bububooks

Helping children develop their American and native cultural identities together.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Launches New Educational Resources for Latino Youth

Posted by bububooks on April 30, 2010

I wanted to share something I received from Kirk Whisler’s newsletter at the Latino Print Network regarding some exciting opportunities for Latino youth in America.  Check them out and let us know what you think about them.

For more information on CHCI, click www.chci.org.  I’ve also posted Kirk’s contact information below if you’d like more information about the Latino Print Network.

CHCI logoCHCI Launches New Educational Resources for Latino Youth

For more than 20 years, CHCI’s education clearinghouse has provided critical information to Latino youth, parents, and educators to ensure access to scholarships, internships, fellowships, financial aid, and other opportunities.  Thanks to the support of State Farm Insurance Companies, CHCI is proud to launch updated versions of its very popular publications that help students prepare for college, as well as apply for financial aid and scholarships.

The College Preparatory Kit for High School Students helps students select the right high school courses and prepare for college entrance exams.  There are helpful tips on selecting a college and how to effectively keep track of application deadlines.

The Guide to Applying for Financial Aid & Scholarships provides in-depth information on how to apply for grants, scholarships, federal student loans, work study, and more. This comprehensive guide is a must for any student needing financial assistance to complete his/her higher education.

The Pre-College Planning Checklist for Parents and Middle School Students is a road map for parents and students to work together toward achieving the goal of a higher education.  This document is targeted to Latino parents of sixth to ninth grade students who lack the information and knowledge to assist their children in preparing for college and puts them on the pathway to success.

CHCI’s National Directory of Scholarships, Internships, and Fellowships for Latino Youth, launched in 2008, remains the most popular document at www.chci.org with more than 650,000 downloaded in 2009.

“Hispanics are the largest and youngest minority group with the projected growth of nearly 40 percent over the next two decades and 100 percent by 2040. It is imperative that our future generation of Latino leaders is armed with the necessary education and professional skills to succeed,” said Esther Aguilera, CHCI President & CEO.  “Our founding members envisioned education as the key to success and as the foundation of leadership development.  CHCI is proud to have impacted hundreds of thousands of lives through our education clearinghouse over the years.”

While CHCI is nationally known for its leadership development programs and serving as a pipeline to develop the next generation of Latino leaders, it has provided comprehensive educational and informational resources since 1987. What started with a national hotline and small newsletter to inform the Latino community about higher education opportunities, evolved into an online comprehensive educational clearinghouse in 2001 that continues to be the destination of choice for Latino students looking for information in 2010.

email: kirk@whisler.com
voice: (760) 434-1223
Latino Print Network overall: 760-434-7474
web: www.hm101.com
Podcast: www.mylatinonetwork.com

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Uplifting Women of Our Time

Posted by bububooks on March 26, 2010

In November 2009, we at bububooks had the pleasure of hosting Milka Duno, Indy Car racer, to autograph her book and speak with children and fans during the Miami Book Fair International.  As the Indy season gets underway, we’re excited to watch her progress through this male-dominated sport.  Recently, Milka sat down with a reporter for the New Straits Times while she was in Kuala Lumpur to speak at a conference celebrating International Women’s Day.  You can read that article below.

If you’d like to catch a glimpse at her bilingual children’s book, Go, Milka, Go!/¡Corre, Milka, Corre!, click here.

Scroll down to see Milka Duno’s racing schedule for this season!

New Straits Times
Thursday, March 18, 2010, 01.06 AM

WOMEN: Driving dreams

Milka DunoHispanic beauty Milka Duno shares the ups and downs of being a professional car racer in a male-dominated sport with VIMALA SENEVIRATNE

VENEZUELAN beauty Milka Duno strikes a vampish pose with a mischievous look in her eyes and a white rose tucked behind her right ear.

Showing off her well-toned body to advantage, she’s sexy without being sleazy. “This reminds me of my modelling days while at university,” she says with a smile that can light up a room.

But her Latin American charm has little to do with what she does for a living. Duno is a professional race car driver who loves the challenge of burning tyres at 300kmph, a speed which would land most of us with a ticket.

“I didn’t plan on being a car racer. It was an opportunity that came my way. I tried it and haven’t looked back since,” she says. The former naval engineer and Caracas native was in Kuala Lumpur as one of the speakers at the Women of Independence — The Power of One conference held in conjunction with International Women’s Day recently. She has just finished her presentation and is taking a well-deserved break.

“I haven’t slept well in a long time,” she says while relaxing on a sofa, her right leg comfortably tucked in. “People think that I’m addicted to speed. It heightens your senses, but what I find most thrilling is the challenge. Conquering the challenge is what drives me.

“I thrive on challenges, be it on the race track, in my job or personal life. I compete to win. It’s hard work, but not impossible,” says the thirtysomething who made history last year when she became the first Hispanic woman to compete in the 93 years of the Indy 500 race.

It’s not surprising that her grit and courage have enabled her to take part in just about every major car race in the world — the 24-hour Daytona, Le Mans Series and Indy 500 — while collecting a series of titles such as “first woman to race here”, “win this” and “finish there”. She has eight wins in major sports car races and was recently inducted into the Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame. She now competes in the Indy Car Series. “There are 17 races a year, and next I will be racing in Brazil. I have to be mentally, physically and emotionally prepared.” And how does she do that? “Two hours of workout every day — a combination of weight training, swimming, running and eating healthy meals. Being single also helps as I’m able to concentrate fully on my career,” she says. Duno spends hours practising with her coach. When she gets behind the wheel, her gender takes secondary role. “I’m a driver just like the others in the race. We have only one aim — to win. This is where your co-ordination, skill and experience come into play,” she says.

