Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Children’s Literature Workshops

Latin American & Latino Literature Workshop Series for K-12 Teachers

LLILAS Benson's Latin American & Latino Literature Workshop Series for Teachers brings together UT faculty who are experts in the study of Latin American and Latino/a history, culture, and society with K-12 teachers—experts in the classroom—to explore ways to better understand and introduce content about Latinos/as and Latin America into their classrooms through literature. This series supports the use of multicultural texts in the K-12 classroom, and provides “windows and mirrors” to look into and reflect the diverse experiences of Latino/a children.

As a member of the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, LLILAS helps to sponsor the Américas Book Award, which recognizes quality youth and children’s literature about Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino/as. Many of the books discussed in our Children’s Literature Workshop Series or that are recognized through these awards are available for check out through our Lending Library.


Past Workshops

A Missing Piece of History: Afro-Latinos in the Elementary Curriculum

Monday, June 5, 2017
9:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Africans and their descendants have greatly influenced the Latin American region. Afro-Latinos have also had a profound impact on Black history in the United States and beyond. Yet the rich and diverse history and culture of Afro-Latinos/as are often left out of historical narratives and student learning.

Including Afro-Latinos in curricula can illuminate the complexities of what it means to be Latino and begin to break down false narratives of Latinos/as and African Americans as monolithic or mutually exclusive groups.

This half-day workshop looked at Afro-Latino history and culture and how to integrate Afro-Latinos in teaching. The workshop was centered around a curriculum unit created by Dr. Chris Busey (Social Studies Education at Texas State University) and Melissa Adams (third-grade dual language teacher in Blazier Elementary), which weaves Afro-Latino history and culture into literature, social studies, and math lessons.

The unit is designed for third-grade dual-language classrooms, but monolingual educators and teachers of any grade level are welcome. View this curriculum unit and supporting resources to teach about Afro-Latinos.


The Maya American Experience & Children’s Literature

Saturday, December 10, 2016
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Benson Latin American Collection
The University of Texas at Austin

Participants considered some of the experiences and challenges that 1.5 and 2nd generation Mayas face in the United States. Participants started by exploring various phases of migration and displacement from Guatemala, and how indigenous migrants and refugees have experienced these processes differently than their non-indigenous counterparts. Through the presentation of a children’s coloring and activity book, we addressed the assets and strengths that Maya youth have and suggestions for being an anti-racist educator and ally.  The workshop concluded by working with educators to develop lesson plans and activities to integrate this resource in their classroom.


Bringing Children’s Immigration Experiences into the Classroom

Friday, June 10, 2016
9:00 AM–2:00 PM

Benson Latin American Collection
The University of Texas at Austin

This workshop explored experiences of Latin American immigrants and how to reflect the stories of immigrant children in today’s classrooms through literature. Christine Wheatley (Department of Sociology, UT Austin) discussed current trends in U.S. immigration policy and migration from Latin America. Dr. Ricardo Ainslie (Department of Educational Psychology, UT Austin) discussed psychological impacts of migration on immigrants and their families in the U.S. and Mexico. Margo Gutiérrez (Latino/a Studies Librarian, Benson Latin American Collection) shared resources from UT that can help teachers bring Latin American resources into their classrooms.

Caroline Sweet and Sandra Springer (Metz Elementary 4th Grade Dual-Language Co-teachers) presented their unit of study that, based in culturally relevant pedagogy, takes students through eight picture books dealing with immigration journeys or issues immigrants face in a new country. Their curriculum unit, along with resources for teaching culturally relevant literature, can be found on their website at Examining Border-Crossing Stories and the Immigrant Experience Through Literature in the Elementary Classroom.


Using Culturally Relevant Literature in the Elementary Classroom

Saturday, February 20
Metz Elementary

This workshop explored the importance of using culturally relevant literature in our increasingly diverse public schools. Dr. Angela Valenzuela (College of Education, UT Austin, and co-founder of Academia Cuauhtli) introduced the workshop and the various national and community efforts to create more culturally responsive curriculum for Latina/o students. Caroline Sweet, 4th Grade dual language teacher and Stacey Smith, Library Media Specialist, shared how to structure units of study around culturally relevant literature, introducing nearly 200 books, tools, and resources. Learn about these tools and resources on their website, Culturally-Relevant Literature in the Elementary Classroom.


  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    SRH 1.310
    2300 Red River Street D0800
    Austin, Texas 78712