Where are You From?

I get this question a lot. Most of the time I enjoy the conversation but sometimes it makes me feel like “other.” I love talking about my heritage and it’s important that those conversations inspire a sense of belonging. After a girl is asked, “Where are from, from? No where are you REALLY from?” She turns to her Abuelo who shares with his granddaughter their diverse cultural ancestry and how the people she loves contribute to who she is today. Great book to explore identity and building respectful communities.

Social Justice Activities:

  1. This is an excellent opportunity for students to learn from their family members about their ancestors and histories. Have students interview family members using FlipGrid and sharing with classmates.

  2. Explore our own histories with time and place by creating an, "I Am From" poem (example lesson plan).

  3. Encourage students to connect with elders in the community. It can be a family member, trusted neighbor, or community member. As a class, generate a list of ideas about what you can talk about with someone who is an elder.

Relevant Social Justice Standards:

Identity 2: Students will develop language and historical and cultural knowledge that affirm and accurately describe their membership in multiple identity groups.

Identity 3: Students will recognize that people’s multiple identities interact and create unique and complex individuals

Identity 4: Students will express pride, confidence and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of other people.

Diversity 8: Students will respectfully express curiosity about the history and lived experiences of others and will exchange ideas and beliefs in an open-minded way.

Diversity 9: Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection.

Reading Strategies:

Comparing Characters: Compare the main character and her abuelo and their roles in the story. Highlight the ways our elders can foster social emotional wellness through their guidance.

Emergent Reader Strategies: "Zooming into to details" in the illustrations and the words. Make sure to highlight the detail of the person's face in the mountains and the metaphor for enslavement.

Book Details:
  • Fiction, All Ages
  • Perspectives: Latinx, Hispanic
  • Author's stated heritage: Argentina
  • Subject Integration: Art, Geography

Questions for families to discuss:

  1. Has someone asked you where you are from? How did you respond? How did it make you feel?

  2. Sometimes "Where are you from?' is a welcomed question from a friend. Sometimes it makes us feel funny, like people think we don't belong. How can we be careful to ask questions about people's lives in a respectful way?

  3. What strengths have you developed as a result of your connection to certain places? (Maybe you enjoy spicy foods from the country your grandmother grew up in. Maybe you have developed an appreciation for diversity because the school you attend has children from many different backgrounds, etc.)

  4. When the main character asks for help from her abuelo, she gets much more than an answer. Can you think of elders in your life who you learn a lot from? What have you learned from them?

Learn more about the Author

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain