Inspirations: What can we learn from Carmen Lomas Garza?
- As readers, we can learn a lot about details in pictures can help tell stories. Look at a piece of art by Carmen Lomas Garza in one of her books that you have not read about yet. Read the picture closely and see what you notice. What stories can you tell about the people in the picture? Then read what Carmen Lomas Garza wrote and see if she tells about what you noticed.
- As readers, it's almost important to understand that there are lots of languages in the world that people use to communicate and tell their stories. Even if you don't know Spanish, look at the Spanish writing in Carmen Lomas Garza's books and see what you notice about the Spanish letters, words, and sentences. Can you use what you already know and the English words above to figure out any Spanish words? What is similar and different about Spanish and English?
- As writers and illustrators, we can learn that we can tell stories with our words and pictures just like Carmen Lomas Garza. Her books all started first as pictures and then she decided to the tell the stories with words later. Think of an event or place or memory that is special for you and your family, friends, or community. Create a picture of that idea with pictures and/or words.
- As a writer, you can also use Carmen Lomas Garza's artwork as your inspiration. Think about another story you can tell from closely reading the picture. There are often many details in the pictures that Carmen Lomas Garza does not write about--you can tell that story. You can also think about who is not shown in her artwork and tell their story. (Example: In "Birthday Barbecue" from In My Family/En Mi Familia--Who might not be there? Who is inside the house? What are they doing?)
Investigations: After learning about Carmen Lomas Garza, what do we want to learn more about?
- In school in the 1950 and 60s, Carmen Lomas Garza faced a lot of discrimination and was treated unfairly because she was Mexican-American. Do you think Kingsville, Texas was the only place this happened or did it happen in other parts of the country? What else was happening in America during this time period? How do you think the way she was treated is similar or different to the way Mexican-American and other bilingual children are treated in school today?
- Carmen Lomas Garza was a part of the Chicano Movement that fought for Civil Rights for Mexican-Americans. Do you think this movement was needed? Why? Carmen participated in a big way through her artwork. What are other ways that people contributed to the movement? What was accomplished in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement? Do you think this movement is over or is it still happening?
- We also learned that Carmen Lomas Garza used her art as a way to show her pride in her heritage and culture. Can you find other artists who use their art to show pride in a particular culture or to help fight for civil rights?