Home » Fall ’16 Course

Fall ’16 Course

June 18, 2016

Course dates: Tuesdays, Sept 6 – Dec 13, 4-7 pm

December 13 is at UNH Manchester. It is the only whole cohort meeting of the semester.

A guiding issue: The UN’s declaration for human rights lists freedom of movement as a right (“Everyone has the right to leave any country…”) but nations have sovereignty over their borders. So, people are free to leave but not free to enter? What kinds of moral questions does this raise for us?


We will have two sections: Nashua and Manchester/Concord

Nashua GC members will register for:

EDUC 897 (M1): Language and Culture in Schools & Schooling: A Glocal Perspective. CRN: 17301. Our class meets as a group every other Tuesday at NHSS beginning Sept 6. On alternating weeks, you’ll meet in your PLCs. DECEMBER 13 is Final Projects night and is at UNH Manchester.

Manchester/Concord GC members will register for

EDUC 897 (M2): Language and Culture in Schools & Schooling: A Glocal Perspective. CRN: 17302. Our class meets as a group every other Tuesday at UNHM beginning Sept 13. On alternating weeks–starting with Sept 6 you’ll meet in your PLCs. DECEMBER 13 is Final Projects night and is at UNH Manchester. Judy, Cindy, Fran and Arlene will be in touch with guidelines so you can run your first PLC.

Each class may have  few non-GC members joining the class –will be good to inject some new people into our groups!  And they will be joining PLCs.

We’ve already got some great guest speakers lined up and I’m looking for more.  We’re going to start with Dr. Judith Kumin (9/6 in Nashua; 9/13 in Manchester), a world renowned scholar on immigration and refugee policies.  We’ll also have presentations from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. You are encouraged to invite speakers to your PLCs and/or use PLC time to visit places.

MAIN TEXT: Introducing Language and Intercultural Communication by Jane Jackson. If you want a copy during the summer, contact Vilmarie.  We’ll read 1-2 chapters a week

Supplemental Texts:  

Everyone will read, analyze and share 1-2 books (fiction or non-fiction) related to a strand of immigration;  [ok to start reading now if it helps with time management]

Everyone will view, read, and share 1-2 videos (film/documentary) related to a strand of immigration [ok to start viewing now if it helps with time management]

Various readings assigned each week –connected to topics/guiding questions. Expect to be keeping up on world events and sharing in class/in PLCs

Assignments and grading (DRAFT!!! I welcome input)

  1. Policy Brief/Policy Analysis: Policy into Practice (20%) [mid-semester]
    1. There will be a range of policies –local, state, federal and international to choose from. You will pick an audience for the brief: Families, Administrators,School board, Students, etc. The Briefs will be posted on the blog. 2 people can collaborate to create 1 brief.  Will be 2-3 pages. Appropriate newsletter format (a pdf that can be downloaded from the blog).
  2. Advocacy Project: Action in the Community (25%) [12/13/16]
    1. You’ve done lots of community explorations and had some interactions with community partners. This assignment builds on that foundation. These will be presented at the final class. You’ll work with a targeted community partner to do a needs analysis. Invite your partners to co-present! This will involve some field work. Think about how to use PLC time for this project. Search the blog to see what cohort 1 projects were in fall 2014.
  3. Film/Literature Circles (20%) [2 X 10%: 1 in September; 1 in late October/early November] #1 will cover the strands: Why do People Leave? What is the Journey Like? What is it like to be undocumented?  #2 will cover the strands: What are the initial experiences like? What are the experiences of 1.5 generation? What are transmigrant experiences/stories? Lots of possible titles are listed much further down in this post
  4. Quality of Participation (15%)  [ongoing]
    1. Completion of weekly assignments
    2. responsible for organizing, leading, reporting on at least 1 PLC
    3. posting and responding to discussion board tasks
    4. attentive to how one’s participation shapes the learning environment (active listening, knowing everyone’s name and something about them, inviting others into the conversation, asking questions that deepen, extend our learning; bringing positive energy when we need it)
  5. My Globally Connected/Aware Professional Self & Classroom (or appropriate professional space) (20%) [due mid – late November]
    1. Multiple formats possible: portfolio; iMovie; prezi; etc
    2. Will be a collection of artifacts that you assemble. Can be pictures of your classroom walls; a few activities you do to create an inclusive, expansive environment; student voices; video clip from your classroom; a transformative moment; etc. but you will decide the format that works for you as a learner and as someone driving her own professional development

