction novel by Cuban-American author Margarita Engle, offers a window into the experiences of Caribbean islander workers but also into the experiences of indigenous communities Continue reading
by Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán & Amy Olson
The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano, by Margarita Engle (2006)
Last week, we started featuring and commenting on literature that represents the experiences of Afro-Latinos and Afro-Caribbean communities Continue reading
By Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán & William García
Latino children’s literature in the United States refers to literature written by Latino and Latina authors, whether in English or Spanish and regardless of the topics they address (Ada, 2003). Giving the great intragroup differences in social class, immigration patterns, and language practices among Latinos, we would expect Latino literature to reflect such diversity, but there is still a long way to go to meet that goal. Continue reading
By Charlene Klassen Endrizzi with Karen Matis
Open minds Operate best.
Critical thinking Over tests.
Wisdom can’t be memorized.
Educate! Agitate! Organize!
Innosanto Nagara’s ambitious declaration parallels Eel’s change of heart which initiated Karen’s and my month-long investigation into Responsible Citizens and Workers. A is for Activist embodies an edginess designed to encourage teachers and students to contemplate action. Our classrooms need to include more moments of agitation where teachers and students are nudged to evaluate their current lives and ponder civic responsibility. Continue reading
By Karen Matis with Charlene Klassen Endrizzi
“I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race.”
from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, 2012
Death, an unconventional narrator, contemplates this final thought in Marcus Zusak’s historical fiction novel The Book Thief. In the context of World War II, these words offer a blunt description of a citizen who stands up for what is right and the possible unfortunate consequences of becoming an advocate for others. This week we continue our investigation of Responsible Citizens alongside a different seventh grade class studying The Book Thief. I offered this rhetorical question to help students contemplate Zusak’s thoughts related to their lives: “With which group do you want to be associated? the overestimated, popular opinion, or the underestimated, who labor against the grain to enact positive change?” Continue reading