Teachers as Acquisition Editors: A Better Approach to Teaching Writing
[…] These days, when I go to classrooms, I turn to an approach that resonates with me. My friends, Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada –prize-winning and respected authors and researchers – have a terrific book called Authors in the Classroom: A Transformative Education Process. It advocates for parents and teachers to write along with students and to engage in a process that celebrates the idea that we’re all authors, in one way or another.
I caught up with Isabel, a dynamo of a poet and thinker, and I asked her a few questions about how we teach expression and ways that we can do it better.
MM: We are all creatures of story…from cave paintings to the Russian novel. And yet, so many people struggle with writing. What blocks people from thinking of themselves as writers?
IC: There are 237 steps to climb to my high school in Alicante, and I remember my struggle to find an important topic for my daily writing exercise before I reached the door of my classroom. By step 180 I used to slow down, not only to catch by breath, but to give me more time, hoping that some great idea would pop up. I think that fear of not having a brilliant story to share, starts for the majority even at Elementary School, and for many, it is the end of the road in a writing career. Writing is more than an intellectual exercise; it is a romance with words, words that find a vacant silence to fill it up with wonder, curiosity, expectation or love. Our universe is made up of “vacant silences.” There is room for seven billion stories, one written by each person in this tiny planet. […]
Read the entire interview here: http://megmedina.com/tag/authors-in-the-classroom/
A Video Interview with Alma Flor Ada
Alma Flor Ada is the award-winning author of more than 200 books for children. She is also a poet, storyteller, educator, mother, and grandmother. With a Ph.D. in literature and a lifelong love for stories, Ada has mastered the art of retelling traditional folktales and nursery rhymes from across Latin America. A native of Cuba who has also lived in Spain, Peru, and the United States, Alma Flor Ada writes poetry, picture books, and novels that offer rich, multicultural perspectives for all children.
Watch the interview below to learn more about Alma Flor Ada, or read a short biography about her. You can also view the interview transcript or see a selected list of her children’s books. (This video is also available on YouTube).
F. Isabel Campoy, CABE 2013 Interview
Alma Flor Ada, In-depth Written Interview
TEACHINGBOOKS: You are the award-winning author of more than 200 books for children, as well as a long-time professional educator. You taught college at a very young age–long before you were a published author. Now, you do both. How has your teaching influenced your writing, and vice versa?
ALMA FLOR ADA: All of the stories I listened to as a child–folktales and mythology from my grandmother, and real-life stories from my uncle and my father–have greatly contributed to my work as a teacher. To a large extent, teaching for me has meant working with stories, and I think I have been successful as a teacher because I love to tell stories. At the same time, I definitely believe that my teaching experiences and my understanding of the learning process have influenced my writing. Yet that has not always been intentional on my part – in fact I am often surprised when teachers point out to me yet another way that my stories can be used as teaching tool in the classroom. […]
Read the entire interview here: http://www.teachingbooks.net/interview.cgi?id=56&a=1
Interview with F. Isabel Campoy for “Papertiger Magazine”
For the first 16 years of my life I never questioned my identity. I was Spanish, from Alicante, a happy, athlete, gregarious, artistic student. I went to public schools and was a member of sport teams, classical music clubs, and art appreciation classes. I knew how to manage between two languages, Catalan and Spanish, although I couldn’t understand why the government wanted to delete all languages spoken in the country in favor of Spanish only. I knew that not questioning authority I would be safe, but I couldn’t stop questioning all the limitations of freedom imposed by Generalisimo Franco, our dictator.
And then I came to the United States, and here I acquired a new identity. I was Latina. At least for English speakers. I was living in Trenton, Michigan, and it was the year 1963. […]
Read the entire interview here: https://www.authorsintheclassroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/F.Isabel.Campoy-Papertigers-Interview.pdf
5 Questions With… Alma Flor Ada
Your latest book, YES! WE ARE LATINOS includes both narrative poems and nonfiction pieces about Latino history and culture. What inspired you to mix genres for this project?
Both Isabel Campoy, who co-authored YES! WE ARE LATINOS, and I have a profound interest in sharing with children the richness of the Latino history and culture. We believe that presenting narrative poems about present day Latino children gives relevance to the non-fiction information by relating it directly to experiences that may in some cases reflect their own experiences, or the experiences of children they know, or which, in other cases will give them unsuspected insights unto the lives of other children. […]
And, of course, we are both strong believers on the magic of poetry!
Read the entire interview here: http://www.reading.org/reading-today/literature/post/engage/2013/08/30/5-questions-with-alma-flor-ada-yes-we-are-latinos
F. Isabel Campoy, Today´s Revolutionary Women of Color; Interview by Claudia D. Hernández
Alma Flor Ada, Today´s Revolutionary Women of Color; Interview by Claudia D. Hernández
Interview with F. Isabel Campoy for Senderos, Houghton Mifflin
As a writer, you have a strong focus on the culture and civilization of the Hispanic world. Can you share a little on your background and how you became a children’s book writer?
I cannot remember a time in my life in which I wasn’t part of the world of children’s literature. . As soon as I learned to read I became the person that teachers chose to read out loud to the rest of the class while they did art, or sewing. I had a good voice and I couldn’t hold a thread and needle for more than two seconds, so it was a perfect match to keep everyone busy. That practice stimulated the writer in me and when I was eleven years old I published my first tale in a local magazine. I continued writing throughout my childhood. When I came to the U.S. for the first time at age fifteen in 1963, writing kept me alive through the difficult moments of missing my family (I was here as an AFS exchange student), and conquering my fears after the tragic assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on November of that year.
My first job after college was as an assistant editor in Madrid. I applied to the position because it was my way to be part of the publishing world. Later I was offered the opportunity to co-author with Phillip Locke a series for the teaching of English, my responsibility being to provide the literary texts. I left publishing many years later. At the time, I was a Senior Acquisitions Editor for College publications in a company in Boston. I realized then that the joy of publishing others, was hiding my fear to publish my own manuscripts… so I finally quit everything and became a full time writer.
I love to travel. I am interested in the places, the people, and their histories. When I began writing for children I wanted to contribute to present the cultural richness of Latino history, art, and literature for readers in this country. There is much to be written about our culture.
Read the entire interview here: https://www.authorsintheclassroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Interview-for-Senderos.-Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt.pdf
Authors and Literary Works. Talking with Alma Flor Ada
What was it like when you immigrated?
When I immigrated to Peru, my hope was to be able to study. And eventually I was able to do that. It wasn’t easy at the beginning. I think I immigrated there a little bit more [from] needing to go to someplace rather than having made all those expectations. Sometimes people immigrate because they have those dreams and they say, “I’m going to go to this place where I’m going to be able to have a better life,” and all that. Sometimes they immigrate because they have to. My family moved from Cuba, so I couldn’t go back and I didn’t really have much choice. So it was kind of that situation.
When I came to the United States, it wasn’t my choice either. It was just a circumstance that brought me here. I was married at the time. It was my husband who wanted to come. And, if I must be truthful, I wanted to raise my children in a Spanish-speaking country and I would have stayed in Peru even if the economic conditions were lower and the material life was not as good. It would have been originally my choice. […]
Read the entire interview here: https://www.authorsintheclassroom.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=49&action=edit&message=1
Leticia Pontony with F. Isabel Campoy
QQ: ¿Dónde naciste?
Nací en el Mediterráneo, en la ciudad más dulce del mundo, Alicante, España. Allí se hace el famoso turrón que tantos Hispanos conocen alrededor del mundo. El turrón es una pasta de almendras, miel y azúcar que se come preferentemente en Navidad.
Alicante es un lugar hermoso, con playas de arena suave y un mar en el que puedes nadar desde mayo hasta octubre. Se ha convertido en un lugar preferido para el turismo y cuando ahora regreso, veo cuánto ha crecido aquella ciudad portuaria de mi infancia. Viví allí hasta los 16 años. Fue entonces cuando gané una beca The American Field Service Scholarship, y vine a Trenton, Michigan. Aquella experiencia cambió mi vida para siempre.
Read the entire interview here: https://www.authorsintheclassroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Leticia-Pontony.-with-F.-Isabel-Campoy.pdf
Other pertinent articles
Alma Flor Ada Inspires Audience by “Sharing Family Stories” at WoodPark’s Wisdom Cafe
Read the article here: http://agesong.com/today/6859/family-story-time/
For Young Latino Readers, an Image Is Missing
Alma Flor Ada: On Books and Reading
Read the article here: http://www.latinbabybookclub.com/2010/06/alma-flor-ada-on-books-and-reading.html
Alma Flor Ada. An Author Study
Read the study here: http://etls.dpsk12.org/documents/Alma/units/AlmaFlorAdaAnAuthorStudy.pdf
Thoughts on a Latina Author’s Journey
Read the article here: http://allofmenow.com/2013/04/thoughts-on-a-latina-authors-journey/
What Is a Transformative Education by Ada?
Read the article here: http://www.ehow.com/about_6614500_transformative-education-ada_.html
Honoring Family in the Classroom. Alma Flor Ada and Rosalma Zubizarreta
Read the article here: http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/34169/