It’s so important to highlight and celebrate our Latinx culture. September and October is a great time to highlight historical figures that made an impact in our world. Most importantly, we must celebrate our Latinx roots all year long! My son and I started this celebration with reading books about Frida Kahlo. It’s a colorful children’s book that lends itself to children of all ages. As you take your child through the pages you can talk about “auto-retratos” and the importance of embracing our Latinx features.
We talked about our skin color and the beauty of our culture. He was very thoughtful about choosing colors that represent his facial features. Crayola makes crayons for different skin colors now. This is a fun activity to do as a family and at the same time teach your child about an important person in history. You can also visit Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul virtually!
It’s that time of year! We are getting ready to send our children back to school. We are enjoying the last few weeks of summer, getting that back to school list together, and look for clothing and supply deals! This is another unique year! We are still living in the times of COVID. Two years later. We have to prepare our kids the best way we can. We have our checklists, supplies…check…..clothes…check, room assignment…check…Let’s not forget the most important part of all. Let’s make sure our children are emotionally ready. Don’t forget to check in with them. Ask them how are they feeling? What are they most excited about? Are they scared? If so, why? Plan something fun right before school starts. If you haven’t already, start those back to school routines. Get to bed early, early rising, have breakfast planned out, and get them out the door. The sooner you do it, the easier it will be for you.
Don’t forget to read some fun books with them! I am including some back to school books along with a bilingual book titled Basquiat coming out soon from https://lillibros.com/collections/fall2021. If you haven’t learned about him, you must get this book. It’s also a great opportunity to support a Latina owned book publishing company.
I wanted to give my son a space where he can enjoy his reading time. I really want to give him a sense of ownership and responsibility when it comes to putting his room together. He is a vivacious reader, so he asked for a special reading nook. I wasn’t sure what that would look like in his room, so I had to think outside the box. We looked around his room and tried to pick a quiet space where he can focus and read without distractions. We chose a corner of his walk in closet!. I know it sounds outrageous, but it’s even more outrageous that a child would need a walk in closet, so it will be part walk in, and part reading nook.
We started with going to Home Depot and picking out a color. He chose green, I had to bite my tongue! I know that means letting go as a mom and allowing him to make choices on his own. I decided I will add some neutral decals to it to balance out the bright green.
He really enjoyed painting the wall and learned how to paint up and down instead of side to side. I decided to let him paint as long as a he wanted to and then even out the paint when he tired out. That happened very soon. I could see the pride on his face as he painted his wall. Once he gave up, I took over and finished the painting project.
Next, I ordered some hot air ballon decals from Amazon and my friend sent inspirational quotes to put on his wall. It all came together well. He is so happy with his reading nook. This is an easy and simple way to give your child space to enjoy reading without the outside distractions.
In light of recent events, I keep thinking about what can I do as an educator and activist? What can I do to support and change the systemic racism that exist in our society. Racism is all around us, just open a magazine, shop online, and look at billboards. Too often, I look for story books that depict lives of children that look like my son, I come up empty handed. Thank goodness for the movie Coco. Not only is my son excited to see a little boy that looks like him, but also speaks Spanish! You better believe I bought every book about Miguel!
Racism is real, it does exist. What happened to George Floyd is one of many stories that unfortunately happens in the black community on a regular basis. There are so many things that anger me in all of this, the most important is that this still happens. What also angers me is that I think the media takes advantage of these situations and causes a lot of anxiety with their round the clock reporting. I also cringe when I hear that certain people are taking advantage of this situation and organizing looting and hate crimes.
We are all angry, we have to find ways to come together to make a change and not participate in a broken system and cycle of hate and tension.
In addition to our children having to deal with COVID, they now have to witness, experience, and process what racism means. That is a lot to take in! How do we explain to our little ones that they might be looked at differently, singled out because of the color of their skin, or told a stereotype about their culture. I read a quote from a friend on Instagram that basically states that children of color do not get the privilege of not talking about racism at a young age. I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve collected a list of resources that I plan on using to teach my son. I am listing them below in hopes of helping parents of color naviagte their way through these conversations.
1. Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum talks about teaching her toddler son about race and identify. She is the author of Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria?
3. Sesame Street and CNN partner up to explain to children about racism and how it currently affects the black community. Wonderful job Sesame Street! They really provide kids with clear and child friendly language.
4. The Conscious Kid blog provides so many resources for children of all ages. They post articles about social justice and how media influences children. I really love the layout. I recently found a list titled 41 Children’s Books To Support Conversations About Race, Racism, And Resistance. I highly recommend it! You pay $1 and you can access their articles and resources.
What Would Danny Do? is a book that teaches children how to make good choices. Meet Danny a 7/8 year old boy that has to make good choices when encountering challenging situations. The author does a wonderful job of giving scenarios that are relatable to children and depending on your child’s answer, you can read a good choice or a bad choice. The choices are realistic and really help children think about the cause and effect of situations. It’s also very funny. Children see themselves in the various scenarios. I also love this book because it’s about a little boy. It is hard to find books that have boys as the main character.
Enjoy reading with your kiddos. Buy it I promise it will be well worth it.
Children love story time! They love listening to stories over and over. Parents/Caregivers, don’t be fooled if you have older children (middle school & highschool). They love story time too! Pick up their favorite book and you will see that no matter what age, your child will sit and listen to a story.
Benefits of story time for elementary aged children:
Stories help develop a child’s imagination.
Stories help model language for children.
Stories help nurture a child’s listening abilities.
Stories help children comprehend the world around them.
Stories expose children to a larger vocabulary than the spoken word.
Stories introduce and reinforce concepts such as colors, shapes, letters, etc.
Stories encourage a love of reading.
Stories allow children to hear the modeling of letter sounds and words
Story time allows adults to model prosody, fluency, and expression.
Storytime models good oral reading skills for parents and caregivers to follow.
Storytime can help children become successful readers and learners.
Storytime introduces songs, finger plays and nursery rhymes to parents that can be enjoyed at home.
Story time creates a social opportunity for parents and caregivers.
Here is an article that discusses the benefits and provide tips for reading to your child.
It is taken from a wonderful bilingual website called Colorín Colorado. Stay tuned for future postings about teaching Latino children Spanish in an English-centric world.