Thursday, March 3, 2011

Parents, Clergy and Educators take note! "Listen to the Children" is the perfect intro book for you.

I heard great things about the book "Listen to the Children: Conversations with Immigrant Families" and so decided it was time to read it for myself.

First of all, the book is bilingual; one half in Spanish, the other in English! This is a great bonus making it possible to have discussion and share the resource bi-culturally. It's simply and directly written and is a great tool for adults who want to help kids prepare for:

  • a parent's absence
  • moving to a new country
  • a new school
The author, Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, provides illuminating examples of conversations and situations families might face. I felt guided through how to shift these conversations in ways that empower children and families to love and respect one another. She sees the whole community (faith communities, teachers, extended family, and friends) as key to children's health. I also really appreciated her tips on talking with kids in an age appropriate way.

While the book was written to highlight children's issues, it also helped me keep in mind all of the challenges, strengths, hopes and dream immigrant parents carry with them. "Listen to the Children" provides tips for parents on how to get what they need from schools and faith communities as well. It encourages them to reach out to the larger community for advice, and to share their experiences with other immigrant families.

Conde-Frazier demonstrates how biblical stories can be a source of strength for children whose family's status is precarious. She touches on the capacity of the faith community to support families in the wake of enforcement actions and the importance of a safe and open place for families and children. Most of all I appreciated her treatment of the issues that impact immigrant families regardless of status; identity, education, justice, dignity.

I look forward to more from Conde-Frazier and hope that she can give us a more in-depth treatment of each of the areas she covered in this intro book, providing us with more culturally sensitive bilingual tools on parenting, integration and respect.

The book is in our library of resources now at AFSC, so please stop by to check it out!