Main competencies addressed:

In the area of culture, the candidate know, understand and use major theories and research related to the nature and role of culture in instruction for the following:

  • a)The major principles, theories, and research related to the nature and role of culture on language learning, school achievement, and acculturation;
  • b) Cultural groups in the community, including the majority group, affect language learning, social adjustment, school achievement and acculturation;
  • c) Use of curriculum and materials to promote an inclusive environment and demonstrates cross-cultural awareness and appreciation; and
  • d) Use of resources to maintain up-to-date knowledge of cultural conflicts and world events that might have an impact on student’s learning;

In the area of professionalism, the candidate shall demonstrate knowledge of history, research and educational policy as follows:

  • a) The evolution of the laws and policies affecting linguistic minorities in the U.S., including those which govern the educational rights of Els;
  • b) The importance of collaborating with teachers and staff to provide comprehensive, appropriate educational opportunities for ELs in school; and
  • c) The importance of providing EL families with information regarding school and community resources.

Work with your coaches on conversations that include how the various pieces of the course (and your processing of the content) are raising questions for you and your practice.  Connect to appropriate places of the CLIP –and make suggestions for what we are not capturing!

BEGINNING of semester

  • Who are my students? How do I get to know them? How do I show them that what I know about them informs our classroom climate and how we learn content/concepts? [NOTE: this means ALL students, not just ELLs]. PLCs might be sharing insights, strategies, etc.
  • Who am I as an educator of 21st century learners? What do all students need to know about the world? about their/our places in the world? about globalization? What world(s) am I preparing students for? How do I foster interest in our classroom, school, city, state, world communities?
  • How do I foster intergroup relationships in my classroom? (see great story from NPR on 7/14/16–click here)
  • What do we know about immigration on a global scale? What’s the current state of migration? Why do people move? How do different countries respond? What ethical, moral, legal, practical, etc., questions/issues do these realities raise?
  • What is Global Citizenship? What is intercultural competence? Do/should/could these concepts be part of teaching all students today? What are the critiques of global citizenship?

late September to mid semester

  • how do language and culture affect how we communicate with others? [this is an ongoing thread in the Jackson book] How does it affect my interactions with students?
  • how do I stay attuned to the world events that affect my students?
  • ongoing: how am I fostering interest in the world in my classroom?

OK, people are in a new place, now what?

  • What are the issues/challenges facing newcomers? (transitions, culture shock, etc)
    • What are the local manifestations for these issues/challenges?
  • How do receiving communities respond to newcomers?
  • What does integration from a policy standpoint mean? How does the US approach to integration compare to that of other countries? (what are the pillars of integration?)
    • what policies should we investigate?
  • What does it mean to be a citizen?
  • What are different approaches to civics and citizenship education?
    • Am I a good citizen? What does that mean?
  • How do language and culture affect participation in various community realms? (friendships, colleagues, neighbors, parents of our students, etc)
  • If we think of our classrooms/schools as receiving communities, how does our focus on intercultural communication/competence affect our work with all our students?

Mid-semester to mid-November

  • What are successful models of integration of newcomers? (internationally, nationally, locally) [and what do we mean by success?]
  • What are the necessary components/factors for success?
    • How does my advocacy project reflect these components?
  • What’s the connection between “Integration of Newcomers” and US segregation/integration issues?
    • How do we foster healthy intercultural relationships in our classrooms?
    • How do we anticipate, respond to intercultural conflict in our classrooms, schools, communities?

Home stretch

  • How do we advocate for our students, families, professional selves?
  • How do our classrooms, professional spaces reflect our levels of global awareness and intercultural competence?

OK, still a work in progress.  Feedback is welcomed!

from May 2016

This is a work in progress but people have already started asking about themes for the literature and films we will be reading, viewing and discussing.  Remember, that is part of the course –we’ll be doing other professional/academic readings as well. Below is just the start!  I’ve got lots to add and want to solicit suggestions from the group as well. Please know that we will be taking a glocal perspective on these issues . Glocal means balancing local realities with global trends/events. We will sometimes read/watch things re migrant experiences in Europe, Australia, etc. We will read some fiction that takes place solely in another country (e.g., Finding Nouf).  there will be lots of choices. A suggested summer read is Dogs of March,  a classic novel about New Hampshire! Think about how this novel would prepare a newcomer –someone from NYC! for NH culture and life. Would a native of the granite state find it offensive? right on? out of date? timeless?  How does reading about a representation of a place we call home raise questions for how we read representations of other places?

