Please welcome my guest blogger, Natalie Dias Lorenzi.
Natalie Dias Lorenzi is a librarian in Fairfax County, Virginia. Her debut middle grade novel, Flying the Dragon, was published last year by Charlesbridge. Follow her on Twitter (@NatalieLorenzi) or visit her website at www.nataliediaslorenzi.com.
As a school librarian, I often see kids get excited when they connect with characters and settings and problems in stories. “She’s just like me!” they’ll say, or, “I know exactly how he felt.” A major part of my job as a librarian is to help kids find books they can connect with, books that speak to them. If a student has lost a pet, I’ve got several books for that. Problems with bullies? I could recommend a slew of titles. Ditto for the new kid at school, the one moving away, the new big brother or sister, or the kid who worships soccer.
But there are some topics that are largely ignored in children’s literature. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, there were an estimated 11.1 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in 2011, one million of whom are children, and 4.5 million born in the U.S. to undocumented parents. Like other kids, these children also read books on pets, bullies, new baby siblings, and soccer. But the life of an undocumented child brings special challenges not found in books on their library shelves: feelings of isolation from neighbors, the burden of secrecy, and a constant fear of deportation. Read more…