The Journeys of my Life / Viajes de mi Vida project was a joint initiative between Loudoun County Public Library and Loudoun County Public Schools. It was developed as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)/ALA grant Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, awarded to Loudoun County Public Library (the only awardee of the grant in the state of Virginia). The project also fulfilled the purpose of Loudoun County Public Schools’ One to the World initiative, which encourages students to address a problem, create a product and connect with the world.
Seventy students at Park View High School (PVHS), working with award-winning Latino artist John Parra, met for two full days to produce original stories and illustrations to be made into bilingual picture books. PVHS is located in Sterling, Va., an area of Loudoun County where 52 percent of the population are recent immigrants with little or no English language skills.
The Park View students developed stories describing their personal journeys, important Latino role models and historical events that support Latino history and culture. These books were presented by the students to the Honorable Francisco Altschul, ambassador of El Salvador to the United States, who would later deliver them to the Biblioteca Luz Children’s Library in El Salvador. The student authors and illustrators read their books during story times at the public library branches and the preschool at PVHS, and copies of the books are available to borrow at both locations. The spring 2016 edition of “Motivos” magazine, a young adult bilingual publication, will feature the Journeys of my Life / Viajes de mi Vida project.
A public library and a high school teamed up to help teens tell their stories in bilingual picture books.