Multicultural Book Talk

Ann Grannell - EDEL 411 - Section A

Perez, A. (2002). My Diary from Here to There. California: Children's Book Press.

About the Book!

Title: My Diary from Here to There
Author: Amada Irma Perez
Illustrator: Maya Christina Gonzalez
Genre: Non-Fiction
Theme of Book: Social Studies, Geography and Map Skills, Family/Friendship
Awards Nominated/Received: Winner of the 2004 Pura Belpre Honor Award

About the Author

Amada Irma Perez lives in Ventura, California and has been a bilingual educator, grades K-university level, for over 25 years. She is also an advocate for programs that encourage literacy and multicultural understanding. Amada speaks at local, state, national and international conferences and inspires diverse audiences of students, teachers, parents, businesses and community organizations. My Diary from Here to There is an autobiographical story telling her experience of when her family left Mexico for the United States when she was 5 years old. Amada has also written two other autobiographical stories titled My Very Own Room and Nana's Chicken Coop Surprise.

About the Illustrator

Maya Christina Gonzalez lives in San Francisco, California and is an award-winning artist and illustrator. Maya is known for her depiction of strong women and girls and her extraordinary use of color. This book is her seventh book illustrated for Children's Book Press. Her work has been consistently shown in San Francisco and is on the cover of Living Chicana Theory and Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art: Artists, Works, Culture and Education--considered to be "the Bible of Chicano/a art".

Story Read-Aloud


Criteria for Notable Multicultural Books

1. Include characters with a cultural group or two or more cultural groups who interact authentically- "We arrived in Mexicali late at night and my grandparents Nana and Tata, and all our aunts, uncles and cousins (there must be fifty of them!) welcomed us with a feast of tamales, beans, pan dulce, and hot chocolate with cinnamon sticks. Everyone gathered around us and told stories late at night" (Perez, 2002). Amada's family is very important to her and they participate in Mexican customs together. They resemble a tightly-knit family!
2. Demonstrate unique language or style- The story is formatted in a very unique way; on every page the book has the story written in English, followed by the story written in Spanish. This is wonderful for English Language Learners, who can read it in their native language and then look at the corresponding English words.
3. Social issues and conflicts related to cultural groups should be treated honestly, accurately, and openly- When Papa lost his job, the whole family was forced to move in with extended family until he could find a job in California. The story also talks about the struggle to get Green Cards, which will enable her family to live in the United States. Once her Papa found work and got their family green cards, the family passed through the crazy climate of Tijuana and entered into the U.S.

Lesson Plan

Grade Level: 2nd
Standard: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.3- Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
Objective: The students will write a sequenced story about traveling or moving to an unfamiliar place.
  • Start by reading My Diary from Here to There to the class.
  • As a class, fill out a graphic organizer highlighting the sequence of events as they occurred in the story. Go back and refer to the book as needed. Make sure to describe the character's feelings throughout each event.
  • Individually, the students will then write a sequenced story in their journals about a time they've traveled to an unfamiliar place, moved to an unfamiliar place, or about a close friend that moved away. The students will be scored based on the structure of their story (correctly sequenced), details of the event, and inclusion of emotions/thoughts/feelings throughout their experience with this event. They will then share their stories with a partner.

I can even use this book as a Social Studies lesson!
Grade Level: 2nd
: Geography: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of the spatial organization of Earth’s surface and relationships between peoples and places and physical and human environments in order to explain the interactions that occur in Kansas, the United States, and in our world.
  • Benchmark: The student uses maps, graphic representations, tools, and technologies to locate, use, and present information about people, places, and environments.
  • Indicator: 3. Locates major geographic features.
Objective: The students will locate major geographic areas talked about in My Diary from Here to There and also the geographic areas talked about in their personal stories.
Application: As a class, we will use a large map to identify the country of Mexico in relevance to the state of California to show Amada's travels in the story. Individually the students will find a picture of a map on the Internet to share their event/story/experience with the class. Their picture will show either: the place that they traveled, the place where they moved from, or the place where their friend moved away to.