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AMERICAN MOSAIC - March 21, 2003: Oscar Nominated Songs / A Question About U.S. Immigration / Children's Literature in Spanish - 2003-03-25

Broadcast: March 21, 2003



Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:

We play some songs nominated for an Academy Award ...

Answer a listener’s question about the government office that deals with immigration ...

And report about children’s literature in Spanish.

Immigration Service


Our VOA listener question this week comes from the United Arab Emirates. Samatar Abdi Hirsi asks about the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service also known as the I-N-S.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service was responsible for helping foreigners who enter the country legally and for removing those who enter illegally.

But the I-N-S no longer exists. On March first, its job of helping immigrants was moved to the new Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services within the new Department of Homeland Security.

Government officials say that the creation of a new agency that helps immigrants is designed to increase the quality of services for foreigners who are in the United States legally. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services is known as the B-C-I-S. About fifteen-thousand people work there. Its director reports to the Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security.

B-C-I-S services include helping refugees seeking asylum, supervising people who become American citizens and providing employment documents for foreigners in the United States.

Most of the other services that were provided by the I-N-S will be carried out by two new agencies in the Department of Homeland Security. One is the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This agency brings together about fourteen-thousand workers. These include investigators and law enforcement officials of the I-N-S, Customs Service and Federal Protective Services. This agency was designed to strengthen law enforcement by uniting investigation work that had been done by several agencies.

The other new agency is the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Its thirty-thousand workers include agricultural inspectors and inspectors from the I-N-S, Customs Service and Border Patrol. This bureau will supervise the movement of goods and people across the nation’s borders. It will guarantee the inspection of goods and enforce border laws.

Hispanic Children's Books


Millions of Spanish-speaking people live in the United States. Many of them are children. Spanish-language publishing is expanding to serve these people. Steve Ember has this report on children’s literature in Spanish.


Lulu Delacre (duh-LAHK-ra) was born in Puerto Rico. She began drawing pictures and hearing stories as a young child. As an adult living in the United States, she wanted to write children’s books that would celebrate the stories and traditions of her childhood. Mizz Delacre says she started writing books in Spanish and English for children like her own, born to Hispanic parents in the United States. She wanted to help these children know and enjoy their personal history.

Now Mizz Delacre says she believes it is just as important for non-Latino children to learn about the Latino boys and girls in their schools and communities. Lulu Delacre has written a book of Puerto Rican stories called “Shake it Morena!” She has written another book called “Salsa Stories” that has stories about food. Now she has won both the Pura Belpre and the Americas Awards.

For ten years, the Americas Award has honored writers of children’s books that honestly show Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. The Pura Belpre Award honors a Latino or Latina writer whose work celebrates the Latino experience. This award is named for Pura Belpre. She was the first Latina librarian at the New York City Public Library. Across the United States, people come to libraries to read and borrow books for free.

Ina Rimpau is a librarian in the state of New Jersey. She is very interested in making sure that Spanish-speaking children have books to read in their own language. She says it is very popular to publish the same book in both English and Spanish. Children who speak English read the books with their Spanish-speaking parents or grandparents. English-speaking adults often use children’s books to help them learn Spanish. Mizz Rimpau says it is important for children to keep the language and traditions of their family. But she says it is also important for Americans to learn other languages.

Oscar-Nominated Songs


People who make movies will be honored Sunday in Los Angeles, California. That is when the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents its yearly awards, the Oscars. The movie industry will honor the best work of directors, actors, technical experts and songwriters. Phoebe Zimmermann tells us about the nominations for best song.


Five songs written for movies have been nominated for the Academy Award for best original song. One is from the movie “Frida”. Caetano Veloso and Lila Downs sing “Burn It Blue.”


Another song nominated for an Oscar this year is “Father and Daughter” from the movie “The Wild Thornberrys.” A third nominated song is from the movie “Gangs of New York.” The group U-2 sings “Hands That Built America.”


The fourth nominated song is called “Lose Yourself” from the movie “Eight Mile.” We leave you with the final song nominated as best original song from a movie. It is from the movie “Chicago.” Renee Zellwegger and Catherine Zeta-Jones sing “I Move On.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

Remember to write us with your questions about American life. We will try to answer them on future programs. Listeners whose questions are chosen will receive a gift.

Send your questions to American Mosaic, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C. two-zero-two-three-seven, USA. Our e-mail address is mosaic at v-o-a news dot com. Please include your name and mailing address.

This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Karen Leggett and Nancy Steinbach. And our producer was Caty Weaver.