My name is Felipe.

 I am Panamanian
oand Venezuelan.

 I am black.

 I live in Chicago.

 I am Latino.



A horrendous and unforgivable crime
contributed to the birth of a new culture


People of African descent contributed to the formation of Latin America,
a world with three major heritages: indigenous, African and Spanish.

From “Eyes of the Jaguar” (Ada & Campoy)


Questions to Initiate and Guide the Creative Reading Dialogue

Descriptive Phase

 Why does Felipe feel the need to be Angelita’s champion?
How will he defend her?
 What is his gift?

Personal Interpretive Phase

 It has been said that all Latinos are mestizos, because we all share a mixture of cultures and ethnicities. Like many other Latinos, Felipe is of African descent, an Afro-Latino. Are you Afro-Latino? Any of your friends? Anyone you know?
 Do you know anyone who, like Angelita, has special needs?

Critical/Multicultural/Anti-Bias Phase

 Felipe is aware that we are not responsible for the conditions of our birth. For him this means that no one has the right of looking down upon others who may be different. What are your thoughts on this?

Creative/ Transformative Phase

 How can we respect the differences with which we are all born? Make sure that others also respect them?


Activities Students Can Do Individually or in Groups

 Have students research the lives of Afro-Latinos who have made important contributions to the Latino history and culture. They can present their findings in a variety of ways including a newspaper article or blog entry, a radio or TV interview, a biographical book.
Some of the many important figures are:

Wifredo Lam (Chinese/African) Cuba
Nicolás Guillen (Cuba)
Luis Palés Matos (Puerto Rico)
Nancy Morejón (Cuba)
  Patriots in the Struggle for Independence
José María Morelos (México)
Antonio Maceo (Cuba)
José Maceo (Cuba)
Juan Gualberto Gómez (Cuba)
Pío de Jesús Pico (California Governor)
  Religious Figures
San Martín de Porres (Perú)
  Sports Figures
 Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico)
 Nicomedes Santa Cruz (Perú)
 Victoria Santa Cruz (Perú)
 Bola de Nieve (Cuba)
  Song Writers
 Pablo Milanés (Cuba)
 Celia Cruz (Cuba)
 Ibrahim Ferrer (Cuba)



 Have the students research some of the contributions of Latinos with an African heritage, in the past and today. They can present it in the form of a report as news for a newspaper, radio or TV, or as an interview They can do this project individually or in groups. Make sure the report includes:
What is the contribution? Who made it? When? Where? How is it new or different? How was it achieved? Why is it significant?

 Encourage students to research the history of the Panama Canal and create a history time line

 Invite them to learn about Venezuela. They can make a map and identify the different regions, the various indigenous groups who live in Venezuela, and the physical characteristics of its various regions.

 Have students look up the American with Disabilities Act and understand the struggles that it required to recognize the right of all people to be given equal rights and the assistance they may need.


Related Books Grades 2-4


ninabonitaNiña bonita by Ana María Machado

The Red Comb/This Is How We Live
by Fernando Picó

grandmasgiftGrandma’s Gift by Eric Velázquez


lionislandLion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words by Margarita Engle

mynameisCeliaMy Name is Celia. The Life of Celia Cruz by Mónica Brown

Related Books Grades 4-8


juandeparejaI, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Treviño

silverpeopleSilver People: Voices from the Panamá Canal by Margarita Engle

poetslaveThe Poet Slave of Cuba. A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano
by Margarita Engle