Author Feature-Bettina Restrepo



Spirit of Texas Reading Program-High School

Featured Author

Bettina Restrepo 

Bettina Restrepo

Illegal

Bettina Restrepo received a BS from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of a picture book, Moose and Magpie. She worked as an internal auditor in the Hispanic supermarket Fiesta Mart, which is portrayed in this book. There she examined firsthand the challenges in the nuances of life for illegal immigrants. Bettina lives with her family in Frisco, Texas, and is the daughter of Colombian and German immigrants.

 


 

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Book Quiz/Discussion Questions

Printable Copy

  1. Nora's school in Mexico closes. She says, "The school closed, killing my hopes that an education might be a way of fixing everything." Nora does not attend school for most of the novel, but she still receives an education of sorts. Talk about Nora's education both in and out of school.
  2. The scene in Mexico is dry, dusty, parched and hot. In the United States a good part of the story is centered around a swimming pool. Do you think this difference was intentional? How do these settings affect the tone and mood of the story?
  3. Coyote is a slang term for someone that smuggles illegal immigrants into the United States for a fee. How do you think the term coyote came to have this meaning? What qualities of the animal might compare to those of the smuggler?
  4. The first 10 chapter titles are in Spanish. The remaining chapter titles are in English after that. Why do you think the author made this choice?
  5. Nora often hears a voice that she believes is telling her what she should do. Where do you think this voice is coming from? Is it the same voice throughout the story?
  6. Describe Nora's relationship with God at different points in the story.
  7. During the trip to America, Nora looks for a rose from Saint Guadalupe. She dreams about a rose just before being released from the truck. The blood stain on her blouse forms a rose. What does the rose symbolize to Nora?
  8. Nora's dad Arturo and Tessa are characters that aren't actually present through most of the novel and yet they have a profound effect on the characters that are present. What role do they play in the novel? In what ways are they similar?
  9. A Quinceañera is supposed to symbolize a young girl's transition into womanhood. Nora is unable to celebrate hers because of all that is going on in her life. At the end of the story, Nora celebrates her 16th birthday which is also considered a coming of age moment. Do you consider Nora a woman? If so, why? If so, at what point in the story did she become a woman?
  10. What purpose do you think Mr. Mann serves in the story?
  11. Arturo's death is discovered on Nora's birthday. Why do you think the author chose to do this?

See More Discussion Questions from author's website: http://bettinarestrepo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Chapter-questions-teacher.pdf


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Academic Programs

Printable Copy of Program

Supplemental Documents

Chapter list/Character Assignment Chart

Activity 1-Journaling from Different Characters' Points of View

Introduction

Journals and diaries represent a person's deepest personal thoughts. Retell the story of Illegal by journaling from different characters' points of view.

TEKS

  • English I, II, III and IV (b) 5

Books to Display

  • Elena Vanishing by Elena and Clare Dunkle
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  • Sisters/Hermanas by Gary Paulsen
  • When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir by Esmeralda Santiago

Supply List

Characters and Chapter Assignments--47 chapters Total plus prologue and epilogue

Prologue and Chapter 1 Papa
Chapter 2, 3 Grandma
Chapter 4 Hector
Chapter 5, 6, 7 Mama
Chapter 8 Grandma
Chapter 9, 10, 11 Mama
Chapter 12, 13, 14, 15 Nora
Chapter 16, 17 Mama
Chapter 18 Nora
Chapter 19 Manuela
Chapter 20, 21 Jorge
Chapter 22, 23 Keisha
Chapter 24, 25, 26  Flora
Chapter 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 Nora
Chapter 32,33  Mama
Chapter 34 Jorge
Chapter 35, 36 Manuela
Chapter 37, 38, 39, 40 Nora
Chapter 41, 42, 43  Grandma
Chapter 44, 45, 46, 47, Epilogue  Nora


Description of Activity

To create anticipation, the teacher reads a chapter from a notable journal or models by reading a chapter from their own journal (being sure to select a passage that is not too personal). Discuss with students the kinds of things that people include in their journals. Teachers and students discuss all the different characters in the story and create a list of their names. Discuss their personalities and what makes them each unique. Have students create a journal entry for each chapter according to the supplied chart. Encourage creativity. An entry might simply be text or it might include a sketch or a doodle. It can be any length but should reflect the feeling of the chapter. Students could tape items in to the journal such as photos or maps or ads from newspapers. Encourage students to make artistic and creative decisions about the outside of the journal as well. Allow students to share their journal with their peers. Students may need to explain some of the choices they have made if they are not obvious to their audience.

