Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Hispanic Heritage Month 2020

Two Weeks In!

We’re two weeks in to Hispanic Heritage Month 2020. I’m sure you’ve had some amazing successes – but please do not give up!  This is no time to kick back and plan for Halloween!


I want you to consider – strongly – reading resources that focus on Hispanic-American art as well as the art of graphic novels.  Graphic novels set themselves up years ago – decades at this point – as not just a form of storytelling, but an artful way to bring imagery to life.  This month, why not celebrate the contributions of superior graphic novel artists from the Hispanic-American culture?  Or the most prolific Hispanic-American illustrators?

Where is a non-Latinx to begin?

So, where is a non-Latinx to begin?

Consider your award winners first, such as…

The Américas Award

The Américas Award encourages and commends authors, illustrators and publishers who produce quality and classroom-ready children’s and young adult books portraying Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States” – Library of Congress


Last year’s Américas Award Honor winner is Francie Latour, whose work “Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings” has been described as being “full of the sounds, colors and language of Haiti” – Kirkus.

How to present Hispanic-American Literature and Graphic Novels in library and school programming

Hispanic communities are incredibly diverse and there is no best practice for threading both their commonality as well as their uniqueness.  Instead, consider re-defining the term Hispanic by:

  • Point out to readers that there is no one Hispanic identity, that it is a collective term
  • Discuss how the terms Hispanic and Latinx are not generally accepted universally
  • Ask Hispanic program attendees what they identify with most about themselves – ask them to share
  • If possible, introduce attendees to the concept of any overlap between Black history and Hispanic, such as Afro-Latinx
  • Research and present the history of the concept of Hispanic as seen through the eyes of the US Census bureau
  • Do not highlight simply one culture and not another.  For example, do not focus on solely Mexican heritage.
  • Ask yourself and your attendees, what is the difference between Hispanic and Latinx civil rights?
  • Prepare yourself.  Get a good grasp of race and ethnicity as core concepts, and especially Hispanic versus Latinx communities, not just physical but also of thought and contribution

A great jumping off point for this is via Teach for Change

NEA — Lesson plans for grades 6-8

NEA — Lesson plans for grades 9-12

See also “Adventures in Heritage Teaching” – Insights for readers into working with heritage Spanish students + lesson plans and classroom activities

Step 1 — Have children read a passage from a graphic novel from your resource list.  Assume your group is not bilingual.  If you have the opportunity to prepare even further in advance of your program, have students act out a passage for the group.

Step 2 – Discuss the piece in terms of how things unfolded.  For example, in Duncan Tonatiuh’s Separate is Never Equal discuss how the story unfolds.


Step 3 – Discuss identity issues in your selection.  Is Hispanic identity being respected by non-Hispanics?  If your selection is written in English and Spanish, ask children why the author chose to do it that way.

Step 4 – Discuss the conflict in the selection or how Hispanics were able to take their power back.  If there is a distinct conflict in your selection(s), have participants decide who was responsible for the conflict in the story.  Are there winners and losers?

Step 5 – Have participants discuss the events in your selection and the realities in your school or community.

NEA — Lesson Plans and more for grades K-5

Resources to explore

Latino/Hispanic Heritage Resource Packet – created by Teaching for Change

Hispanic Heritage Month Activities and Ideas – compiled by Spanish Mama

NEA – National Hispanic Heritage Month Lesson Plans

Free posters celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, plus Spanish Language Day, and Seven Ways to Add Spanish to Your Life

Exploring Hispanic Art with grade-school aged Children

Peru — conduct a Nazca Lines project

Mexico – make Mexican folk art style paintings called Amate

Panama – create a Mola!

Diego Rivera – have children work on a collaborative Diego Rivera styled mural

Guatemala — weaving

Peru – paper arpilleras

Guatemala – worry dolls from simple craft materials

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *