OCTOBER 26TH, 2017

Exploring Diverse Roots of Migration with the Américas Award

In September, the Américas Award explored diverse roots of migration found in the Américas Award books through programs in Washington, D.C.

CLASP awarded the 2017 Américas Award to Susan Hood and Sally Wern Comport for their work, Ada’s Violin (Simon & Schuster) and Alexandra Diaz for The Only Road (Simon & Schuster) on September 22, 2017 in front of 75 people at the Whittall Pavilion in the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress’ Hispanic Division and the Center for the Book co-sponsored the program. CLASP also recognized Nadia L. Hohn, author of Malaika’s Costume (Groundwood Books) and Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us, for their honorable mention titles.

The annual Américas Award professional development workshop for K-16 educators, “Exploring the Diverse Roots of Migration in Latin America & the Caribbean” was attended by 36 participants, both friends of the Américas award and K-16 educators. This workshop, organized in collaboration with and hosted by American University on September 21, brought together educators from around the DC area to engage with authors Alexandra Diaz, Reyna Grande, and Nadia L. Hohn. Presentations were also made by educator and curriculum specialist Rebeca Gamez of the Johns Hopkins School of Education, and Coordinator of Teacher Engagement and Professional Development of Teaching for Change, Fayette Colon. Participants in the workshop brought home signed copies of 2017 award winner The Only Road and honorable mention titles The Distance Between Us and Malaika’s Costume. Sixteen workshop participants were new to the Américas award. A CLASP approved curriculum is currently being developed for The Only Road by The University of New Mexico. When available, the resource will be posted on the CLASP website.

Pre and post surveys were conducted and report a high level of satisfaction with the workshop. The data reports that the workshop increased participants’ comfort levels in facilitating conversations about diversity in the classroom, as well as their familiarity with the Américas Book Award. On average, the participants found the workshop very useful for content, curriculum building, and networking. Participants commented on the “really fantastic presentations” and the “very informative” nature of the evening.

One participant expressed, “This was the best, most useful teacher workshop I have attended!” and was particularly pleased with how the authors presented ways to best teach their books in the classroom.

“This was my first time attending. It was very informative and I enjoyed networking with other content teachers,” said another participant.

School Visits
Both award-winning authors, Susan Hood and Alexandra Diaz made school visits prior to the award ceremony. Thanks to our continued partnership with An Open Book Foundation, Alexandra visited 85 students at Wheaton High School in Montgomery County, MD, while Susan visited with 42 third-grade students at Mount Rainier Elementary School in Prince George’s County. Hood’s book was presented within both the music and language arts classes, making deep cross-curricular connections.

An Open Book Foundation also distributed more than 90 copies of The Only Road at Wheaton and 59 copies of Ada’s Violin (including both English and Spanish versions) at Mount Rainier.

The 2017 Américas Award is made possible by these important sponsors Florida International University, Stanford University, Tulane University, Vanderbilt University, University of Florida, University of New Mexico, University of Utah, and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Follow the Américas Award on Facebook or join the Américas listserv by sending an email to claspprograms@gmail.com

The Call for Submissions for the 2018 Américas Award is circulating and the review committee members are already busy reading submissions for this year’s competition. Decisions will be made by April and the ceremony will be held during Hispanic Heritage Month Fall 2018 in Washington, D.C.