Tito Puente

Happy Latino Heritage Month!! September 15th officially kicked off the month of celebrations with the Independence Days of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Hence, why the month long celebration starts in the middle of the month. There are so many beautiful traditions and inspirational people we could all celebrate this month. One Latino that I was previously unfamiliar with is Tito Puente. His story and music has had me practicing my cha-cha-cha all week, and I feel like we could all use some more of that this 2020.

Now, usually I use online read-alouds just to preview books before buying/checking out them out for my kids. They can feel so awkward to listen to sometimes it makes me cringe. Where are the silly voices? Where are the loud exclamations! Who taught these people how to make sound affects?! (I am kind of mostly joking, but story time in our house is not a restful event. We like a little “umph” in our stories.)

That being said, we loved the music and rythm in this online read aloud, and then go straight on to the next video suggested (a playlist of his music usually) for a Tito Puente themed dance party. We like it so much that this read aloud made its way into the Multicultural Holidays Subscription, and Latino Heritage Month isn’t over yet!

Who is Tito Puente?

As this children’s story shares, Ernesto Antonio “Tito” Puente is a Navy vet, Juliard grad, and American musician and songwriter. He mixed music styles and genres from Jazz and Latin to create festive and exciting music. He went from being a boy in Spanish Harlem to being a King of many names – El Rey de Mambo, El Rey de los Timbales!

Usually I start to read the novel biography about a person before finding a children’s book I can get my hands on and fall in love with, but this time its the other way around. I was just so excited to share this cute story for Latino Heritage month that I thought I’d share now and I’ll update this post later when I find a great book that matches. If you’re interested in learning more about Latino Heritage Month and some other great book recommendations for the whole family, go get your copy of the Multicultural Holidays Subscription now!

How Can Classrooms and Families Make The Fight Against Racism and Prejudice into a Celebration?

First, we need to make sure we’re clear about two definitions:

Prejudice is preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Racism is systematic prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.

Well, prejudice is *theoretically* easy to fight because if you just get some experience and exposure to the thing you have an opinion on, then you are informed. You can’t be informed and prejudiced about the same thing, as far as I understand it.

But if you become informed and still discriminate against and antagonize the person you’ve just had experience with, well, now you’re being racist. And that’s a problem.

Ok, but how am I supposed to be exposed to all kinds of different people? I can’t just pry into the lives of strangers at the store.

Let’s play a little brain game. There’s no right answer.

Scenario: You need to know everything you can about a particular culture. You are given a teleportation device that will take you to one place of your choice to witness that culture. You have to return with the teleportation device within 24 hours. What kind of culture would you *need* to know about, and what setting would you teleport yourself to??

Now, I’m still holding to the fact that there is no correct answer. But, here’s mine. Let’s say I wanted to learn as much as possible about Russian culture to impress a Russian friend. I would teleport myself to something like a Russian wedding, a huge celebration with lots of family and friends gathered together with the best food and entertainment.

It’s perfect because culture is: “the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. (dictionary.com)”

The custom: throwing kopeki at the bride and groom (this coin is worth like an edge of a penny), exchanging rings, “kidnapping” the bride for the groom to rescue, and more

The arts: flowers, decor, special clothing, dancing, and singing are all going to happen at an event like a wedding

Social institutions: families and friends will all (hopefully) be practicing their best cultural etiquette

So, what is your answer? Where would you go?

Okay, but that’s an impossible scenario, so how do we really do it?

Glad you asked. Here’s one suggestion.

Rather than crashing weddings, celebrate all the multicultural holidays. And if there’s anything we need more of in 2020, it’s something to celebrate!

In studying holiday celebrations – much like weddings – we learn about the unique foods, music, dance, family dynamics, art, beliefs, language, and so much more.

That’s why I’ve been learning something about every holiday around the world I could discover throughout this past year. And now, the MultiCultural Holidays Subscription is ready to begin so that others can do the same! Bring into your classroom a celebration from cultures around the world. Learn the greetings, traditions, important symbols and legends of the holiday. By the end of the year, you’ll be a better, more aware citizen and have a celebration for most weeks of the year!

You can get yours now HERE!

Full Year of Multicultural Holidays Subscription

Purchase all of the holidays in advance and receive them via email before the beginning of each month. You will receive the current (and any previous, beginning with September) months holidays pack upon purchase. It breaks down to just $3/month, so you save $12.


Click the “Pay with PayPal” button above to purchase the full year subscription, or click HERE to pay month-to-month

Totally Free Tuesday

How It Works

Check in every Tuesday to see what the newest free download is! There will be no requests for your email or other personal information. It’s as easy as clicking the “Download” button on this page. It may be available for 48 hours or only 24 hours, so be sure to set your alarms and share the link with your friends before it closes!

But just like anything in the shop, once you have it, please do not send it to anyone else. If a friend is interested in the download after the freebie is closed, they can purchase it from the shop, contact me directly, or wait to see if it pops up again in the Totally Free Tuesdays! Enjoy!

This Week’s Free Download

This week a teacher in a Facebook group asked how to help engage a very young student living in the US that mostly only spoke Russian. I felt compelled to chime in and offer my help to learn at least one thing in Russian that she could say to the student and create opportunities for all the students to share something about their homes and cultures. And so for Latino Heritage Month, I’m offering the same advice – let’s all learn to say something uplifting in Spanish to celebrate our Latino students and families! This download is one of my most popular items so it will only be available for 12 hours! Get yours now and share the link if you think you know someone else that would be interested!

You can print it as an 8×10 with this download, use it as a screensaver, or purchase the full set here to get all the sizes. It is for personal use only. No sharing of this file is allowed beyond what is obtained from the owner.

Download Here