Some of our initial readings will be more related to social science.  One core text might be

Introducing Language and Intercultural Communication by Jane Jackson.  We will read many chapters from this book because it will address more deeply some of the issues/concepts re culture that we have mentioned but not really addressed.  It’s a text to read strategically –useful for definitions and perspectives –and that could be useful for when you are communicating with colleagues, etc. It reads like a classic college textbook, so again, we will read it strategically. It is designed for an undergraduate course but we will use it to help us establish a shared understanding of key terms, concepts and how they have developed. A book like this gives us the language to analyze some of the issues we see in the books/films. Also, our focus will not only be on how to serve newcomers but will also include how we establish a climate for newcomers. That means how do we prepare all students for the transmigrant reality of the 21st century?  How do we help shape climates that foster global awareness and global interconnectedness?

Here are a few of film/literature strands:

STRAND/THEME: Why do people leave their home countries/cultures?


Welcome to Paradise by Mahi Binebine

Colors of the Mountain, children in a rural area in Colombia

Under the Persimmon Tree, Pakistan and Afghanistan

Thanks to Sharon for adding the following:

Allende, Isabel. My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.
Allende offers insight into the Chile of her youth and as she sees it now. She also shares the background of several of her stories, and sheds light on how she became a writer.


According to Jordan laws , visitor visa permits to stay in Jordan for one month , after which a fine is imposed on every person which is about 2 $ per day .

IraqiGirl: {Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq}
Hadiya began her blog in 2004 from her home in Mosul, Iraq. These blogs tell the story of bombings, stuffed toys, family, friends, curfews, exams, more exams and more – mostly a combination of basic teenage life and living in a war-torn city. The names have been changed to protect these people’s identities. (I liked the blog better than the book, and it is current: http://iraqigirl.blogspot.com/ )

Combres, Élisabeth. Broken Memory: A Novel of Rwanda. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2009.
This story begins as Emma dreams of the night her mother was killed by solders. Soon we learn of her escape and then of her life after escape. Emma is haunted by her experiences and this is the story of her relearning how to live.

Hall, Shyima. Hidden Girl: The true story of a modern-day child slave. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Eight-year-old Hall, while living in Egypt, was sold to the family that her sister stole from the repay the debt. The Mom and The Dad ran from Egypt, seemingly from something bad The Dad did, to the United States and took Hall with them. Throughout her time with The Mom and The Dad she was treated as a slave and forced to do their bidding, not offered medical care, had very little food, wore ratty handoffs, and rarely had time for herself. Eventually some good samaritan noted that something was wrong and contacted the authorities and she was rescued. This is the story of a girl in slavery and how that experience impacted her life.

Hashimi, Nadia. The Pearl that Broke Its Shell. Ebook, 2014.
Rashima and Shakiba, both are women living in Afghanistan – Rashima – now, Shakiba – her great grandmother. The lives run parallel to each other – both lived as boys for a while, both suffered abuse. Both women were strong.

Williams, Michael. Now it the Time for Running.
Deo and his friends love soccer and play with a homemade ball in the fields of Zimbabwe until soldiers come and kill the people in his village, only Deo and his brother, Innocent make it out alive. The brothers eventually escape the political unrest in Zimbabwe only to enter South Africa and face xenophobia (fear of foreigners.) After Innocent is murdered, Deo, addicted to glue, finds himself incorporated into a group of teens preparing to participate in the homeless world cup soccer games.

STRAND/THEME:What is the journey like?

In the sea there are crocodiles by Fabio Geda

Sin Nombre (movie)

La linea (novel)

Which way home? (documentary)

Hinterland (novel)

Under the same moon (movie)

No Choice: Journey from Syria, May 24, 2016: The New Yorker is posting a documentary in six parts. the first segment is @ 9 minutes long.

Thanks to Sharon for adding the following:

Deng, Benson; Deng, Alephonsion; Ajak, Benjamin. They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan. New York: Public Affairs, 2005.

