Aside from my parents, the working Hispanic adults around me during my elementary days were often seen as the landscaping and janitorial staff at my school. Despite the fact that I went to a Spanish-named elementary school, I did not feel represented much except for the Friday mornings we all danced the Macarena (part of growing up in the 90s)!
It is amazing to me that the only Hispanic person I read about or learned about as being successful and making a difference in our country was Cesar Chavez (probably because he was born in my home state of Arizona). The reading book list did offered diversity by exposing me to African Americans and their plight through slavery, but I didn’t feel connected to my ancestors or read about people like me. To help your Hispanic students feel represented, I encourage you to make time to incorporate Hispanic Heritage Month into your instructional day. Just share about the life of one Hispanic leader a day, and in 10 minutes or less,you can build character education, classroom community, teach tolerance & embrace diversity! (I wish one of my teachers had done this when I was in elementary school.)
This year, I’ve been adding to my collection again: Sebi and the Land of Cha Cha Cha (written by actress/singer, Roselyn Sanchez for her daughter), it is filled with beautiful, vivid illustrations that depict her island of Puerto Rico.
For the older students who want a novel to read independently, anything by Pam Munoz Ryan is great.
–Mañanaland is on my wishlist (it just came out in the spring of 2020)
In case you missed it, I would like to share my Hispanic Heritage Month teaching slides with you. I’ve already done the difficult planning and researching for you! Each school day showcases a new Hispanic leader (wide variety of influencers from all walks of life: athletes, civil rights activists, entertainers, and intellects). Not to mention, each Hispanic leader comes to life with a kid-friendly video clip for student engagement! Click the image below if you are interested: