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7 Books Recommended By a Latina Mom That Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

7 Books Recommended By a Latina Mom That Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

When I came to the US almost 12 years ago, I was first exposed to Hispanic Heritage Month.  Being from Mexic,  September is already a fiesta as we celebrate our Independence Day, but that was not quite why the US has Hispanic Heritage Month, so I did some research.

It started on 1968 under President Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week, to celebrate all the contributions of the Hispanic community in every aspect from sports, music, food, and community.  Later, in 1988 President Reagan enacted a public law to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 to also encompass the anniversary of independence of 8 Latin American countries and Columbus Day or el Día de la Raza.

For us, it is very important to expose our children to the celebrations both in the US and Mexico, so I set to get some ideas on how to explain to them what Hispanic Heritage Month is and how Hispanics have contributed in shaping our country, and of course, storytime is one of the best ways to do so.

Here are some book suggestions for Hispanic Heritage Month:

1) Pepe and the Parade: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage

  • Author: Tracey Kyle
  • Ages: 4 years – 8 years
  • Grades: Preschool – 3rd Grade 
  • Hardcover 
  • Language: English

 

Concept: It is Pepe's first Hispanic Day parade and he is very excited to join his friends from all over Latin America to taste new food, dance to the music and watch the parade! 

What we like about this book:  I'm planning on reading this book as part of our Hispanic Heritage presentation to our preschool pod.  While we are not attending a parade this year, I'm sure "los bodoques" will enjoy the story and it will remind them of the previous years when we have attended and get to eat elotes locos y paletas de mango.

Tip: Since los bodoques are preschoolers and not reading yet, I translate the book to Spanish when reading out loud!  

 

2) ¡Todos a Celebrar! A Hispanic Customs & Traditions Alphabet Book
  • Author: Dr. Ma. Alma González Pérez Ages: 5 years – 9 years 
  • Grades: 1st to 4th Grade
  • Hardcover / Paperback 
  • Language: Bilingual: English & Spanish

 

Concept: A very unique alphabet book that portraits Hispanic culture and its traditions.

What we like about this book: The pictures are beautiful and it depicts children celebrating Hispanic traditions. We have experienced most of this before, so they can relate to it and it prompts for remembering and talking about the last piñata we had or even asking about others we haven't done. 

3) ¡Si se puede! / Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A. 

  • Author: Diana Cohn
  • Ages: 5 years – 7 years
  • Grades: Kindergarten – 2nd Grade
  • Paperback
  • Language: Bilingual: English & Spanish

Concept: Carlitos mom is a janitor in downtown L.A., she cleans offices at night. But the salary is not enough to support him and his abuela, so she decides to join the other janitors in the strike. Carlitos wants to help her but has not figured out how. While the story is fictional it sets against the backdrop of the successful janitor’s strike in L.A. in 2000.

What we like about this book: It is a conversation starter on social justice and a history lesson. I believe it is never too early to start exposing los bodoques to these concepts in the hopes that one day they too will speak up for what is right and fair.

 


4) Braids / Trencitas  

  • Author: Kathleen Contreras
  • Ages: 5 years – 8 years
  • Grades: Kindergarten – 3rd Grade
  • Hardcover
  • Language: Bilingual: English & Spanish


Concept: Isabela loves to spend time with her abuela and listen to her family stories as she braids Isabela's hair every morning. Bela likes to write stories of her own, but soon she realized her abuela cannot read them…

What we like about this book: I had the fortune to be raised by my abuela, she was a storyteller too and used to tell me stories about the family and about the radio where she worked. Some of the stories in the book are similar to the stories she would tell me. While she is not with us anymore, I get to talk to los bodoques about abuela Chela (nickname for Celia) and continue to tell her stories.

Tip: The book is a bit more advanced for los bodoques, so I just tell them the short version of the story!

 

5) Round is a Tortilla and Green is a Chile Pepper 

  • Author: Roseanne Greenfield Thong
  • Ages: 2 years – 5 years
  • Grades: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Hardcover
  • Language: English

      

Concept: Round is a Tortilla is a fun book of shapes that can be found in the Latino households, from sombreros, tortillas and paletas, kids can spy the shapes in everyday objects. Green is a Chile Pepper teaches the colors in both English and Spanish. Both include Spanish words throughout. 

What we like about these books: They are both fun colorful books depicting Hispanic objects, traditions, and everyday scenes. I like that los bodoques see stuff that we have at home or that they eat on a regular basis as well as scenes of how we celebrate.

Tip: Since los bodoques are preschoolers and not reading yet, I translate the book to Spanish when reading out loud!  

 

6) Little Libros Collection

  • Authors: Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein
  • Ages: Baby – 4 years
  • Grades: Preschool
  • Board Book
  • Language: Bilingual: English & Spanish

 

   

Concept: Their collection is a must for baby’s first library, they have books on notable Hispanic figures such as Frida Kahlo, Celia Cruz, and Hispanic-Americans like Selena, Ritchie Valens, and Ellen Ochoa. Their new collection also includes books on Latin American cities such as Oaxaca, Havana, San Salvador, San Juan, and Lima.

  

What we like about this collection: I get to expose los bodoques to our history, notable figures and now even cities that are part of our culture while they also learn the colors, how to count or to name their feelings. I have done story time at their preschool with these on so many topics and they are always a hit!

You can find their collection in Amazon or directly at their website: https://lillibros.com/collections/books

 

7) Too Many Tamales 

  • Authors: Gary Soto
  • Ages: 2 years – 8 years
  • Grades: Preschool – 3rd Grade
  • Paperback
  • Language: English

Concept: It is Navidad and Maria and her family prepare to make tamales for dinner. Her mother left her ring on the side to knead the masa, Maria tries it on for a minute and next thing she knows the ring is gone…

What we like about this book: A sweet story filled with tradition, family, and a fun twist. Los bodoques like to read around Christmas time and yes, they also ask to wear mama’s ring for a bit! (I do not lose sight of it though!)

Tip: Since los bodoques are preschoolers and not reading yet, I translate the book to Spanish when reading out loud!  

 

 

For additional resources on Hispanic Heritage Month and how to celebrate visit:

https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/exhibits-and-collections/

https://sites.ed.gov/hispanic-initiative/2019/09/top-8-reasons-why-and-how-we-celebrate-hispanic-heritage-month/

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/teaching-tools/book-lists/24-books-to-celebrate-hispanic-heritage-month.html

For activities and crafts I use: www.teacherspayteachers.com

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