Award-winning authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy take us on a journey through the holiday season with stories incorporating three different celebrations. Challenge your students to compare these distinctly important holidays while bringing the spirit of the season alive in the classroom.

 

  1. Celebrate Hanukkah

The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah lasts for eight nights and days and takes place in late November or in December (the exact dates vary each year). Learn more about this notable holiday along with your class by reading Celebra Hanukkah con un cuento de Bubbe. The Yiddish word Bubbe means grandma, and in this tale, Bubbe’s grandkids are waiting eagerly to hear one of her famous stories, but she’s a little busy preparing for the upcoming celebration of lights. After reading the story, students can enjoy a popular game played during Hanukkah by creating a homemade dreidel and using buttons as gold coins.

 

  1. Celebrate Christmas and Three Kings Day

Most students are likely familiar with Christmas traditions, but many may not know the history behind the holiday of Three Kings Day. This popular festivity goes hand-in-hand with Christmas and is celebrated all over the world, especially in Latin America. In the book Celebra Navidad y el Día de los Reyes Magos con Pablo y Carlitos, students will find out why two young boys are anxiously awaiting the morning of Three Kings Day to open their presents—and why they’ll be sure to leave grass out the night before. Through the story of Pablo and Carlitos, students will learn not only about the three kings, but they’ll also be reminded of the true spirit of the Christmas season. As a follow-up activity, students can write their own letters to the three kings asking not for presents for themselves, but for what they wish for others.

 

  1. Celebrate Kwanzaa

Every year beginning on December 26 and ending on January 1, people of African descent remember and celebrate their heritage through the celebration of Kwanzaa. Immerse your students in the meaning of this holiday with the book Celebra Kwanzaa con Botitas y sus gatitos. The seven values upheld during the Kawanzaa festivities are explained in an entertaining yet simple way as a family searches for their beloved pet, who’s gone missing. This is a memorable story that students will enjoy while also expanding their knowledge and their appreciation for this cultural celebration. After reading the book, have students brainstorm values that they think should be incorporated into a holiday that people all over the world could celebrate together.

 

By Kelli Drummer-Avendano

Also read: Descubriendo culturas y celebraciones: Posadas, Hanukkah y Kwanzaa

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