Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Mexican Folktales
Hispanic Heritage Month is here, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to share the many cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. Consider imparting nuggets of wisdom from this multicultural world via specific regional cultures. That’s what Matthew Gollub and Leovigildo Martínez accomplish with two folktales from Oaxaca, Mexico.
Credit: Original illustration by Laura Shema of Jolly Edition
La luna se fue de fiesta explains how the moon came to stay up with the sun past dawn. It was because she wanted to see how people celebrated the sun, and then encouraged them to throw a party in her honor at night. With beautiful oil painting illustrations by Leovigildo Martínez, originally from Oaxaca, this pourquoi tale showcases animals, traditional foods, and festive decorations from the region.Los veinticinco gatos mixtecos takes your students to the dusty slopes of Oaxaca where a kind curandero and his 25 cats help a village fight off an evil healer and prejudice. I love the detailed cultural renderings of village life through colors and traditional dress. I particularly liked the message it sends about not fearing that which is unknown.
In the classroom, these tales give rise to discussions around the author's message. They help students infer about characters’ feelings. Students identify ways in which illustrations support the meaning of words in the text. Strong texts full of culture!