Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Scholarships for DREAMers

Are you DACA eligible - or know someone who is? - and planning to enroll in college, but need financial aid? TheDream.us is now accepting applications for its 2017-2018 scholarship round!

Visit www.TheDream.US to learn if you can qualify for up to $80,000 in tuition/fees support.

Pass it on.



Monday, August 13, 2018

Read Conmigo School Supply Contest

Did you know that your school could win free school supplies and bilingual books from Read Conmigo? FOUR schools will win! Teachers can ALWAYS use extra supplies and books. Especially bilingual ed classrooms. :) Don't wait! Go nominate your school today.

Visit ReadConmigo.com to enter or click here.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Celebrate Back-to-School with Little Passports!



Little Passports has been one of my children's FAVORITE subscription packages. We used it a lot when my kids were younger to learn about geography and world cultures. And I'm looking forward to the day that my youngest is old enough for us to use this fun program again.

My older children have enjoyed the World Edition and the USA Edition (read my previous post describing them). I loved both because they really helped me supplement our geography lessons in a way that kept them excited and engaged. (In fact, I love this company so much, I signed up as an affiliate because I know that your kids will love it, too.)

We also had a ton of fun with their new Science Expeditions - read my post from last year to see examples of what they include and how my son enjoyed it.

Actually, I've written a lot about Little Passports and shared not only our experience, but also fun downloads or activities from them. They are always creating wonderful new resources for families. In fact, if you head over to their blog you can find a free printable: Global Lunchbox Notes!


So that's why I want to encourage those of you with children in upper elementary and middle school to seriously consider adding Little Passports to your homeschool lessons this year. And now is the perfect time to save because if you sign up between now and Monday, you can get 15% off ANY subscription by simply using the promo codeREADY when you checkout.

Don't wait. This product is totally worth it!




Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Bilingual Back-to-School Printables


Are you in search of bilingual back-to-school printables? I have a nice collection of them, including the free download "Goal Worksheets" shown above. You can find this one in my post on "Preparing Kids Emotionally and Academically for the Start of School."

Or maybe you are like me and you like to give your kids a tiny gift on the first day of school. I usually do a book or unusual school supplies or a fun game we might use in school. Most of the time I wrap it and add one of these little labels. :)  You can download them for free, too, if you take a look back at this post.

But maybe you are like me and you are looking for some bilingual, back-to-school themed activities to use in your classroom. If so, don't forget I have these available in my TpT store and MommyMaestra shop!





Monday, August 6, 2018

Teaching Textbooks 3.0: Free Trial & Giveaway

Teaching Textbooks 3.0

This is a sponsored post and giveaway in collaboration with Teaching Textbooks. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I'm pretty excited about today's review and giveaway!

Last year, I shared with you Teaching Textbooks, the math curriculum that we've been using for the last few years. I explained how I loved the fact that we could buy the complete math course for the specific grade(s) I needed and simply upload it to our computer and run it without an internet connection. It was perfect because we lived in an area where my internet was expensive as could be and sometimes unreliable. You can read about this and the many other reasons why we've chosen to use Teaching Textbooks here.

Now fast forward one year. Life has changed dramatically for us, so I am absolutely delighted to share with you the new elements of the program that are now available to everyone!

Teaching Textbooks 3.0

Teaching Textbooks has now made their fantastic math program available anytime and anywhere with their new 3.0 version. For homeschool families like mine who frequently travel, this new accessibility makes the program invaluable.

And the best part? It's CHEAPER than if you buy the physical materials - but don't worry, Teaching Textbooks 2.0 will still be available for families who prefer to go that route. Scroll down to learn about the new pricing and the large family discount.

I only wish that it had become available sooner. Remember, how I mentioned on my Facebook page that we had to move halfway across the country at the end of last year? The upheaval of moving made homeschooling so difficult, especially math, because our math program was tied to our school desktop computer. I had to switch halfway through the year to the physical textbooks (which were a lifesaver, I have to admit) and away from our computer lessons. While this was fine for the kids, it added a lot of work to my already overloaded plate because instead of the program keeping track of what my kids got right or wrong as they completed their lessons, I now had to review EVERYTHING. And the computer was no longer keeping track of their grades.

So you can only imagine the sheer joy I felt whenever I was contacted by Teaching Textbooks and told about their new 3.0 version which was debuting for this coming school year. I could have wept. Because you know what this means, right?

Freedom.

