We are currently in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15-10/15), which celebrates “the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success.” Depending on where you live, this means different things. Perhaps your children’s schools include units on Latinx or Hispanic communities and cultures. Or maybe your Netflix feed includes a featured banner of “Latinx Films.” Major companies celebrate the month and each year, media outlets publish new versions of essential Latinx books, movies, shows, recipes, artists, etc. And then on October 16, it’s over.
Don’t worry, you still have a couple weeks to attend one of the many events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (a quick google search will yield several family friendly events). But don’t feel as though you need to limit your cultural engagement to these 30 days. There are numerous ways that families and classrooms can learn about and learn from Hispanic and Latinx cultures all year round. After all, the term Hispanic-American refers to over 62 million people with roots in nearly three dozen countries, who carry with them a diversity of stories, histories, and cultures. There are a multitude of possibilities for activities, field trips, and cross-cultural learning opportunities for young people.
The following list of resources is meant to be a starting point for families and classrooms to learn about and learn from Hispanic and Latinx cultures through a local and global lens. If you have suggestions for other resources, please feel free to reach out with an email.
- Museo de las Americas
This Denver based museum is “dedicated to educating our community through collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting the diverse arts and cultures of Latin America, from ancient to contemporary, through innovative exhibitions and programs.” They have a summer camp, field trip opportunities, and regular exhibitions.
- The Mexican Cultural Center
“The MCC is dedicated to increasing awareness of Mexico’s splendid traditions of travel, cuisine, art, music and handcrafts.” They regularly hold public community events, including events for families with children. Check out their Facebook page for the most up to date info.
- Spanish Music for Kids
I made this playlist of bilingual and Spanish music for families. It includes songs by a range of artists from the US, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, The Dominican Republic, and more. This list is sure to be fun for the whole family, even if you don’t speak Spanish. The grooves and melodies are awesome! Some of my favorite songs on the playlist are by Pez al Revés, Little Parade, 123 Andrés, Nathalia, Flor Bromley, Marta Gómez, Twinkle Time, EVT Kids, and Lucy Kalantari. But the whole playlist is a lot of fun!
There is an abundance of children’s books celebrating Latinx stories, cultures, and people, and your local library is a great place to start. Or check out one of the many independent bookstores located throughout the city. Also, here are some recommendations of some books your family may enjoy.
- Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
- Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor
- Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Delores Huerta and Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown
- Learn About Your City, Town, or Neighborhood
A great way for kids to connect with other peoples’ histories is to find a point of connection with their own experience. Researching the history of the land you reside upon is a wonderful activity in the classroom, on the weekends, or over a school vacation. In a metropolitan area that is changing as rapidly as ours, these histories help inform young people as they engage with schoolmates and neighbors from differing backgrounds. I recommend starting with History Colorado. Your local library is also a great resource for this kind of project.