Fierce

Why This Venezuelan-American Mom Started A Bilingual Children’s Book Series

Growing up, Susie Jaramillo remembers singing “Los Pollitos,” a bedtime song about a hen taking care of her hatchlings that is as popular in Latin America as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is in the US. Now a mom, the Venezuelan-American hoped to pass down these popular children’s stories to her own kids, except, when she went to the library or bookstore, Spanish-language tales weren’t in sight. That’s when she decided to create her own.

Starting in 2016, Canticos is a series of bilingual books, companion apps and singalong videos for little ones aimed at expanding inclusion and creating cultural pride among youth.

@canticosworld / Instagram

“If you’re Latino living in the United States, sometimes you have this feeling of otherness, and what I want to make clear to my children is that their language and their culture is a part of the American tapestry,” Jaramillo, a mother of two, told NBC News.

According to the news outlet, the US has more than 41 million Spanish-speakers, but less than 1 percent of all American books are in Spanish. Canticos is trying to fill the void. With seven picture books, telling the stories of Los Pollitos, Los Ratoncitos, Las Mañanitas and more, Jaramillo is sharing the rhymes she learned as a kid with children growing up in the US

“When I had my first child, I went online and thought: Where are all the board books of these songs that I grew up with” Jaramillo, a former co-founder of a Latino-focused New York advertising agency, told the Associated Press. “We’re always singing the American songs in Spanish, and our songs are great. Why aren’t people singing them in English?”

Catincos, which Jaramillo says is in high demand, is using hard books, apps and now a digital series through a partnership with Nickelodeon, which will soon begin selling Catincos toys, clothing and decor, is giving families who want to raise bilingual children more opportunities to do so.

@canticosworld / Instagram

For the children, it’s a fun way to stay or become connected to a culture that feels at once close yet distant.

“I like the songs, because some of them are really catchy,” a child told NBC News. “It teaches you that’s it’s important to learn more than one language,” another youth added about Catincos.

Canticos books are available at Target, Walmart, buybuy Baby and Barnes & Noble as well as online.

Read: 12 Bilingual Books To Add Your Child’s Reading List

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Six Dr. Seuss Books Are Being Pulled From Publication Due To Racist Imagery

Things That Matter

Six Dr. Seuss Books Are Being Pulled From Publication Due To Racist Imagery

Don’t call it a total cancellation.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises has made the decision of their own accord to no longer publish or license six of the books written and illustrated by the writer Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel. The American children’s author who passed away in 1991 was also a political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, and filmmaker. His first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937), and his book  If I Ran the Zoo (1950) are among the books being pulled as a result of racist and insensitive imagery.

On Tuesday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises shared a statement on their website explaining their decision to cancel the publication of the books.

Citing the four other books including McElligot’s Pool (1947), Scrambled Eggs Super! (1953), On Beyond Zebra! (1955) and The Cat’s Quizzer (1976) the company explained that they came to the decision citing the fact that they each “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” explained the statement.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises is a company that, according to Time Magazine, works to preserve and protect “the legacy of the late author and illustrator, who died in 1991 at the age of 87, also noted in the statement that the decision was made over the past year with a panel of experts, including educators, academics, and specialists in the field, who reviewed the catalog of titles.”

Children’s books by Dr. Seuss have long been considered a classic contribution to children’s literature.

The books’ colorful and fun illustrations and rhymes are still to this day instantly recognizable. Recently, however, the writer’s work has been re-examined and scrutinized for racial caricatures and stereotypes. This is especially when it comes to the depictions of Black and Asian people. Many have also pointed out that before he was known as Dr. Seusss, Geisel’s work had been strongly criticized for “drawing WWII cartoons that used racist slurs and imagery, as well as writing and producing a minstrel show in college, where he performed in blackface—a form of entertainment that some children’s literature experts point to as the inspiration for Geisel’s most famous character, the Cat in the Hat.”

Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s announcement of their decision to pull these books coincided with the anniversary of the writer’s birthday.

Geisel’s birthday coincidentally comes at the same time as National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, which has long been attached to his books,

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Disney is Making a Latino Version of ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

Entertainment

Disney is Making a Latino Version of ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

Another day, another Latino-fied reboot of a beloved story. Recently, we reported that “Father of the Bride” is going to be rebooted, this time with a “sprawling Cuban family” at the center of the movie. Now, apparently ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ is getting the same treatment.

According to Deadline, this version of ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ is going to “focus on a multigenerational Latinx family”.

Since there was already a 2014 version of the popular children’s book that starred Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner, the movie is technically being called a “reboot”. But we just like to think of it as a reinterpretation.

Per Deadline, the movie is being developed specifically for Disney+. Seeing as this reinterpretation is being written by the same guy who is writing the “Father of the Bride” reboot (Matt Lopez), it looks like this writer is definitely carving out a niche for himself in Hollywood.

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” is an incredibly popular children’s book that was published in 1972 by the author Judith Viorst.

Latino artist Ray Cruz illustrated the famously distinctive pictures in the book and its three sequels, “Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday”, “Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move”, and “Alexander Who’s Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever”.

Viorst, who was also a psychoanalysis researcher, wrote the book to help children process the all-too-common feelings of isolation and frustration that occur when nothing seems to be going their way. It is considered a classic.

Although it’s exciting that another Latino-centric story is going to be brought to the screen, it would also be nice for new, original Latino stories to be told.

For example, part of “Coco’s” popularity was the fact that the movie celebrated and elevated specific aspects of Mexican culture. The movie wasn’t a Latino interpretation of a white text, but it was a Latino narrative through and through.

A lot of the time, Hollywood thinks it can just swap out the characters’ names and slap some Latino actors on the cast, and they’ve hit their “diversity quota” for the year. But true representation goes much deeper than that.

Think about how many “Latino Reboots” there have been. “Charmed”, “One Day at a Time”, “Party of Five”, “Magnum P.I.” , “Father of the Bride”. It’s exciting that Hollywood is taking steps to employee Latino actors and creatives, but it might be time for an original, authentic Latino story to be told.

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