By Roany Molina
Hispanic Heritage Month officially kicked off Monday – September 15th – and lasts until October 15th. To celebrate, we compiled some of our favorite characters and stories from all over Latin America in a Colección Herencia Hispana / Hispanic Heritage Collection. Each book is rich with beautiful language, stories, myths, art, and foods.
Award winning author and illustrator Yuyi Morales does it again with her captivating children’s book, Niño Wrestles the World. Niño, the unstoppable masked child wrestler, contends against a series of abnormal opponents. Niño defeats them all with ease, but it isn’t until the clock chimes that he is faced with his most difficult challenge, Las Hermanitas (the little sisters). Morales is able to incorporate traditional Mexican beliefs and relate them to the country’s famous form of wrestling, commonly known as Lucha Libre, which requires wrestlers to mask their face to protect their identity. Her vibrant illustrations keep true to the classic pop-art style associated with Lucha Libre on posters and trading cards. Mixed with the engrossing text, the combination of both storyline and artwork engages any reader. The tale is exciting and uses basic vocabulary for its young readers to follow along. From the uncommon opponents to the energetic fearlessness of Niño, Niño Wrestles the World depicts the story of an intelligent entertaining little boy who is able to teach its readers common Spanish words and phrases. Winning the Pura Belpré Award (2014), Yuyi Morales taps into both her creative power as an author and illustrator to create this delightful story.
Sabores De América is a new way to learn and look at the foods we eat. Written by Ana María Pavez and Constanza Recart, Sabores , originally published in Chile, has been distributed all over the world and is the winner of the Skipping Stone Award and the White Ravens Award (2010). The text is appealing to reader’s grades 4 and up but the book is an amazingly useful as a reference for readers of all ages. The book’s sophisticated water color art work, designed by Isabel Hojas, makes it friendly and relatable to a younger audience. This non-fiction book can also be used as an excellent classroom resource for any teacher looking to inspire cultural curiosity in the classroom. Students will learn about Latin America’s contribution to the world through the use of intriguing historical facts and recipes. A glossary about Mesoamerican culture and a map of the region are included.
The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred makes vocabulary building fun with its tribute to the nursery rhyme, “The House That Jack Built.” Written by Samantha R. Vamos and illustrated by Rafael López, each page engages the audience into wanting to help the farm maiden stir the cazuela (stewpot). Once she begins the task, all the farm animals desire to contribute in some way. Whether, it’s the cow that produces the milk or the donkey that give the duck a ride to the market to buy sugar, each animal participates in creating the final tasty dish. The cooking process becomes a festive event when everyone begins to sing and dance. Distracted by the joy of the party, the animals and the farm maiden forget to keep an eye on the cazuela and it begins to bubble over. Who will be the one to notice? Vamos and López’s combined efforts creates a delicious educational cultural celebration. An added bonus is the Arroz Con Leche recipe, better known as Rice Pudding, towards the final pages of the book. The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred, is an enjoyable read that can get any tummy rumbling.
La difunta familia Diaz by P.J. Bracegirdle and illustrated by Polly Bernatene is a playful and humorous tale that explores the two side of Día de los Muertos – the living and the dead. The story revolves around Angelito, a sweet little boy – a dead little boy— living happily with his dead family. They have a well-kept home strewn with family portraits, a skeleton dog, and their whole neighborhood is “dead” – the birds, butterflies, the flowers on the dining room table, and the moon in the sky. In short, the afterlife is good. However, Angelito is anxious about Día de los Muertos and all the horrors of the living! However, an unexpected friendship will soon alter his point of view. La difunta familia Diaz’s is a fantastic book that lightheartedly introduce children to this famous holiday.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, finish the following sentence and you could win a FREE Hispanic Heritage Poster and 25 Spanish and bilingual books. “In Latin America, I would like to travel to ____ and taste ____.” Click HERE and then post your answer in the comments. You have until Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 11:59pm EST to post your answer. Remember, your answer must include the answer to the question “In Latin America, I would like to travel to ____ and taste ____.” For the official rules, click here.
Stay tuned for more exciting Hispanic Heritage Special Features from Club Leo en Español throughout the next 30 days!
Club Leo en Español supports your classroom with fun and affordable books that connect children’s home language and learning. Our books include amazing series, original titles, and winners of the Pura Belpré Award, which celebrates the remarkable contributions of artists who give voice to the Latino community through children’s literature.
Club Leo en Español apoya tu salón de clases con libros divertidos y asequibles que conectan la lengua materna y el aprendizaje de los niños. Nuestra colección incluye increíbles series, títulos originales y ganadores del Premio Pura Belpré, que celebra los extraordinarios aportes de artistas que dan voz a la comunidad latina a través de la literatura infantil.