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Copy of Racies or Roots of Race in Latino/Chicano Picture Books

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Araceli Esparza

on 2 October 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Racies or Roots of Race in Latino/Chicano Picture Books

Taking a bite and getting poisoned
In a few sentences Luis Rodriguez shares with us the world that, Ramon, his main character lives in, In his book, It Doesn't Have to be This Way: A barrio story, he writes:
"A few months ago, I was walking home from school to the house where I live with my mom. Inside the houses, through open doors, I could see brightly painted walls with lots of pictures. From inside came music and the smells of dinners cooking. I could hear the traffic on the freeway too, and tap-tapping sound far away."

The book landscape for Latino Children

Let's step back and review a popular statistic. A report by the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison states that only
three percent
of children's books are authored by or about Latinos (Horning) even though nearly a
of all public school children today are Latino (Fry).

The Heart of the Matter
Latino/Chicano picture book authors use specific cultural sentiments, settings, symbols and connotations in order for children to understand race on their own terms. The picture books that I reviewed tap into larger societal problems in small doses in the story line. They developed self PRIDE in their characters without presenting the stark reality of race and internalized racism.
Sun Light and Craft
Going deeper
Inspiration is drawn from many places and personal experiences. Children book authors are naming the Chicano/Latino experience through Children's stories. These stories intersect race, class, gender, and national origins. The stories reflect how Chicano/Latino children's experiences play out in various settings,

They are carving new racial spaces for children through the use of PRIDE in their stories.
Fruit of good work
What can we learn from Chicano/Latino picture books to build equity:
By presenting stories of pride, self love, respect, choices and belonging. Without the political definitions of race they still illustrated race, class and gender by using smaller doses through setting, voice, and relationships. In a way that all children can identify with. In their simplicity, they highlight self-reliance; they turned large complex issues into small yet important messages of pride.

They do it by using fun smart characters that are reflective of the growing population of Chicano/Latino children.

Grandpa likes to tell stories. He tells me about how his mother, his father and his older brother came to America in a big ship from Europe…Abuelito also likes to tell stories. He tells me about the times when he was growing up on a ranch in Mexico. He worked in the fields when he was very young. (Ada 16-17)
I love Saturdays y Domingos
by Dr. Alma Flor Ada, the author defines a girl's race through her grandparent's racial history. This story describes a biracial family's pride by weaving in the grandparents' cultural history. From Saturdays with her white grandparents to Domingos with her Latino and American Indian grandparents.
Critical Race Theory in Chicano/Latino Picture Books
Finding voice Finding pride
In Mimi Chapra’s and Martha Aviles’ book, Amelia’s Show and Tell Fiesta, Amelia discovers what makes her different and she finds her own sense of pride, despite the embarrassment she feels while wearing her island dress.

Building Community Cultural Wealth “is an array of knowledge, skills, and abilities possessed by communities of Color to survive and resist macro and micro-forms of oppression” (Yosso, 2005, p. 77)
Belonging and Pride are the antithesis for Internalized Racism
Quoted text... This story is about finding pride in what makes you different gives the reader the feeling of belonging.
Belonging is an important racial issue for children and this Chicano/Latino picture book demonstrates it perfectly.
Belonging becomes the antithesis of internalized racism.
Gloria Anzaldua once described internalized racism as taking bite of racism and getting poisoned.
Rodriguez captures this sentiment in the following scene.
“Clever taught me a lot of things. He showed how to wear starched, baggy pants; to button up just the top two buttons of my flannel shirts; and how to tie a bandanna on my head. At school, I got respect” (15).

Getting Respect and having self-respect are big racial concepts that Luis captures in Ramon's young voice.
It's all in the setting/
the second character
What are the trends or future for Chicano/Latino Picture books?
What new voices do Chicano/Latino picture books bring that others don't... Bilingual culture, border culture, mash up of fairy and folktales
G. Anzaldua and Rene Colato, Ricky Martin
New Online movements via twitter and blogs ex) #WENEEDDIVERSEBOOKS

What can I do?
You can go back and look at your lists and see what you would like to change and learn. My hope is that you will buy several diverse picture books and keep one for your library. Review it, post about it and see what people say...
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