Three young men tell their story of escaping their homes in Sudan as Islamic soldiers fight against them and burn and bomb their homes. The boys traveled, mostly on foot, throughout Southern Sudan and into Kenya and Ethiopia. They lived through animal attacks, war, starvation, injuries, great thirst, losing their families and then finding their cousins and siblings. These are stories of fortitude. The boys now live in the United States.


Urrea, Luis Alberto. The Devil’s Highway. New York: Back Bay Books, 2004.

In May of 2001, 26 Mexicans tried to cross the border to work in the United States illegally. They were led by a man who was relatively inexperienced as a “coyote” and 14 men ended up perishing in the desert after frequently being promised that they were nearly to their goal. This book shares their journey and what went wrong.


Bassoff, Leah and  Laura DeLuca. Lost Girl Found. Toronto: Groundwood books, 2014.
Poni, a young Sudanese girl, finds her life unraveling as civil war erupts in her country and her village life is destroyed when bombs fall and her community smashed. When her mother tells her to run, she does – then walks and finally arrives at the Kakuma refugee camp and placed under the care of a “foster mother” who wishes to use her for the bride’s price. She falls in love with a village boy, but again runs, this time to a nun in order to follow her dream of acquiring an education.

Jaramillo, Ann. La Línea. New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook Press, 2006.
Miguel has always yearned to leave Mexico and join his parents in the United States. And finally, his parents send him the means to go with instructions on how to meet the coyote who will guide him across la línea, but on his way he finds that his 13-year-old sister has joined him and circumstances prevent him from returning her to his abuela’s farm. Will they make it across la línea?

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. The Red Pencil. New York: Little Brown, 2014.
Finally, Amira who lives in South Darfur in a small village, turns twelve and her Dando (father) gives her a twig to draw in the sand with. Turning twelve requires her to take on many adult responsibilities – cleaning, cooking, helping with the farm. However, what Amira really wants to do is to go to school to learn to read and write, but her mother won’t allow it.

STRAND/THEME:What are the initial experiences/struggles in a new place?

Amreeka (movie)

Pigeon English (novel)

This is where I am (novel)

The sound of language (novel)

Rain in a Dry Land (documentary)

American Born Chinese (graphic novel) (maybe goes in the next category)

When I was Puerto Rican,“Esmeralda Santiago’s story begins in rural Puerto Rico, where her childhood was full of both tenderness and domestic strife, tropical sounds and sights as well as poverty. Growing up, she learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby’s soul to heaven. As she enters school we see the clash, both hilarious and fierce, of Puerto Rican and Yankee culture. When her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually take on a new identity. In this first volume of her much-praised, bestselling trilogy, Santiago brilliantly recreates the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years and her tremendous journey from the barrio to Brooklyn, from translating for her mother at the welfare office to high honors at Harvard.”

Thanks to Sharon for adding the following:

Marafioti, Oksana. American Gypsy. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012.

Oksana, part Roma / part Armenian, emigrated from the Soviet Union as a teen. This is her journey as an immigrant, as a person trying to integrate all of her culture with her emerging self. A story of immigration, of learning a new language and a new culture, but even more, a story of growing up.


God Grew Tired of Us (National Geographic Film)
This is about the Lost Boys of Sudan, both about what these young men faced in Sudan and their Refugee camps, but also about their journey here, their adaptation to life in the USA, and their hopes and dreams.


Alvarez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost their accents. New York: Plume, 1991.
The Garcia girls are moved from the Dominican to New York after political unrest made the move necessary. This book talks about their assimilation into American society and the conflicts between the two cultures.

An Na. A Step from Heaven. Asheville, North Carolina: Front Street, 2001. This story begins when Young Ju was four years old and finds herself moving away from Korea. She moves with her family (Her Uhmma, her Apa. Her younger brother arrives soon after) to the United States where there are members of her father’s family already. You will watch her grow from that four year old through the week just prior to when she leaves for college. You will experience her learning English, her struggles with integrating two cultures, and her father’s alcoholism.

Carleson, J. C. The Tyrant’s Daughter. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Imagine being the daughter of a Middle Eastern king whom was assassinated. Imagine then moving to the United States. Here you have the beginning of this story – complete with the struggle of living between two worlds, and of trusting no one.

