Our Celebracion! Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Keywords: 
Cultural/Historical Contexts
Holidays
Language
by Susan Middleton Elya - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to experience the joy of a community celebration for different cultures. The book also brings forward the musical sound of language.

This picture book combines English and Spanish for a lyrical celebration of a summer holiday. We spend a few delightful moments immersed in the details of any outdoor community celebration. The familiar elements of music, parade, costumes, food, and togetherness bring meaning to the Spanish words sprinkled in. Cultures mix and find joy together in the common experience of celebrating a special holiday together. This is an opportunity to discuss the things we all have in common as well as the cultural traditions different families celebrate. 

Before Reading

Ask: What are some holidays we celebrate outside with our community? What do you like about celebrations of holidays? What holiday is coming up?

Show: The cover shows many elements of an outdoor celebration. What are some of the details you see in the images? The name of the book is in Spanish and English. The rhyme, pictures, and meaning of the sentence will help make sense of unfamiliar words. If you know the Spanish words, say them with me while I'm reading aloud. 

Connect: What do you remember about parades, fireworks, and outdoor festivals? What does it feel like to be part of a big shared outdoor celebration?

During Reading

Ask: What rhymes do you hear in the Spanish words?

Show: Talk about the meanings of unfamiliar words. Try to figure out the meaning by the context and sound of the word. Look at the glossary in the back to look up meanings.

Connect: Think carefully about the experience of a celebration. What are we being grateful for? In what ways do we show generosity when we are coming together to celebrate special events and important people in our history?

After Reading

Ask: What big ideas stand out for you after listening to the full story? 

Show: Show the pictures of costumes and other details. Talk about what is the same across all cutures and what is different about each. For example, all cutures may have special handheld foods, but some are spicy and some are sweet. 

Connect: When we attend a festival or parade, we come together with our community and enjoy the moment we are in. Why is it important to have fun together as a community? 

Activities

  1. Make and taste a food from one cultural tradition and compare the similarities and differences to a similar food in other traditions. For example, empanadas may be similar to tacos or pasties but with different spices. 
  2. Interview someone in your family, neighborhood, or at a retirement home about their memories of festivals and parades. Ask questions about their cultural heritage and ways they shared their traditions with others. 
  3. Learn the words celebration and community in other languages. What cultural heritages are present in your local community? Those may be the languages you choose to learn more about. 
  4. Make a list of holidays and special events you and your family celebrate. What are they important celebrations for your family?