Duno learnt to drive her mother’s car (without permission) in her teens. She has now set her sights on F1, considered the ultimate car race. “Any serious car racer will tell you that winning takes precise timing, mechanical knowledge, stamina and most of all, unwavering focus. I’m working towards that race.” The second of three children of a sales-manager father and lawyer mother, Duno lives in Miami, Florida.

She once played the role of Kellie “Gearbox”, a race car driver in the Speed Racer movie based on the 1960 classic animated series. “I hadn’t done movies before so it was a good experience. But that’s not where my heart is,” she says.

Duno, who had harboured dreams of becoming a naval engineer, also realised the importance of a good education towards achieving this goal.

“Both my parents, especially my mother, always stressed that a solid education was a stepping stone to achieving one’s dreams. As for my dreams, call it an obsession with the navy,” she says with a giggle. “I used to spend hours at the port watching ships and wondering what kept them afloat.” She enrolled in a naval university and was one of four students from a class of 120 who graduated with a degree. She went on to earn four Masters in Organisational Development, Naval Architecture, Maritime Business and Marine Biology. “I was interested in all those subjects, and I worked as an engineer for a short while,” she explains.

In 1996, she was introduced to car racing when a friend asked her to take part in a Porsche Driving Clinic in Venezuela. She came in second and realised that racing fuelled her passion for challenge and competition. “That did it. I switched careers,” she says. Her parents, she recalls, were aghast. “They wanted me to have a regular job and they feared for my safety. I eventually won them over and now they are my No. 1 fans.” To excel in the sport, she realised that she needed training, knowledge and experience. “That’s how I ended up in Miami, to take up race car driving lessons,” she explains. By 2000, Duno was already in the door of the male-dominated profession.

She devotes her free time to giving talks to children of all ages on the importance of education through the Milka Way programme she set up six years ago. “I hope to inspire and motivate the children to realise their dreams, just as I did mine,” she says.

“It’s rewarding to get letters from young adults thanking me for encouraging them to continue with their education. Many who had dropped out of school or university and went back to complete their studies, are now holding well-paying jobs.” She has also come up with the bilingual children’s book Go, Milka, Go!, which depicts her as a cartoon character teaching the importance of education to children. “I try to show readers the joy of competing and winning and the importance of team effort and determination as necessary tools to a successful life.” And what about her future plans? “Married with lots of children and living happily ever after,” she says with a laugh.

“I’m aware that there will come a day when I will have to leave professional racing. I will concentrate on my Milka programme and maybe produce more children’s books.”

Indycar logo

DATE                                                            VENUE

March 14                                          Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil

March 28                                         Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida

April 11                                              Barber Motorsports Park, Alabama

April 18                                             Streets of Long Beach, California

May 1                                                  Kansas Speedway, Kansas

May 30                                              Indianapolis 500, Indiana

June 5                                                Texas Motor Speedway, Texas

June 20                                             Iowa Speedway, Iowa

July 4                                                 Watkins Glen International, New York

July 18                                               Streets of Toronto, Canada

July 25                                               Edmonton City Centre Airport, Canada

August 8                                           Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Ohio

August 22                                        Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, California

August 28                                        Chicagoland Speedway, Illinois

September 4                                   Kentucky Speedway, Kentucky

September 18                                 Twin Ring Motegi, Japan

October 2                                         Homestead-Miami Speedway, Florida

For more information, visit Milka’s official website.

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ReadOn 2010: Open Books’ Read-a-thon for literacy!

Posted by bububooks on March 12, 2010

Open Books is an up and coming non-profit organization in Chicago that is making big strides in promoting literacy amongst children.  They’re hosting a read-a-thon fundraiser during the month of May. Check out the info below.  Be sure to contact us to be one of your pledgers! Email us at: Service@bububooks.com

readon2010

Join the Open Books Associate Board for ReadOn 2010!, our first annual read-a-thon to raise funds for our literacy programming!

By signing up as a Reader and collecting pledges, you’ll help us spread the love of reading and writing to the 3,000+ children we serve, including those in our one-on-one Buddies program in Chicago schools.


WHEN:

May 1-26, 2010


WHO:

Readers of all ages, around Chicago and across the country! Adults (participants 13 and older) will track their progress by pages read and children (participants under age 13) will track books read.


HOW:

Sign up as a Reader, gather pledges, and read your way to your goal! Don’t have time to participate? You can sponsor any participating Reader, or one of our participating Buddies schools.

PRIZES:

All Readers will be entered in a raffle. We have special prizes for top fundraisers and readers, too!

EVENTS:

Read-ins, book discussions, author events, and more!

SIGN UP TODAY!

http://www.open-books.org/events/readon2010


Have questions or want additional information?
Contact Stacy Shafer Peterson,
ssp@open-books.org
312.475.1355 x117

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You Can Lead a Child to Books…

Posted by bububooks on March 6, 2010

Language Magazine’s Editorial in the January 2010 issue focused on the importance of enjoying reading in order to develop literacy skills.  I really liked the editor’s viewpoint and got permission to reprint the article here for you.  If you’d like more information on or to subscribe to Language Magazine: The Journal of Communication and Education, please visit their website, www.languagemagazine.com.

