Our children are part of a heritage that is rich in culture and beliefs, rhythms, spices, and the legacy of our family cuentos. They are immersed in their Latino heritage every day, whether they realize it or not. Hispanic Heritage Month gives us a chance to impress upon them even more the great history and stories of their heritage, and instill in them a sense of pride in who they are and where they come from.
For Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some of our culture’s heroes who paved the way for us to flourish and thrive in the United States, as well as some great kids’ books that can help us all feel proud to be Latino!
Jaime Escalante • Bolivia
This teacher left a mark on the lives of Latino children who came from poor neighborhoods. He fought for better resources and greater equality for our kids within the education system. He motivated the children to beat the odds and to stand up for what they believed in. Escalante serves as a wonderful model for our children to learn about and admire, especially in education systems where they may be expected to achieve less than their non-Latino peers. The movie Stand and Deliver was based on his struggles.
Roberto Clemente • Puerto Rico
Clemente was the first Latino baseball player to be voted Most Valuable Player (MVP). He’s also a recognized humanitarian and a role model for our children to learn about. He showed the importance of paying it forward and helping those in need.
Ellen Ochoa • Mexican-American
Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to become an astronaut and she was also an inventor. As the first Latina in space, she serves as an inspiration for all little girls. She shows us that through hard work and studying, all goals are attainable.
Read Related: 10 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Hispanic Heritage Month
BOOKS THAT CELEBRATE HISPANIC HERITAGE
There are also wonderful literature connections to share with our Latino children year round to fill them with a greater sense of pride:
Tales our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection by Alma Flor Ada
This collection of folktales features illustrations that dance across the pages. A rich sense of heritage and culture told in every story is sure to keep children engaged. With a mixture of morals and friendship, this selection is sure to spark wonderful discussions about heritage.
In My Family/En Mi Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza
This is another great selection filled with wonderful illustrations of family gatherings, food, and family life. It’s a great way to embed in our children the importance of la familia, memories, and traditions passed on from generation to generation.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
This selection is filled with Spanish words, culture, traditions and stories of a little girl who perseveres regardless of the trials that life throws her way. This tale of courage and hope is another perfect example for our Latino children to make connections and continue to take pride in their heritage.
There are so many resources available to help build pride in our children. Learning about these Hispanic pioneers and reading these uplifting books helps our heritage come alive in our homes, so that our children and grandchildren can spread that rich culture for centuries to come—not just during Hispanic Heritage Month, but every day!