Monday, September 20, 2021

PBS Resources for Hispanic Heritage Month


There are so many great resources circulating for Hispanic Heritage Month. And one of the companies that I always check first when I'm looking for material on ANY subject is PBS.

Did you know that PBS LearningMedia and PBS KIDS for Parents have several free, online resources parents can access to celebrate Hispanic heritage all year long?

HHM Resources for Young Children:

First, PBS Parents has this list of recommended picture books that celebrate Latino voices and culture.

Next, explore Spanish culture with this lesson in Flamenco dance, a traditional style of dance and music that originated in Spain.

Of course, Let's Go Luna is one of our favorites because we love traveling the word, even if it is only vicariously! Don't miss these episodes highlighting Mexico City and Peru.

Finally, dive into Puerto Rico with this simple recipe for making Mofongo (shown above!) and then wrap it all up with this tasty Piragua!

HHM Resources for Older Kids:

This video summarizes the origin, purpose, and many ways Americans recognize Hispanic Heritage Month. It's part of PBS KIDS’ All About The Holidays series (available in English and Spanish).

Discover Cuban music with this video in which TimbaSon, a group that performs Afro-Cuban and Latin dance music, performs “El Cuarto de Tula.”

While we're on the topic of music, go ahead and learn all about SALSA with this video that features Enrique Gonzalez performing the song “Así” with his band the Big Maracas.

THEN hop over and learn about music from the Andes with this fabulous video in which Fernando Moya, a musician from Ecuador, and Xenon Llusko, a musician from Bolivia, demonstrate a variety of Andean instruments and perform three pieces from the region.

Be sure to download the support materials that are found with these videos!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

5 Picture Books Featuring Legends and Folktales from Latin America

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! 

As I mentioned in my last post, this is one of my favorite times of year for finding new resources that I can use to explore our Hispanic heritage throughout the year. 

Today, I want to start with resources for little ones. So I'm sharing a list of five picture books that feature myths and folktales from five different countries in Latin America. What a great way to introduce culture to young minds! 


This following are Amazon affiliate links. See my sidebar for more information.


Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns: A Mesoamerican Creation Myth

by Duncan Tonatiuh

Long ago, the gods of Mesoamerica set out to create humans. They tried many times during each sun, or age. When all their attempts failed and the gods grew tired, only one did not give up: Quetzalcóatl—the Feathered Serpent. To continue, he first had to retrieve the sacred bones of creation guarded by Mictlantecuhtli, lord of the underworld. Gathering his staff, shield, cloak, and shell ornament for good luck, Feathered Serpent embarked on the dangerous quest to create humankind.


Kutu the Tiny Inca Princess / La Ñusta Diminuta

by Mariana Llanos

In this bilingual book, written in English, Spanish, and bits of Quechua, we'll meet Ch'illik'utu (Kutu), a princess the size of a cob of maize. When a terrible drought devastate the city of Cusco, where she lives, Kutu sets out on a courageous quest to save her people.

Puerto Rico:

Taíno Tales: The Secret of the Hummingbird

by Vicky Weber 

Alida, the daughter of a Taíno chief, lives in paradise. One day, she is startled by a boy from the opposing tribe, the Carib. Meeting daily in a hidden place, Alida and the boy, Taroo, soon become friends ー and then their friendship blossoms into something more. What will happen if someone discovers their forbidden love? A retelling of the Taíno legend of how the hummingbird came to be, this story brings an ancient culture ー and a young love ー to colorful life.


Animal Poems of the Iguazú / Animalario del Iguazú

by Francisco Alarcón

In the magical rainforest of the Iguazú National Park, butterflies are the multicolored flowers of the air. Great dusky swifts watch over the park, and the untamed spirits of jaguars roam the jungle. Spanning three countries--Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay--the thundering waterfalls and lush green rainforests of the Iguazú have dazzled visitors for centuries, and are now in danger of being lost.


Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale

by Carmen Agra Deedy

The beautiful Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha doesn’t know coffee beans about love and marriage, so when suitors come calling, what is she to do? Luckily, she has her Cuban family to help!

While some of the Cucarachas offer Martina gifts to make her more attractive, only Abuela, her grandmother, gives her some useful advice: spill coffee on his shoes to see how he handles anger. At first, Martina is skeptical of her Abuela’s suggestion, but when suitor after suitor fails the Coffee Test, she wonders if a little green cockroach can ever find true love.

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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 Resources

Hispanic Heritage Month begins in less than a week! How does your family or classroom celebrate this month-long observance? Personally, I think it's important to recognize the contributions of Hispanic people and culture to the U.S. throughout the year. But I do like taking advantage of all the resources that become available during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Over the years, my family has celebrated in a variety of ways and learned about some amazing people along the way. I've listed many of these in my recent article for PBS SoCal. Check it out if you are looking for some inspiration. I even included a printable Hispanic Heritage Month Bucket List (shown above) for you to download for free. NOTE: The article does have some resources geared specifically for Southern California, but there are items listed that will appeal to families all across the United States.

Also, don't forget that I have some great downloads available for exploring Latinos in U.S. History, as well as materials for learning about traditions and holidays of Hispanic culture. Here are a few that I recommend:


This 79-page unit allows students to choose from a list of 100 Hispanics in world history to research and share. The list is available in two formats:
  • The historical figures are arranged by century starting with the 1400s to the present
  • The historical figures are arranged by field of influence, including musicians, artists, activists, scientists, athletes, writers, journalists, actors, leaders & politicians, and other notable figures.
Pages for note-taking, research, and one-page presentations are included, as are additional pages for comparing/contrasting historical figures, word association, and listing new vocabulary. In addition, date cards and information labels are included for creating a timeline display on a wall.

If you are familiar with Boom Cards, then this may be a good choice for you. If you don't have a Boom Learning account, skip on to the next products.

Introduce your students to Hispanic Heritage Month! From when it is celebrated to how Hispanics have contributed to U.S. history, this informational text is written for students in 4th - 8th grade. It includes 10 self-grading comprehension questions in multiple-choice format.


Teach your kids about Hispanic Heritage Month with this set of three minibooks that are perfect for lapbooks, interactive notebooks, or literacy centers.

This file contains three books:
  • A top flip book featuring Hispanic musicians
  • An accordion-folded book featuring Hispanic writers
  • And a side flip book featuring Hispanic artists
Each book is available in English or Spanish. All of the images in the books may be colored in.

The musician booklet allows older students to research and write in bios, or use the ones provided by cutting and pasting.

The writers and artists booklets come with short bios, or are blank to allow older students to write their own information based on research.

(Available in both English and Spanish)

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by playing "Who Am I?" with this set of character crowns featuring 30 influential Hispanics in History.

Each crown comes with a fact sheet and extension strips for making the crown. Directions for assembly and instructions on different ways to play the game, as well as different ways to use the crowns are included.


Teach your students about different occupations with this bilingual poster set! Perfect for Hispanic Heritage Month, each occupation is represented by a historical Hispanic figure.


Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and teach your little ones about different careers with this bilingual minibook. Eighteen careers represented by 19 Hispanics are featured in this coloring book.

This file contains THREE books:
• a bilingual book (English & Spanish)
• an English only (for ESL)
• a Spanish only (for Spanish learners)

Monday, September 6, 2021

Symbolic Monarch Migration Program 2021

© Can Stock Photo / davidcrehner

Eleven years ago, I first told you about Journey North's "Symbolic Monarch Butterfly Migration" program in which students in the US and Canada mail symbolic butterflies to Mexico. There children protect them throughout the winter and then send them back north in the spring.

This year marks the program's 26th year!

Last year, 5,000 students participated. And they hope to have just as many or more this year. 

If you would like to participate, teachers must download the teacher packet, which includes the instructions for making and sending the butterfly, as well as directions for registering on the Journey North website. In addition, teachers (or parents!) can use the lessons provided by Journey North to prepare their students for the program. Students are encouraged to send class pictures, drawings, and a letter in Spanish along with their butterfly.

Children at the monarch sanctuaries in Mexico will care for and send the butterflies back in the spring. NOTE: You will not receive the same butterfly you sent!

To learn more, download the Leader Packet. This PDF explains the entire program and includes step-by-step directions for participating. There are also some printables and a checklist. 

Important deadline: Your butterfly must be postmarked by October 8th.

There is a $15 “Passenger Ticket” fee for each Ambassador Butterfly folder that is submitted.

And if you'd like to learn more about the biology of these remarkable creatures AND about their connection to the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos, read my post from last year. It includes a free, BILINGUAL downloadable activity about the Monarch butterfly's life cycle.


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