Author: Frances

Gift Ideas your Latino Kids will Love

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There’s something for all! From little ones, teens and to your older kids have them show off their Latino pride with these gifts that they will love.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase I’ll receive a small monetary compensation. Thanks!

Accessories

What girl wouldn’t love a pair of concha earrings? Get yours (or your kid’s) here from Candy’s Kloset.

How about a bilingual case that can be used as a pencil case? Or a make-up bag for us mamás 🙂 Get yours here from Anda Pa’l.

For the older girls, this necklace should be a hit! I want one too! Get yours from Hija de tu Madre here.

T-Shirts

For the tamale or taco loving kiddo! You can get your tees here from Boo Boo Ropa.

Little ones can totally embrace their girl power with these tees from Spanglish Threadz. Get yours here.

How about celebrating your kid’s bicultural identity? Get yours here.

Love this tee for our code-switching bilingual kids. Get yours here.

♫♫Despacito♫♫ from Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee is a hit but I bet this shirt from Mama Tortuga will even be a bigger hit with your kids! Get yours here.

Book subscription

For the Latino book worms in your home, a Booklandia subscription is an ideal gift. Get yours here.

Journaling

Have your kids write in their very own heritage journals. Mommy Maestra’s heritage journals are a hit with kids. Get yours here: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Spanish and a multicultural version too!

How cute are these pencils from Rowdy Corazón. Get yours here.

Games

You can never go wrong with games!!!

Cabezoodos Dóminos

Loteria Mexicana Family Board Game

Lil’ Loteria: A Lil’ Libros Bilingual Bingo GameFotorama

El Original Turista Mundial Juego de Mesa [Global Economy Board Game]

Spanish Bananagrams

Kloo Madrid p

Bilingual Zingo

Turista Mexicano

Bori-Mex Bingo!

Don Clemente Serpientes Y Escaleras Authentic Mexican Game

Categories: Kids Party

Festival de máscaras de Hatillo (Hatillo’s Mask Festival)

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The traditional “Festival de las máscaras”  Hatillo Mask Festival is celebrated on December 28th in the town of Hatillo, Puerto Rico. Both my son and I were there to see the “caravana” of floats with giant speakers, decorated jeeps, and cars blasting their music. The participants wear very elaborate and colorful costumes and meshed masks.  The streets and main roads are closed to general traffic.  They walk down the streets all in good fun they start squirting you with water, shaving cream or whatever else they may have.  

Guess who got wet?  Both my son and I! I was running away attempting to cover my DSLR camera so it wouldn’t get wet. It was fun!  (Check out the YouTube video below). 

The festival continues throughout the day. Food vendors, artisans, and music can be enjoyed by all with a procession finalizing at the town’s plaza. 

How did this tradition get started?   It dates back to 1823 when the settlers from the Canary Islands founded the town of Hatillo. 

The festival remembers the first Christian martyrs or Holy Innocents (Santos Inocentes). Based on the Bible book of Matthew where it is recorded that many baby boys under the age of three years were murdered as commanded by King Herod in his quest to kill baby Jesus.

Other festivals and carnivals in Puerto Rico are: 

Ponce Carnival or Carnaval Ponceño

The Ponce Carnival is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday.   Is a week-long celebration with lots of loud and colorful parades.  Masked “vejigantes” taunt the crowd.   Similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans this carnival is derived from the old world tradition with a final celebration mark the beginning of Lent.

You can also make your very own “vejigante” masks from Kid World Citizen Puerto Rican Mask Art 

Festival de Santiago Apóstol 

Festival de Santiago Apóstol in the town of Loíza is a celebration rooted in Spanish and African culture.  It celebrates the apparition of Saint James patron saint of Christian Spanish military in both Loíza and Spain. This is said to have helped them conquer the pagan Moors.  It’s also a lively parade with “Bomba” music a traditional and African folk music. During the carnival, you will see  “vejigantes” and the Spanish knights battle representing the forces of good and evil.

Children’s book about carnivals in Puerto Rico

Looking for books to read on carnivals in Puerto Rico? We own these two books and just like my son enjoyed so will your kids.
These are affiliate links if you make a purchase I’ll receive a small monetary compensation. Thank you!

Celebrating Heritage as a Family

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Note:  This post was initially posted on November 12, 2012, and updated on April 30, 2019.  My son is now 10 years old, and it’s safe to say that he’s very proud of both his Southern and Latino heritage.  

Dictionary.com defines heritage as “something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inherited lot or portion: a heritage of poverty and suffering; a national heritage of honor, pride, and courage.”

During a recent family event, we were catching up with my husband’s side of the family. There was so much to talk about! Conversations were flowing about our families, jobs, the high cost of living, and of course politics. Obviously, this being an election year, my husband’s cousin shares with us that during the last election, his daughter came home one day, and blurts out, “I don’t know what the big deal is with Obama winning the presidency!” This coming from his 17 yr. old daughter who is Black. Of course, he was in shock!  Heck, I was in shock when I heard what he just said! Had she not realized that he was the 1st Black man to become president and that this was a historic event! Is this what happens when you raise your child oblivious to his/her heritage.

 However, in order to better understand her statement, we need to look into her own background, and where she was raised.  Her parents are Black from the South, who moved to Chicago when she was a young child. They live in the upper scale suburbs, and she went to a predominantly all White school.  So the question here is, had she been raised in a predominantly Black community would her outcome on Barack Obama winning the presidency had been different? How about her parent’s involvement in teaching her about her own heritage?

I don’t want to pass judgment on how she was raised, however as the mother of a multiracial and multicultural child, I’m constantly reading, researching and looking for ways to teach my son where he comes from.  I can only speak on my own experience of what I’m doing and passing along to my son about his own unique heritage. I have expressed how adamant I am about embracing your heritage, and culture. Living in the South has proven to be a challenge to instill in my son pride and a sense of belonging of his Latino heritage since it’s not as “present” as his Black one. He’s living day to day this Black Southern heritage, the food, the culture, and his primary language English.
So how do I teach him about his own heritage? At 4 yrs. old I can only speak to him in simple terms so he can understand, and we do things together as a family to celebrate his heritage: 

I’ve started by creating a heritage board for our son. This board helps him understand visually where he comes from.

As the sole Spanish speaking parent at home, I strive to talk to him in Spanish. Though I do confess it’s a daily struggle, and I’ve faced many challenges that I shared before in a previous post.

Being the multicultural familia that we are, we celebrate El Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos. We have a super long holiday in our home.  Kicking off with Thanksgiving during November all the way through January 6 when we celebrate Three Kings Day!

Getting ready for Los Tres Reyes Magos

Fostering his relationship with his extended family, and creating new memories has been easy since we travel to Puerto Rico every other year, and the year that we don’t travel we always have his Abuela or his Titi (Auntie) with the familia come over to visit.  He knows who are his extended family members, including the ones that do not live in Puerto Rico. Our relatives living in the states have come to visit us, or we have gone to visit them.  His extended family is very much “present” in his life, throughout the year they send him letters, and/or packages to keep in touch with him.  (We have used video chat, but not as often as we should).

Although, a little hard (because of the difficulty of finding the ingredients locally) is introducing little one to Latin cooking.  He loves soul food but is having a hard time assimilating his palate to Latin cuisine. It’s a treat when we receive from Puerto Rico: guineos verdes (green bananas), papaya (tropical fruit), gandules (pigeon peas) and/or ajies dulces (sweet peppers) so we can whip up a Latin dish.  I often make a delish flan which is now our “go” to dessert for parties, and gatherings.

Reading to him bilingual or Spanish books is a fun way to learn about his heritage. Little one loves the book about the Coquíes, On this Beautiful Island, Atariba & Niguayona: A Story from the Taino People of Puerto Rico, Mi isla y yo/My Island and I: La naturaleza de Puerto Rico/The Nature of Puerto Rico, and most importantly books celebrating diversity, and multiculturalism.

His heritage is his identity, and I pray that teaching our little one of where he comes from will help him embrace his individuality.   Creating a sense of pride, of belonging, and knowing where he comes from will promote his character growth, and enable him to defend himself against prejudice and racism. Where he lives will not solely determine his identity, but so will his parent’s contribution to passing on his heritage.  🙂
How do you teach your children about their heritage? Would love to know! Please share, like and/or comment. ¡Gracias!

Free Comic Strip Printables

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My tween loves doing three things: reading graphic novels, drawing and writing! He has quite an imagination. He grabs any blank sheet of paper and starts scribbling away. His favorite part? Sharing his story with me.

To continue encouraging his love for writing I’ve created these comic strip printables for him to use. I’ve created a Spanish titled version, too that’s great for bilingual kids!

Now let’s talk about the benefits, shall we? There are so many benefits in encouraging creative writing in children: It boosts their imagination and creativity, allows for self-expression and for them to freely write what’s on their minds. It encourages them to think outside the box when writing on the who, what, why, when and where. My personal favorite: It’s also a great screen-free activity for them to do.

On Friday evenings I babysit two of little ones friends. One of the girls made this comic strip. She drew herself, her sister and my son! I love it!

Below I’m sharing some of the graphic novels that he enjoys reading. They are affiliate links if you make a purchase I’ll receive a small monetary compensation. Our personal favorite in Spanish is El cartero del espacio. He was pretty bummed that a series doesn’t exist for this graphic novel.

The printables are in an 8×10 jpeg file. You can print in “full size” on an 8 1/2 x 11 paper or just copy and paste. Happy writing!

Click here to get your FREE PRINTABLES!

How to Support Local Businesses in Puerto Rico: Shop Online

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It’s been a year and a half since Hurricane María ravaged through the island of Puerto Rico. Despite the limited disaster aid that the island has received from the U.S. government the island is thriving. You know why? Because Puerto Ricans are resilient. That and of course, the tourist who visit our island. Puerto Rico’s lush vegetation has flourished, and our beaches are more beautiful than ever. Tourism is a booming business, and it helps the island’s economy.

However, not everyone is able to travel to Puerto Rico. How can you help Puerto Rico? Easy! By shopping online from local businesses from the comfort of your home, anywhere in the world.

Social media has played a huge factor in getting news to the diaspora during the hurricane, and it’s also been a great resource to find local businesses too.

I’ve compiled a list of local businesses from Puerto Rico some from which I’ve already shopped. I’m pretty excited aboiut the purchases I’ve made thus far, and I hope you would be too.

I love, love this coloring book! Of course, I had to order I ordered two!
I got one for my niece and another one for my son. Get yours it’s only $3. 🙂
Oh my gosh! I love these. I ordered a set for my tween and I can’t wait to play with him.
Save this one for the holidays! These sacks are a hit! I bought one for my son last year.  She also personalizes sacks for other events, too.
All righty! This artisan coffeemaker reminds me of Abuela.
I’m planning to get one muy pronto.
Support locally grown and harvested coffee from Puerto Rico. The most amazing fact about this coffee is that it’s been harvested by seeds that survived Hurricane María.
Aren’t these miniature Taínos awesome? I purchased these during one of my visits to Puerto Rico. However, you can order them online, too.
If it weren’t for Libros 787 I wouldn’t have been able to purchase that book in the middle: “Un Coquí de Boriquén con los Reyes a Belén” for my tween for Día de Reyes. Love their selection and they send out periodic email promotions for free shipping. Score!
Homeschool mamá and entrepreneur
Marielisa makes these beautiful handmade earrings, bookmarks and more. I need to order one of these for myself.
This artist from Puerto Rico is always on high-demand! She does beautiful watercolor portraits. Her most popular piece is Las Reinas Magas.