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.

Upcoming Workshops

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

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

Benson Latin American Collection, 2nd Floor Conference Room
The University of Texas at Austin
2300 Red River Street, Austin, TX 78712 (view map)

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.

Join LLILAS Benson for this half-day workshop to learn about Afro-Latino history and culture and how to integrate Afro-Latinos in your teaching. The workshop will be 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.

Attendees will receive:

  • Five professional development hours (CPE)
  • A dual-language curriculum unit and other resources to teach about Afro-Latino culture and history
  • One free children’s literature book
  • Lunch, refreshments, and validated parking

Free and open to K–12 educators. Space is limited and participants chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. RSVP required at afro-latinos.eventbrite.com.

For more information, please contact Lindsey Engelman at 512.232.2404.


Past Workshops

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

Join us we consider some of the experiences and challenges that 1.5 and 2nd generation Mayas face in the United States. We will start 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 will address the assets and strengths that Maya youth have and suggestions for being an anti-racist educator and ally.  The workshop will conclude by working with educators to develop lesson plans and activities to integrate this resource in their classroom.

Attendees will receive:

  • 4 professional development hours (CPE)
  • 1 free children’s literature book and other resources to teach about indigenous peoples, migration, and culturally relevant materials
  • Refreshments & validated parking

Designed for teachers of grades 3–5, but educators of any grade level are welcome to attend. Limited space available. Space is limited and chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please contact Lindsey Engelman at 512.232.2404.


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