Immigrant Children Tap Into Creativity

Posted July 7, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

Studies have shown that creativity is higher on average for first and second-generation immigrants and for bilinguals than for others.  Experts think that these groups share the ability to adapt and to be flexible.

WITS has designed numerous projects to tap into the creativity of first and second-generation immigrants and bilinguals, including the very popular Song of Houston Project with the Houston Grand Opera.  During 2010-11 school year, WITS worked with children of immigrants at Kaleidoscope Middle School where the youth made films based on Sandra Cisneros stories.  At Collins Elementary School, Catholic Charities sponsored a WITS project with children of immigrants that took place after school and was designed to improve literacy and language skills through creative writing.   As part of that project, Travelers Insurance did a book drive, and each participating child received a dozen books.

See the film made by Kaleidoscope 7th graders here.

Read about our project with Catholic Charities in the article, “The Joy of Self Expression”, published by the Midtown Paper here.

If you work with first or second-generation immigrants in Houston and you would like to nurture creativity, give WITS a call at 713-523-3877.

by Marcia Chamberlain, Writers in the Schools

Sanda Cisneros to Read in Houston 4/1/09

Posted March 31, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

Copyright 2002 Associated Press / Eric Gay

Copyright 2002 Associated Press / Eric Gay

This Wednesday, April 1, Sandra Cisneros will be reading from The House on Mango Street, which (like WITS) celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The reading will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Shell Auditorium, located in McNair Hall at Rice University, followed by a book signing at Rice’s Student Center. WITS writers have found The House on Mango Street an excellent resource from which to build writing activities, especially for young Hispanic students.It continues to be one of the most popular books in our library.

Sandra Cisneros is an American novelist, short-story writer, essayist and poet. She is one of the first Latino writers to achieve commercial success. Cisneros received her Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University in 1976 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1978. Currently, she is Writer-in-Residence at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. In addition to writing, Cisneros is the president and founder of the Macondo Foundation, an association focused on advancing creativity and honoring the community of writers who are socially engaged. Cisneros also did a Public Service Announcement for WITS as part of the I Wish I’d Written That series. Visit our website to hear her read a poem by a WITS student.

house-on-mango-street-25th-ed25 years ago Sandra Cisnero’s novel A House on Mango Street helped change the cultural landscape of America by providing a voice for a demographic that would soon become one of the largest segments of American society. Told in a series of stunning vignettes, The House on Mango Street is a coming-of-age classic about a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. The novel, first published in 1984, won the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award in 1985, and has become required reading in middle schools, high schools, and universities across the country. It has sold over two million copies since its initial publication and is still selling strongly. 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of The House on Mango Street in the United States, and Cisneros will be traveling to 20 cities to celebrate with her readers.

What: Sandra Cisneros reading and book signing
Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Rice University
Shell Auditorium, McNair Hall
Cost: Free admission!

This event, presented by Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, is funded by The Texas Commission on the Arts and The City of Houston, through the Houston Arts Alliance. Partners include KPFT 90.1 FM, Rice University, ALAS-HCC, Inprint, Univisión Television, NHPO, and Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

The Weight of Addition Represents

Posted January 17, 2008 & filed under Notebook.

Mutabilis Press published a new anthology of Texas poets in December. The book, The Weight of Addition, features WITS alum such as:

Alan Ainsworth
Jericho Brown
Sarah Cortez
Carol Denson
Jennifer Grotz
Kate Schmitt
Randall Watson

and friends of WITS, including

Sandra Cisneros
Grady Hillman
Edward Hirsch.

A group of poets will be reading from the book on Saturday, January 19, 7 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in The Woodlands. The event is free and open to the public. Congrats to the editor, Randall Watson, and the publisher, Carolyn Florek.