#L4LL Is On Pinterest

Did you know that you can find Latinas for Latino Lit on Pinterest? From Latino children’s poetry titles to famous quotes to reading activities and DIY incentives, we’ve collected some great ideas over there, so stop by and follow us! Share your own pins and great thoughts on Latino literacy and literature.

And if you haven’t thought about using Pinterest to keep track of and share your Latino reads, don’t forget to check out our popular post, How to Build a Latino Library on Pinterest that Rocks!

Make the Time to Read

The following is the second article in a five-part series on Raising Biliterate Children by guest contributor, Dr. Carlos Ulloa.

The ritual of a bedtime story in English or Spanish is a beautiful opportunity to bond and unwind with your child. Reading is more than building your child’s vocabulary and comprehension in two languages; reading helps your child define his or her relationship with the world. When you find your son or daughter’s just-right book, the nighttime read or reread will become your own oasis for those few moments before you both retire and recharge for the evening.

One of my kindergarten parents has been reading to his daughter since she was in her mother’s womb. There isn’t a night that goes by when he doesn’t read to his daughter. What he shared really stuck with me. “Look at where you spend your time and your money. This will give you a clear indication of what you value.”

I also love to share the example of my three-year-old nephew who thought books were the coolest Frisbees. He comes from a family of readers but unlike his older siblings, he would not have anything to do with books. In listening to his words, I discovered that if I said the word truck, I had his complete attention. I found the just-right truck books for him at our local independently-owned bookstore. His idea of a good read turned out to be a board book with multiple visuals of every kind of truck imaginable and one-word captions describing each truck. He lugged those books everywhere, even to bed! He asked everyone to read to him his three new books, over and over again. Yes, his truck books were his entry into the meaningful and relevant world of reading!

My son, on the other hand, preferred listening to audio books while commuting. A perfect opportunity to use our down time to engage in a book. My son allowed his imagination to come up with the visuals while he listened to the story in the car. His idea of a great book meant a world of fantasy where he could look out the window or close his eyes and see all of the pictures in his head.

While reading with your child, consciously ask questions aloud of the author, story setting, characters, and/or plot. This is what great readers do in their heads and you can model this for your child. Put yourself into the book and honor your child’s responses. Your child’s taste in books will evolve over time.

The key is to respect the books your child loves. When you do this, you will be able to build a bridge and introduce to your child the books you love. Your child will come to respect your opinion when it comes to books because you have built this trust and respect around books.

As parents, we must learn to create a balance in the home with television time, computer time, and unstructured time during the day. My biggest sigh comes when I see multiple screens in a traveling vehicle or every member of a family on their own personal tablet or device. Whatever happened to reading a great book, singing, engaging in a conversation, or gazing out the windows while traveling?

There are a growing number of books written in English and Spanish. Your local library, your child’s school library, or your local independently-owned bookstore are the best places to start.

To nurture your biliterate child, start by checking out Pura Belpré Award winning books. The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate. For a list of current award and honor books, check out the Pura Belpré home page.

In making your reading time relevant, look for books that honor and nurture your child’s interests. Just be aware that your son or daughter’s choices in books will evolve as he or she gets older. Regardless of age, great books are a powerful mirror and window to the world. Your example as a reader and your enthusiasm and passion for reading can be one of the greatest gifts you pass on to your child. Your time is one of your greatest resources. Value your time with your child, reading the just-right book. Sooner than later, your son or daughter will be out of the nest and you will wonder, “Where did all the time go?”


Dr. Ulloa y su Tía Chepa

Dr. Ulloa grew up speaking Spanish with his mother and English with his father. He is currently the principal of a dual immersion school in Petaluma, California. Dr. Ulloa has over 22 years of experience as a director of curriculum and instruction, elementary teacher, Descubriendo la Lectura/Reading Recovery teacher and parent involvement specialist. He currently serves as a commissioner on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), an advisory board to the California State Board of Education. Ulloa earned his bachelors at San Diego State University in Liberal Studies with a Spanish Bilingual Emphasis, masters degree in Education from Harvard University and doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Ulloa can be contacted at CarlosUlloaJr@gmail.com.

How to Host a Latino-Themed Book Swap Party

By Carmen Amato

Want an opportunity to get together with friends and feel virtuous at the same time?

Host a book party! Not only will you have fun but you’ll get a new book (for free!) and learn what your friends love to read, too.

Here is how to do it in 5 easy steps:

1. Pick a theme

While Latino Lit is a great first choice, here are some other ideas that might appeal to your friends:

• Cookbooks
• Mexico
• Latino history

Whatever you choose, make the theme broad enough so that there are many books in that category. You can also include DVDs and CDs that are book-related if you want. Just let guests know in the invitation.

2. Invitations

Send out invites explaining the book swap party theme and how it works. Guests should be told to bring three things:

• A wrapped book (doesn’t have to be new) that corresponds to the theme
• The first sentence of the book written on a 3×5 card or slip of paper. The title of the book should be written on the back.
• If the party is a pot-luck, tell them to bring a dish to share.

3. The set-up

Besides setting up for guests with food, drinks, plates, napkins, etc, you need to have a bowl of numbered cards (up to the number of guests).

Have a small prize to give away at the end of the party, such as set of bookmarks. To make bookmarks without spending a dime, check out all these free downloads from tipjunkie.com!

When guests arrive, put all their books in one central place. Collect the cards with the first sentence for the quiz at the end.

4. The swap

Once the food and margaritas are gone, let everyone pick a number out of the bowl. Number 1 gets to pick any wrapped book and unwrap it. Number 2 can either take Number 1’s unwrapped book or pick a different item from the pile. And so on. Anyone whose unwrapped book is taken gets to pick again from the wrapped pile. The picking and trading keeps going until the final number is drawn and everyone has a book. Beware, this can get quite hilarious.

5. The quiz

Without anyone looking inside their book, read the first sentences out loud from the cards the guests brought. Let folks try to guess which book each sentence comes from (whoever brought the book is not allowed to tell!). Write the name of the person who guesses the correct title on the sentence card. After all the sentences have been guessed the person who has the most number of correct guesses gets the prize.

That’s it! Everybody gets a new book and learns a little about many others.
To get you thinking about a book swap party, who can name the book this quote is from? Let us know in the comments!

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”


Carmen Amato is the author of THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY and CLIFF DIVER, the first book in her Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco which was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “consistently exciting.” The next book in that series, HAT DANCE, will be released later this summer.

In HAT DANCE, Acapulco detective Emilia Cruz will risk a dance with the devil in a desperate attempt to stop an arsonist and find a missing girl. But when the music stops, the consequences will be deadly.

Check out all Carmen’s books at http://amazon.com/author/carmenamato and connect with her on Twitter @CarmenConnects or http://facebook.com/authorcarmenamato. Her Pinterest boards illustrate her books and can be found at http://pinterest.com/CarmenConnects.

The Summer Reading Program Submission Form

How’s your summer been? Have your children read all 8 books over the last 9 weeks? Or have you read 8 books to your little ones who aren’t old enough to read yet? Are you anxious to turn in your titles and see if you are one of the first families to do so in order to claim your prizes?

Well here you go: The Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program is now LIVE!

To enter to win one of our fantastic prizes, please fill out the submission form below.

Just a reminder:

• The first five (5) families with children 4 and under will win a 1-year subscription to Monarca Language.
• The families with the first 100 kids ages 5 to 8 will receive a backpack of school supplies.

Kids ages 9 to 18, you can still enter the YA Challenge by submitting a video book report, and be eligible to win one of 10 Chromebooks or 10 Nexus 7 tablets. Read here for complete details.

¡Buena suerte!