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1. Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Launches New Educational Resources for Latino Youth

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
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2. Uplifting Women of Our Time

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 whe

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

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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4. You Can Lead a Child to Books…

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.

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

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 impo

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6. You’re Not Alone at Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism

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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7. Upcoming Latino Children’s Literature Conference


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 li

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8. Lunar New Year Traditions Explained


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, th

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9. Family Literacy Project Fundraiser a wild success!


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 November 1 through Nov. 30, 2010.  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!

———————————————————–

This Lady, June Baby

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

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


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
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11. NAEYC Themes, Part 5: Value the Home Culture and Language


This blog’s theme of valuing the home culture and language complements Themes 2 and 3 nicely.  As Dr. Linda Espinosa stated in her session at NAEYC, “It is crucial that educators understand how best to effectively support the home language so that early literacy can be fostered in the home as well as school.”  Indeed, as I often state, L is for Literacy, not Language.  Development of language and literacy in the home language (or first language) facilitates the development of language and literacy in the second language.

“How can I support development of the home language if I don’t speak it?” you may ask.  Dr. Espinosa contends that pursuing such a feat is not beyond our ability.  For starters, simply having books available in the children’s home language allows the teacher to model respect for other languages and cultures.  Also, one center found that “by valuing young English language learners’ native languages, positive relationship [were] fostered between parents, communities, schools and teachers.” These relationships are important because family support has shown to be crucial in the successful transitions of their children.

Children between ages 5 and 10 are still acquiring the structures of their first language.  Teachers who help parents maintain home language acquisition contribute to a strong family relationship as the children grow.  (Once the children’s English level surpasses that of their parents and if they don’t learn their parent’s native language, how can the family communicate effectively with each other?)

Start with a Strategy

Dr. Eun Kyeong Cho outlined a strategy for working with immigrant children and families who are non-native English speakers.  She states that there are three principles that teachers should try to encompass while recognizing the difficulties teachers face in balancing these with your already numerous responsibilities.

1)   Find ways to enrich the experiences of all students in the class
2)   Utilize the opportunities that diversity and a multicultural environment bring
3)   Meet the needs of individual students and their families as partners of learning

Finally, as with previous recommendations from other NAEYC presenters, Dr. Cho recommends planning an effective strategy.

1)   For the Class: Plan for utilizing instructional methodology and activities to engage the multicultural nature of the class as an asset.
2)   For the Individual: Plan for how to assist individual students who may be having particular challenges adjusting to a new environment and life.
3)   For the Family: Plan for how to engage the Newly Immigrated family in the Newly Immigrated student’s schooling, respecting the family’s cultural norms and values.

Remember the key is to be deliberate, integrative and committed to your strategy!  You can do it and we can help!  Feel free to share on here what has worked for you and/or questions you may have.  Thanks!

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 y

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12. NAEYC Themes, Part 4: Communication Strategies for Working with Dual Language Learners


Another common theme that surfaced at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference dealt with plans and strategies for working with dual language learners.  This blog posting provides some tips you can actually use, along with recommendations on how to create a more explicit strategy.

Strategy

Regardless of what you choose to do, the key is to be deliberate, intentional and integrative in your strategy.  Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Create an explicit plan to integrate the needs of your dual language learners with the overall needs of your center.  Check out these steps below to aid in developing your plan.

  1. Consider completing a self-assessment checklist to help you determine where you are in your DLL strategy.  You can access the checklist here.
  2. Find out about the current guidelines for dual language programs.
  3. Analyze your current program needs, specifically the demographic makeup of your students, staff and maybe even growing trends in your area.
  4. Develop a policy for supporting and a plan on how to support dual language learners.  Get buy-in from management, staff and parents.
  5. Pursue and offer professional development for staff who work with dual language learning children.
  6. Collaborate with other services and supporters.

General Tips

Following are 10 tips for communicating with DLLs. Remember to develop a relationship with the child and their family (see Themes, Parts 2 and 3) in order to maximize that child’s potential.  From birth to age 3, children need face-to-face social interaction for language development.  DVDs do not work.

  1. Pair visual tools with oral and print cues.  For example, if you display the daily schedule in printed words (English), place visual pictures of the activities next to their corresponding words.  You can combine these cues in everything you do.  For example, use pictures, gestures and movements when talking to maximize all the cues.

For new language learners:

2. Simplify your language and slow down.
3. Do not assume that a child understands what you say.
4. Do not force the child to make eye contact with you.
5. Do not raise your volume when speaking or force the child to speak.
6. Allow plenty of time for the child to answer a question or wait a bit and then rephrase the question in simpler language.

A little later:

7. Listen for intent not grammar.
8. Accept all attempts.
9. Don’t overcorrect.
10. Never ask a child to say something in English. Let it be spontaneous.

Actual Tactics

Below are some tactics that other centers have used and that I found interesting.

  1. Create a bilingual book with the photo and name of every student in your center.  This book helps all the students—and even parents—get to know the names, including unfamiliar and foreign, of everyone else.
  2. If you have more than two languages in your center, consider using a word wall.  For example, display the word, hello, in every language represented (along with its Romanized pronunciation if it’s not a language with a Latin alphabet).  Also, during morning meeting, have the class say hello or good morning in each language represented in your class.
  3. Bring family members in to share things from their country. Take a photo and post it in the classroom.
  4. If you have a listening cen

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13. NAEYC Themes, Part 3: 10 Ways to Develop Meaningful Relationships with the Parents and Families of Dual-Language Learning Children


Another theme that presented itself throughout various sessions at this year’s annual National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conference the need for developing and maintaining a relationship with the parents and families of non-native English speakers.  You might think this concept is rather obvious; however, several barriers exist to prevent this relationship from blooming.

Barriers

Oftentimes, there is a perception that these parents lack interest in their child’s education and growth.  However, this perception can often be misguided.  In many cultures outside the United States, teachers are revered and getting involved in the classroom is seen as interfering with the teacher’s expert intentions and processes.  Therefore, parents try to stay out of the way of their children’s teachers.  You see that as lack of interest and involvement; they see it as respect.

Also, the notion of family involvement differs for social classes.  Just because a parent is not at a bake sale doesn’t mean they are not involved in their child’s education.  Work may prevent them from attending; however, they may still be reviewing their child’s homework every night.

Immigrant families also face unique needs than other families in America.  Not only may there be a language and culture barrier, but also family tensions can exist as each member adjusts and adapts to their new life in America.  Their identities as a member of a group before may have now changed to one of an outsider—an “alien”.  Perhaps they were a leader in their hometown and now they are a laborer trying to climb the socio-economic ladder.  Further, they may have to rely on their children as their English improves more quickly, which degrades their role as provider in the family.  These adjustments can cause tension in the family that may prevent as much involvement as they’d like in their child’s education.  Think about the time you studied abroad in college.  Imagine moving there by yourself, without the school’s help, without your host family there to meet you at the airport.  Imagine trying to figure everything out on your own, in a foreign country with a language you thought you could speak. Imagine doing so with your family there too, all looking to you for guidance.  Do you think you could have done it? Perhaps, but with a whole lot of stress involved, too!

For instance, what do the following symbols mean to you (assuming you don’t speak Chinese)? 优, 良, 中, 可,  差。If your child brought home these symbols on their report card, would you know what they mean?  One presenter at NAEYC told a story of how a Chinese father was disappointed in his daughter because she brought home a grade of “S” (for Satisfactory).  He thought grades went in order from A all the way down to Z—because it does seem that way since it starts off A, B, C, D…—and so S seemed pretty bad.  We must remember that nearly everything may be unfamiliar to immigrant families!

The Importance of Developing this Relationship with the Family

The school or childcare center is a key location in cultural transition.  This place may often be the first place children are exposed to cultures other than their own (this goes for all children).  It may be the first place a child realizes he is “different.”  Further, it is the place that will help prepare him to succeed in America.   If there is not enough language support for her to learn, she will associate school as something that doesn’t do anything for her.

