Apr 04 2013
The Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, a book award co-coordinated by Vanderbilt and Tulane and sponsored by CLASP (Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs), was presented at the Library of Congress on October 5, 2012. The award honors authors and illustrators who produce quality children’s and young adult books which best portray Latin America. Fiction and nonfiction books are selected for their distinctive literary quality, cultural contextualization, illustration and design, and potential for classroom use. 2012 winners were Monica Brown and Julie Paschkis for Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People and Margarita Engle for Hurricane Dancers. The award aims to link the Americas beyond geographic borders, focusing instead on cultural heritages within the hemisphere, and encourages the exploration of complex themes in the classroom and at home.
A unique element of the Américas Award is the emphasis placed on potential for classroom use. This year’s program featured a professional development workshop for educators at Busboys & Poets, coordinated by Tulane and Vanderbilt with Teaching for Change, Henry Holt and Company, and the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Teachers heard presentations by 2012 award winners Monica Brown, Julie Paschkis, and Margarita Engle, as well as strategies for incorporating Latino children’s literature in the classroom from experienced facilitators. Vanderbilt sponsored one media specialist, Connie Sharp, from Metro Nashville Public Schools to attend both the awards ceremony and teacher workshop; she is currently creating curriculum with CLAS staff around the books featured in the award.