Resources

Activity 2-Using Aurasma to Learn the Vocabulary of Illegal

Introduction

Because Nora is from Mexico, many Spanish words find their way into the story and add to its depth and cultural richness. Use an augmented reality app such as Aurasma to learn the Spanish words in Illegal.

TEKS

  • English I, II, III and IV (b) 1

Books to Display

  • English to Spanish dictionaries
  • Spanish to English dictionaries

Supply List

  • List of Spanish words found in Illegal (see book glossary)
  • Computers/iPads/smart phones
  • App such as Aurasma
  • Posterboard/Markers/Paint

Description

Learning another language can be a challenge. Using an app such as Aurasma is helpful in reaching and teaching different kinds of learners: Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, and Linguistic. Doing this activity prior to reading the novel will create some anticipation of things to come. It can be referred to during the reading of the novel, and can easily be reviewed at the end of the novel.

First, students will create a sign or poster with a featured Spanish word (teacher may assign as many words per student or group as desired). This is called a trigger image. Then students will videotape themselves or classmates clearly pronouncing the word, defining the word and possibly holding up visual aids that represent the word. Creativity should be encouraged. After the first two steps, the students will use Aurasma to connect their trigger images to their videos. The teacher will establish an Aurasma channel. Trigger images can be mounted on the wall or on desktops. Finally, allow the students to take their phones or other devices and do a gallery stroll of the images/videos they have created. Allow for some space between signs/posters so that the audio from nearby signs/posters are not disruptive. The signs can be left up for the duration of the book study and easily referred to whenever one of the words is encountered.

Resources

Activity 3-Immigration Journey with Google Tour Builder

Introduction

Create your own immigration story with Google Tour Builder. Choose your country of origin and make your way to Texas with pictures and text through the Google website. Using this media tool, you can show the places you visited along your journey and tell of your experiences.

TEKS

  • English I 12a, 21. 23
  • English II 12a, 21, 23
  • English III 12a, 21, 23c
  • English IV 12a, 21, 23c

Books to Display

  • My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson
  • The Good Braider by Terry Farish
  • The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
  • Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs
  • Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne and James Houston
  • Life After by Sarah Darer Littman
  • Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  • A Step from Heaven by An Na
  • Good Enough by Paula Yoo

Supply List

  • Desktop or laptop computer - You can view the Tour on a mobile device, but need a desktop or laptop to create the Tour.
  • Free google account or account on the website: https://tourbuilder.withgoogle.com

Description

Tour Builder is a way to show people the places you traveled and the experiences you had along the way using Google Earth. Tour Builder allows the student to pick locations right on the map, add in photos, text, and video, and then share the Tour with others.

Begin by directing students to the website https://tourbuilder.withgoogle.com. If the student has a Google account, they sign in to it. Or, the students can create an account. By using their own Google account, the website will save their work and provide a link the students can use to share or present their Tour.

After signing in, the students click Create a Tour and follow these steps:

Give the tour a name that reflects the immigration journey the student wishes to create. (My Journey from Mexico to Texas, My Journey from Algeria to California, etc.)

The student is the author and the Tour is private until the setting is changed to share it with others.

Add an introductory picture to the tour by searching the place from where you are immigrating (Mexico, Bosnia, etc.) Click Add a Photo. Search for Images and make sure the image you select is labeled for re-use. After you select, add your picture.

Give your Tour a summary description, such as "This is the story of my immigration journey from Mexico City to Houston, Texas."

Now, Click Add a Location - you can add a location in two ways:

Zoom in on the Earth and drop a placemark.

