Spanish Reading

The Barahona Center is a resource to find books written in Spanish that are centered around Latino people and their culture. Find a first grade reading list, middle school recommended reading lists, high school recommended reading lists and more recommended reading lists for all ages and grades. The site is both in English and Spanish. (view in English or Spanish)

El Banco del Libro Recommends
and also a magazine listing –

Evidence from Stephen Krashen

The difference between having no books in the home and having 500 books in the home has an enormous impact on schooling: Evans, Kelley, Sikora and Treiman (2010) did a study of about 70,000 15 year olds in 27 countries, interviewed. Their major result: Controlling for parental education, fathers’ occupation, and social class, young people in homes with 500 books stay in school three years longer than children in bookless homes.

The effect of books in the home was about the same as the effect of parental education: Controlling for all other factors, those from homes in which parents had a college education stayed in school three years longer than those from homes in which parents had three years of education.

The effect of books was twice as strong as the effect of fathers’ occupation. Children from homes in which fathers were professionals stayed in school about a year and a half longer than children from homes in which the father was a laborer, all other factors equal.

The effect of books was stronger than the effect of GDP (gross domestic product); children in the country with the highest GDP (United States) stay in school two years longer than children in the country with a much lower GDP (China).

In other words: Access to books is as strong as or stronger than economic factors, once again suggesting that access to books can mitigate the effects of poverty (see below).

Another important result was the finding that the effects of books in the home are more powerful for children whose parents have little or no schooling. The results of the study predict that children of parents with little or no schooling who have 25 books in the home will have two more years of education than a similar family with no books in the home. Also, 500 books in the home predicts an additional two years of education.

Here is another way of looking at this result: 40% of children of parents with little or no education in bookless homes finish grade 9. In book-filled homes (500 or more books), 88% do.

The results of this study are very similar to those of Schubert and Bccker (2010).

Tragically missing from this informative study, however is this: What about access to books from sources outside the home? What about libraries? Two current studies suggest that access to books in school libraries can also mitigate the effects of low SES (Achterman, 2008; Krashen, Lee and McQuillen, 2010). Evans et. al. is of course very consistent with the results of these studies.

Achterman, D. 2008. Haves, Halves, and Have-Nots: School Libraries and Student Achievement in California. PhD dissertation, University of North Texas.

Evans, Kelley, Sikora, and Treiman (2010) Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, in press.

Krashen, S., Lee, SY, and McQuillan, J. 2010. An analysis of the PIRLS (2006) data: Can the school library reduce the effect of poverty on reading achievement? CSLA Journal, in press. California School Library Association.

Schubert, F. and Becker, R. 2010. Social inequality of reading literacy: A longitudinal analysis with cross-sectional data of PIRLS 2001and PISA 2000 utilizing the pair wise matching procedure. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 29:109-133.

Gregory Maguire – Playing with Matches

I gave up the first time I tried to read Wicked. It was too thick and too slow. But the play came out and everybody saw it except me I think. However, Gregory Maguire is a very fluent and funny commentator who spoke this weekend at the International Wizard of Oz Club (IWOC).
If you are not familiar with the IWOC, it is a group of fascinating people who take the some 45 L. Frank Baum books about the Wizard of Oz very seriously. As I spend more time here I’m becoming increasingly inspired by Oz books and the desire to study them.

In general, I think the alternative stories he’s written including Wicked, serve to free us from the traditional fairy tales. He inspires us to go beyond and go on to some other place that express our voice and our bias in comparison to those traditional tales.

One of my favorite phrases from Maguire: “I didn’t have a teacher except for the librarian. Everything in books was my teacher.” Last week Stephen Krashen spoke about the importance of having lots of books available for children.  I think Stephen Krashen would have been proud.

Maguire suggests we all go, get creative, and play with matches.  We should write about what burns in our heads.  Something with voice.  Something we know is true.  He was not trying to rewrite The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, he was just trying write a version of something that connects to him; something that connects to all of us; something that burns within him.  May we all play with matches.

Dorina Lazo Gilmore, Another Fresnan Receives Award

Fresno is full of writers for children including Gary Soto, Juan Felipe Herrera, Margarita Engle, Francisco Jimenez and now Dorina Lazo Gilmore…

American Library Association  2010 Asian/Pacific American Award For Literature Winners selected

CHICAGO – The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), an affiliate of the American Library Association, has selected the winners of the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature. The awards promote Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage and are awarded based on literary and artistic merit.

The Awards are given in four categories, with Winner and Honor books selected in each category. Here are the winners of the 2010 awards:

The Picture Book Winner is “Cora Cooks Pancit,” written by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore and illustrated by Kristi Valiant, published by Shens Books. Picture Book Honor was given to “Tan to Tamarind” written by Malathi Michelle Iyengar and illustrated by Jamel Akib, published by Children’s Book Press.

For Youth Literature, the Winner is Sung Woo’s “Everything Asian” published by Thomas Dunne Books. “Tofu Quilt” by Ching Yeung Russell and published by Lee & Low was selected as an Honor recipient.

“Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford and published by Ballantine Books was selected as the Adult Fiction Winner. “Shanghai Girls” by Lisa See and published by Random House was selected as an Adult Fiction Honor title.

The Adult Non-Fiction Winner is “American Chinatown: A People’s History of Five Neighborhoods,” by Bonnie Tsui and published by Free Press (Simon & Schuster). The Adult Non-Fiction Honor Book is “Japanese American Resettlement Through the Lens,” by Lane Ryo Hirabayashi and published by the University Press of Colorado.

Winner and Honor books were chosen from titles by or about Asian Pacific Americans published in 2009.

Fresno’s Famous

The most prestigious conference for international children’s books coming out of Basel, Switzerland called the International Board on Books for Young people (IBBY) will take place in Fresno in October 2011. That’s like getting the olympics in your city for children’s book people!

Here’s the website

Next year’s conference is in Spain The call is Oct 30.

Also, Juan Felipe Herrera will give a poetry reading soon at the Henry Madden Library.

So that’s Margarita Engle two weeks ago, Francisco Jimenez last Friday, Juan Felipe Herrera soon and Gary Soto (at Fresno City) November 4 (?). Soto also has a museum!!
Fresno’s like Paris for Latino writers!! At the address below, you can see some of the future children’s writers in the Fresno Area….

Margarita Engle ~ Finding the Poetry in History

September 25, 2009 ~ Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with author Margarita Engle at the annual meeting of ANCA, the Arne Nixon Center Advocates. The meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, September 25, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, where ANCA members and others will be the special guests of the Norelma Walker Youth Library. The church is located at 2672 East Alluvial Avenue (just west of Willow), Clovis, California 93611. Following a reception at 6:00 p.m., the program will begin at 6:45 p.m. The author’s PowerPoint presentation, “Finding the Poetry in History,” will include family pictures.

The public is invited. There is no admission charge for this event. Reservations are required by sending email to or by calling (559) 278-8116. The author’s books will be available for sale and autographing.

Margarita Engle
Margarita Engle