Farish, Terry. The Good Braider. USA: Amazon Children, 2012.
Viola yearns to escape Southern Sudan with her family, but when the time comes, her grandmother decides not to go. On the 1000s of miles trek, her brother Francis dies. Upon finally arriving in Portland, Maine after several years, Viola finds herself neither African nor American and learns that living at the crossroads of cultures, difficult. Over time she finds a way to integrate the cultures to become comfortable in her new life.

Gonzalez, Christina Diaz. The Red Umbrella. New York: Alfred Knopf, 2010.
After Castro comes to power, Cuba starts to change and Lucia (14) and her brother Frankie begin to lose the freedoms and carefree life they have enjoyed. When their parents deem it unsafe for the children to continue to live in Cuba, they are sent to live in the United States with complete strangers. After being divided and living in a group environment, the children are reunited and sent to live with foster parents in Nebraska. Here they begin a new life, and Lucia ultimately learns that home is where family live.

Henriguez, Cristina. The Book of Unknown Americans. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2015.
Arturo, his wife Alma, and daughter Maribel move to the USA after an accident in which Maribel’s brain is damaged; they are searching for a school that will help her improve. Arturo has acquired a job, picking mushrooms, in Pennsylvania and this story revolves around the lives of the immigrants that live in the apartment building near where he works.

Jones, Patrick. Bridge. Minneapolis: Darbycreek, 2014.
Jose and his family immigrated from Mexico, Jose’s family speaks Spanish and he must interpret whenever they need to understand something presented in English, he must transport them from here to there, and he needs to earn money – all while finishing high school. Life gets overwhelming, but he works to get his priorities straight and “Haz lo correcto”. (Do what is right)

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
Walk the life of the Ganguli family, from their home in Calcutta full of traditions, through their transitions to New York and Massachusetts. Here you will find the immigrant experience – both as a newcomer trying to find community and as an United States born person figuring out how cultural traditions fit with your life. And on top of that all, we have human beings who live and grow and realize themselves and their places in the world.

Lai, Thanhha. Inside Out & Back Again. New York: Harper, 2011.
Lai shares this semi-autobiographical sketch of the year in which she came from Vietnam when Siagon fell. This story tells of being different and the resulting bullying, and learning a new language and culture.

Ryan, Pam Munoz. Esperanza Rising. New York: Scholastic, 2000.
Esperanza lived with her father, mother, and grandmother on a ranch in Mexico. Surrounded by servants, fine dresses and things, a good education, and lots of affection – she wasn’t prepared for the day that her father died and her life took a dramatic change in direction. Her uncles made it impossible for her Mother and Esperanza to remain in Mexico, so they left with some of their former servants to create a new life in the United States. This story follows Esperanza’s change in situation and values.

STRAND/THEME:What are experiences of 1.5 generation or second generation migrants?

The boy kings of Texas (memoir –series of short essays)

The Prince of Cocuyos (memoir)

Real Women Have Curves (movie)

The Namesake (novel and movie)

Bend it like Beckham (movie)

House on Mango Street (novel)

A Step from Heaven (novel) (a Korean “house on Mango St)

Once upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the USA (non-fiction)

Thanks to Sharon for adding the following:

Cisneros, Sandra. Caramelo. New York : Knopf, 2002. Tells the story of several generations of Mexicans and Mexican Americans with a heavy emphasis on the traditions and values that set them apart from Americans.

Martinez, J. R. Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit. New York: Hyperion, 2012.

Martinez’s mother escaped poverty in El Salvador and, with the help of a coyote, made her way to the United States. She met a man and soon found herself pregnant with Martinez. Martinez’s early life was a bit rocky, moving from one place to another, his mother moving from one relationship to another. Eventually Martinez decides that his pathway to a better future is through football; however, his grades aren’t good enough to get him into college. Instead he enlists in the Army, but shortly after he is deployed to Iraq the Humvee he is driving hits a roadside bomb. Martinez, with burns over 1/3 of his body and internal injuries, leaves Iraq in a medical helicopter and eventually finds himself in a military burn unit in Texas. The rest of his book is about his healing, his love of family, and his raise to fame as a motivational speaker, an actor in a soap opera, and a stint on Dancing With the Stars.


