There is one book in particular that I recommend to parents and teachers who are looking to teach their children and students more about the Latin culture.

A Kid’s Guide to Latino History: More Than 50 Activities by Valerie Petrillo is a detailed account of Latino hstory in the New World, from their “discovery” of the Americas in 1492 to the “Day Without Immigrants” national boycott in 2006. This valuable tool covers everything from geography and art to culture and history. What I like best about this book is that it is activity based. So for each topic covered, there is an accompanying craft, recipe, or other activity to reinforce the concept. For example, in chapter eight, Petrillo highlights Dominican Americans and offers instructions for crafting a Dominican carnival mask and a charamico (you are wondering what this is, I bet!) as well as a recipe for arroz con leche.

In addition, Petrillo has included a ton of resources for parents and teachers back of the book. You’ll find a bibliography for children AND adults, a list of Latino museums, a section on Latino movies and videos, websites for kids, and finally, an awesome teacher’s guide, which breaks down the activities by grade level, ways to modify the activities, and suggests extended learning opportunities.

The information in this book is not taught in schools, but is a crucial topic, especially for Latino children who deserve the right to see their own faces reflected positively in the history of the Americas. I believe this inspires our children to do great things and leave their own mark on the world. In fact, a study by the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, found that Latino adolescents who grow up informed and proud of their own culture are far more likely to develop “healthier behaviors” than those who don’t. So that’s another great reason to pick up a copy of this book!

A Kid’s Guide to Latino History is best suited for older children, ages 8 and up. It is written in English.

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