Type a location in the search box

After you find a location - click Add to Tour

Add dates - you want a chronological timeline of your immigration journey.

You can link your text for each location to websites related to the location.

You can add up to 25 images or videos to each of your placemarks.

Each location you add appears as a "slide" in your Google Tour.

Depending on the device you use to build the Tour, you can take a picture, record a video, upload a YouTube video, or search the web for images related to each location on your journey.

Add at least five location with images to your immigration journey with captions for each picture to explain your trip.

You can always change the color or shape of the icon for your locations.

Under Advanced Options, you can turn on Historical Imagery if your journey happened during an historical event like a war or natural disaster.

When you are finished editing your Tour - click Done Editing.

You can share with a link, or an email. It is easy to present your Tour from the website or a mobile device.

Resources

 

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Active Programs

Printable Copy of Program

Activity 1-Citizenship Preparation Class and Citizenship Information Corner

Introduction

Prepare for Citizenship by attending free Citizenship classes at the library. Classes meet 4-6 hours per week for 11 weeks. There is a volunteer-led study group to discuss topics covered in the citizenship exam.

Books to Display

  • The Declaration of Independence by David and Patricia Armentrout
  • U.S. Constitution for Dummies by Michael Arnheim
  • Lupita Manaña by Patricia Beatty
  • Journey of the Sparrows by Fran Leeper Buss
  • Becoming a U.S. Citizen: A Guide to the Law, Exam, and Interview by Ilona Bray
  • The Constitution by Paul Finkelman
  • A Step from Heaven by An Na
  • Becoming a U.S. Citizen: Understanding the Naturalization Process by Lauren Starkey
  • Miscellaneous American Government books

Supply List

  • Citizenship books, audio CDs, and DVDs in English and other languages to help those preparing for citizenship tests.
  • 100 Civics Questions and Answers available in the following languages from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website: Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese - print out a copy of these questions in the various languages to inform library patrons of federal government free citizenship resources.

Description

Are you ready to become a U.S. Citizen? The library has a collection of available books, audio CDs and DVDs in English and other languages to help those studying for their citizenship test. There is also a free citizenship class to help people prepare for the civics exam.

Resources

Activity 2-Immigration Film Festival

Introduction

Visit the library to view award-winning documentaries and other films about immigration. Watch and learn from movies that put a face on immigration.

Books to Display

  • The selected films will be displayed instead of books.

Supply List

  • Screen
  • Projector
  • Advertisement for show times

Films to be shown:

  • An American Rhapsody - A PG-13 2001 movie about a young Hungarian girl who struggles to find her place in the world when she's reunited with her parents in the USA years after she was left behind during their flight from the communist country in the 1950s.
  • A Better Life - PG-13 film from 2011. A gardener in East L.A. struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had.
  • Brick Lane - A young Bangladeshi woman, Nazneen, arrives in 1980s London, leaving behind her beloved sister and home - for an arranged marriage and a new life.
  • The Immigrant - A 1917 short film with Charlie Chaplin! For comic relief - Charlie Chaplin is an immigrant who endures a challenging journey and gets into trouble as soon as he arrives in America.
  • The Other Side of Immigration - A documentary about Mexican immigration by Roy Germano, Ph.D. The Other Side of Immigration is based on 700 interviews in Mexican towns where about half the population has left to work in the United States. This award-winning film asks why so many Mexicans come to the U.S. and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind. This film challenges viewers to imagine more creative binational solutions to the immigration issue.

Description

Patrons will be able to look at the challenges that immigrants face through a selection of films that cover different time periods and different nationalities. After the film, patrons can discuss the movies and talk about issues related to immigration. At the end of the film, the library staff can direct patrons to available citizenship resources.

Resources

Activity 3- Mapping the Diversity Around You

Introduction

American communities are melting pots of citizens from all around the globe. This activity allows patrons to visualize the diversity of their community.

