The medal has officially been passed. At an inauguration ceremony at the Library of Congress on Thursday, author Jason Reynolds became the seventh National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. He will hold the post for two years. When it was Reynolds’s turn to speak, he vowed to uphold the responsibility and, he too, told a couple of stories. The first directly related to his platform as ambassador, "GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story." He was on an author visit at the middle school in Florida when he watched a girl stand with him in front of staff and students and gain the courage to speak into the microphone. She was visibly moved by hearing her voice reverberate around the room.
In this piece about Pura Belpré, library technician Rachel Rosenberg writes the following, "Since September, I’ve been working on my library Masters. Our prof gave us a list of historical library figures to create presentations about, and I immediately thought of Belpré. She wasn't listed, and I was disappointed. She was an iconic, innovative librarian who altered children's librarianship for the better and was inspirational enough to have an American Library Association award named after her (honoring children's books by Latino writers and illustrators)."
CNN partnered with "Sesame Street" for a special town hall about racism, giving both kids and parents an opportunity to explore the current moment the nation is living through and to understand how these issues affect people. "Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism" aired Saturday morning and left no stone unturned -- discussing everything from how to fight racism when you see it and who to call when police officers are being unsafe. The hour-long program featured "Sesame Street" characters like Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Rosita. Together, they -- along with experts -- answered questions submitted by families.
The winners of the 2020 Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children's Literature are Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell in the teen (age 13-18) category and The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman in the younger readers (age 9-13) category. In these fifth annual Walter Awards — which honor diverse authors whose work features "diverse main characters and address diversity in a meaningful way" — there were also two honor books in each category. For teens: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi and With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. For younger readers: A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée and Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga.
The disruption to in-school learning caused by the global pandemic this year has hit the nation’s 5 million English-language learners especially hard. Now, millions face yet another predicament: being asked to return to schools to take federally required English-language-proficiency exams amid the national surge in coronavirus cases.
The new question-of-the-week is: "What are some of the most common mistakes teachers make when working with ELLs, and what should they do, instead?" In this post, this six-part series is "wrapped up" by Valentina Gonzalez, Joseph F. Johnson Jr., Ph.D., Maria L. González, Ed.D., and Consuelo Manriquez, Ed.D., and Karen Nemeth and Jane Hill. I'm also including comments from readers.
Santiago Potes is one of the hundreds of thousands of DACA-recipients currently living in the U.S. His parents fled Colombia when he was four years old, traveling with Potes to Miami. Now, Potes, 23, is a graduate of Columbia University and also the first Latino DACA recipient to be awarded a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. "I just couldn't believe it," he tells NPR's Morning Edition. "I just thought that they were going to call me, and say 'Oh, we made a mistake. Sorry about that, we actually didn't choose you.' " Santiago says his love for learning really took off when he was selected for Marina Esteva's gifted classroom at Sweetwater Elementary when he was in the second grade.
Children don't often get to read stories by or about Latinos. The American book publishing industry remains overwhelmingly white, according to the Cooperative Children's Book Center, which found only five percent of books published for young readers are by or about Latinx people. But several new groups of writers, editors and agents are trying to increase Latino representation in children's literature. They're working in different ways, and have their own stories to tell. NPR's Mandalit Del Barco spoke to a few of them — and got some reading recommendations, too.
Teachers and parents have always faced a tough balancing act when it comes to the children in our care. How much of our job is to shield them from the ugly parts of the world, and how much is to help them learn, process, and prepare for that ugliness?