The reason I love Teaching Textbooks is that it takes some of the pressure off of me to keep track of grades, teach concepts I might not be familiar with, or that I struggle to master myself. (Hey, I'll be honest, math has never been my greatest strength. I prefer writing!)

My son learns new concepts from someone who knows what they are talking about in an engaging format, and who gives him immediate feedback when he answers questions/solves equations correctly or incorrectly.

I don't have to keep track of grades but can easily open up my teacher's grade book to see how my kid is doing, how many tries it takes him to solve a problem, and what his grades are each day.

Teaching Textbooks 3.0

As a Student:


The new 3.0 version means we can do math anywhere and anytime; at home, at the library, at grandpa's house, in the car. Anywhere. And it is no longer tied to one device. My son has started 7th grade and is using the Math 7 program. He can use the desktop, or our Chromebooks, or our tablet! All he has to do is log in, and the program takes him immediately to where he left off and he can start his next lesson.

Another advantage is that my tech-savvy son can now manipulate his dashboard. This is HUGE for him. He loves the ability to personalize his lessons by simply clicking on the "Settings" button located at the bottom left corner of his lesson pages. He can change the wallpaper on the background whenever he wants and even add new "buddies" - or characters - to the simple animations that the program uses as incentives for completing the work. And he can turn on and off the sounds that go with the buddies or the hints.

Teaching Textbooks 3.0


And there's another new element: Now, the buddies tell jokes. (In the previous disk version, the animated characters would do funny things when you got a problem right.) So while working on his lessons, my son now frequently stops and comes to find me (or his sister, or his dad) to tell me one of the jokes he just learned.

Seriously, anything that will get my son excited to do math makes our homeschool days SO much more pleasant! So this extra touch really makes a world of difference for our family.

Teaching Textbooks 3.0

As a Parent:


I am so grateful for this program. Why? Because it lightens my load. I juggle a LOT, so when I can add a program that helps save me time or that does some of the work for me while still teaching quality content, then I am ALL IN.

And, you know, one of the things I frequently hear from parents is that they are nervous about homeschooling because they did poorly in math when they were in school and they don't know how they are going to teach their children this subject. The fear of math is real, People. I'm not scared of it, but I do sometimes worry that I can't effectively teach certain concepts because I'm not clear on them myself. That's when I look for outside help, whether it be online, through another curriculum, or from a friend or professional. And that is the role that Teaching Textbooks plays for us, and could for you, too.

The 3.0 version also gives parents more control. Don't want your kids to get hints or second chances at answering the problems? Turn those features off with the click of a button on your dashboard. It's easy and puts you in charge.


Teaching Textbooks 3.0

Try it out...FREE!


You don't have to take my word on all of this...try Teaching Textbooks 3.0 yourself for free! This is the most fabulous part of their new version. You can select the grade you want to try and have access to the complete course (lectures, lessons, eBook, and grade book) up through lesson 15. And there is NO TIME LIMIT. Your child can complete it in his or her own time. If you don't love it, no problem. But if you DO love it, then you can sign up for the complete grade level and your child's grades will automatically transfer so they don't have to do the work all over again. Just pick up where you left off and run with it!

And before you ask, the answer is NO, you don't have to provide a credit card number like so many free trials seem to require nowadays. Really, this is the best offer I've seen in a long, long time!

Not sure what grade level your child is ready for? No problem! Take the placement tests.


Teaching Textbooks 3.0

Normal Pricing & Large Family Discount


Okay, here's what is super: the individual plans for 3.0 annual subscription are cheaper than if you buy the 2.0 physical media (CDs & textbook & answer key). The prices vary according to the grade level from $43 to $67. Compared to the 2.0, which runs between $120 to $185, this is an excellent deal.

My son is taking the Math 7 level. It costs $55.08 for a 12-month subscription. That equals $4.59 per month! You see what I mean? This is so much more affordable and accessible for families who have good internet!

In addition, Teaching Textbooks understands homeschooling families and they want their program to be affordable for large families with 4 to 8 children. So they have chosen to cap the cost of the program for these families. As you can see from the image above, that price stops at 199.08. So if you have 8 kids, that works out to less than $25 per child for a year's subscription. WOW!

Teaching Textbooks 3.0

The Giveaway


The lovely people over at Teaching Textbooks have offered a 12-month subscription to the grade level of your choice to one MommyMaestra reader!

