What I most appreciate about this review is that it is written from the point of view of a bilingual storytime "skeptic." Martín is the founder of Reforma Oregon, and an ardent supporter of monolingual Spanish storytime, due to its benefits for immersing families in early literacy practices in the language they know best. He was concerned that our book would claim that bilingual storytime is "better" than monolingual Spanish storytime. He was so pleasantly surprised to find out that this is not our objective at all! In fact, we highlight a librarian who presents Spanish storytime in her library and bilingual storytime at her local school, because that is what is needed by her local community. And that, really, is our point.
This resource is not about dogma or pitting those who present bilingual storytime and monolingual storytime against one another. It is about knowing your community, being involved with local Latino community organizations and partner agencies in meaningful ways, setting up a storytime that works best for your community given the resources you have available, possessing a depth of knowledge of high-quality Latino children's literature, and making purposeful use of the digital resources that are available for Latino and Spanish-speaking families. Yes, we love bilingual storytime! And we hope that you love it too! We also know that different communities are going to make different choices about what style of storytime works best for them, and we make plenty of space for that. But in this day and age, there is no excuse for any library not making the effort to serve the Latino and Spanish-speaking members of their community. There is no excuse for not being aware of the high-quality Latino children's literature that is available and making use of it in your programs and including it in your collections. There is just no excuse. So wherever your library is in its journey toward inclusion of Latino and Spanish-speaking families, it is our hope that this resource can help you keep moving a little more forward.
Finally, I'd like to share that the LAST CHANCE of 2016 to learn about bilingual storytime and outreach to Latino families with me begins October 3. I am currently expecting my first child, and plan to take some time off early next year. At this stage, I'm not sure when I will be travelling for in-person training and setting up online training sessions again, but I would venture to guess that it will be late spring of 2017 at the earliest. So if you are interested in exploring these topics with me, let's do it next month!
The great news is that this upcoming class is the best bang for your buck of all of the online classes that I teach. The Library of Virginia is offering "Bilingual Storytime and Latino Outreach" from October 3 - November 11. This six-week, asynchronous, online class uses Once Upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish, along with recorded presentations, videos, additional readings, and online conversations to go in-depth in exploring outreach to Latino communities and bilingual storytime development. You can learn more about the class and register here - www.eventbrite.com/e/library-outreach-and-bilingual-storytime-tickets-26122450954. Let me share some key points about why this class is such a great deal:
- The cost is only $30 for Virginia library staff and only $50 for library staff in other states!
- Your registration fee includes a copy of Once Upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish. The book normally sells for $48, so this is like buying the book and getting the course for free!
- There are three phone conference opportunities throughout the class, which provide you the chance to talk with me and your cohorts about bilingual storytime, outreach, and related topics in real time.
- The course covers BOTH outreach and bilingual storytime. Typically I teach these topics separately, so this is like getting two classes (plus the book!) for the price of one!
Even if you've taken a class with me in the past, I hope you'll consider joining me for this last session of 2016. This specific class is my favorite to teach, as we really get to dig into these topics and get to know one another over the course of our time together. As always, be in touch if you have questions. I hope to interact with lots of you soon!