Language and literacy are the tools with which knowledge is built.  Without their acquisition, no child has the chance to become an astronaut, a scientist, a doctor, a movie star, or even a musician.  Without aspirations, children cannot flourish and life loses some of its magic.  Yet, we continue to deny so many of our children the opportunity to develop their own language and literacy skills by refusing them access to books that are suitable for them and might even excite them.
According to a newly released study (see News, p. 10 by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), in more than 90 percent of school libraries, books in languages other than English account for less than five percent of the collection and, in nearly 60 percent of school libraries, they account for less than one percent. While nearly 14 percent of responding schools reported that at least 25 percent of their students were English Language Learners (ELLs) and a quarter of all respondents rated free-choice reading as the most effective ELL initiative.
Now, I can already hear the English-only brigade proclaiming that all books in school libraries in America should be in English because that’s the language spoken here, but even the most hardened English-only advocate must appreciate that children will never become literate in any language if they don’t enjoy reading. And reading in a second language is hard work at first —imagine being obliged to pick up War and Peace every night for your bedtime read.
Librarians consider “school-wide reading initiatives that encourage free choice reading” to be the most effective teaching strategy for ELLs. Many teachers and experts agree (see Opinion, p.26). Restocking our school and public libraries with books that will interest today’s kids is a relatively low cost policy with no drawbacks and an enormous upside. Not only is it a long term investment which will serve children for many years to come, but, for those who are counting, nearly all the money will end up with American publishers (yes, there are many American publishers of books in languages other than English) so the investment will satisfy stimulus package requirements.
Britain’s Cambridge University recently released the results of a three-year study (see News p.11) into elementary education, which warns “that prescribed pedagogy combined with high stakes testing and the national curriculum amounted to a ‘state theory of learning.’ Prepackaged, government approved lessons are not good for a democracy, nor for children’s education…Pupils do not learn to think for themselves if their teachers are expected to do as they are told.” This completely contradicts the blindly accepted notion that more standards and testing make better schools —the basis for the federal education funding.
Another $250 million was allocated to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teaching earlier this month. About the same amount of funding would buy an appropriate library book for every child in public school across the nation. Instead of pinning all its hopes of school reform success on standards, assessment, and incentive schemes, the government, like all wise investors, should spread its bets.

Daniel Ward, Editor

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Repost of an excellent article on bilingual children, the benefits for children, challenges for parents and tips for success

Posted by bububooks on March 2, 2010

We’ve already shared this article on Facebook and Twitter, but we love it so much we decided to post it here too!  You can find the original article at: www.northjersey.com

Raising multilingual children
Monday, March 1, 2010
BY KATHRYN DAVIS
THE PARENT PAPER

We live in a multilingual world. It is not uncommon to walk down the street in any U.S. city and hear several different languages being spoken. Around the world, children are learning English as a second language at a very young age, enabling them to develop the skills necessary to interact with people all over the globe. There is no doubt about the benefits of being able to communicate in more than one language. Such ability offers the opportunity for independence, whether for business, education, leisure or travel.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 10 million children between the ages of 5 and 17, or about 20 percent of children over 5, already speak a language other than English at home. Experts are citing more and more evidence of the benefits of multilingual development from an early age. While there has been some suggestion that learning a second language can delay speech acquisition and language development, research demonstrates otherwise.

More and more parents are seeking to provide their children with the advantages that bilingualism offers. That goal leads to some basic questions. When does language acquisition start? When and how should children begin learning a second language?

The basics

The young mind, particularly in infancy, is malleable. In the first few months, crying, whimpering and cooing are the primary forms of communication. Soon a baby starts to distinguish individual sounds and will begin to mimic those sounds or syllables. He will learn to distinguish between “ma” and “da” and will start to babble.

Vocalization is a baby’s way of entertaining himself, but it is also how he discovers ways to use his mouth, his tongue and vocal chords to make sounds. At one point, his speech may sound almost as though he is making sense. This is because his tones and patterns are based on the language he hears around him. Eventually, these babblings will develop into individual words that will facilitate true communication. The individual phonemes, or words sounds, that develop are primarily based on the language spoken in the home. Young children who hear more than one language develop additional sounds and, eventually, additional words that represent concepts, objects or people.

Programs that teach infants sign language have claimed to help babies as young as 10 months to communicate, before they are able to articulate with words. Experts say learning to communicate through a second language, even sign language, can be beneficial to cognitive development. However, raising a bilingual child requires a commitment of consistency in the long-term.

In her article, “Two or More Languages in Early Childhood: Some General Points and Practical Recommendations,” Annick De Houwer of the University of Antwerp and Science Foundation in Flanders, Belgium says, “A prevailing idea is that it is very easy for children to learn a new language and that hardly any effort is involved. However, learning language, even one, is a process that takes many years.”

While it is true that language acquisition is easier when it is done at a young age, it is the opportunities to hear and use a language consistently over time that brings success. De Houwer points out, “Languages are very complex. To learn all their complexities, one needs a lot of life experience…The environment plays an important role in learning to speak. Children learn to speak only when they hear people talk to them in many different circumstances.”

