I’m always looking for ways to share my Latino heritage with my two boys. Thanks to PBS, Disney, the National Parks Service, and Siruis XM, there are plenty of ways to do it during Hispanic Heritage Month. The celebration started September 15th and continues through October 15th. In case you were not aware, Hispanic Heritage Month started back in 1968 under Lyndon Johnson and became an entire week under Ronald Reagan in 1988 as a way to honor American citizens whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
If you’re looking for ways learn and celebrate, here is a list of what to watch, listen to, read, and also places to visit.
Sesame Street This week is the premiere of the 44th season of Sesame Street. It welcomes a new bilingual character, Armando, and features the residents of Sesame Street celebrating a Latino Festival.
Latino Americans on PBS — The 6-hour, 3-part documentary airs on PBS stations Tuesday, Sept. 17th at 7 p.m. ET. I watched a screener of the first episode with my boys, who are 8 and 9, and it’s definitely a show I would recommend to watch as a family. It’s the first television documentary to chronicle the 500 years of Latino History in North America. It’s narrated by Benjamin Bratt and features interviews with Latino historians, authors, and celebrities who tell stories you may not have heard before. It’s a well done and moving documentary.
Disney Channel Interstitials Disney Channel is highlighting Latino life in the interstitials (2 to 3 minute videos in between shows in lieu of commercials) series “This is Me.” It’s aimed at tweens and was filmed at the Boys and Girls Club at Long Beach, California. They talk about their lives and what Hispanic Heritage means to them.
SiriusXM Radio — SiriusXM is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with special programming across its Latin channels including interviews with Alejandro Sanz, Rita Moreno, and Natalia Lafourcade. Plus, listen to concerts featuring 3BallMTY and Los Hermanos Rosario.
Latino USA — This show on National Public Radio is produced by the Futuro Media Group and hosted by my personal hero, Maria Hinojosa. It sheds light on issues facings Latinos by reporting incredible stories about everything from education to immigration to music to food. It’s entertaining and enlightening even when it’s not Hispanic Heritage Month.
The National Park Service The NPS is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by encouraging people to visit or learn about the National Parks. There are national historic sites, museum exhibits, and plenty of stories to hear thanks to the NPS. The American Latino Heritage Fund is also trying to get more Latinos to the National Parks and created the American Latino Expedition to get the word out.
For Kids If you’re looking for Children’s books, check out Ana Flores’s Babble Post, 15 Children’s Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Or visit Latinas for Latino Literature Festival of Books where they’ll create reading lists for adults and children with books that feature Hispanics who have contributed to our nation’s history.
For Adults One of my favorite books from last year was Supreme Court Justice Sonja Sotomayor’s book, My Beloved World. The perfect book for Hispanic Heritage Month, it chronicles her life growing up in a Bronx housing project, her family history in Puerto Rico and her journey to Princeton and Yale and finally, the Supreme Court. It’s a wonderful book full of insightful and inspiring stories.
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