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Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez

Updated: Aug 26

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Picture Book Lesson Plan

GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES K+


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INTRODUCTION

This lesson is a guided reading experience designed to accompany Yamile Saied Méndez picture book Where Are You From? Lesson content was written by Paulina Hernandez Pena as part of her work in the Social Justice in K12 Education course at Portland State University and was designed to start or deepen anti-bias conversations in families and other learning communities.


YOUTUBE READ ALOUD

Where Are You From? read by Ms. King of Ms. King’s Read Alouds


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SUMMARY & PERSONAL CONNECTION

Growing up, I remember constantly being asked the question, “Where are you from?” It seems like a simple question with a simple answer. I come from an undocumented background, but I was brought to the United States as a child. My understanding of where I come from is where I settled -- in Oregon. But “Oregon” was never accepted as the correct answer as peers and the adults around me proceeded to ask me where I was really from.


The picturebook begins with a young girl constantly being interrogated by her peers and adults around her about where she is really from...even after she gives them answers. “Where are you from?” they ask. Tired of the constant questioning, she turns to her abuelo for answers as she realizes he also looks like he doesn’t belong. Abuelo tells her she comes from the pampas, the gaucho, mountains, blue oceans, hurricanes, and dark storms, and the girl learns more about her identity through the experience of her family member.


Where Are You From? is a great book to validate the experiences of young multiracial children who are often faced with this question. It can also be a great conversation starter about race and racial microaggressions. Although sometimes these questions can seem (or be) insensitive, children can begin exploring where they are from in order to feel comfortable in answering where they are from if they choose to.


OBJECTIVES

This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist teaching and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.


The Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.


TEACHING TOLERANCE STANDARDS REFERENCED IN THIS LESSON

The Teaching Tolerance Standards and Domains referenced in this lesson are for Grades K-2. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages. Domains featured in this lesson are as follows:


Identity

Domain #7

I can describe some ways that I am similar to and different from people who share my identities and those who have other identities.


Diversity

Domain #8

I want to know about other people and how our lives and experiences are the same and different.


READ + DISCUSS QUESTIONS

  • What causes the color of our skin? ¿Qué causa el color de nuestra piel? IDENTITY DOMAIN #7

  • Who are your ancestors? Did they come from somewhere hot or cold? Look on a map! ¿Quiénes son tus antepasados? ¿Vinieron de un lugar caliente o frío? ¡Busca en un mapa! IDENTITY DOMAIN #7

  • If people look different from us, can they still be similar? What are some ways people who look different can be similar? Si las personas se ven diferentes a nosotros, ¿pueden seguir siendo similares? ¿De qué maneras las personas que se ven diferentes pueden ser similares? DIVERSITY DOMAIN #8

  • What causes the color of our skin? ¿Qué causa el color de nuestra piel? IDENTITY DOMAIN #7


ACTIVITIES & RESOURCES

This book is just a start! Use it as a basis to begin talking about the ways in which people are treated differently based on the color of their skin. Social Justice Books has great recommendations. Social Justice Books also has a review of this book and some activity suggestions


¡Este libro es solo un comienzo! Úselo como base para comenzar a hablar sobre las formas en que las personas reciben un trato diferente según el color de su piel. Social Justice Books (sito en Inglés) tiene recomendaciones excelentes. Social Justice Books también tiene una reseña del libro y unos sugerencias para actividades.


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