Hispanic students now make up nearly a quarter of the nation's public school enrollment, according to an analysis of census data by the Pew Hispanic Center, and are the fastest-growing segment of the school population. Yet nonwhite Latino children seldom see themselves in books written for young readers.
New York Times article. For Young Readers an Image is Missing
Please click on the above link to read this article
|Pam Muñoz Ryan reads Esperanza Rising to 5th graders in Mary Lau's class at the San Diego Cooperative Charter School|
This week I had the incredible opportunity to listen to an amazing writer and friend Pam Muñoz Ryan connect with children in a surprise visit to the 5th grade class of the San Diego Cooperative Charter School. Their insightful teacher Mary Lau had shared with me a month earlier that she was reading Pam's unforgettable book Esperanza Rising to her class, as it was a personal favorite. This magical book won the Pura Belpré and was featured in the NY Times article cited above this week on reaching young Latino readers. I will never forget the look on the faces of the kids and the gasps when Pam walked into the room. Mrs. Lau whipped out her accordion and the kids sang Las Mañanitas to wish Pam a happy birthday. The room was filled with excitement and questions.
Pam and I worked together on our book Our California and I was honored to have my artwork used on Pam's website. Fortunately my son's school is rich in diversity. Like many other public schools I have visited across the country I relish the sparkle in a child's eye when they see themselves in the characters of books. I see my own child growing up with an appreciation of the tapestry that is our world and the unique threads that tie us all together.
I count myself lucky to make pictures that mirror the richness of those diverse experiences.