Project co-director Krista Aronson, Ph.D. is Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Psychology at Bates College. As a humanistic social scientist, her work focuses on illuminating how people come to understand complex social constructs like race and ethnicity, including how children process and understand race as well as appropriate, effective and productive ways to discuss this topic with them; specifically, the effective use of picture books to enhance intercultural relationships and self-understanding during childhood. Her own identity as a biracial woman deeply informs her work. As her work is closely aligned with the humanities, Dr. Aronson oversees the Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies programs at Bates College as Associate Dean of the faculty. Dr. Aronson is co-founder and Director of the Diverse BookFinder, a comprehensive resource designed to aid in the discovery and exploration of multicultural children’s picture books. For the purposes of this seminar, she will be primarily responsible for engaging participants around how children see race, books as bridges, the landscape of multicultural children’s literature in the United States, and the Diverse BookFinder.
Project co-director Margaret Boyle, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and Director of Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx Studies at Bowdoin College. Boyle’s scholarly focus is on the literature and culture of early Hispanic world, with books including Unruly Women: Performance, Penitence and Punishment (2014) and co-edited collection with Sarah Owens, Health and Healing in the Early Modern Iberian World: A Gendered Perspective (2021). Since 2017, she has directed Multilingual Mainers, an elementary world languages and cultures program providing age-appropriate tools to combat xenophobia, racism and intolerance through engagement with languages other than English. She is part of the Maine Department of Education’s advisory council for world languages and cultures K-12. She will be responsible for curricular material on language acquisition, conversations around multilingualism and narrative, as well as object-based pedagogy as an active and experiential approach to learning.
K-12 specialist Yaritza Moreno, M.A. is a Spanish teacher at North Point High School (Waldorf, Maryland). Moreno has 16 years of experience teaching both Spanish and French across the age-range in diverse school settings in both Maryland and Georgia. She has a special interest in second language learning and accessibility, and will provide resources on how teachers can support students with learning differences.
Margy Burns Knight is a retired Maine elementary educator and Author in Residence for districts around the United States and abroad, assisting with Visual Thinking Strategy education and training. Author of five children’s picture books, she received a 1997 National Education Association Author-Illustrator Human & Civil Rights Award. She will lead the group in a half day session focused on Visual Thinking Strategies for aesthetic appreciation and literacy development.
Ilan Stavans, Ph.D. is the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities, Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His books include On Borrowed Words, Spanglish, Dictionary Days, The Disappearance, and A Critic’s Journey. He has edited The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, the three-volume set Isaac Bashevis Singer: Collected Stories, The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, among dozens of other volumes. He will join us as author and publisher from the children’s imprint Yonder, a nonprofit press devoted to championing essential voices from around the world whose stories speak to us across linguistic and cultural borders.
Raúl the Third creates work centered around the contemporary Mexican-American experience and his memories of growing up in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He is the two-time award winner of the prestigious Pura Belpré Award for Latino Writers, and author of Spanish-English picturebooks ¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge (2021) Vamos! Let’s Go Eat (2021) ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to The Market! (2020) as well as the 3- book series Lowriders (2014, 2016, 2018). In 2021, Versify Books (a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint led by Kwame Alexander) launched his new series for early readers The World of Vamos, led by his well-loved team of luchadores El Toro y La Oink Oink.
Barbara Fuchs, Ph.D. is Professor of Spanish and English at the University of California, Los Angeles and President for the Modern Languages Association. Her research interests include Mediterranean and transatlantic studies, transnationalism and literary history, race and religion in the early modern world, and translation. In 2014, she founded Diversifying the Classics, which promotes Hispanic classical theater through collaborative translations and performances. She will focus on theater and performance in relation to language and diversity during our workshop.
Kirsten Cappy is the executive-director of the non-profit I’m Your Neighbor Books, which uses the accessibility and artistry of children’s literature to: 1) Create community conversations on immigration; 2) Celebrate the lives of New Arrivals and New Americans; 3) Build a culture of Welcoming and Belonging. Kirsten Cappy has been a part of the book industry for more than 22 years, connecting publishers and educators through curriculum development.