Sotomayor, Sonia. My Beloved World. New York: Knopf, 2013.
Sotomayor shares the story of her life, starting with growing up impoverished in the Bronx, moving on to school and the debate team (her mom worked hard to send her to parochial school so she would have a better opportunity) then to Princeton, then Yale law school, and finally her practice of law. Sotomayor’s writing feels like a conversation with a friend, and her choices were all grounded in the-right-thing-to-do. (Every teacher should read this book)

STRAND/THEME:What does it mean to be undocumented?


Don’t Tell Anyone

Return to Sender

Thanks to Sharon for adding the following:

McNeal, Laura. Dark Water. New York: Knopf, 2010.
Pearl sees a young illegal immigrant performing tricks on a street corner and convinces her uncle to hire him to work in the avocado groves. Amiel, the immigrant, has lost most of his voice in some sort of “accident” and has difficulty speaking, beyond that Ameil knows Spanish while Pearl speaks English. Over time, Pearl begins to fall in love with Amiel and the impossibility of this situation frustrates both of them. This story leads up to a wildfire that consumed a lot of area near San Diego in 2007. Amiel, afraid of being caught and deported refuses to leave the area, and Pearl goes hunting for him. This love story, which contains a bittersweet ending, contains amazing language and is a pleasure to read.

  1. José Ángel. Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014.
    José tells his story of working as a translator then, fearing losing his job, leaving his job then hiding in the suburbs so he isn’t deported.


STRAND/THEME:What are stories/models of successful integration experiences?

Outcasts United (non-fiction)

Welcome to Shelbyville (documentary)

Integration Nation (non-fiction, series of short pieces on successful projects)

STRAND/THEME:What are transmigrant experiences? (going back and forth between countries/returning to the home country–and/or the impacts of emigration on home communities –what happens to a place when so many people leave?)

Americana, (novel)

Listen Slowly, (novel) middle-school Vietnamese-American girl accompanies her father and grandmother back to Vietnam

Speaking of Vietnam, here’s a 5/23/16 PBS Newshour story (9:02 minutes) on children of US immigrants going back to the country of their parents.

Knots (part of the Return to Somalia Trilogy)

Links (also part of the Return to Somalia Trilogy)

Into the beautiful north, (novel) “Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US when she was young. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn’t the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village–they’ve all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men–her own “Siete Magníficos”–to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over. Filled with unforgettable characters and prose as radiant as the Sinaloan sun, Into the Beautiful North is the story of an irresistible young woman’s quest to find herself on both sides of the fence.”

Sharon additions:

Cepeda, Raquel. Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. New York: Atria Books, 2013.
The first 2/3 of the book tell of Cepeda’s upbringing. Her early life with her foot in two countries (the DR and the USA) and her abuse at the hands of her parents then early adulthood. The last 1/3 of the book talks about her DNA testing and how we are all a mixture of parts, with a focus on those in the DR with a mix of ancestors from the indigenous people of the DR, Asia, Europe, and Africa.


Al-Maria, Sophia. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky. New York: Harper, 2012.
Sophia’s father went to the United States to study and instead met Sophia’s mom. This is the story of their union, but more about Sophia – a girl shuffling between two cultures (Northern Pacific USA and Arab) – not fully of either. This is the story of finding one’s self through taking in those cultures, religion, her own time period and moving into an integrated whole.

Trebincevic, Kenan and Susan Shapiro. The Bosnia List: Memoir of War, Exile, and Return. New York: Penguin, 2014.
Kenan Trebinicevic, a Bosnian Muslim, shares what he remembers of living in Bosnia in the early 1990s during the Baltic and then his exile. Learn how war impacted this young man – learning that he couldn’t trust people he had known his whole life, being afraid one moment to the next, taking the role of the only family member able to leave his home to run errands, being exiled from his country, his family’s path to the USA, his family’s integration into this new society, and finally – a visit back to Bosnia to confront his experiences and some of the people who impacted him during those years (which didn’t turn out as he expected). This book could have fallen under many of these categories – but it is very much about integrating perspectives when looking at war, life, forgiveness, and understanding.

Crowder, Melanie. Audacity. New York: Philomel, 2015.
This is a historical novel about the life and struggles of Clara Lemlich, a young jewish immigrant from Russia who fought for the rights of the women who were working in the sweatshops, under unfair conditions (no water, no bathroom breaks, locked exit doors, inappropriate touching…). This story begins in Russia, marks her family’s escape from the hate there, and then their survival in their early years in NYC. It shares her love of education, and her fierce belief that by acting together we can get things done.