Parent involvement is a critical component in a child’s success in school and in society.  We must do what we can to remember that inability to communicate does not mean a person is incapable or uneducated.  In fact, new legal immigrants are as well educated as native-born citizens, on average.  We must discover and overcome whatever may be preventing a relation

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14. Book Review: Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems/Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno by Francisco X. Alarcón


book coverIguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems/Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno is an absolute delight.  Parents, do not be intimidated by the word poem in the title!  What Francisco X. Alarcón gives us with this picture book is an introduction to image. The poems, short and simple, will teach your children to grow with an acute appetite for sensory details.  This collection, like the others in its series, is very visual and while it explores much associated with winter it also touches on many important themes our children face each day such as identity, community and cultural awareness.

The illustrations, by Maya Christina Gonzalez, are vivid and play a large role in the overall joy that is found in this book.  Gonzalez does an excellent job complimenting each poem and her artwork is colorful and alive.

Suited perfectly for children in grades 3-5, this book will help children begin to build their creative process using small detail.  Because the poems are observations, young readers will be able to identify similar visual details during their own day-to-day experiences.  While in nature, walking to school, or even while spending time with family at home, they may begin to notice detail in a new way, an important skill for all children.  This book, and the others in this seasonal series provide an excellent tool for building sensory skills.

Furthermore, if your child is a young student of Spanish, this book is effective in isolating a few words at a time, so the Spanish does not become overwhelming.  Because the poems are short, they can be broken up into daily lessons.  It is a perfect and joyful book for any age to read.

–Jacey

For this book and the others in its series (Spring, Summer and Fall), click here.  Get it in time for Christmas!

We wanted to share with you one of Jacey’s favorite poems from the book, perfect for the season! Happy Holidays!

Nochebuena                                            Christmas Eve

me encanta                                              I love
el sabroso                                                the delicious
olor                                                            aroma

de tamales                                               of tamales
cociéndose                                              simmering
al vapor                                                    in their steam

toda mi familia                                      my family
a mi alrededor                                        all around me
cantando                                                 singing

las alegres                                              the joyful
canciones de                                          songs of
Las Posadas                                          Las Posadas

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15. NAEYC Themes, Part 2: Build Positive Relationships with Dual-Language Learning Children


A Safe Environment
The first common theme I gathered from the sessions I attended at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference is that it is absolutely imperative that teachers build positive relationships with DLL children.  Help them to feel safe and included.

Have you ever been in an environment where you didn’t feel safe?  Heard some strange noises at night?  In the car with a reckless driver?  In a heated argument with someone physically stronger than you?  Or how about simply watching a scary movie?

Think about what was going through your head, the first thing you thought you needed to do.  Getting to safety, right?  Grabbing that bottle of mace, getting out of the car, calling the police, covering your eyes and hiding behind the friend sitting next to you. Anything to get you out of that situation. You focused on saving yourself, on self-preservation.

Some of these examples may seem extreme and unrelated to a child in a classroom (hopefully).  My point is that regardless of the situation, when you don’t feel safe, your first priority and thoughts focus on self-preservation, on getting to a place of safety.  The same feelings occur in a child who is in an unfamiliar environment, especially when they cannot communicate in your language.  If you’re in an environment where you don’t feel safe, you close down and only focus on self-preservation.  How can a child learn and prepare for kindergarten if she doesn’t feel safe?

Additionally, behavior issues can stem from this inability to communicate.  Think back to a recent meeting or presentation during which you did not pay attention.  The topic didn’t apply to you. The presenter was wretchedly boring and just kept droning on and on.  Or maybe it was a good presentation, but you were thinking about a looming deadline instead or what groceries you needed to get on your way home that night.  What did you do?  Pretended to listen, nodded in agreement during regular intervals and acted as if your grocery list were really notes from the material?

