Celebrating Cuentos: Promoting Latino Children's Literature and Literacy in Classrooms and Libraries

Celebrating Cuentos: Promoting Latino Children's Literature and Literacy in Classrooms and Libraries

Celebrating Cuentos: Promoting Latino Children's Literature and Literacy in Classrooms and Libraries

Celebrating Cuentos: Promoting Latino Children's Literature and Literacy in Classrooms and Libraries

Synopsis

Since 2002, Latinos have been the fastest-growing and largest ethnic minority in the United States. As the number of Latino children and their families continues to increase, so does the need for understanding these diverse cultures. Librarians and teachers throughout the nation are called on to meet the informational and literacy needs of Latino children through high-quality, culturally relevant literature and the latest educational strategies.

Excerpt

I am only an expert about my own sentiments. That is why when asked about the value of Latino children’s literature, I have an urge to point in the direction of my own head, my two hands, and my throbbing chest to say that high-quality Latino literature is a beating and sacred heart, the shaman’s ancient magic, the much-sought-after El Dorado, Moctezuma’s lost treasure, Quetzalcoatl returning, the fifth sun. Yes, high-quality Latino children’s literature is a roaring fire lighting people’s path—but what do I know besides my own corazón?

Let me say that to me, the United States is a country of surprises. Since I crossed to “the other side” from Mexico in 1994 to make this place my home, I have learned that anything unexpected can happen here. I came to the United States as a new mother and, like most emigrants, having left behind my country, my family, my language, and all that was familiar to me, I felt thrown into what I perceived as a land of strange costumes and solitude—an almost unimaginable world. To me the United States posed a challenge that I felt ill equipped to take on; I had a minimal knowledge of the English language and a strong belief, rooted in my family’s culture for generations, that all things white and foreign were better than me. But, to my surprise, it was here in this strange country of the unexpected that I would come to find art and books as the path I had been looking for in my life, while also building a new perception of my own identity—one that for the first time honored such things as the color of my skin, the complexity of my language, and the story of my ancestors. What was even more surprising to me was that all of this I discovered through children’s books.

This is how it all began. Growing up in Mexico I had already loved the books and stories that I found on my parents’ bookshelf. They were mostly adult books—many of which I barely understood. Yet many of them were jewels that marked me forever as a reader; they were books such as La increíble y triste historia de la Candida Erendira y su Abuela Desalmada written by Gabriel García Márquez, La vispera del trueno and La carcajada del gato by the Mexican novelist Luis Spota, as well as comic magazines such as La familia Burron, by Gabriel Vargas, which depicted the incredible adventures and struggles for survival of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.