In two weeks, a loosely organized network of citizens has helped reunite nearly a dozen separated immigrant families, in some cases connecting them with housing, lawyers, transportation, and other services they may need. They call their coalition "Immigrant Families Together."
School Library Journal asked four Native YA authors—Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), Dawn Quigley (Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe), Eric Gansworth (Onondaga), and Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee [Creek])—four questions about Native books for teens and their own roles as storytellers and educators.
A Spanish teacher at a Downtown Brooklyn charter school was devastated hearing about the destruction reeked by Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, which took down her mother's home on the island. Isamar Rosado-Aponte felt lost being so far away from her former home, but her students at Brooklyn Prospect Downtown Elementary School helped her get through it. That impulse to help eventually turned into the Borinquen Backpack Project, during which the kids sent backpacks stuffed with school supplies to Puerto Rican students whose campus was destroyed in the storm and sent letters pleading the federal government for help.
Picking up a bookmark reading, "You have friends in the United States // Tienes un amigo en los Estados Unidos," 10-year-old Jocylyn began to draw a pink and yellow flower amid the printed lettering. Next, she drew a sun, followed by a line of blue rain, finishing with a grassy layer beneath the flower's stem. "The flower is starting to fall, but then the rain comes down onto it and gives it strength to pick itself back up," said Jocylyn. "I want the kid who sees this to feel the same way." Jocylyn was one of 30 Latino children who gathered at Mighty Writers' El Futuro location on Thursday to craft personal messages and designs on 700 bookmarks. Destined for immigrant detention centers across the country, each bookmark will be paired with a Spanish-language children's book and sent out by Mighty Writers, a local nonprofit that works to develop writing skills among youths at six Philadelphia locations.
California plans to triple the number of students proficient in a language other than English over the next 12 years. Outgoing state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson described his new initiative, Global California 2030, as a "call to action" to increase opportunities for students to learn a second or third language at school and to train more bilingual teachers.
"A follow-up to Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors, by the same team, this appealing and well-designed picture book has great potential for cross-curricular use. Khan blends geometry terms (arch, hexagon, cone) and vocabulary about Islam in gentle couplets rich with sensory detail. Amini's vividly colored spreads use patterns and architectural elements from classical Islamic art, enlivened with whimsical additions, such as a tabby cat that appears on several pages."
Doctors are speaking out against the Trump administration's plans to stop separating immigrant families by instead detaining children with their parents. That approach, top pediatricians warned Wednesday, replaces one inhumane policy with another. "It puts these kids at risk for abnormal development," said Dr. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Buffett Early Childhood Institute recently hosted a national symposium at UNO focused on best practices for helping young English Language Learners succeed in school. Dr. Samuel Meisels, Founding Executive Director of the Buffett Institute, says Nebraska English Language Learners are falling behind their peers in the state and the nation.
The 5-year-old and his family had traveled thousands of miles to escape. When they finally arrived on American soil, free from the marauders who had burned their house to the ground, the boy was placed in a holding pen with his brother and sisters, while immigration officials decided their fate. From this story, a classic piece of music emerged. The family, fleeing religious persecution in Russia in 1893, was soon reunited and allowed to enter the country. And that little boy, born Israel Beilin, would grow up to become Irving Berlin. Twenty-five years after emigrating, the same year he became an American citizen, he composed "God Bless America."
The U.S. Department of Education is delaying, by two years, implementation of a rule that would require states to take a closer look at how school districts identify and serve minority students with disabilities.