Manzano, Sonia. The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. New York: Scholastic, 2012.
This historical fiction written about the Young Lords, a group of people standing up for the rights of Puerto Rican’s in the late 1960s, shares the power of youth in fighting the inequities of life, specifically in regards to people from Puerto Rico who came to the United States searching for a new life – and finding it hard to just get by. Evelyn, a 14-year-old is at the center of this story – along with her mother and grandmother – each with a different take on life in the US and Evelyn’s coming of age as a young Nuyorican.

McCall, Guadalupe Garcia. Under the Mesquite. New York: Lee and Low, 2011. Lupita, the oldest of 8 siblings, often takes charge of her siblings. After she discovers her mother has cancer, this role intensifies. This is a story about living on both sides of the Mexican/United States boarder. Of walking the tightrope between two cultures. Of learning who one is. Of becoming stronger in the broken places.


Where I am wearing

this book helps us thing about our individual roles in globalization. It might seem off topic but it helps us think about our individual identities as “global citizens” and global citizenship.


Maybe we need a strand that helps us learn about other places –not related to why people are leaving but just to learn about those places.  

Even the rain, inspired by the Water Wars in Bolivia in 2000

Offside, women in Iran trying to get into watch football games.

Children of Heaven, so many great Iranian movies!  This one is about two young children, siblings

Wadjdah, about a Saudi Arabian girl who wants a bicycle –defying the odds!  This is one of those stories that helps us remember that despite what a dominant/prevailing cultural practice might be (e.g., females can’t do X), there are members of that culture that disagree and contest those practices and ideologies.

Additions from Sharon: The reaction of US Citizens to immigration:

Ali, Nujood with Delphine Minoui ; translated by Linda Coverdale. I am Nujood, Age Ten and Divorced. 2010.
Nujood, a Yemeni girl, was married off by her father to a man more than three times her age when she was about 9 years old. Her husband often raped her and both he and his family beat her. When visiting her own family, she escaped and ran to a court house and pleaded for help to get a divorce. This is her story.

Kidder, Tracy. Mountains Beyond Mountains. New York: Random House, 2004.
Paul Farmer, a physician and anthropologist, constructs his own theories of health care by combining these two realms of knowledge. He believes that no child is worth more than another child, and that we CAN do something to impact health, even for the impoverished. He spends his times flitting between Brigham and Womens’ Hospital, Haiti (where the poorest of the poor live) and other places in his tireless fight for healthcare for the poor, for the jailed, for his patients everywhere. In this story, he fights the juncture of tuberculosis and Aids, partially through creating an organization in one of the poorest regions in Haiti, which shows if can be done.

Lemmon, Gayle Tzemach. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman who risked everything to keep them safe. New York: Harper Perennial, 2011.
Tells the story of Kamila, one of the older sisters of a large family during the war in Afghanistan. Both parents left the area to go to a safer place, but left the children to fend for themselves because it wasn’t safe to move them. After the women are stripped of all freedom, Kamila starts a dressmaking business within her home in order to survive. This spirit of entrepreneurship goes further as she joins with foreign agents to help women create businesses for themselves.

Yousafzai, Malala with Christina Lamb. I am Malala. New York: Little Brown, 2013.
Malala shares her life experiences, living in Swat which is in Pakistan, and how life has changed as the political climate is in flux with the government and the army conflicting with the Taliban. Malala is shot in the face by a member of the Taliban because she is fighting for girls to have the right of an education. (This is cool because you can follow up on news stories about how she is doing.  Also there is a film: He named me Malala which tells more about her experiences after she was shot.)

Padian, Maria. Out of Nowhere. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.
Tom Bouchard is third in his class and LOVES playing soccer. However, his life starts to change as the influx of Somali refugees start to impact his life – on his soccer team, and in his volunteer work. (Interesting book about soccer, immigration. Based on the happenings in Lewiston, Maine)

History that leads up to where we are today including titles such as:

See, Lisa. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. New York: Random House, 2005.
Lily, born in 1823 in China, traveled a different path than many of the female children around her. Although her feet were bound and she made sure she was well versed in women’s ways, she became a “same old” with Snow Flower (another girl of her age). This story shares her life from the age of 5 well into adulthood. This shares the story of women, of friendship, of survival, of women’s writing in a time when women were considered a waste of resources and only valued in their capacity to birth sons.

