APRIL 21ST, 2015

Américas Award Curriculum Explores Immigration through Literature and Art

While the Américas Award Review Committee meets this spring to discuss titles for recognition in 2015, one book honored last year continues to receive widespread interest: Duncan Tonatiuh’s Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2014). CLASP is pleased to announce that, as part of this continued interest, it has published an educator’s guide to accompany the book.

As the publisher describes, “In this allegorical picture book, a young rabbit named Pancho eagerly awaits his papa’s return. Papa Rabbit traveled north two years ago to find work in the great carrot and lettuce fields to earn money for his family. When Papa does not return, Pancho sets out to find him. He packs Papa’s favorite meal–mole, rice and beans, a heap of warm tortillas, and a jug of aguamiel–and heads north. He meets a coyote, who offers to help Pancho in exchange for some of Papa’s food. They travel together until the food is gone and the coyote decides he is still hungry . . . for Pancho! Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the hardship and struggles faced by thousands of families who seek to make better lives for themselves and their children by illegally crossing the border.”

In 2014, the CLASP Américas Award Review Committee awarded Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote an Honorable Mention. To encourage K-12 educators to use the book as a resource in the classroom, CLASP also sponsored the development of a comprehensive curriculum guide for K-12 educators. We are pleased to report that the guide is finally complete after a long process of collaborative input and revision. Thanks are due to Katrina Dillon, Ph.D. candidate in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico, for producing the document.

As Dillon writes, this is “one of those rare books that has value in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms…the book can be read on two levels, both as a fable and as an allegory. As a fable, it’s accessible to young readers, while as an allegory it’s appropriate for older readers who can analyze and discuss the multiple layers and the sociopolitical message of the tale.” The guide pulls together pre- and post-reading activities, interdisciplinary connections, and complementary resources — all designed to provide educators with adaptable tools for teaching about immigration through literature and art. In addition, with the gracious permission of author and illustrator Tonatiuh, the guide also includes high resolution copies of the book’s illustrations, which will enable the book to be shared easily with an entire classroom.

We invite you to learn more by reading the complete document: CLASP Educator’s Guide to Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote. Individuals interested in the topic of immigration through literature may also appreciate the Américas Award guide to Children and the Border, a list of recommended books for all ages on this theme.

The publication of this curriculum guide is only one part of the year-long programming and resources that CLASP facilitates to support and highlight the Américas Award. Each year award-winning titles are recognized through workshops, book group meetings, conference exhibits, presentations, and author visits to the classroom. To learn more about how to become involved, please contact the award co-coordinators: Denise Woltering-Vargas ( or Jamie Lee Marks (