October 5, 2012

Recommendations for Hispanic Heritage Month

I was born wealthy. I had the good fortune to grow up in a loving, bilingual home in El Paso, Texas. All my grandparents spoke only Spanish. Mom and Dad were bilingual, though, so I always spoke both English and Spanish. Since Mom was a reader, I also had the good fortune to grow up with books in our home, and I enjoyed teachers who read to us at school, visits to the library, the fun of Summer Reading Clubs. Too often today, the word “wealthy” is reduced to money. Well, I was and am rich in family, books, and languages. How I wish I were tri-lingual!

Since sharing is often more fun than having, I like to share bookjoy, la alegría en los libros. I founded Día, El dia de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day, as one way for all of us to link all children to books, languages and cultures day by day, día por día. Día celebrations are held throughout the country around April 30th and are fun to plan at home, school, and libraries. I wrote Book Fiesta to show the fun of reading by ourselves, with our family, to our pets and reading everywhere—even in a hot air balloon and on an elephant.


I not only love words and languages, I love diversity: the wonder of an array of flowers, birds, and humans, families. I’ll never understand why some are valued more than others. The Hispanic or Latino national community is highly diverse. Some are new arrivals; some families that have lived on the U.S. landscape for generations. Some have ancestors from countries such as Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Peru. Some are dark; some fair. Some Catholic; some Protestant or Jewish. Some speak only Spanish, some only English, some are bilingual.

I was a children’s book author before I noticed: hey, none of the books I read and loved had any characters who looked like me or my family, who spoke Spanish and enjoyed saying both candy and dulces. How children and the young at heart enjoy learning words in other languages! Luckily, many Latino authors are now writing wonderful books for us all. Here are ten of my favorites:


Thanks to PBS Parents!

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