It’s okay, we’ve all done it!  John Gunnarson from Napa Valley College calls this “procedural display.”  We as adults know how to act like we are paying attention.  Children have not yet learned this technique.  If a child does not speak the language used in the classroom and, therefore, does not understand what is being said, what will he do? Act out?  Pursue activities that are interesting to him?  Can you blame him?  Over time, what message are we sending to DLL children who do not receive enough language support?  We are telling them that school does nothing for them.  Think about the long-term implications for this message.

Thus, teachers should focus on helping DLL children to feel safe and included by building a positive relationship with each one.  If a child feels safe in a classroom, she’ll take risks, like trying a new language.  Would you be more willing or less willing to jump out of an airplane if you were 100% sure the parachute would work?  How about 50% sure?  Helping a child to feel included and valued will encourage her to try new things such as speaking a few words in English.

Cognitive Growth
The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.  In our last blog, we mentioned how Secretary Duncan stated we can no longer ignore the evidence that social development and academic development are “inextricably linked.”  Academic development through social interaction becomes an even bigger hurdle for dual language learning children.  As a teacher, take the extra steps to show—and model—that you value the DLL children in your classroom.

Tips
Now, how do you go about doing this?  Of course myriad of tips and ideas exist.  Here are some gene

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16. NAEYC Themes, Part 1: Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan’s Presentation


Before I get to discussing the four themes mentioned in the last post by specifically looking at the various sessions I attended at NAEYC this year, I wanted to dedicate a blog posting solely to Secretary Duncan’s keynote speech at NAEYC.  His passion for early education was very evident.  It seemed clear to me that he was very serious and not just offering a speech that pandered to the audience.  Indeed, he is the first Secretary of Education to ever speak at NAEYC.

Secretary Duncan started off his presentation with a quote from President Franklin Roosevelt: “The destiny of American youth is the destiny of America.” He focused a lot on the issue that has plagued us for a long time: closing the achievement gap that exists before children even start kindergarten.  He referenced President Johnson’s vision to reach a day when “each child goes as far as his talents will take them.”

“Getting out of the catch-up business” represented a central theme in Secretary Duncan’s speech. He spoke of the Department’s development of a birth through age eight plan.  Modern research makes it clear that the most important years of child development is from birth through age three.  Yet our current approach has been to start focusing at age five in kindergarten.  Now the Department is making a major change since its World War I when it added kindergarten to every child’s public school education.  It seeks to align Early Childhood Education (ECE) with the K-12 programs.  Up until now, ECE has been highly fragmented and non-standardized, leading to unpredictable quality and further exacerbating the achievement gap.  But several programs have shown ways to succeed and offer scalable solutions that can be expanded throughout the country.

Secretary Duncan and the Department of Education (along with NAEYC and others in the education field) recognize that care and education cannot be thought of as separate entities in the education of young children.  He stated it’s time we acknowledged the evidence that social development and academic development are “inextricably linked.” As a result, the Department of Education has entered into a serious partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to integrate their foci on early child development and school readiness.

Secretary Duncan presented a huge task that he, the Department of Education, Early Childhood Educators and K-12 educators face today. Finally, though, he is leading the way to face this problem.  He outlined to fundamental challenges that we face in closing the achievement gap that starts before kindergarten.  1) There must be a coordinated system of early care that transitions to the K-12 program. 2) They must accelerate the shift from judging quality based solely in inputs to also basing it on outcomes. Secretary Duncan made sure to insist that inputs would not be ignored because they are important.  However, he wants to add outcomes to be a part of the criteria.

Finally, Secretary Duncan expressed his excitement about the changes underway in early education and child development. He acknowledged that mistakes will be made, but then he said, “I hope we never let the perfect become the enemy of the good.”

I personally was moved by Secretary Duncan’s speech and am excited about this unprecedented attention and energy toward early childhoo

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17. Themes from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Annual Conference


I attended the annual NAEYC conference just before Thanksgiving in Washington D.C.  I learned a lot more about the strategies, techniques and trends for teaching dual language learners.  I also got to see some friends and make some new ones who are involved in early education.  Moreover, I got to see Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speak live!  Over the next few blog postings, I’ll be recapping some of the presentations I attended.  For this particular posting, I’d like to discuss four overarching themes that seemed to repeat throughout the various sessions.  I will expand on these themes through the specific postings that will follow.

Common Theme #1:  Teachers need to build positive relationships with dual language learning children.  Help them to feel safe and included. Oftentimes, every single thing is new to them since they have just moved here.  Even their parents are stressed as they try to get settled in a new country.  With everything so new and different (read: scary), a safe and inviting environment will help them to open up more in school.

Common Theme #2:  Teachers need to develop meaningful relationships with parents and families.  Parents and families from different countries display their involvement with their children’s education in various ways. Also, sometimes their current circumstances prevent them from being as involved as they’d like.  This does not mean they are not interested.  Furthermore, language need not be a barrier for a teacher to communicate with the families.  These meaningful relationships help to eliminate misunderstandings and further create a safe environment for the child.

Common Theme #3:  Be deliberate, intentional, integrative and committed with your communication strategies.  I’ll offer suggestions in following postings.  But certainly determine what your policy is for incorporating dual language learners and then set about creating a strategy to do so.  This process will include research and can even mean hiring a consultant.

Common Theme #4:  Support the home language and culture.  Dual language learning children do not come to your school as a blank slate. By supporting their home language and culture, you maximize their potential to learn, send them a message that they are not different, help create that safe and inclusive environment, and lay the foundation for a strong relationship between them and their parents.

I look forward to sharing with you specific details from the sessions as well as expanding upon these four themes.  In the meantime, Happy Holidays and don’t forget to check out our bookstore, where all the books are bilingual: www.bububooks.com.

–Laura

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18. Spending the Day with Milka Duno, Indy Racecar Driver


For the weekend of November 13-15, Jacey and I headed down to Miami for the annual Miami Book Fair International.  We were excited to participate in such a popular annual event and to spread our mission of bilingualism to the wonderful South Floridians!

On Saturday and Sunday of that weekend, Milka Duno joined us to sign her book and take photos with fans.  We truly enjoyed spending those two days with her (an awesome and dedicated woman!)

Milka’s book, Go, Milka, Go!/¡Corre, Milka, Corre!, highlights her life and the importance of studying hard to succeed.  She spoke with children about the importance of education and her foundation, Milka Way. The program’s mission is to inspire children and young adults to “Aim for the Stars” and achieve academic excellence.

I personally felt inspired by how she brightened up the day and spoke words of encouragement for so many children, families and fans who got to meet and speak with her.  Indeed, one fan even drove two hours just to meet her and get his copy of her book autographed!

We were honored to have Milka join us because her passions are so closely aligned with ours and because she is such a great person.  We share our focus on education and literacy not bound by language.  We’ll be sure to let you know the next time Milka will visit our booth!

Milka’s first book is bilingual in Spanish and English and at the reading level for ages 8-12.  We brought back a limited number of autographed copies. Buy yours now before they’re gone!

Check out some of the photos below. Thank you Milka!

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19. Fun and Surprise at GAYC


bububooks' booth at GAYCI had so much fun this past weekend in Atlanta at the Georgia Association on Young Children conference.  Not only did I enjoy meeting various childcare providers from throughout the state, but I also appreciated the enthusiastic response from them regarding our mission at bububooks to help bilingual children with literacy and cultural identity development.

I also had two pleasant surprises throughout the weekend. First, my hotel happened to be in a Korean part of town.  Being half-Korean, I found my way to a BBQ restaurant and indulged in some good ol’ Korean BBQ!  Even better, I invited some newly made friends to join me. It was both their first times to try Korean food and they loved it! I thought, “what a great way to embrace our mission by introducing people to a new cuisine!”  Second, as I was packing up at the end of the conference, I walked past a room where a session was still continuing.  The attendees were singing a song I had never heard before. However, the tune was that of the Air Force Song! I found myself humming the Song as I finished loading up the car (I’m an Air Force veteran).  I couldn’t believe I still remembered the words and it brought back many memories of the jovial times in which we would sing the first verse. J

Thanks to GAYC and all the attendees for making my trip so joyful! Off we go into the wild, blue yonder…

Laura

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20. More events this past weekend, SCAEYC and the Georgia Literary Festival


Rome Library

Rome Library

Jacey and Laura both represented bububooks at events this past weekend.  Jacey visited beautiful northwest Georgia for the annual Georgia Literary Festival in Rome.  Despite the cold temperatures, she says she enjoyed her time up there and got to meet some pretty cool people, authors and booksellers.  Maybe she and her husband will make a camping trip up there in the near future!

SCAEYCLaura headed up to Columbia, South Carolina, for the South Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children conference.  Having never been to South Carolina before, she thoroughly enjoyed the city of Columbia and the people.  By the end, she was giving hugs as she left the conference!  At the conference, Laura met lots of GREAT people who are all seeking to improve the lives of children and teachers in South Carolina.  She says it was an inspiring weekend and she looks forward to going back as she develops stronger relationships with the people she met from throughout the state.  She’s so sad (and has been chastised by us) that she didn’t get any pictures of her new friends but promises to take more pictures next time. It has been her favorite trip for bububooks by far!  Thank you South Carolina and the SCAEYC!

GA Lit Fest

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21. Latino teens happier, healthier if families embrace biculturalism


Latino Print NetworkI wanted to share this article I received from the Latino Print Network by Kirk Whisler.  A new study from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill shows that Latino teens who embrace their Latino culture and whose parents embrace U.S. culture live healthier lives, academically, socially and emotionally.  I think the benefits of biculturalism would apply to all ethnic groups in the US because embracing both cultures in a family and environment supports a family and community bond. Read on and share your thoughts!

Over the years, research has shown that Latino youth face numerous risk factors when integrating into American culture, including increased rates of alcohol and substance use and higher rates of dropping out of school.

But a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows adolescents who actively embrace their native culture – and whose parents become more involved in U.S. culture – stand a greater chance of avoiding these risks and developing healthier behaviors overall.

The findings are from a longitudinal study by the UNC-based Latino Acculturation and Health Project, which is supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and directed by Paul Smokowski, Ph.D., an associate professor at the UNC School of Social Work. Researchers interviewed 281 Latino youths and parents in North Carolina and Arizona, asking questions about a wide range of measures of lifestyle and mental health. Participants answered according to how much they agreed with each question (for example, from “not at all” to “very much”), resulting in scores on a scale for each measure.

“We found teens who maintain strong ties to their Latino cultures perform better academically and adjust more easily socially,” Smokowski said. “When we repeated the survey a year later, for every 1-point increase in involvement in their Latino cultures, we saw a 13 percent rise in self-esteem and a 12 to 13 percent decrease in hopelessness, social problems and aggressive behavior.

“Also, the study showed parents who develop a strong bicultural perspective have teen children who are less likely to feel anxiety and face fewer social problems,” he said. “For every increase in a parent’s involvement in United States culture, we saw a 15 to 18 percent decrease in adolescent social problems, aggression and anxiety one year later. Parents who were more involved in U.S. culture were in a better position to proactively help their adolescents with peer relations, forming friendships and staying engaged in school. This decreases the chances of social problems arising.”

“Such results suggest that Latino youth and their parents benefit from biculturalism,” Smokowski said.

The findings are presented as part of a series of articles featured next month in a special issue of The Journal of Primary Prevention, a collaborative initiative between UNC and the CDC. The special issue presents the latest research on how cultural adaptation influences Latino youth behaviors – including involvement in violence, smoking and substance use, as well as overall emotional well-being – and offers suggestions for primary prevention programs that support minority families.

“Bicultural adolescents tend to do better in school, report higher self esteem, and experience less anxiety, depression and aggression,” said study co-author Martica Bacallao, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, whose work is also featured in the special issue. “It is interesting that, in order to obtain these benefits of biculturalism, adolescents and parents often need to do the opposite of what their natural tendencies tell them. Parents who are strongly tied to their native cultures must reach out to learn skills in the new culture. Adolescents who quickly soak up new cultural behaviors should slow down and cultivate the richness in their native cultures.”

Smokowski added: “The burgeoning size of the Latino population and the increasingly important roles that Latino youth will play in American culture are worthy of community attention. Communities can either invest in prevention to nurture Latino youth as a national resource or pay a heavy price later in trying to help these youth address social problems such as substance use, aggression or dropping out of school; all of which often results from the stress of acculturation.”

Along with Smokowski and Bacallao, Rachel L. Buchanan, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work at Salisbury University in Maryland, was a co-author of the study, titled “Acculturation and Adjustment in Latino Adolescents: How Cultural Risk Factors and Assets Influence Multiple Domains of Adolescent Mental Health.”

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22. Book Review: Divided City by Theresa Breslin


If you haven’t guessed already, we at bububooks are fans of Theresa Breslin. Now we know her books are not bilingual, but we love the topics she covers.  Indeed, when we expand to monolingual yet ethnic books, we’ll be sure to include Theresa’s titles in our collection!

Book Cover for Divided City

Book Cover for Divided City

Divided City is a story for young adults and takes place in Glasgow. The two boys in the story come from different sides of the city, geographically, socially, historically and religiously. One is Roman Catholic while the other is Protestant.  They meet on a soccer team and forge a friendship through their unwitting and reluctant help to an asylum seeker.  As they each face their own internal struggles within their families and communities, the two boys, Graham and Joe, face their external struggles through each other.

“A gripping tale about two boys who must find their own answers–and their own way forward–in a world divided by differences.”

By enveloping the story in the rivalries of soccer (football), Breslin brings forward the tensions of various differences and tensions that circles in society face.  Once again, her structure also neatly sets up these differences. In the beginning, the chapters alternate in telling the separate stories of Joe and Graham. As the two grow together, at first simply in the time they spend together and later in their friendship bonds, their chapters blend together as well.  A riveting read (I couldn’t put it down!), Breslin uses this story to highlight where ethnic tensions come from and how we just might be able to rise above them.

Read this book if you get the chance!

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23. Celebrate El DÍa de los Muertos


Many of you have probably heard of the Day of the Dead, celebrated in Mexico, and more and more in the United States, this time of year.  It is a holiday for family and friends to gather and remember friends and family who have passed away.  Not a somber event, the celebration includes cleaning the house, building an offering, or ofrenda, that includes candles, flowers, their favorite items while alive and other items to help them on their journey and visiting their graves. This holiday also coincides with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Holidays like the Day of the Dead are celebrated throughout the world and in various cultures, where families come together to honor the dead.  In Korea, for

Celebrations Cover

example, a large feast is cooked. Fruit is placed on the table in odd numbers with the top of one cut off. Chopsticks are placed upright in a bowl of rice. The front door is left opened during the ceremony. These actions allow for the dead to enter and enjoy the food!

Many in the United States have embraced the Day of the Dead holiday. One town in Texas, for instance, held a shoebox ofrenda competition.  There are free processions tonight in San Francisco and Oakland, etc. Check your local area for events!

For more information on ofrenda, check out: http://www.inside-mexico.com/ofrenda.htm and for information on the Day of the Dead holiday, visit http://www.dayofthedead.com/

In the meantime, enjoy the fall and upcoming holidays!

I also would like to use this holiday to highlight a bilingual book we carry at bububooks called: Celebrations / Celebraciones: Holidays of the United States of America and Mexico / Dias feriados de los Estados Unidos y Mexico. In it, author Nancy Tabor explains major holidays in the US and Mexico and how they are celebrated. Be sure to check it out!

Inside Peek to Celebrations

 

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24. Remembering the Fall of the Berlin Wall


This Monday, November 6, will mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  I was ten years old and living in Europe. My father, an Army soldier, was stationed at Schweinfurt, West Germany, not far from the border with East Germany.  I was in Mr. Ike’s fifth grade class in a Department of Defense school.  I can’t say I remember the day the wall fell, but I certainly remember the trip my family took to Berlin the following February.