Don't miss this awesome opportunity if you are a homeschooler.

To enter to win, simply click on the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 3, 2018

Mrs. Wordsmith: The Social Journey

Preschool is such a critical time in your child's development. Study after study indicates that a good preschool can have a longlasting impact on your child's future academic success, as well as their adult lives.

I receive a steady stream of emails and messages asking me about how to preschool at home. So, of course, you can find many posts here on MommyMaestra about the importance of preschool and how to give your child a quality preschool education at home. I'm ALWAYS happy to discover new, EFFECTIVE products that help parents and caregivers who are homeschooling their preschoolers.

And today's resource is just that!

When Mrs. Wordsmith reached out to me to ask if I would review their new reading tool for students, I immediately said, "YES!" And I'm so glad I did because I love the program.

Mrs. Wordsmith is designed to improve your child's learning and memory through various programs. It's based out of the UK, but they launched here in the U.S. at the beginning of the summer.

I received their Social Journey vocabulary program, and love both the concept and the application of this learning tool. It is designed for kids 3 - 6 years old and the focus is social-emotional skills, which are extremely valuable to your child's growth and success in life. Teaching your child these skills ensures that they are "school ready" by the time they start kindergarten.

And the program is two-fold as it not only teaches kids these important skills, but also does it through literacy-boosting activities. Here's something that struck me when reading the instruction booklet inside the box I received. It said:
When children learn vocabulary to accurately identify their feelings, they are better able to manage them. Likewise, labeling and discussing concepts like "community" empowers children to more ably engage with their world (Elias 2014).

Makes sense, no?

And it is apparent that a lot of time and energy has gone into this product. Here's a look at what you will receive:

Each month, a new box will arrive at your door and the activities will focus on a different aspect of the social-emotional skill set. For example, learning growth-words such as push, try and effort, helps children understand their actions and feelings.



I love how the inside of the box is carefully organized to make sense for the parent/caregiver. There is no guesswork here. You'll find an instruction booklet immediately upon opening the box - but really, the process is quite simple.


You start with the picture book and read at your own pace. Each story introduces the new words your child will focus on learning.


Then you set up your activity book stand and place the activity book on it and open to the first word. You've probably read on MommyMaestra more than once about how creating a print-rich environment for children is crucial for developing their literacy skills. Well, here's an example of how to create a print-rich environment: place words on display in your home! Put your stand in an accessible place where your child can see it throughout the day and look at it at his or her leisure.


Each month has around 20 words for you to teach your little one. You can just take your time, letting the new word hang on the book stand for a while before tearing it off and completing the activity on the back. Give it time to soak in.


And, finally, there are the word cards which you can use to play games with your child in order to reinforce their meaning.

What a great product!! I can't wait to use it with my youngest child as soon as he is old enough.

THE GIVEAWAY

Mrs. Wordsmith has graciously offered a 12-month subscription to their Social Journey product to one (1) MommyMaestra reader! If you are caring for a preschooler this school year, this would be a must-have for your lesson plans.

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: I received a sample box for review purposes. All thought and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

MommyMaestra's 2018 Back-to-School Fiesta!



Thank you all for bearing with me last month as I took time away to properly grieve the loss of my mamá. As I mentioned on Facebook, the last year has had me on a wild ride - some good, some awful - but two things remain constant: my love for my kids/family AND my love of writing!

As promised, I wasn't about to miss out on my annual Back-to-School Fiesta! Each year during this month, I celebrate the Back-to-School season with articles, opportunities, freebies, and giveaways that I line up with you in mind. Once again I have awesome resources for you in English, Spanish, or both.

I'm kicking things off with a gift from ME to you.


FIRST, I want you to know that my ENTIRE TpT store is on sale today and tomorrow. You can get 25% off any of my printables. So stock up on back-to-school-themed printables, like the one shown above, or get a jump on the school year and buy your Día de los Muertos, Las Posadas, or even Cinco de Mayo reading passages today!



NEXT, with homeschooling on the rise among Latino families, I am giving away three copies of my book, The Latino Family's Guide to Homeschooling. I designed it to help you get started. Or, if you are a veteran homeschooler, it provides additional resources for those of you who are already on the journey.