Pros and cons

Is there a downside to bilingualism? Not so many years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that children who learn to speak two languages tended to confuse the two, interchanging words from both languages in their speech, even within the same sentence. However, studies have shown otherwise.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia and Ottawa studied infants to find out whether the demand of acquiring more sounds and words leads to differences in language development. The experiment involved repeatedly presenting two different objects labeled as “bih” and “dih.” In every group tested, the bilingual infants noticed the change in the object’s name at a later age (20 months vs. 17 months) than the monolingual babies. While this may seem like the monolingual infants were more successful, the researchers theorized that the bilingual infants were focusing more on making a connection between objects and words, rather than just attending to details of sound.

Another study of 40 7-month-old babies by The Language, Cognition, and Development Lab at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy also suggests exposure to more than one language at an early age has benefits. Half of the babies in this study came from homes where two different languages were spoken. The experiment involved using a computer where characters were displayed on one of two screens just after word-like sounds were played. Researchers tested the babies’ ability to anticipate upon which screen a character would appear based on various sounds. Only the babies from the bilingual homes were able to use the newly learned sounds to predict where the cartoon would appear. The author of the study, Jacques Mehler, points out that this skill can apply to more than just the ability to switch between languages.

Experts say babies raised in a bilingual environment may exhibit some slight delays in speech development, but that delay is only temporary. Overall, the benefits can be far-reaching.

According to Carey Myles, author of Raising Bilingual Children, “Bilingual language skills have also been correlated with improved cognitive performance in children. According to the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, D.C., bilinguals take a more creative approach to problem-solving, read earlier on average than their monolingual peers, and score higher on standardized tests like the SAT.”

Beyond the obvious benefits of a second language, Myles points out, “…language is a powerful factor in shaping a child’s identity. When children in bilingual families understand the culture of each parent, family bonds are strengthened.”

Giving children fluency in more than one language is possible, but it is not simple. Parents should have realistic expectations about the process and results of raising a bilingual child. “Even parents able to spend every summer in the ‘home country’ or to enroll their children in language immersion programs at school may find that their children’s language proficiency is not exactly the same in each language,” Myles notes. “The good news is that this is completely normal and what most adult bilinguals typically experience, too.”

Methods of instruction

Families wishing to promote their child’s second language acquisition have options. One parent, one language, (OPOL) is one method in which each parent speaks only one language. In this way, the child learns to distinguish between the two languages. Another method is the “home language approach.” Here the family speaks one language inside the home, while the child acquires the community’s language outside the home. A third option is immersion, often done through a formal program.

“I think there are probably as many ways as there are families,” says Myles. “Parents should consider their situation and what resources they have to support their minority language. I don’t think one can say a certain method is better than others; although I don’t think artificial schedules, like French at dinnertime, really work.”

There are drawbacks to any method. Myles points out that when only one parent is providing exposure to a second language, “it can be hard on that parent. With limited exposure to the minority language, children are naturally stronger in the majority language. It is not uncommon for a parent in that situation to give up using the minority language exclusively with the children, in favor of better communication.”

Some parents turn to immersion programs through formal education at schools like the French Academy of Bergen County. “At 2 years old, 90 percent of the curriculum is taught in French,” explains Executive Director Anne-Sophie Gueguen. “As the children get older, the number of hours taught in English slowly increases.”

By the time children are in fourth grade, Gueguen says they receive equal teaching in both French and English. “The ultimate goal at FABC is to raise children equally in both languages.”

Gueguen understands the advantages of speaking two languages, citing skills many do not usually associate with language. “The intellectual stimulation involved in learning two languages, knowing two words for one meaning, reinforces abstraction and problem solving skills. The benefits of this stimulation are remarkable in math.”

Another way children often “pick up” a second language is referred to as “receptive bilingualism.” In this case, children understand the minority language spoken at home, but do not speak it. “This kind of bilingualism is more common than people realize in the United States,” says Myles. There are ways in which parents can encourage children to speak their second language. Sometimes parents tell their children that the grandparents do not understand English. “Some parents simply don’t respond until rebellious older children use the appropriate language,” Myles explains.

No matter which method parents use, reading books is an excellent means of supporting language acquisition. Early language development depends on vocabulary development. Parents can take advantage of this time spent reading with their children to encourage vocabulary growth in both languages. In fact, any time parents read with their children, the benefits are extensive and it is never too soon to begin this practice.

Though most children who grow up with two languages do so because they live in bilingual homes, there are an increasing number of parents who make the choice of bilingualism for their children. The advantages of a second language are clear, and that’s the same in any language.

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You’re Not Alone at Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism

Posted by bububooks on February 26, 2010

Hi everyone,

We at bububooks are happy to be a part of this month’s Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism again.  Check out the 14 blog posts with a central theme called, We’re Not Alone, over at SpanglishBaby.

I’ve copied some of the themes here, but be sure to head over to SpanglishBaby to enjoy the whole carnival.  Know that you’re not alone in trying to raised your children to be bilingual–meet the others at the carnival, read their stories and share your own!

–How to approach bilingualism once your children are about to become adolescents.
–An excellent topic which we don’t really cover much.
–Fun ways to introduce language into everyday activities from the mouth of an expert: a mom and an educator.
–Music is not only a fun way to teach Spanish, but real important to reinforce the minority language.
–An interesting look at a topic that has always interested me: what happens when you’re raising bilingual siblings.
–Funny, funny, funny story about the joys of bilingualism.
–Another honest look at the difficulties of raising bilingual children but from the point of view of a mom using her second language.

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Upcoming Latino Children’s Literature Conference

Posted by bububooks on February 22, 2010

Hi there!  We wanted to share some information on an upcoming conference.  Let us know if you’re going!

Latino Children’s Literature Conference

photo of Latino Conference

National Latino Children’s Literature Conference: Connecting Culture & Celebrating cuentos
This April 23rd and 24th celebrate the rich traditions and diversity within the Latino cultures at the National Celebration of Latino Children’s Literature Conference. Discover how to meet the informational and literacy needs of Latino children via high quality, culturally-relevant literature and the latest educational strategies. Engage in unique networking opportunities with librarians, teachers, educators, and researchers from across the nation as we explore how to make intercultural connections and serve this rapidly growing, uniquely diverse population. 

As the number of Latino children and their families continues to increase, so does the need for understanding these diverse cultures.  This exclusive conference provides a forum for sharing current research and practice addressing the cultural, educational, and informational needs of Latino children and their families. At the same time, the conference also examines the many social influences that Latino children’s literature has upon the developing child. 

Beginning Friday April 23rd at 1 p.m. on the historical University of Alabama campus, nationally-recognized Latino children’s literature expert Oralia Garza de Cortés will launch the recurring conference theme “Connecting Cultures and Celebrating Cuentos” with a powerful keynote address. Participants will then have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions related to Latino children’s and young adult literature, library services to Latinos, and literacy education for Latino children.  Immediately following these small group sessions, award-winning Latina author Monica Brown and award-winning Latino artist Rafael López will discuss the collaborative synergy behind their work.

Friday evening, award-winning Latina author and storyteller Carmen Tafolla will celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), Latino children’s literature, and cultural literacy with a free community event at the Tuscaloosa Public Library. This Noche de Cuentos (Evening of Stories) begins at 7 p.m. and includes storytelling, refreshments, and free books for the niños. 

On Saturday April 24th, Dr. Monica Brown energizes participants and opens the day’s events with a keynote address at Mary Hewell Alston Hall. Breakout sessions for both practitioners and researchers as well as graduate and undergraduate students will follow and include a variety of topics related to Latino children’s literature and literacy. Research posters will also be on display throughout the conference.

Lunch will be served at the Ferguson Center and will be followed by an engaging keynote at Mary Hewell Alston Hall with award-winning artist and illustrator Rafael López. Afterwards breakout sessions will include topics related to education, literacy, storytelling, and library services for Latino children. Storyteller and award-winning author Dr. Carmen Tafolla will bring down the house with a grand finale performance followed by a book signing with conference authors. Attendees will have additional opportunities to talk with first-time, Latina children’s literature authors: Jennifer Cervantes, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall. 

By attending the Connecting Cultures & Celebrating Cuentos Conference, you have the chance to meet award-winning Latino authors and illustrators, participate in exciting break-out sessions, engage in exclusive networking opportunities, and celebrate cultural literacy in a Día community event. Come deepen your understanding of the Latino cultures and celebrate their rich diversity within our classrooms and libraries. See you in April! 

Dr. Jamie C. Naidoo
SLIS Assistant & Foster-EBSCO Endowed Professor
Conference Chair

For more information and To Register for the Conference Please go to the official Conference webpage: http://www.latinochildlitconf.org/

Sponsored by the
School of Library and Information Studies
@ the University of Alabama

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Lunar New Year Traditions Explained

Posted by bububooks on February 14, 2010

While many countries in the world celebrate the Lunar New Year (It is Feb. 14 in 2010), most Americans know it as the Chinese New Year.   Below is an article published by the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco.  It explains traditional customs as well as modern traditions adopted by Americans of all types.  Check it out and share how you’ll celebrate the Year of the Tiger!  As for me, I’m heading down to Chicago’s Chinatown for the New Year’s Parade.  I’ll be sure to tweet about it! –Laura

Also, for activities in the classroom, check out this website: Lunar New Year Activities for Kids

Traditional Celebration of the Chinese New Year

Of all the traditional Chinese festivals, the new Year was perhaps the most elaborate, colorful, and important. This was a time for the Chinese to congratulate each other and themselves on having passed through another year, a time to finish out the old, and to welcome in the new year. Common expressions heard at this time are: GUONIAN to have made it through the old year, and BAINIANto congratulate the new year.

Turning Over a New Leaf
The Chinese New year is celebrated on the first day of the First Moon of the lunar calendar. The corresponding date in the solar calendar varies from as early as January 21st to as late as February 19th. Chinese New Year, as the Western new Year, signified turning over a new leaf. Socially, it was a time for family reunions, and for visiting friends and relatives. This holiday, more than any other Chinese holiday, stressed the importance of family ties. The Chinese New year’s Eve dinner gathering was among the most important family occasions of the year.

Sweeping of the Grounds Spring Couplet 1Spring Couplet 2
Preparations for the Chinese New Year in old China started well in advance of the New Year’s Day. The 20th of the Twelfth Moon was set aside for the annual housecleaning, or the “sweeping of the grounds“.Every corner of the house must be swept and cleaned in preparation for the new year. SpringCouplets, written in black ink on large vertical scrolls of red paper, were put on the walls or on the sides of the gate-ways. These couplets, short poems written in Classical Chinese, were expressions of good wishes for the family in the coming year. In addition, symbolic flowers and fruits were used to decorate the house, and colorful new year pictures (NIAN HUA) were placed on the walls (for more descriptions of the symbolism of the flowers and fruits.

