Bilingual is Better

Given that we are in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), we should pause to examine the meaning of being Latino in this country. Though I cannot count myself in this ethnic group, I am interested in staying abreast of Latino contributions to America because my entire world is wrapped up in the language and culture of this rapidly expanding population. One of the easiest, and most enjoyable, ways for me to delve into the who, what, and when of Hispanic Americans is to read about them.

The majority of the books on this list are for adults because staying connected to the things we want to instill in our kids is of ultimate importance. Reading about firsthand experiences may help remind us all of why we are raising bi- or multicultural families. Allow yourself the time to remember where you came from, or reminisce vicariously about a complex history through one of these authors’ excellent stories.

Historical Texts:

A Kid’s Guide to Latino History: More than 50 Activities by Valerie Petrillo

100 Hispanic-Americans Who Shaped American History by Rick Laezman

Latino in America by Soledad O’Brien

The New York Public Library Amazing Hispanic American History: A Book of Answers for Kids by George Ochoa

Memoirs & Novels:

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa

Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez by Richard Rodriguez

The Oxford Book of Latin American Short Stories edited by Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Bodega Dreams: A Novel by Ernesto Quiñonez

The Tattooed Soldier by Hector Tobar

Can you add more books to this list? What do you like to read to your kids to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

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