Inside this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn the following:

  • what is homeschooling?
  • how to get started 
  • bilingual homeschooling
  • homeschooling children with special needs or learning differences
  • preschool & kindergarten
  • homeschooling older children
  • preparing for college


You’ll also read the stories of other successful homeschoolers, most from a variety of Hispanic or bilingual backgrounds. Learn about how and why they began homeschooling, and read their advice for teaching at home. I am SO grateful to all the wonderful parents and professionals who have shared their tips, knowledge, and stories with MommyMaestra readers over the years. Every single one that I contacted about sharing their story in this book quickly agreed, and a few even wrote a piece specifically for this book to help me make it complete.

Filled with resources and tips for finding great curricula, as well as advice for daily learning, this book is a must-have for every Latino family considering homeschooling.

THE GIVEAWAY


Of course, if you can't wait or want a guarantee to get a copy, you can purchase this book directly from my shop or on Amazon (aff). 

But I am celebrating by giving away a copy to three MommyMaestra readers as part of my Back-to-School Fiesta. 

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Free Download: Getting to Know You Spanish Minilesson



We're more than halfway through the summer! Are your kids bored yet? If so, now is the perfect time to learn a new language or brush up on your Spanish. And to help you out, it's a good thing that we have this month's freebie from MM sponsor, Spanish for You!

Today's download is a 4-page mini-lesson to help Spanish learners learn phrases associated with getting to know others. The file comes with an introductory page with instructions on how to use the pages in the book as a minilesson. There are also two sheets of question cards - one in English and the other in Spanish. And finally, there's a worksheet to practice what you've learned. As always, there is also an audio file to help you learn the proper pronunciation.




Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Preschool App Review: Feed Me!



This is a sponsored post in collaboration with PencilBot. All thoughts and ideas expressed above are strictly my own.

Are you the parent of a preschooler looking for additional tools to help prepare your child for kindergarten? Maybe you are homeschooling exclusively in Spanish to raise a bilingual child. Or maybe you are looking for ESL resources to help introduce your little Spanish speaker to English. Either way, today's featured app is for you!




NameFeed Me! MX Spanish & US English

Subject(s): Preschool concepts
Brief Description: An comprehensive app for preschoolers that teaches children many of the basic skills needed for kindergarten prep.
Price: $2.99 - $3.99
Language: English or Spanish
Ages: 3 - 5 years
DeviceiOS, Android, Amazon, Windows 10

Feed Me! is a fun app for preschoolers from PencilBot Kids that helps them learn the majority of the concepts needed for kindergarten readiness. The app is actually available in 7 languages - English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Korean, Russian, and Japanese - but here I'm focusing on Spanish and English.

You may know by now that I am not a fan of giving small children mindless games on tablets. What I like about these apps is that they are a way to satisfy your child's cravings for technology (because they see their friends or older siblings consuming it) while ensuring that they are actually learning something. These apps are an easy supplemental tool to use with your preschool lessons. I would use them to reinforce concepts being taught in school. 

Feed Me! US English


The English has 34 subjects and covers 40+ concepts, and 44 animated trophies to motivate kids to learn. Here are the concepts that your child will find in the app:

1. Mathematical Concepts & More:

• Color and shape recognition 
• Counting and number identification
• Sorting and pattern recognition 
• Ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd…) 
• Basic mathematical equations and concepts 
• Simple time concepts in digital and analog displays 
• Prepositions of location (in, out, under...) 
• Weight and size concepts 

2. Language Arts: 

• Letter sounds and identification 
• Letter sound locations within a word – beginning, middle, or end 
• Rhyming 
• Opposites 
• Segmenting letter sounds in words 
• Basic vocabulary words
• Simple reading and spelling 

3. Additional Language Concepts: 

• Feelings
• Animals & their homes
• Occupations
• Grouping & matching 
• Weather & seasons
• Body parts
• Opposites
• Healthy habits
• Safety
• Signs
• Life cycles
• Verbs
• Comparisons

Really, there is so much covered in this app, it's like your kid is going to a private preschool. Many of the concepts that are included, are often those taught in kindergarten. So I really love the comprehensive nature of this app. If you are a homeschooler, you can cover a lot of ground here. And if you are a preschool teacher, you can recommend this app to parents knowing that what you taught in class is probably covered in the app.

I also love the voices used in this English app. The children's voices make the activities especially engaging for kids, I think.


Feed Me! MX Spanish


The Spanish version is very similar to the English app, but doesn't quite cover as much. Also, the book spines (shown above) are in English, not Spanish.

Still, the app is comprehensive. It has 2 great apps in one (2 levels per app), 25 subjects covering 30+ concepts, and 31 animated trophies. Here's what it covers:

Mathematical Concepts & More:

Color and shape recognition 
Counting and number identification
Sorting and pattern recognition 
Ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd…) 
Basic mathematical equations and concepts 
Simple time concepts in digital and analog displays 
Prepositions of location (in, out, under...) 
Weight and size concepts 

Additional Language Concepts: 

Feelings
Animals & their homes
Occupations
Grouping & matching 
Weather & seasons
Body parts
Opposites
Healthy habits
Safety
Signs
Life cycles
Verbs
Comparisons


Take a look at the simplicity and precise focus of the activities:




If you'd like to try them out, there are some free versions available for iOS, but they come with in-app purchases, so make sure your settings are properly configured so your child doesn't buy anything without your permission.


Disclosure: I received this app for review purposes. All thoughts and ideas expressed above are strictly my own.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

DSST Onlines Study Guides for High Schoolers


(This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Study.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

If you are a homeschooler, you've probably enjoyed a summer break for several weeks or more now. So if you are like me, your thoughts are beginning to turn to the coming school year. You may be thinking about curricula and planning extracurriculars. 

So I wanted to share with you a new resource available for those of you with high schoolers. Earlier this year, I told you about the study guides for the CLEP tests that are available from Study.com. Today, I want to tell you about an additional test prep resource for students looking for college credit through DSST exams.


The DSST Program allows students to gain college credit for their prior knowledge or learning that happens outside the traditional classroom. While some test areas overlap with CLEP (like college calculus), there are also some DSST exams that don't have CLEP equivalents, like technical writing, public speaking, and several specific history exams, like "History of the Vietnam War".



I counted 33 DSST Study Guides covering so MANY fascinating topics! Some of the themes are:
  • Environmental Science
  • Lifespan Developmental Psychology
  • Business Ethics and Society
  • Introduction to World Religions
  • Human Cultural Geography
  • Criminal Justice
  • Astronomy
  • and many more!

There are thousands of prep questions, more than 3,000 prep video lessons, and help available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You'll have access to:


  1. Practice tests with areas of strength and weakness
  2. Tools for tracking progress
  3. Video lessons paired with quizzes to help you solidify your knowledge

So let's take a look at the actual courses. I selected DSST Personal Finance because I think that ALL children should take this course in high school and before they leave home to be on their own. 


There are three tabs for (each) course:




Overview


The overview tab includes a course summary with a brief description of what you'll be learning.


You'll also find your Progress Tracker on this page. The great thing about this course is that you can go as fast or as slow as you'd like. And when you finish for the day, it notes where you stopped so that the next time you login, you just open this page and click on "Your next lesson" to pick up where you left off. It also tracks the number of quizzes you've completed.

Before you begin the lessons, you can click on "Course Practice Test" to check your knowledge of this course with a 50-question practice test. After you complete the test, you'll immediately see your score, how long it took you to complete the test, and your areas of weakness and strength. You'll also see which questions you got wrong, the correct answers, and the option to watch the video that explains the correct answer.


On the overview page, you can also see that this course has 12 chapters and each chapter has anywhere from five to 12 lessons. Each lesson has a quiz at the end.




Syllabus


This page gives a more detailed description of the course. But what I really like is that it also includes a section called "Course Uses" which gives a bulleted list of all the benefits of taking the course.


There's also a list of the course topics.





Exams


This page lists all of the tests and quizzes available for this course. If you feel that you already know quite a bit, you can take the Placement Test to see which lessons you need to cover.

And of course, you can find all the practice tests for each chapter.





The Lessons


The actual lessons are presented in a simple and easy to understand format. There's a short video to watch, followed by a lesson transcript so you can review what you've just learned. But if you prefer to take your own notes, there's a little tab on the upper right corner that allows you to type up things you think are important or questions you want to research later.



Access


Study.com offers three subscription levels:




You can try it out yourself with their five-day free trial. And I do encourage you to try it. But be sure to cancel your subscription if you decide it's not for you or your child.

Overall, this is a fantastic resource for homeschoolers! I think the video courses are perfect for students and deliver the information in a way that is easily understood. And I always love it when my kids can earn college credits and SAVE US TIME AND MONEY!

Am I right?

So don't wait. If you think this is the right tool for you to incorporate into your homeschool, head over to Study.com to learn more and sign up!

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Adventures of Phatty and Payaso





Over the years, my daughter and her friends have devoured various book series whose main characters were animals. I've wondered if it was the idea that their beloved pets were out living adventurous lives that kept the kids mesmerized, anxiously awaiting the next book in the series to be published. How clever, I thought, those authors are to turn animals into heroes and villains.

So when JKS Communications reached out to me about a new series based on cats, I was like, "Okay. My kids like cats. I'll take a look and see if it is a good fit." I can't tell you how pleased I was to find that "The Adventures of Phatty and Payaso" is unlike all the others for three main reasons:
  1. ) The main characters are minorities
  2. ) The book actively seeks to teach character skills lacking in today's children
  3. ) The storyline focuses on bullying.

Let me tell you the storyline first. So the main character, Phatty, is a fat cat who loves to spend his time sitting on his favorite chair and gazing out the window at Central Park. One day, the meanest hawk around lands in his window and begins to threaten him and his friends. At first, Phatty is terrified, but eventually, he musters up his courage to go alone to Central Park to stop the bully. When he doesn't come back, Payaso sets out to find his best friend, Phatty.

The three main characters reflect three different minorities: an overweight cat, a Latino cat, and a boy on the Autism spectrum. I just love the diversity that is being represented even in an animal-dominated book.

But you know what I love best? It's the fact that the author, Marie Unanue, is a kindness advocate who wrote this book to help children who are being bullied. She actually thought this storyline out carefully and used a teacher's resource - CharacterLab.org - to help her focus on key traits that she believes today's children often need to develop. These traits are:
  • Curiosity: Taking an interest in ongoing experiences for their own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering
  • Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.
  • Grit: Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles
  • Self-control: Regulating what one feels and does in the service of goals and standards; being disciplined; controlling one's emotions.
  • Social intelligence: Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick.
  • and zest: Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated.

The characters in the book each reflect one or more of these traits and they teach them to each other...and hopefully the reader, too! For kids who may be suffering (or who have suffered) from bullying, this is a great resource.

Teachers: This book works well with lessons and unit studies about Hispanic culture, minority cultures, special needs, bullying, character skills, relationships, self-worth, and more.


Disclosure: I received a copy of these books for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

10 Children’s Books About the Latino Immigration Experience



This week has been a cruel reminder of why Latino authors (and other authors of color) are so important to the literary field. The youngest and most vulnerable members of our global society need people who are willing to share their stories so that others might find their way to understanding and compassion. Specifically, of course, I'm talking about immigrant families, especially children.

So here is a list I've compiled of the remarkable books about the immigration experience as seen through the eyes of Latino children. I think it is a good time for me to share it so that others looking for these beautiful and difficult stories can share them with all the children they know. 

This post contains affiliate links.


by René Colato Laínez

A timely and inspiring story. Mario is leaving his home in El Salvador. With his father by his side, he is going north to join his mother, who lives in the United States. She has sent Mario a new pair of shoes. He will need good shoes because the journey north will be long and hard. He and his father will cross the borders of three countries. They will walk for miles, ride buses, climb mountains, and cross a river. Mario has faith in his shoes. He believes they will take him anywhere. On this day, they will take him to the United States, where his family will be reunited.



by René Colato Laínez

Near the border, the cars began to move very slowly. Papá, go fast. I want to see Mamá, I said. José loves helping Mamá in the garden outside their home in California. But when Mamá is sent back to Mexico for not having proper papers, José and his Papá face an uncertain future. What will it be like to visit Mamá in Tijuana? When will Mamá be able to come home? Award-winning children s book author René Colato Laínez tackles the difficult and timely subject of family separation with exquisite tenderness. René is donating a portion of his royalties to El Centro Madre Assunta, a refuge for women and children who are waiting to be reunited with their families up north. Joe Cepeda s bright and engaging illustrations bring this story of hope to vivid life.




Why are young people leaving their country to walk to the United States to seek a new, safe home? Over 100,000 such children have left Central America. This book of poetry helps us to understand why and what it is like to be them.

This powerful book by award-winning Salvadoran poet Jorge Argueta describes the terrible process that leads young people to undertake the extreme hardships and risks involved in the journey to what they hope will be a new life of safety and opportunity. A refugee from El Salvador’s war in the eighties, Argueta was born to explain the tragic choice confronting young Central Americans today who are saying goodbye to everything they know because they fear for their lives. This book brings home their situation and will help young people who are living in safety to understand those who are not. 



by Duncan Tonatiuh

In this allegorical picture book, a young rabbit named Pancho eagerly awaits his papa’s return. Papa Rabbit traveled north two years ago to find work in the great carrot and lettuce fields to earn money for his family. When Papa does not return, Pancho sets out to find him. He packs Papa’s favorite meal—mole, rice and beans, a heap of warm tortillas, and a jug of aguamiel—and heads north. He meets a coyote, who offers to help Pancho in exchange for some of Papa’s food. They travel together until the food is gone and the coyote decides he is still hungry . . . for Pancho!
Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the hardship and struggles faced by thousands of families who seek to make better lives for themselves and their children by illegally crossing the border.




One night, young Amada overhears her parents whisper of moving from Mexico to the other side of the border to Los Angeles, where greater opportunity awaits. As she and her family make their journey north, Amada records her fears, hopes, and dreams for their lives in the United States in her diary. How can she leave her best friend behind? What if she can't learn English? What if her family never returns to Mexico?From Juárez to Mexicali to Tijuana to Los Angeles, Amada learns that with her family's love and her belief in herself, she can make any journey and weather any change here, there, anywhere.




A young boy with two homelands and a delightful sense of wonder comes to life in Jorge Argueta s first collection of poems for children. Young Jorgito lives in San Francisco s Mission District, but he hasn't forgotten his native El Salvador. He recalls the volcanoes, the tasty cornmeal pupusas, and his grandmother s stories. As he changes from timid newcomer to seasoned city dweller, Jorgito s memories and new adventures form a patchwork of dreams the movie in his pillow that is perfectly suited to his new bicultural identity.



by Juan Felipe Herrera

The Upside Down Boy is award-winning poet Juan Felipe Herrera's engaging memoir of the year his migrant family settled down so that he could go to school for the first time. Juanito is bewildered by the new school, and he misses the warmth of country life. Everything he does feels upside down. He eats lunch when it's recess; he goes out to play when it's time for lunch; and his tongue feels like a rock when he tries to speak English. But a sensitive teacher and loving family help him to find his voice and make a place for himself in this new world through poetry, art, and music. Juan Felipe Herrera's playful language and the colorful, magical art of Elizabeth Gómez capture the universal experience of children entering a new school feeling like strangers in a world that seems upside down-at first.



by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta

Mexico may be her parents’ home, but it’s certainly not Margie’s. She has finally convinced the other kids at school she is one-hundred percent American—just like them. But when her Mexican cousin Lupe visits, the image she’s created for herself crumbles. 

Things aren’t easy for Lupe, either. Mexico hadn’t felt like home since her father went North to find work. Lupe’s hope of seeing him in the United States comforts her some, but learning a new language in a new school is tough. Lupe, as much as Margie, is in need of a friend. 

Little by little, the girls’ individual steps find the rhythm of one shared dance, and they learn what “home” really means. In the tradition of My Name is Maria Isabel—and simultaneously published in English and in Spanish—Alma Flor Ada and her son Gabriel M. Zubizarreta offer an honest story of family, friendship, and the classic immigrant experience: becoming part of something new, while straying true to who you are.



by Guadalupe García McCall
Lupita, a budding actor and poet in a close-knit Mexican American immigrant family, comes of age as she struggles with adult responsibilities during her mother's battle with cancer in this young adult novel in verse. 

When Lupita learns Mami has cancer, she is terrified by the possibility of losing her mother, the anchor of her close-knit family. Suddenly, being a high school student, starring in a play, and dealing with friends who don't always understand, become less important than doing whatever she can to save Mami's life. 

While her father cares for Mami at an out-of-town clinic, Lupita takes charge of her seven younger siblings. As Lupita struggles to keep the family afloat, she takes refuge in the shade of a mesquite tree, where she escapes the chaos at home to write. Forced to face her limitations in the midst of overwhelming changes and losses, Lupita rediscovers her voice and finds healing in the power of words. 





Fleeing from political violence in Venezuela, Amina and her family have settled in the United States. Sarah, adopted, is desperate to know her Korean birth parents. Adrian’s friends have some spooky — and hilarious — misconceptions about his Romanian origins. Whether their transition is from Mexico to the United States or from Palestine to New Mexico, the characters in this anthology have all ventured far and have faced countless challenges. Each of these stories is unique, and each one has something to say to all of us.


Love this post? Share it!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...