Growing up in Germany as a military brat, we were all acutely aware of the Cold War and its implications. Sort of. I thought the Iron Curtain was a real, physical wall between Western and Eastern Europe.  So when we crossed into East Germany on our drive up to Berlin, I was a little surprised to find our entrance so easy and with no wall keeping us out.  I had expected long and scary inspections only to find the entrance so easy that I don’t even remember it.  I also expected East Germany to be a very poor place. Yet on the drive to Berlin, it didn’t look all that different from West Germany (we were driving through rural areas and not through any towns).  I don’t know if that road was designed specifically for Westerners heading to Berlin and if that is why we didn’t see much on our drive.

Once we arrived in Berlin, I remember being struck by the differences on each side of the wall…literally.  The western side was covered in graffiti and already had vendors selling bags fill with chunks of the wall (who knows if they were even real pieces).  The eastern side was pristine, as if it had never been touched.  We didn’t have a hammer and chisel to break off a piece of the wall. We did pull off some crumbs from a hole that had already been created.  Through the hole, I saw the steel bars still in place, holding the wall strong all those years. And I saw an East German guard in his full uniform. My initial reaction was the fear that had been ingrained in me. He was tall (towering to a ten-year-old) and broad-shouldered. He wore his full winter gear including the well-known hat. I looked at him, a little nervous, as I pulled off the crumbs. But he didn’t do anything, just looked at me. He wore no expression on his face, but at that moment, I knew life as we knew it had changed.

Later, my father pointed out Checkpoint Charlie and how it had closed. People could go in and out freely. We headed into East Berlin.  All I really remember from that was our loads of shopping!

Later, because Schweinfurt was so close to the East German border, many East German cars—distinguishable by their size and features—popped up in our town.  While the changes in Germany appeared sudden and drastic, the Cold War would last for several more years. Indeed, during that summer of 1990, we flew to South Korea to spend the summer with my mother’s family.  At that time, however, Korean Airlines did not fly over the Soviet Union.  We had to fly around the world in what would be a 23-hour flight, which included a brief stop in Anchorage to refuel the plane.

Even though the flight was exhausting, I am grateful I got to experience these moments in history first hand. It has affected my outlook on life in that I know the American view isn’t the only view.  The world has changed a lot since fall of the Berlin Wall, but its message still rings true.  The will of the people, at some point or another, will find a way to prevail.

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25. A Cool Resource for Parents: Mamapedia


mamapediaMamapedia and its predecessor, Mamasource, are two online options for parents with children at all ages and types. Parents share with each other their questions, concerns, answers and advice about every topic imaginable.  It is quite extensive, easy to use, updated daily and collaborative (other parents answer questions by parents).  If you are a parent, be sure to check it out!  Ask a question, meet other moms, or browse all the information.

We at bububooks are happy to be a part of this awesome parenting tool.  Mamapedia recently launched a new item called “Lists.” List covers a specific topic and parents can take a look at the list, vote for items on the list and even add their own items to the list.  We’ve started a list called, “Raising your child to be bilingual.”  Be sure to check it out, vote and add your items!  Here is the link: http://www.mamapedia.com/lists/18153777016128733185

About Mamapedia (taken from their webite):

Mamapedia connects moms at every stage of their children’s lives to compelling content from the source they trust most: other moms. Each month, nearly one million moms come to Mamapedia for advice on everything moms need: parenting, health, family, finance, pregnancy, nutrition, and travel; and on children of every age from infant to adult.

Launched in May 2009, Mamapedia gets all of its content from the questions and answers posted to Mamasource, a network of local communities for moms across the US. CEO Artie Wu founded Mamasource in 2004, when, as new parents, he and his wife were scrambling to find resources. Mamapedia followed to put all of those answers on one place to be easily searchable and accessible. Today, Mamapedia.com and the Mamasource communities reach more than two million moms.

 

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