Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by many in the United States, but does everyone who celebrates know what the holiday commemorates? A popular myth is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, similar to America’s Fourth of July.
But, it isn’t. Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16th.
Here’s the real story: On the 5th day of May in 1862, though out-numbered and poorly equipped, Mexican soldiers held off French soldiers in the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. This stopped the the French from progressing to Mexico City. It was a victory worth celebrating!
Also worth celebrating are some great middle-grade titles that feature Latina/Latino characters. But first, two words of caution as we think about diversity in our reading selections:
Not just today. Cinco de Mayo (or any holiday of cultural significance) is a great time to move readers toward more diverse book selection. But, let’s not limit that practice to the “culture of the month.” Each and every day, we should strive for diversity in our home, classroom, school, and public libraries.
Not just the classics. There will always be that treasured and timeless book we adore. We love it for its heart and for its story. And, because its characters helped us learn more about a given culture (in this case, think Esperanza Rising), we tend to gravitate toward it again and again. I say, Great! But, don’t stop there. Look for and champion new middle grade titles, like the ones below.
Click the book to go to the publisher’s page to read more about it.
Comment below with a book featuring Latina/Latino main characters that you’d like to read on Cinco de Mayo (or ANY day!)