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Pépe's Journey to the United States: El Viaje De Pepe A Los Estados Unidos

School: Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences

City/State: Santa Fe, NM

Grade(s): 7

Format(s): Bilingual, Book, Children's book

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual Arts, World Language

Project Overview

A seventh grade student at the Santa Fe School for the Arts and Sciences in Santa Fe, New Mexico created this bilingual picture book as a final product of a yearlong “Roots & Wings” immigration expedition. This expedition asked the following compelling questions: “Why do people want to move to America?” and “What is the Immigrant Experience?” Students studied peak immigration times through history and explored reasons why large numbers of people emigrated from their homelands. Each student was paired with a special guest expert who immigrated to the US.

As one part of this expedition, students studied about the plight of young immigrants in the United States and decided to write books about immigration that would be inspiring and helpful to young immigrants. Each student chose to write a story based on the factual events of someone they knew, or an original story steeped in historical accuracy. Many of the students chose to have their characters portrayed as animals so that young children would be especially drawn to the stories and find them more comforting than images of people. The student work featured here is an original story based on true stories heard during the expedition.

After several drafts, the student laid out the story onto blank pages and considered what illustrations she would use for each page. The process of illustration also took quite a few drafts. She translated the book into Spanish with the help of peers and her Spanish teacher. The final product is a twenty-four page illustrated children’s book.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Written and illustrated entirely by one student which allows for individual student assessment
  • Provides a model for a bilingual book
  • Shows how illustrations can support and enhance text
  • Demonstrates the power of simple writing for a younger audience
  • Explores a topic that touches on difficult issues

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can write narrative texts about real or imagined experiences using relevant details and event sequences that make sense.
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose and audience.
  • I can generate additional questions for further research.
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