Kitchen God
After the house was cleaned it was time to bid farewell to the Kitchen God, or Zaowang. In traditional China, the Kitchen God was regarded as the guardian of the family hearth. He was identified as the inventor of fire, which was necessary for cooking and was also the censor of household morals. By tradition, the Kitchen God left the house on the 23rd of the last month to report to heaven on the behavior of the family. At this time, the family did everything possible to obtain a favorable report from the Kitchen God. On the evening of the 23rd, the family would give the Kitchen God a ritualistic farewell dinner with sweet foods and honey. Some said this was a bribe, others said it sealed his mouth from saying bad thins.

Free from the every-watchful eyes of the Kitchen God, who was supposed to return on the first day of the New Year, the family now prepared for the upcoming celebrations. In old China, stores closed shop on the last two or three days of the year and remained closed for the first week of the New Year. Consequently, families were busy in the last week of the old year stocking up on foods and gifts. Chinese New Year presents are similar in spirit to Christmas presents, although the Chinese tended more often to give food items, such as fruits and tea. The last days of the old year was also the time to settle accumulated. debts.

Family Celebration
On the last day of the old year, everyone was busy either in preparing food for the next two days, or in going to the barbers and getting tidied up for the New Year’s Day. Tradition stipulated that all food be pre-pared before the New Year’s Day, so that all sharp instruments, such as knives and scissors, could be put away to avoid cutting the “luck” of the New Year. The kitchen and well were not to be disturbed on the first day of the Year.

The New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations were strickly family affairs. All members of the family would gather for the important family meal on the evening of the New year’s Eve. Even if a family member could not attend, an empty seat would be kept to symbolize that person’s presence at the banquet. At midnight following the banquet, the younger members of the family would bow and pay their respects to their parents and elders.

Lai-See
On New Year’s Day, the children were given Red Lai-See Envelopes , good luck money wrapped in little red envelopes. On New Year’s day, everyone had on new clothes, and would put on his best behavior. It was considered improper to tell a lie, raise one’s voice, use indecent language, or break anything on the first day of the year.

Starting from the second day, people began going out to visit friends and relatives, taking with them gifts and Lai-See for the children. Visitors would be greeted with traditional New year delicacies, such as melon seeds, flowersfruitstray of togetherness, and NIANGAO, New Year cakes.

Everybody’s Birthday
The entire first week was a time for socializing and amusement. On the streets, the stores were closed and an air of gaiety prevailed. There were numberous lion dances, acrobats, theatrical shows, and other diversions. Firecrackers, which symbolized driving away evil spirits, were heard throughout the first two weeks of the New year. The Seventh Day of the New Year was called “everybody’s birthday” as everyone was considered one year older as of that date. (In traditional China, individual birthdays were not considered as important as the New Year’s date. Everyone added a year to his age at New Year’s time rather than at his birthday.)

Lantern Festival – 15th Day
The New Year celebrations ended on the 15th of the First Moon with the Lantern Festival. On the evening of that day, people carried lanterns into the streets to take part in a great parade. Young men would highlight the parade with a dragon dance. The dragon was made of bamboo, silk, and paper, and might stretch for more than hundred feet in length. The bobbing and weaving of the dragon was an impressive sight, and formed a fitting finish to the New Year festival.

Chinese New Year Festival as Seen in the United States

The Chinse New Year celebration in San Francisco Chinatown and other Chinese American communitites should not be interpreted as direct transplants of Chinese culture. Due to differences in their social environment and physical limitations, these local celebrations have developed special characteristics of their own. Along with old customs imported directly from China, the Chinatown celebrations also contain adaptations from other cultures in the United States.

Traditional vs Modern
The first point to be noticed in comparing the Chinatown celebrations of today to that described in the preceeding section is that they have been shortened or simplified. Chinese American stores in this country do not close for a week to celebrate, nor is is likely that a Chinese American could take two weeks off from work. Therefore, many of the festivities have been adapted for the evenings or the weekends. This includes the social visits, the family dinners, and even the Chinatown parade, which is always held on a Saturday. In many Chinese American homes, the annual housecleaning is still done at New Year’s time. Spring Couplets can be seen in Chinatwon stores everywhere, but these are now bought from the Chinse Hospital as a fundraising effort – an interesting variation on an old Chinese custom.

In addition to the Spring Couplets, the Chinatown lion dances have also been promoted as a fundraising event for the Chinese Hospital. In the earlier days of Chinatown, lion dances were relatively rare. In the 1920’s, a fundraising program was started whereby lion dancers would go from store to store to dance and wish them luck. In return, storekeepers would give Lai-see packets which were donated to the Chinese Hospital.

Chinatown Festival & Parade
The Chinatown parade is a bend of typical American marching parades and the traditional Lantern Festival. Although the dragon dance is adopted from the Chinese celebration, the rest of theChinatown parade, including the beauty pageant, floats, and marching bands, was obviously inspired by non-Chinese models. The parade was first started in 1953 by the Chinese Chamber of Commerceand has since attracted thousands of spectators each year.

