Celebrate Latino Heritage Month!
September is Latino Heritage Month and what better way to celebrate than through great children’s books! Latinos account for 24% of children ages 0-5 in the U.S. currently. The following book reccommendations provide a way for children of every ethnicity to see themselves and/or develop intercultural understanding and empathy.
(http://www NULL.rarbayarea NULL.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/hairs NULL.gif)“Hairs/Pelitos” is illustrated by Terry Ybàñez and written by Sandra Cisneros, acclaimed author of “The House on Mango Street.” Cisneros’ book rhythmically and bilingually celebrates the diversity of Latinos. Publisher Weekly describes “Hairs/Pelitos” as: “rendering the family members in a variety of unusual skin tones as well as with distinctive hairstyles. Purple-faced Papa has hair ‘like a broom, all up in the air,’ while Nettie’s ‘slippery’ orange hair contrasts vividly with her blue skin. The narrator waxes lyrical on the subject of Mama’s hair: ‘sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you, holding you and you feel safe, [it] is the warm smell of bread before you bake it.’ Each spread is framed by bright borders ornamented with everyday objects — shoes and bikes; steaming cups of coffee; dice, jacks and jumpropes. Inside, the characters seem to float across swirling blocks of color. A spirited and buoyant celebration of individuality and of the bonds within families.”
(http://www NULL.rarbayarea NULL.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/gatheringthesun2b NULL.jpg) (http://www NULL.rarbayarea NULL.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/gatheringthesun2b NULL.jpg)“Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English” is written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Simón Silva, one of Mexico’s most influential contemporary painters. The book delights readers with short, bilingual poetic vignettes for each letter of the alphabet. From Cesar Chavez to Yucatan, children will enjoy the beautiful illustrations while learning new words and letters.
Junko Yokota, professor of children’s literature, explains the importance of diversity in children’s books: ”Mirrors let people see reflections of their own lives: windows let them see others’ lives. Seeing oneself represented in literature engenders a sense of pride, it encourages a reader to take more interest in a book and feel a sense of involvement in literary discussions that follow a reading selection. Books that act as windows allow readers to see experiences that are different from their own lives and stretch the range of experiences that we have had.”
Parents and educators can provide those book experiences that truly serve as as windows and mirrors!