September 15 - October 15 marks Hispanic Heritage Month in the US. We’re celebrating here at Poetry Teatime by featuring the amazing work of Hispanic poets. If you haven’t read many poems by Hispanic writers, now’s your chance to get started!
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Here are some great poems by Hispanic authors to read during your teatime this month (and all year!). Many of the poems include discussion questions, creative writing prompts, audio recordings, and other resources to explore the poem in more depth.
- Ode to My Socks, by Pablo Neruda: This poem describes the poet’s childhood memories of a pair of socks. Poets.org provides discussion questions that help think about the connections between memories and clothing.
- Translation for Mamá, by Richard Blanco: Blanco places Spanish and English stanzas side by side to paint a picture of his mother and to show the complexity of writing in English and Spanish. Poets.org also provides teaching resources for the poem here.
- When Giving Is All We Have, by Alberto Ríos: Ríos crafts a beautiful poem about why it’s important to give and what generosity can do for each of us.
- Instructions on Not Giving Up, by Ada Limón: Limón describes the transition from flowering trees to new leaves in the spring. The discussion questions at the end help to interpret the central metaphor of the poem.
- Like You/Como Tú, by Roque Dalton: This is a poem for those who love the little things in life: love, bread, and poetry. Dalton’s poem is translated from Spanish by Jack Hirschman.
- Find more poems, lesson plans, and resources about Hispanic Heritage Month here and a list of bilingual Spanish/English poems for kids here from Poets.org.
Spanish Language & Audio Resources
If you’ve never learned Spanish, you may feel intimidated by the idea of reading poetry in a completely new language. Never fear! Poems are some of the best ways to get started. We’ve provided lots of resources below to help you begin your journey of learning, pronouncing, understanding, and enjoying Spanish poetry.
- Spanish Resources Library: This website by Spanish Mama does an amazing job of collecting videos, easy nursery rhymes, and language games to make learning Spanish easy and fun.
- 123 Teach Me: This website includes lots of the nitty-gritty elements of studying a new language, including grammar guides, online games, and resources for kids.
- Señor Jordan language videos: This is a series of YouTube videos for beginners learning Spanish. Practice simple greetings, work on pronunciation, and build your language skills!
- Caramba Kids: Watch YouTube videos of songs to help you learn Spanish. It’s cute and catchy, perfect for beginners.
- Ikonet Visual Dictionary: Teach yourself simple words and phrases using images. Use the drop-down menu in the upper right hand corner to switch between English, Spanish, and French.
- Songs and Rhymes from Texas State Library: Learn easy Spanish songs and nursery rhymes with audio files and side-by-side poems and translations.
- BBC Language Trip to Madrid: Imagine that you’re going on a trip to Madrid, but you know absolutely no Spanish. This series of BBC videos takes beginners through a trip to Spain, teaching the most important words and phrases you’d need to enjoy your time. Note that this is focused on Spanish spoken in Europe.
- Spanish Audiobooks: Once you’ve developed your Spanish skills a little, put them to the test with these audiobooks, ranging from poems and rhymes to longer young adult books, many of which are available for free.
- Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape: The Library of Congress has a wonderful collection of audio recordings by Hispanic authors of their major works. These resources are best for those who already have some knowledge of Spanish and want to further develop their skills.
Hispanic & Bilingual Poetry Books to Read
This list is just a small selection of the all the wonderful poetry books by Hispanic authors, many in Spanish and English. Be sure to check out each of the poets below for many more choices!
Yes! We Are Latinos: Poems and Prose about the Latino Experience, by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy
The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems & Stories from Mexico, collected by Naomi Shihab Nye
¡Pio Peep! Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes, selected by Alma Flor Ada, F. Isabel Campoy, and Alice Schertle (comes with audio CD)
Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young & Latino in the U.S. by Lori Marie Carlson & Oscar Hijuelos
The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English and Spanish, compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong (be sure to check out the audiobook here, too)
Iguanas in the Snow: And Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la Nieve: Y Otros Poemas de Invierno, by Francisco Alarcón
Laughing Tomatoes: And Other Spring Poems / Jitomates Risuenos: Y Otros Poemas de Primavera, by Francisco Alarcón
A Movie in My Pillow / Una película en mi almohada, by Jorge Argueta
Somos como los nubes / We Are Like the Clouds, by Jorge Argueta
Talking with Mother Earth / Hablando con madre tierra, by Jorge Argueta
Book Fiesta!, by Pat Mora
Confetti: Poems for Children, by Pat Mora
César: ¡Sí, Se Puede! Yes, We Can!, by Carmen Bernier-Grand
Frida: Viva La Vida! Long Live Life!, by Carmen Bernier-Grand