Monday, November 15, 2010

Pat Mora responds

Thank you, Readers, for your comments and questions for our guest poets. Pat Mora has offered her responses here below. (I'll share Jame's later this week.)

Question from Andromeda Jazmon

I wish I could be there with you at NCTE! It is going to be great. I am wondering about ideas for using bilingual Spanish/English picture books in our library. We are developing our collection in this area. We teach Spanish from Pre-K to 8th grade, but most teachers don't speak it and neither do I. I am working with the Spanish teacher for collaborative ideas using tech tools like the SMARTboard and interactive websites or apps. Do you have any ideas? We have looked on YouTube and read books together. What else could we be doing? How does a monolingual librarian promote bilingual books?

Response from Pat Mora
Your question is about such an important issue. Most teachers and librarians are not bilingual. The number of bilingual students in our schools keep growing. I wrote a series of four easy reads, MY FAMILY-MI FAMILIA, when a foundation director made me aware that such books aren't that available. Last year I asked teachers at an IRA session how they felt about bilingual books. I encouraged them to be candid, and I'm grateful to the teacher who said, "They intimidate me." Here's our challenge. Many of our students need to see themselves in books and delight in seeing their home language in books, and yet many educators are reluctant to buy or use the books. Dive in! Display the books prominently letting students know that you value such books. Find a Spanish speaking partner (a parent, an older student, a college student) to join you in some paired reading. As I say in ZING, educators are powerful people. The books you promote affect the student's opinions of those books.

Comment from Elizabeth

Thanks for your post. I am a former middle and high school English teacher (and NCTE member!), currently staying at home with my 3 young children. I ran across a Pat Mora children's poetry book today when volunteering in our lower school library. Loved it and tonight found your blog through an internet search. I loved your interview with her and her comments about creating quiet and needing the stillness to explore. Those quotes really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing.

Response from Pat Mora
Thanks for your comment, Elizabeth. The years that I was home with my three
children are among the happiest years of my life.

Question from Laura Purdie Salas
Pat is so delightful--a joy in person (so fun to read right after you at TLA this year, Pat, even if you did have everyone, including me, in tears...a tough act to follow) and on the page.

I'm rereading Dizzy in Your Eyes right now, and I'd love to know more about your poetry process on an individual poem.

The poem "Kissing," where the father sees the daughter and her boyfriend kissing and is upset about it is one of my favorites in Dizzy. Could you share a bit about the process of writing that poem or any other single poem from Dizzy? Where did the idea come from? How did you start? How many drafts, etc.?

Response from Pat Mora
Hi Laura, thanks for your generous words. I smiled at your question about
"Kissing." Often it's hard for me to remember how a poem actually began. When I first started writing poetry--first for adults and then years latter for children and then years later for teens--I wrote poems individually without a book in mind. Some years back, I began conceiving a book project first and then moving to the poems. When the seed for "Kissing" began to grow, I was already writing a collection of love poems in the voices of teens and that I wanted to have diverse voices speaking about all kinds of love. Of course, I wanted to have romantic love as a major theme. I think this poem may have started when driving in Santa Fe where I now live when school had just let out, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a group of teens was at a bus stop, a couple probably kissing, and I wondered, "What if? What if her dad drove by?" I think that's the genesis for that poem that went where I certainly didn't expect it to go. I love to revise so tweak and tweak. Keep writing, Laura!


Climbing Frames said...

Hi, it's a nice post. So, go ahead and keep us informed with your news.

laurasalas said...

Fun to hear the genesis of that poem, Pat. Thanks!

Amy L V said...

It is such a treat to hear these behind-the-scenes stories and pieces of advice. Thank you, Sylvia, for featuring Pat and Jame, putting together a wonderful blog-wide series leading up to NCTE!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for stopping by. It's been such a treat to dig deep into the lives and works of these two poets. Now, I'm looking forward to our NCTE session in Orlando and will report on that afterward. Stay tuned...

Dámaris Infante Thorn said...

Dear Mrs. Mora:
You are a wonderful role model. I was born in Cuba during the Castro-Batista Revolution. I hope that one day I have the opportunity to write a bilingual book about my childhood and the benefits and challenges of growing up in two cultures.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Pat, thanks so much for this advice! I am working with our Spanish teacher to share bilingual readings. It is great fun and the kids like it too! We are working on building our collection with more of this.