Family Associations
Some Chinatown festivities also reflect the earlier history of Chinese Americans. Prior to the present generation, the Chinese American community was essentially a bachelor society. Restrictive immigration laws had made it extremely difficult for Chinese families to emigrate to the United States. As a result, most Chinese Americans in the past were not able to hold family dinners at New Years’s time. In place of the family banquets, Chinatown developed a unique tradition of Spring Banquets hosted by the “ family associations” in certain Chinese restaurants. These Spring Banquets, originally developed to take the place of family dinners, are still held today, even though Chinatown is no longer a society of single men.

Terminology & Symbolism

Chinese Lunar CalendarChinese CalendarThe Chinese calendar will often show the dates of both the Gregorian (Western) calendar and the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The Gregorian dates are printed in Arabic numerals, and the Chinese dates in Chinese numerals. Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, and is constructed in a different fashion than the Western solar calendar.

Family Associations: organized according to family surnames, such as the Wong Family Association, etc., are social clubs or lodges which were first set up in Chinatown to serve the social and personal needs of Chinese workers.

Flowers: Flowers are an important part of the New year decorations. In old China, much use was made of natural products in celebrations as well as in daily life. The two flowers most associated with the New Year are the plum blossom and the water narcissus

Lai-See Envelopes: (Also called Hong-Bao) Money is placed in these envelopes and given to children and young adults at New Year’s time, much in the spirit as Christmas presents. Presents are also often exchanged between families.

Lucky Character: The single word ” FOOK “, or fortune, is often displayed in many homes and stores. They are usually written by brush on a diamond-shaped piece of red paper.

Plum Blossoms: stand for courage and hope. The blossoms burst forth at the end of winter on a seemingly lifeless branch. In Chinese art, plum blossoms are associated with the entire season of winter and not just the New Year.

Spring Couplet 4Spring Couplet 3Spring Couplets: Spring couplets are traditionally written with black ink on red paper. They are hung in storefronts in the month before the New Year’s Day, and often stay up for two months. They express best wishes and fortune for the coming year. There is a great variety in the writing of these poetic couplets to fit the situation. A store would generally use couplets hat make references to their line of trade. Couplets that say “Happy New Year” and ” Continuing Advancement in Education” are apprpriate for a school.

SweepingOut the Old: Welcoming in the New: Old business from the past year is cleared up

Tangerines, Oranges, Pomelos: Tangerines and oranges are frequently displayed in homes and stores. Tangerines are symbolic of good luck, and oranges are symbolic of wealth. These symbols have developed through a language pun, the word for tangerine having the same sound as “luck” in Chinese, and the word for orange having the same sound as “wealth”. Pomelos are large pear-shaped grapefruits.

Tray of Togetherness: Many families keep a tray full of dried fruits, sweets, and candies to welcome guests and relatives who drop by. This tray is called a chuen-hop, or “tray of togetherness”. Traditionally, it was made up of eight compartments, each of which was filled with a special food item of significance to the New Year season.

Water Narcissus: Flower that blossoms at New Year’s time. If the white flowers blossom exactly on the day of the New Year, it is believed to indicate good fortune for the ensuing twelve months.

Chinese Zodiac: The rotating cycle of twelve animal signs was a fok method for naming the years in traditional China. The animal signs for one another in an established order, and are repeated every twelve years. 1976 was the Year of the Dragon, 1977 was the year of the Snake.


A Different New Year Book:
Learn about about Chinese New Year!

New Year Book

This teacher’s guide, produced as part of the Ethnic Heritage Studies Project of the Chinese Culture Foundation, is an effort to develop teaching materials on the Chinese New Year festival suitable for use in secondary schools. This teacher’s guide was written by Joe Huang. Requests for information concerning this manual or the Ethnic Heritage Studies Project should be addressed to the Chinese Culture Foundation, 750 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.

This article was taken from: www.c-c-c.org


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Family Literacy Project Fundraiser a wild success!

Posted by bububooks on February 10, 2010

In November, we at bububooks decided to sponsor a poet, Jacey, for the 30 Poems in 30 Days Project.  The organizer, Northampton poet laureate Lesléa Newman, set a goal to raise $3,000 to help the Center for New Americans (CNA), a non-profit community-based education and resource center for immigrants, refugees, and other limited English speakers in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. The organization offers free English classes, free literacy classes, free child care for students, family literacy, and many other services.

Jacey wrote 30 poems, one each day from Nov. 1 – 30, 2009.  She has graciously provided us with one to post here (and I like it a lot!).  The 30 Poems in 30 Days fundraiser raised $12,040.50, wildly beating Newman’s goal.  We were glad and are proud to have contributed to this noble cause.  Below Jacey’s poem, check out the press release for more details on CNA and the 30 Poems in 30 Days project.

Congratulations Jacey and thank you for letting us be a part of this project!

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This Lady, June Baby

Jacey Blue

Daddy found my name lint-thick
in the front pocket of his Wranglers.
Faded blue, classic cut, dusty as hell,
stacked over his life-worn Ropers.

Hands rummage past pocket watch.
Dig down deep for decent quarters
to buy a Pepsi to pass the time,
while I was being born.

It was sweaty hot and Mama,
was a hellcat, yelling about snap peas,
pushing and waiting, cursing,
crying for it to end and me to begin.

Daddy just wanted some cold,
fast break from that dirty heat.
Uncovered four 1980 quarters,
his wedding band, my me.

Doc shook his cornhusker
hands.  Daddy just smiled then.
Held me slow, said:  Blue.
You’ll be my June girl.

