By Graciela Gallegos, Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library
From September 15 - October 15, we take the time to celebrate and recognize Hispanic heritage. It’s important for us to remember where we come from and to share our traditions, music, and stories with our children. This month is also a great time for non-Hispanic families to learn about the rich traditions and customs of our Hispanic friends and neighbors!
The perfect place for parents to start is your local public library. They will have a variety of books and materials to introduce children to different aspects of Hispanic heritage and lead them to further exploration.
The following titles are perfect to share with children under 8 years old:
Cool Mexican Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids. By Lisa Wagner. Introduces cooking terms, techniques, and utensils and provides easy-to-follow recipes for six traditional Mexican dishes.
De colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children. Selected, arranged, and translated by José-Luis Orozco. This collection of Latin-American songs is a tribute to Latino culture. From traditional tunes to rhymes and hand games, De Colores has songs for all occasions and moods. Each song is accompanied by simple musical arrangements, with lyrics in both English and Spanish.
Federico and the Wolf. By Rebecca J. Gomez. A modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood in which Federico rides his bicycle to the market for Abuelo's groceries, then stands up to a hungry wolf. Includes a recipe for pico de gallo and glossary of Spanish terms (also available as an e-book).
Hello, Friend / Hola, Amigo. By Andrés Salguero. Latin Grammy Award-winning children's musical duo 123 Andrés brings us a bilingual friendship song in board book form (also available as an e-book).
The Hummingbird Sings and Dances: Latin American Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes. Musical selection and illustrations by Mariana Ruiz Johnson. A collection featuring 19 traditional Latin American nursery rhymes and lullabies in Spanish that have withstood the test of time. An endearing repertoire of family-friendly songs from 17 different countries (includes an audio disc).
Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers. By Juliet Menéndez. Discover how 40 influential Latinas became the women we celebrate today In this collection of short biographies from all over Latin America and across the United States.
A Mango in the Hand: a Story Told Through Proverbs. By Antonio Sacre. Guided by the proverbs that many of us grew up hearing from the adults around us, Francisco makes several attempts to bring ripe mangoes home for dessert on his saint day, and in the process learns lessons in love and generosity (also available as an e-book).
¡Mucha Música!: Latin American Music for Children. By musical group Cantaré. Songs sung in Spanish, Portuguese and English. (CD)
Un Pregón de Frutas. By Margarita Engle. While visiting her abuelo in Cuba, a young girl helps him sell frutas, singing the name of each fruit as they walk, and after she returns to the United States, they exchange letters made of abrazos--hugs.
Salsa Lullaby. By Jen Arena. A bouncy, loving, bilingual lullaby that gently says good night in both Spanish and English. (also available as an e-book)
Small Room, Big Dreams: the Journey of Julián and Joaquin Castro. By Monica Brown. The story of political powerhouse twins Julián and Joaquin Castro began when their grandmother Victoriana crossed the border from Mexico into Texas as a six-year-old orphan. The strong women in their family inspired the twins to get involved in politics and to make the country a better place for everyone.
Wishing everyone happy reading and learning during this month long celebration of Hispanic culture!
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