Sobre Septiembre 2016: Diversifying Hispanic Heritage Month with Children’s and YA Books

Vamos a Leer | Sobre Septiembre 2016 - Hispanic Diversity and Culture in Children's and YA LiteratureDear all,

We’re excited to see Vamos a Leer return for another academic year! We’re jumping into blogging beginning this September by focusing on themes related to Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15).

As always, however, we want to diversify and expand on the typical tropes and ideas that tend to be associated with any heritage month learning. We might start by asking the question: what is Hispanic Heritage Month? Here’s the official description:

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Unfortunately, this broad and complex meaning is often obscured behind simplistic renditions. We may hear frequently about Día de los Muertos or Cesar Chavez without ever getting beyond these important but all too common refrains. There’s so much more to Hispanic heritage about which we could be teaching and learning! With that jumping off point, we’re spending the month focusing on”Celebrating Hispanic Diversity and Culture.” Our fantastic new and returning writers are going to offer different ideas for how to do this:

  • Alice, who writes our ¡Mira, Look! children’s book reviews, will focus on storytelling in Hispanic culture (in part by choosing works that help celebrate and acknowledge the Pura Belpré Award, which turns 20 this year).
  • Alin, who’s coming in as our World Wide Web (WWW) author, is going to offer a twist on our recurring WWW posts. Rather than highlight a single resource each week, she’s going to tap into current conversations happening around the web to expand our dialogue about teaching diversity in literature, literacy, and Latin America.
  • Valeria joins us in a new, Spanish-language position. She’ll be offering Spanish translations of some of our more requested educator’s guides that tie to books available in bilingual or Spanish editions.
  • Colleen, who takes over from Kalyn for the monthly Reading RoundUp, is scouring book lists to bring you a list of books that will hopefully contribute to a broad conversation about Hispanic heritage;
  • And of course Katrina returns as our omnipresent Blogger-in-Chief who’s also responsible for producing our En la Clase posts on a weekly basis.

We hope you enjoy!



5 thoughts on “Sobre Septiembre 2016: Diversifying Hispanic Heritage Month with Children’s and YA Books

  1. Pingback: Reading RoundUp: 10 Children’s and YA Books with Diverse Latinx Perspectives | Vamos a Leer

  2. Pingback: En la Clase: Super Cilantro Girl/La Superniña del Cilantro | Vamos a Leer

  3. Pingback: En la Clase: Talking with Mother Earth/Hablando con Madre Tierra | Vamos a Leer

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