–Jacey Blue


———————————————————–

30 Poems in 30 Days Project Raises More Than $11,000 for the Center for New Americans Family Literacy Project

This past November, Northampton poet laureate Lesléa Newman issued a challenge to the poets of the Pioneer Valley: Write 30 poems in 30 days and find sponsors to pledge a dollar amount per poem to raise money for literacy. Not only was the challenge met, but it exceeded Newman’s wildest dreams.

“About 75 poets participated in the project,” Newman said. “Most of them were from the Pioneer Valley, but there were also poets from Georgia, Louisiana, Illinois and Colorado. Poets got very excited about both the challenge of writing a poem a day, and the opportunity to use poetry to raise money for literacy.”

Newman, who wrote a poem a day and raised about $700 on her own, hosted a reading and celebration of the project at the Forbes Library on December 2nd. About 45 poets read to an audience of 100 people. “It was very exciting,” she said. “There were several poets there reading to a live audience for the first time, there were poets who had published books and won awards, and there was everyone inbetween. Every poet and poem was greeted with wild enthusiasm.”

Jim Ayres, the Executive Director of the Center for New Americans, which serves families and individuals from more than fifty countries who together speak over thirty-five languages, is thrilled about the success of the project. “We are all touched by the number of writers and sponsors who stepped up to meet Lesléa’s challenge. The valley is very fortunate to have such a talented, engaged, and generous literary community,” Ayres said. “The donations raised will allow us to expand our early childhood staffing so as to increase the number of families who can benefit from the family literacy project.” The project  offers free English classes, free literacy classes, and many other services.

The Northampton Arts Council fully funds and supports the poet laureate position.  The “30 Poems in 30 Days” challenge was Newman’s final project as poet laureate. During her two-year term which concludes at the end of this year, Newman hosted a “Lunch with the Laureate” series, distributed poetry books to waiting rooms as part of her “Poetry to Wait By” project, initiated the Paradise Poetry Prize, and edited a bi-weekly column for the Daily Hampshire Gazette called “Here a Poet, There a Poet” which will be published in book form next year, funded in part by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council. Newman says she will definitely miss being poet laureate. “I met so many fabulous poets and poetry-lovers,” she said. “It was a fantastic opportunity. One of the highlights of my writing career.” As for the future, Newman plans on remaining an active member of the poetry community, while turning her attention to her own writing. “After all,” she laughed, “I’ve got drafts of thirty new poems to rewrite.”

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NAEYC Themes, Part 6: Research, Facts and Things to Know about Dual Language Learners

Posted by bububooks on January 25, 2010

In the last (a short and sweet one!) of our blog series on common themes from the 2009 NAEYC’s annual conference, we present a hodge-podge of facts we gathered throughout that week in D.C.  Enjoy!

–Language acquisition depends not only on adequate hearing, the ability to differentiate sounds, and the capacity to link meaning to specific words, but also on the ability to concentrate, pay attention, and engage in meaningful social interaction.

–Learning a second language and learning to read are complex tasks influenced by cognitive, environmental and social factors.

–Bilingual Children
-Exhibit the same language milestones as monolingual children
-May acquire language at a slower rate and have more limited total vocabularies in each language
-Have a combined vocabulary in both languages likely to equal or exceed that of a child who speaks one language

–Preschoolers actively listen to and separate out two languages.  So we can use both languages interchangeably.

–Development of language and literacy in the home language (or first language) facilitates development of language and literacy in the second language and cognitive development.  Academic language ability takes 5-7 years.  Social language ability (i.e. Hello, how are you?) is easy to accomplish.

–For more current guidance, check out:
-Head Start Performance Standards and Head Start Dual Language Report (2008)
-Tabors, Patton O. One Child, Two Languages: Children Learning English as a Second Language. Paul H. Brookes Publishing, 2008.
-Igao, Cristina. The Inner World of the Immigrant Child. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1995.
-Espinosa, Linda. Getting it RIGHT for Young Children from Diverse Backgrounds: Applying Research to Improve Practice. Prentice Hall, 2009.

Check out below for the sources of this blog:

1) Using standards-based curriculum to support language and literacy development for English-language learners.

Presented by:
Min-hua Chen, Education Specialist, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education;
Vicky Milstein, Principal of Early Education, Brookline Public Schools;
Min-Jen Wu Taylor, Pre-K Teacher, Brookline Public Schools;
James StClair, Kindergarten Teacher, Cambridge Public Schools;
Sandra Christison, Kindergarten Teacher, Boston Public Schools.

They haven’t posted their slides yet, but if they do, you can find it here.

2) Home Language or English?  Implementing program policies and teaching strategies that meet the needs of dual-language learners

Presented by:
John Gunnarson, Napa Valley College.

Click here for his handout.

3) Getting it right for young children from diverse backgrounds: Applying research to improve practice

Presented by:
Dr Linda Espinosa, University of Missouri-Columbia.

She hasn’t posted her slides yet, but if she does, you can find it here.

Previous Blogs under the NAEYC Annual Conference Theme:
Part 1:  NAEYC Themes, Part 1: Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan’s Presentation
Part 2:  NAEYC Themes, Part 2: Build Positive Relationships with Dual-Language Learning Children
Part 3:  Common Theme #2:  Develop meaningful relationships with parents and families
Part 4:  Common Theme #3:  Communication strategies
Part 5:  Common Theme #4:  Support the home language and culture

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