TEACHERS ARE SAYING...
A collection of comments from teachers about "Dreams and Nightmares"
LEA GOONERTATNE, M.A., M.S.ED
Attending Liliana's book signing was an unforgettable experience for me. It is one thing to read about the harrowing experiences children and young adults go through when making their journey from Central American nations to the U.S., but to meet and listen to a young woman who lives among us and has gone through this was particularly poignant.
I have started spreading the word about Liliana and her book among teachers at the high school where I teach. I am also in the process of setting up a meeting with one of our assistant principals in order to share her story. I agree with you that Liliana's story is an important one for us to hear, and my hope is that our students will get to read her book and meet Liliana during the 2017-2018 school year.
SARA NIMOY, SPANISH TEACHER, LOWER MERION HIGH SCHOOL
"I believe that each human has a job to do in the world, for every experience, and Liliana’s is to give voice to all the anonymous children that cross the borders every day."
AJA Y. MARTINEZ, PHD, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
DEPARTMENT OF WRITING STUDIES, RHETORIC, AND COMPOSITION, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY
As a fierce advocate for story as research, and lived experience as data, I cannot stress enough the great importance of bearing witness to stories like Liliana’s. Too often the mainstream narratives of immigration—saturated with race, class, and gender informed prejudices—prevent US audiences from seeing the humanity and the very real lived precarious circumstances that would prompt a child to make a life threatening and life changing decision to travel as an unaccompanied minor into the north. Stories like Liliana’s counter these inhumane narratives that would cast migrants and refugees as “drug dealers and rapists,” and instead offers US audiences a perspective infused with the genuine human experience involved in migration—a perspective sorely in need during these perilous times.
NANCY L COMMINS, PH.D.,CLINICAL PROFESSOR - CULTURALLY & LINGUISTICALLY DIVERSE EDUCATION
SCHOOL OF EDUCATION & HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO DENVER.
Dreams and Nightmares / Sueños y Pesadillas is a story of horror and of hope, perils and persistence, injustice and inspiration. It should be shared far and wide, particularly with the tens of thousands of teachers across the country who work every day with students who have fled their homes in search of safety and freedom. Though their circumstances and journeys may differ in detail, be more or less fraught with danger, these unaccompanied minors have all felt a desperation great enough to risk leaving home, family and familiar surroundings to come to this country with no guarantee of arrival or welcome. I am humbled by Liliana’s grace, strength and unyielding desire for dignity and a better life. We should all be grateful for the very real face she puts on the realities of migration around the world.
KELLY VIRGIN, TEACHER, KENNETT SQUARE HIGH SCHOOL, PENNSYLVANIA
I've been teaching in a high school with a large immigrant population for the past 12 years, and am very excited to be able share Dreams and Nightmares / Sueños y Pesadillas with my students. Liliana's harrowing and brave experience brought me to tears. She adds an important voice to a too often silenced community. My students, both immigrant and non-, will benefit greatly from reading her encouraging tale. Whether they see a mirror or a window in her impoverished upbringing, her dangerous, two-thousand-mile journey across a country, and her uncertain start to a new life here in America, they are sure to be touched by her words and inspired by her bravery. Liliana proves how cathartic and empowering it is to tell your own story and to truly be heard in return.
Liliana's story provides middle and high school students an opportunity to explore the important theme of the place of new immigrants in our community. I strongly urge my fellow teachers to incorporate Sueños y Pesadillas / Dreams and Nightmares into their curriculum.
DEBORAH STONE, PH.D., PROFESSOR, THE HELLER SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL POLICY AND MANAGEMENT AT BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY
Liliana’s story is heart stopping—I’ve had to stop reading so many times to recover; somehow in her simple, straightforward language she makes you feel every blow like a punch in your own gut. One of my eternal puzzles is how a person like her comes to know or believe that she is worth something, equal to men, despite all the teachings to the contrary. I’ve been peripherally involved with women’s education projects in Afghanistan, and there, in every literacy class, every skill-building class, the hidden curriculum is “you are a human being, and you have rights to everything men have, and you can do something with your life besides serve and be servile.” But Liliana, from what I can tell, didn’t have any such explicit teaching. To the contrary. …It’s a miracle to me how some people seem to have inner personal strength that is just plain IN them, not inculcated from outside.
TALAR KALOUSTIAN, ESL TEACHER, COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF PHILADELPHA
I don't think I have ever read any book, big or small, from beginning to end in one sitting—but that’s what I did with Dreams and Nightmares / Sueños y Pesadillas. I will say that Mark Lyons’ introduction is what got me right into the book. I loved the story-telling style and was amazed by Liliana's honesty and her drive, how such a young woman could have this capacity for gratitude and wisdom, and how at the end of her book she recognizes that her destiny is away from her Guatemalan family and with her US family. I also live far from my family, who are in Lebanon and have suffered through civil wars, and I struggle with the fact that I am far from them. Seeing how a 14-year-old young woman is capable of understanding her situation is inspiring, a huge source of comfort for me. I am grateful to have read/witnessed her story.
I am sure my ESL students will be grateful as well. I definitely plan to use this book in my classroom.