**This post appeared originally in Seidlitz Education on April 21st, 2020.**
It doesn’t happen as often as it should, but when it does, it is the most amazing feeling one can experience. That moment when you’re reading a book and you see your life and family experiences reflected on every single page. That moment when you see text and images intertwine on a page to bring forth cultural validation and acceptance. That moment when you close the book and cry tears of happiness because you realize that stories are so much deeper than you ever thought.
I experienced all this and so much more the day I read Sometimes… by Hugo Ibarra and John Seidlitz.
(video of me reading the book aloud for International Children’s Book Day.)
Sometimes… is just the book we need right now. Ibarra and Seidlitz share with us a story in which immigrants’ experiences are legitimized, one that opens doors for connections and much-needed conversations. It is a story that made me think about how experiences and family stories don’t have to be forgotten. And about how significant it is when stories are shared, because they validate what is core in our existence and our hopes for what is to come.
Sometimes… is a story of hope. A story of courage and strength. A story of a family who worked together through difficult circumstances to make their dreams come true. And even though sometimes things don’t go as planned and changes need to happen along the way, we see the characters rising through it all. We see Andrés and Clara holding tight to the hope offered by their mother and teachers. A hope that helps them get through every situation that comes their way.
The International Children’s Book Day theme for 2020 was “A Hunger for Words”, and as much as I identify with this phrase, I also believe there’s a hunger for cultural understanding — a hunger for identity and individual acceptance.
Children all over our nation deserve to open a book and see their families’ experiences and languages heard and represented.
Through the lens of an unaccompanied and undocumented immigrant, an English language learner, and an educator, I closely analyzed each page of Sometimes… and wrote down a few essential points at which the book authentically reflects many of our students’ experiences.
March 13th was the last day students attended class on campus here in Cabarrus County, North Carolina.
As soon as we started discussing going to online learning, our county began to provide resources and ideas to support our students through a new norm.
Our county schools provided computers and local internet services provided services to those who needed it.
Teachers began receiving instructions on how and when yo provide remote lessons and student online engagement.
What I started noticing though was that my HS students were finding themselves having to go to work since they were not attending school.
The financial need families began to experience led to students having to get up early and spend all day working or staying at home taking care of their siblings.
I began to share these observations on social media and the comments were notices.
Below you'll find a couple of press releases that highlight what our ESL students are going through this pandemic time.
Ruben Jones - COVID-19's IMPACT ON STUDENTS:
High Schoolers Find Jobs While Balancing Virtual Learning
Here is a fantastic article published by Alex Granados - Senior Reporter for EducationNC.
Thank you for reading!