Children’s Books That Teach About Influential Latinas

by multilingualmania on September 30, 2010

in bilingual parenting, bilingual teachers, Books, Culture, History, Literacy and Biliteracy, spanish materials

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This month we are hosting a Hispanic heritage month writing contest where students write about a prominent Latina or Latino who has made a positive impact on the world or their lives. For the next couple of weeks we plan to highlight resources that parents and teachers can use to teach about important people of Hispanic descent. In my experience as an educator and administrator, I have noticed that classroom discussions tend to focus predominantly on certain well-known Latinos, such as Cesar Chavez, Sammy Sosa, and others during Hispanic Heritage month as well as throughout the year. It’s also important that children learn about notable Latina women, such as:

Emma Tenayuca: Conversations about activists are often centered on Cesar Chavez and to a lesser extent, Dolores Huerta. Emma Tenayuca is another important Latina labor activist in Texas who led over 12,000 pecan shellers in a successful strike for better wages in 1938. That’s Not Fair!/No Es Justo!: Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice/La lucha de Emma Tenayuca por la justicia is a engaging bilingual book for children that will highlight the labor movement in an easy to understand way.

Gabriela Mistral: Gabriela Mistral is a prominent Chilean poet, educator and feminist who was the first Latin American, and fifth woman, to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1945. Mistral was also a Chilean diplomat who lived and worked throughout the world. My Name is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela: The Life of Gabriela Mistral/la vida de Gabriela Mistral is a bilingual book that can be used as a starting point for learning about this prolific writer.

Sonia Sotomayor
: Sonia Sotomayor is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Confirmed in 2009, Sotomayor is the third female justice and first Latina Supreme Court justice in United States history. Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx/La juez que creció en el Bronx chronicles Sotomayor’s life from her childhood through her historic nomination.

Celia Cruz: Celia Cruz is a Cuban born singer who is well known throughout the world as being the “queen of salsa”. My Name if Celia/Me llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/la vida de Celia Cruz provides an overview of her life. An additional resource for children is the colorful book Celia, Queen of Salsa.

Isabel Allende: Isabel Allende is a prominent Chilean author who has gained international fame for her literature originally written in Spanish and translated to English. Allende is also known for her unique background of political upheaval, having fled Chile after the assassination of one of her relatives, President Allende. Isabel Allende: Recuerdos para un cuento/Memories of a Story is a bilingual children’s book that covers her life.

For additional information on Multilingual Mania’s Hispanic Heritage student writing contest, please click here.

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