Books to Display

  • Country books

Supply List

  • World Map
  • Push Pins
  • Signs advertising your survey with a Google doc address Or Slips of paper with questions and writing utensils and box to drop answers in

Description

Post a map of the world. Create a Google doc survey that asks patrons what country they immigrated from and what year (or use slips of paper deposited in a box). Post a sign next to the map that says something similar to, "Smith Library Celebrates Diversity." Each time a new person answers the survey, add a pushpin to the map showing their country of origin. Additionally, invite patrons to write a paragraph or two that tells their immigration story. Supply paper and writing utensils or computers and printers. Post these stories near the map. Dedicate a showcase to items that represent patrons and their immigration experience. Invite patrons to loan items from their home country for display.

Resources

 

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Passive Programs

Printable Copy of Program

Activity 1- Display of Young Adult Books About Immigration

Introduction

There are a growing number of students in Texas that speak a language other than English. Many of these students are immigrants or the children of immigrants. This display will try to reflect some of these students' common experiences of trying to integrate into the American culture and help other students gain a broader perspective on the immigrant experience.

Books to Display(Ten Young Adult Books that Reflect the Immigration Experience)

  • Becoming a U.S. Citizen: A Guide to the Law, Exam & Interview by Ilona Bray
  • My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson
  • The Good Braider  by Terry Farish
  • The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
  • Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs
  • Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne and James Houston
  • Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman
  • Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  • A Step from Heaven by An Na
  • Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
  • Good Enough by Paula Yoo

Supply List

In addition to the books on display - each book will have the following posted information (on a notecard or small poster) explaining the common immigrant issue addressed in the story.

  • Crossing the Wire - Danger, hope, and disappointment during the immigrant journey.
  • Farewell to Manzanar - Linguistic and cultural disconnect from the country of birth.
  • The Good Braider - Violence and hardship experienced before coming to the U.S.
  • Good Enough - Immigrant parents have extremely high expectations for their children.
  • Illegal - Family separation when a parent goes ahead to the U.S. to find a job before family joins them in the new country.
  • Life, After - Change in economic security in a new country. Learning to live with poverty.
  • My Name is Not Easy -Cultural and language barriers in our own country.
  • The Red Umbrella - Family separation and the acceptance of new opportunities for happiness.
  • A Step from Heaven - Family stress when a parent does not cope well with a new country.
  • Under the Mesquite - Sickness and the lack of health care in an immigrant family.

Add in some bilingual or multilingual books to heighten awareness of the variety of languages spoken in our country - especially classic books that are available in languages other than English.

Description

There are many books for young adults about immigration that address common issues and challenges families face as they try to integrate into American culture. The books in this display reflect various realities that immigrant students may face as well as serving to broaden other students' perspectives about the immigrant experience.

Resources

Activity 2-Becoming an American Citizen

Introduction

In order to become a U.S. Citizen, immigrants must pass the Naturalization Test. American citizenship bestows the right to vote, improves the likelihood of family members living in other countries to come and live in the U.S., gives eligibility for federal jobs, and can be a way to demonstrate loyalty to the U.S.

Books to Display

Display American government books that could be used to prepare for the citizenship test such as books on: The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Founding Fathers, etc. Examples include:

  • The Declaration of Independence by David and Patricia Armentrout
  • U.S. Constitution for Dummies by Michael Arnheim
  • Becoming a U.S. Citizen: A Guide to the Law, Exam & Interview by Ilona Bray
  • The Constitution by Paul Finkelman
  • Becoming a U.S. Citizen: Understanding the Naturalization Process by Lauren Starkey

Supply List

  • Flashcards to practice citizenship questions
  • Example applications

Description

This display will challenge library visitors to explore whether or not they could personally pass a U.S. citizenship test. Applicants for American citizenship must get 6 answers out of 10 on an oral exam to pass the test. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services, 92 percent of applicants pass this test. The display should contain copies of a simplified citizenship test for patrons to take. An answer key should be handy so that they can grade themselves.

Resources

 

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Resources

Academic Program

Chapter list/Character Assignment Chart

Active Program

Annotated Bibliography

Book Quiz

Passive Program 

Read-A-Likes 


If you have questions or comments for the Young Adult Round Table, contact yart.historian+webmaster@gmail.com 

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Created on Apr 7, 2016 | Last updated April 13, 2016