Multicultural Literature for Latino Children, Early Literacy, and Storytelling | Professional Reading

This month's professional reading titles include global offerings for storytellers, a primer on developing literacy skills, and more.

1605-Profess-CLARK_Multicultural-LiteratureredstarClark, Ellen Riojas, Belinda Bustes Flores, Howard L. Smith, & Daniel Alejandro González. Multicultural Literature for Latino Bilingual Children: Their Words, Their Worlds. 368p. bibliog. index. Rowman & Littlefield. Nov. 2015. Tr $85. ISBN 9781475814910; pap. $44. ISBN 9781475814927; ebk. $43.99. ISBN 9781475814934.

A comprehensive professional development resource that centers on Latino children’s literature and its inclusion and use in school settings. Divided into five parts and 16 chapters, the volume captures the significance of Latino children’s books, their impact on bicultural and bilingual children, and the approaches that educators must take to use these materials critically. Themes such as bilingual learners, selection criteria, transnationalism, counternarratives, and digital literacies are broadly presented, as well as the importance of challenging tokenism and stereotypes and incorporating Latino children’s books in language arts, social studies, science, and math curricula. Each chapter includes a theoretical framework, an application of theory section, and references, discussion questions, activities, and further professional reading. Introductory lists of Latino children’s books, titles in Spanish for children, and online resources are appended. This work positions this literature in a sociocultural, historical, and political context that successfully brings theories to praxis and always encourages educators to keep in mind the bicultural and bilingual young readers of these books. A great companion to Dana L. Fox and Kathy G. Short’s Stories Matter: The Complexity of Cultural Authenticity in Children’s Literature and the works by theorist and educator Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings. VERDICT An important volume for a variety of audiences: educators—including those teaching non-English speakers—education and library school professors and students, book reviewers, and librarians.–Sujei Lugo, Boston Public Library, MA

1605-Profess-FOOTE_Six-Skills-by-Age-SixFoote, Anna & Bradley Debrick. Six Skills by Age Six: Launching Early Literacy at the Library. 228p. ebook available. index. Libraries UnlimitedTeacher Ideas. Nov. 2015. pap. $45. ISBN 9781610698993.

The state of Kansas’s 6 by 6: Ready To Read program, an initiative that aims to help kids develop fundamental proficiencies by age six, lays out the foundation for libraries to turn storytime and library programming into early literacy milestones. This text-heavy volume takes readers from the development of the initial implementation through the time line and budgeting of the new statewide enhanced early literacy program upon which the book is based. Focusing on how to integrate this program into established early childhood programming, Foote and Debrick emphasize skills that are easy to demonstrate to caregivers and that translate well into home settings. Covering three levels of programing, ranging from large events and kits that include activities for all six developmental milestones to midsize storytime activities and take-home literacy kits, the authors explain how the program can be adapted to suit libraries of all sizes. Unfortunately, there are no visual representations of the activities and kits. Of further help would be electronic downloads or a shipping list with vendor information for the activity pieces mentioned. The cost to implement the program on a statewide scale is extensive and may be overwhelming to smaller libraries. Overall, the authors do a wonderful job describing the process and providing examples of each type of early literacy stage. However, readers may find themselves left with as many questions as answers. VERDICT Even with its flaws, this is still a valuable tool for integrating early literacy activities into a public library setting.–Elizabeth Speer, Weatherford College, Weatherford, TX

1605-Profess-MACDONALD-Storytellers-SamplerMacDonald, Margaret Read, ed. Storyteller’s Sampler. 185p. further reading. index. Teacher Ideas/Libraries Unlimited. Jun. 2015. pap. $45. ISBN 9781440835278.

An excellent resource for storytellers interested in developing or adding to a repertoire of world folktales. This book is a true sampler, with entries arranged alphabetically by country or region and only one or two selections from each location. Rather than amassing familiar accounts from England, Western Europe, and the United States, MacDonald has instead chosen pieces from places such as Nepal, Haiti, and Siberia. Some offerings appear in other collections, but many are unique to this volume. Stories are brief, mostly two to three pages long, making them a good length for memorization and for sharing with a group. Each is accompanied by suggested activities and a list of similar stories and a reference to motif and type numbers. A brief biography of each storyteller is also included. VERDICT Those with an interest in tales from around the world would do well to consider this well-organized compendium from a renowned expert in the field.–Misti Tidman, Licking County Library, Newark, OH

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