Sepetys, Ruta. Between Shades of Gray. New York: Philomel (Penguin), 2011.
Fifteen-year-old Lina enjoys her friends, her art, and her life that is until the day in June of 1941 when the NKVD arrested her and her family, herded them into trucks then trains, and transported them to a labor camp in Siberia. This story is about her family’s fight for survival when Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were occupied by the Russians. The Russians created lists of those considered anti-Soviet and deported them. This story was created using the experiences related to the author by survivors of this overlooked segment of history.

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isaevich. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. New York:Time Reading Program, 1963.
Denisovich, after serving in the Red Army for four years during WWII, was captured by the Germans. After successfully escaping from the Germans, he found his way back to the Russian lines but instead of a hero’s welcome, he was arrested as a spy and sent to live in the Russian concentration camps in Siberia. This novel shares one day of his 10 year incarceration.


What are some teacher stories from other countries?

Blackboards, “Itinerant Kurdish teachers, carrying blackboards on their backs, look for students in the hills and villages of Iran, near the Iraqi border during the Iran-Iraq war. Said falls in with a group of old men looking for their bombed-out village; he offers to guide them, and takes as his wife Halaleh, the clan’s lone woman, a widow with a young son. Reeboir attaches himself to a dozen pre-teen boys weighed down by contraband they carry across the border; they’re mules, always on the move. Said and Reeboir try to teach as their potential students keep walking. Danger is close; armed soldiers patrol the skies, the roads, and the border. Is there a role for a teacher? Is there hope?”

Not one less, “In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each day and promises her an extra 10 yuan if there’s not one less student when he returns. Within days, poverty forces the class troublemaker, Zhang Huike, to leave for the city to work. Minzhi, possessed of a stubborn streak, determines to bring him back. She enlists the 26 remaining pupils in earning money for her trip. She hitches to Jiangjiakou City and begins her search. The boy, meanwhile, is there, lost and begging for food. Minzhi’s stubbornness may be Huike and the village school’s salvation.”

What’s it like living in refugee camps?

Turtles can fly, children in a Kurdish refugee camp

NOT READINGS but some interesting things to be thinking about

The effect of mispronouncing students’ names. In the spring of 2016 I posted a link to the “My name, My identity” project.  Today (5/17/16) heard about this link on the PBS newshour –it’s a follow up story to the project.

For White People who teach in the hood.  OK, I fell for web control device!  this was a link saying “read this next” on the “effect of pronouncing…” But I’ve heard about the book and the author spoke at UNH Manchester last week –missed it!  One of the brilliant ideas mentioned:

“Tell us about your teacher workshops. How are white teachers learning to move beyond the savior complex?

I bring teachers into the communities of their students: a barbershop, a black church and even hip-hop ciphers. It’s having teachers understand that it’s not them going to see the “exotic other” in their own element, but rather, an opportunity for them as teachers to learn about the students.”

Does this sound familiar???   Read the short article about Dr. Emdin’s work and see what you think.

RESOURCES for Course Readings that are NOT literature/film

Integration of newcomers and segregation/desegregation in US schools. How can we make connections between policies and practices regarding integration of newcomers (immigrants, refugees) and the ongoing issue of segregation/desegregation in US Schools?  Often these are considered two different areas of study but there are obvious connections. Here are some possible links for us to consider:

Education Policy & Law Review, Spring 2016This issue is dedicated to the impact of ESSA (replaced NCLB) on equity in US schools. The entire issue is online but there is one article that might be of special interest to us:

Implementing Responsive Federal Policy for Bi/Multilingual StudentsMegan Hopkins, Christine Brigid Malsbary & P. Zitlali Morales ……… 31


The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles is hosted by UCLA. Lots of great resources here–and it’s where I found the Ed Policy and Law Review link.  Browse what’s available under Research.

Integration as policy.  One of the areas we will be reading about is integration as policy.  The US as well as a number of other countries with significant immigrant/refugee populations have integration policies, task forces, etc.  We want to learn about these efforts on the federal, state and local levels.  Here are some possible readings:

  1. The White House Task Force on New Americans, 2015

    STRENGTHENING COMMUNITIES BY WELCOMING ALL RESIDENTS: A Federal Strategic Action Plan on Immigrant & Refugee Integration. This is a link t a 64 page report.

%d bloggers like this: