A group of aspiring Latino writers gathered in Brooklyn, NY, earlier this month at the second annual Comadres and Compadres Latino Writers Conference held at Medgar Evers College. Approximately half of the 75 writers and publishing professionals in attendance to exchange advice, tips, and words of inspiration participated in panels dedicated specifically to children’s literature.
The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Street Workshop have created the Aprendiendo Juntos (“Learning Together) Council (AJC) to identify models and practical strategies to improve digital literacy for Hispanic-Latino families. AJC plans to use the findings to influence public and private sector investments in effective programs for the community on a regional and national scale.
Librarians who serve children in predominantly Latino communities were shocked this past December to read a New York Times article claiming that there is a dearth of Latino characters in books written for young readers—a notion that is at odds with their own experiences. In fact, they tell School Library Journal, there is actually a wealth of resources currently available to these kids, and librarians have the power (and the responsibility) to make those meaningful connections.
As a librarian, I love it when I find books that relate to one another in terms of themes or content, which gets me thinking about potential program ideas. The titles selected for this first column of the new year are full of such connections. Starting with the idea of focusing on longer fiction, I found two semiautobiographical novels in verse, and both are historical fiction that deal with the protagonist coming of age.