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2008.03.13 > For Immediate Release
contact: Beverly Newsam - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2129 - e-mail: bnewsam@mail.unomaha.edu

Latina Scholars' Omaha Visit to Focus on Literacy

Omaha - Latina scholars and authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy - experts on bilingual families, story collection and bilingual literature - will visit five Omaha Public Schools and attend two community events in Omaha this April to promote literacy.  Activities are free and open to the public.

The duo's visit was organized and cosponsored by the Omaha Family Literacy Partnership (OFLP) - a nonprofit community service outreach program promoting family literacy housed in the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) College of Education - along with a grant from the Nebraska Humanities Council and in collaboration with the Omaha Public Library and Omaha Public Schools.

Ada, the founder of the Journal of the National Association for Bilingual Education, is a leading mentor and philosopher of bilingual education in the United States.  She received her Ph.D. in Spanish literature from the Pontifical Catholic University of Lima (Peru) and completed post-doctoral research at Harvard University as a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute and a Fulbright Research Scholar.

Born in Alicante (Spain), Campoy earned her degrees in philology from Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Reading University in England and the University of California at Los Angeles.  She has written numerous children's books on poetry, theatre, folktales, biographies and art. 

The schedule of events is listed below. The Bookworm will sell books by the authors at both community events for the autograph sessions.

Thursday, April 3
- Writing for Children from the Heart: Stories from Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy
(autograph session to follow the presentation)
4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
William H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center, on the UNO campus (6705 Dodge St.)

Saturday, April 5
- Nuestra Comunidad, Our Community: Stories of New Nebraskans with Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy
(autograph session to follow the presentation)
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Omaha Public Library - south branch (2302 M. St.) 

Ada and Campoy also will speak at selected schools throughout the week: Monday, March 31, at Gomez Heritage Elementary; Tuesday, April 1, at Spring Lake Elementary; Wednesday, April 2, at Indian Hill Elementary; Thursday, April 3, at Marrs Magnet Middle School; and Friday, April 4, at Castelar Elementary.

"At the foundation of the project is the belief that - by providing students and families with access to highly acclaimed authors of Latino literature - students and families will be inspired to write, or tell their stories, and share stories with others," said Susan McWilliams, assistant professor of teacher education at UNO.  "We believe the greater outcome of this project is found in enhancing cross-cultural dialogue and understanding in the Omaha community."

McWilliams spearheaded the project with colleagues Gigi Brignoni, assistant professor of teacher education at UNO, and Kenneth Smith, associate professor of teacher education at UNO.

"There is something very magical and transformational about the important work Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy do," Brignoni said.  "When they speak, I am captivated by their passion to make sense of this world through other people's stories.  Besides the many books they have written, they also celebrate other people's work and inspire others to do the same.  Their work touches my soul and reminds me that we are here on this earth to make a difference in some way, and that is the epitome of their work."

For more information, contact McWilliams at (402) 554-3457 or smcwilliams@mail.unomaha.edu, or Brignoni at (402) 554-2604 or ebrignoni@mail.unomaha.edu. For details about the OFLP, visit http://coe.unomaha.edu/oflp/.

***

UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning Oct. 8, 2008.  This celebration will recognize the partnership among the city of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community.  The centennial theme is "UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908."  This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.  For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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