Drs. Carla Espana and Luz Yadira Herrera's schooling and teaching journey reveal the power of educators to create either liberating or dehumanizing spaces and experiences for bilingual Latinx students.
En Comunidad brings bilingual Latinx students' perspectives to the center of our classrooms. Its culturally and linguistically sustaining lessons begin with a study of language practices in students' lives and texts, helping both children and teachers think about their ideas on language. These lessons then lay out a path for students' and families' storytelling, a critical analysis of historical narratives impacting current realities, ways to develop a social justice stance, and the use of poetry in sustaining the community.
As the largest group of bilinguals in the U.S., bilingual Latinx students need teachers to not just welcome them into their classrooms, but also to advocate with and for them, for their languages, and for their lives. En Comunidad offers classroom-ready lessons that amplify the varied stories and identities of Latinx children.
Each sequence of lessons follows a critical bilingual literacies framework for any educator teaching bilingual Latinx children and:
- focuses on issues of language, literacies, and power
- recommends carefully-curated texts and multimodal resources featuring Latinx voices
- centers a translanguaging pedagogy that honors bilingual Latinx students' language practices.
"In this book, Espana and Herrera treat seriously the idea that the cultural and linguistic practices of Latinx children are legitimate and should be made central to their educational experiences. It is a must-read for all educators who work with Latinx students."
-Nelson Flores, Ph.D., Penn Graduate School of Education
Carla Espana, Ph.D. is a middle-grade language arts teacher, literacy consultant, researcher, author, and co-founder of the En Comunidad Collective. Her love of stories and teaching comes from her roots in Chile and has been nurtured by hundreds of teachers and students across schools in New York City and beyond. She has a BS in communication studies from New York University, an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, an MA in childhood education with a bilingual extension from Hunter College (City University of New York), and a Ph.D. in urban education from the Graduate Center (City University of New York). Dr. Espana's teaching journey began in Harlem, New York with bilingual sixth graders and continues in her role as a middle grade language arts teacher and dean. Her teaching, research, coaching, and writing live at the intersection of critical literacies, children's literature, and bilingual education. Dr. Espana is co-author of En Comunidad: Lessons for Centering the Voices and Experiences of Bilingual Latinx Students with Dr. Luz Yadira Herrera. Find her on Twitter @ProfesoraEspana. Luz Yadira Herrera, Ph.D. is a teacher, researcher, author, and co-founder of the En Comunidad Collective. Dr. Herrera has over sixteen years of experience in the education of emergent bilinguals in both mainstream and bilingual settings. She started her teaching career in New York City public schools, teaching emergent bilinguals in K-6 in Harlem. In addition, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the City College of New York, Long Island University, and Brooklyn College. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education in the School of Education at California State University, Channel Islands. Dr. Herrera's teaching and research are in culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy, translanguaging, critical pedagogies, and bilingual education policy. She is the co-author of En Comunidad: Lessons for Centering the Voices and Experiences of Bilingual Latinx Students with Dr. Carla Espana. Find her on Twitter @Dra_LuzYadira.