Sunday, June 24, 2012

De regreso a la escuela: Marisol McDonald no combina

From the bookjacket:
Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin.  Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination.  She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box.  To Marisol, these seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together.

Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol -- can't she just choose one or the other?  Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box.  Marisol McDonald doesn't match.  And that's just fine with her.

A mestiza Peruvian American of European, Jewish, and Amerindian heritage, renowned author Monica Brown wrote this lively story to bring her own experience of being mismatched to life.

I have visited hundred of bilingual classrooms and practically every one of them has at least one student who could identify with Marisol McDonald.  Whether it's his name or her hair color, they just don't look or sound like the rest of the peers assigned to the class. 

Being a part of a bilingual program typically means that students will spend several years with the same peers unlike the monolingual students who are shifted around each year.  This can be a wonderful thing as they build deeper friendships and trust and know each others' strengths and challenges.  It can also be difficult because certain expectations can be unintentionally established that a "bilingual student" will always have certain characteristics.

I picked this bilingual book Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina as another book for my DE REGRESO A LA ESCUELA series because it is a good way to foster conversation from the very beginning of the year.  A typical beginning of school activity is to have students create Venn Diagrams or Double-Bubble Maps comparing and contrasting themselves with a partner in the class.  It is healthy for our students to begin to process these ideas even at a young age as they appreciate the diversity within and outside their classroom. 

I would say this book is best targeted for first or second grades but could easily be stretched higher or lower!

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