Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Risking Everything: explaining migration and internment

Risking Everything For freedom, a new life, or just a chance at life, people worldwide migrate.  Be it climate change, political strife, or economics, we live in an age of mass migration.  How we react to it as information professionals and caretakers of our community’s children is critical.  Daily, we are being tapped for explanations for these crises as well as internment.  This tugs at our heart strings, and reminds us of US’ origins and populations fleeing religious persecution in 17th century Europe. Or fleeing famine during the Irish Potato Famine. Internment Explaining internment to grade-schooled aged children can be difficult at best.  But one selection that can help illustrate the feelings behind this: The One and Only Ivan.  There’s even a movie of it, but here’s the book trailer:                                        …

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Celebrating Pura Belpré’s Birthday!

Celebrating Pura Belpré’s Birthday! February 2nd is Pura Belpré’s birthday – for those of you playing along at home, she’d have 119 candles on the cake!  Continuing my unofficial, non-sequential series of how to incorporate multicultural offerings in every program, we’re going to see how we can make Pura’s award winners come to life!  But first… Who was Pura Belpré? For those of you just joining us, Pura Belpré was born in Cidra, Puerto Rico.  By serendipitous circumstances, she ended up in New York City for her sister’s wedding and was hired by a public library.  Huge emphasis on this, folks: it was 1920 and they were looking to hire young women from ethnically diverse backgrounds!  Imagine that!  Almost 100 years ago! Her career took her from the Bronx to the Lower East Side, where she spread the love of stories in English and Spanish – which had never been done before.  As…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

¡Día De Los Muertos! ¡Celebramos!

¡Día De Los Muertos! Hoy celebramos Día De Los Muertos. Día De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead is not just on November 1st.  It is a three-day festival – October 31 – November 2 – that is celebrated throughout Latin America.  Here in the U.S., places that have large Latino populations, such as Los Angeles, California, and Phoenix, Arizona celebrate with incredible picturesque decorations like papel picado (estampo), costumbres, dulces y mucho mas. Día De Los Muertos is a huge fiesta – a national holiday – national, as in no school today, chicos! Remember, though, Día De Los Muertos is not Halloween.  Even though trick-or-treating has become more common on Día De Los Muertos, Halloween  is a Northern European tradition.  Instead, Day of the Dead is a blend of Aztec and Catholic beliefs. And yet, even ancient Egyptians once believed that “the spirits of the dead returned every autumn to…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Hispanic Heritage Month Year-Round

Integrating Hispanic Heritage I’d been conducting storytime and other children’s programming for 18 years.  I felt like a veteran, or some kind of master.  In just one hour, my wife Marianne – who was born and raised in Puerto Rico – made me feel like I was only just beginning. For years I would start with a theme, pick out the books, make the puppet shows. And yet, how often did I reach for my Hispanic picture books?  Twice a year?  El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day, commonly known as Día) and Hispanic Heritage Month?  My wife showed me how to take a picture book or a story and build a theme from it – to reverse the storytime building process, and thereby integrate diverse materials into storytime – Every. Single Week. Hispanic/Latino Contributions So, I made a video.  It was all about the contributions…