As a former teacher, one of my favorite school wide celebrations was the potluck dinners we’d hold in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. I was lucky enough to eat food from countries across South America, Central America and the Caribbean including creamy flan, savory pupusas, and spicy papa a la Huancaína. The dishes were unforgettable! I can still vividly recall the mouthwatering smells, wonderful conversations, and the pride that we all felt about our food and culture.
The potluck dinner showed me the importance of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month authentically. It provided an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the rich cultural tapestry of Hispanic and Latinx communities in the United States.
Here are a few ideas (and books) on how to acknowledge the significant contributions Hispanic and Latinx people have made to the nation's history, arts, sciences, and more.
Dive into the world of Hispanic and Latinx literature and art, whether it's reading classic Spanish language titles or visiting art galleries showcasing the works of Hispanic and Latinx artists to appreciate their creativity and expression.
Explore the diverse and delicious cuisines of Hispanic and Latinx cultures. Try your hand at cooking traditional dishes like enchiladas, tamales, arroz con pollo and flan, or visit local restaurants specializing in these cuisines.
If you're not already fluent, use this month to start learning or improving your Spanish. Language is a window into culture, and speaking a few words or phrases can be a wonderful way to connect with others. In our linguistically blended family (I am fluent in Spanish while my partner largely only speaks English) we’re big fans of watching Spanish language films with English subtitles. If you are signed up for our book club, you’ll know that we've featured My Big Barefoot Book of Spanish and English Words. This is an excellent book that we usually use to play games. For example, you can challenge the family to search for words in a certain color (we usually repurpose our Twist spinner), a certain shape, or that begin with a certain sound.
Look for Hispanic Heritage Month events in your community, from dance performances and music concerts to film screenings and lectures. These events can provide insights into the cultural richness of Hispanic and Latinx traditions. You can then pair these with further resources from the wonderful National Museum of the American Latino.
Seek out and support Hispanic-owned businesses in your area. Whether it's shopping at a local market or ordering from a Latinx-owned restaurant, your patronage can make a meaningful impact.
Explore your own family's heritage and stories. Share tales of your ancestors and their journeys, and encourage family members to share their experiences and traditions, fostering a sense of connection and understanding. We are big fans of the recently released El español es la lengua de mi familia and Que tu vida sea deliciosa both by Michael Genhart, a Swiss-Mexican Latino psychologist and author.
Get involved with organizations that support Hispanic and Latinx communities. Offer your time or resources to initiatives that promote education, empowerment, and equality.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is not just a one-time event; it's an ongoing commitment to recognizing and valuing the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx communities throughout the year. By embracing diversity and learning from one another, we can build a more inclusive and harmonious society.
A wonderful first-words bilingual book in English and Spanish, full of fun and colorful illustrations about Frida Kahlo.
A boy creates a community art project to beautify his neighborhood in this inspiring book by Susan Verde, beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist John Parra.
As she strolls through her barrio, a young girl introduces readers to the frozen, fruit-flavored treat that thrills Mexican and Mexican-American children.
Inspired by her own Mexican ancestry and culture, chef Marcela Valladolid’s children’s cookbook leads readers through the magic and legacy of her family recipes.
My Big Barefoot Book of Spanish and English Words
Readers of all levels will love following a friendly family from dawn 'til dusk. Each colorful scene teems with over 700 people, places and things that are labeled in both Spanish and English to introduce new words and reinforce familiar ones.
Highlighting the cultures, art and nature of Mexico, this book will help little readers to value themselves and their cultural and ethnic roots.
An intergenerational story of family ties, cultural pride, and spelling bee victory following a young boy who bonds with his beloved abuela over a love of Spanish.
Que tu vida sea deliciosa
A delicious and fortifying picture book inspired by the author’s family, featuring the Mexican tradition of holiday tamale-making. A 2022 Pura Belpré Award Illustrator Honor Book!
Karina Batchelor is a proud Latinx mama from Miami, la ciudad magica. She's a longtime educator, writer, and creative who holds multiple degrees in varied areas of study. Her qualifications have seen her excel across the US and the UK in various sectors of the education and theatre industry. You can often find her with a cafecito in hand at the nearest library, her homeschooling cooperative, or at the theatre, where she works as a professional dramaturg.