By Leslie Lindsay
When I was younger, my parents emphasized learning a second language, preferably Spanish. It was a close cousin to Italian, my paramour and so Spanish it was. I’m no where near fluent, but I can see the appeal it had to my parents. I’ve used my limited Spanish skills in various jobs I’ve held from R.N. to writer, and sometimes in the highly Hispanic community in which I live.
Written by Texas elementary teacher Hugo Ibarra and expert ELL educator John Seidlitz, SOMETIMES is written from first-hand experiences from their students and parents as well as Ibarra’s own story of immigration.
Andreas and Clara are living in Mexico with their mother. Their father has been absent from the family for some time now, sending money to the Qwik Mart each week…until one day the money stops. Eventually, Andreas and Clara’s tia (aunt) arrives from Texas with a promise to take them home with her, but leaving their mother behind. Immigrating from Mexico to a strange U.S. town brings new sights to their young eyes, from boarder patrol to a new school, Andreas and Clara can’t fathom a life away from their mother. With help and encouragement from a beloved teacher, their young lives improve and a welcome surprise comes at the end.
Told in simple, easy-to-read text with colorful images, SOMETIMES is a most touching story on immigration, an authentic experience being made a reality by more and more people.
Best suited for kids ages 4-8 and their caregiver, SOMETIMES is a heart-warming tale of what some families have to do to survive, as well as the amazing sacrifices and influences of an amazing teacher.
If you read SOMETIMES, here are some discussion points to enhance your experience:
- Ask your child(ren) about teachers at their school. Is there a particular teacher they feel comfortable talking with about their worries and concerns. Emphasize that teachers play unique roles in the lives of their students: stable role model, leadership, mentor, and more.
- Have a discussion with your child(ren) about what immigration means. With 2016 being an election year, your children may be hearing more and more about the concept. What is your stance? Consider sharing America’s history with your children/students. After all, America is a melting pot of various cultures. Did your family immigrate from Ireland? Italy? Germany? China? Somewhere else? Read about Ellis Island. Study your family history/family tree.
- Talk about how teachers can help students with any transition, whether it’s a move across town or across the country, teachers are there to help and encourage.
- Do you have neighbors from another country living near you? Perhaps you can attempt to understand their ethnic backgrounds. In our suburban Chicago suburb we live near families from Russia, India, China, and other countries. How might we break cultural barriers and become neighborly? What if they don’t speak English?
For more information on SOMETIMES, or to order, please see:
John Seidlitz, founder and CEO of Seidlitz Education, works with teachers around the country implementing strategies that promote academic language development through innovative trainings and materials. Mr. Seidlitz is a former social studies and ESL teacher, and has served as a secondary ESL program coordinator and a state education specialist. In 2009 Mr. Seidlitz founded Seidlitz Education with the mission of Giving Kids the Gift of Academic Language.™