The term African Diaspora refers to the communities of persons throughout the world who descend from African peoples. The Atlantic Slave Trade forced more than 10 million Africans to the New World, with vast numbers relocated to present day Latin America and the Caribbean. Brazil alone received almost 5 million. The African diaspora continues to this day to shape and enrich the social, economic, and cultural realities of Latin America.
Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) founded the Américas Award for Children and Young Adult Literature in 1993 to encourage and commend authors, illustrators and publishers who produce quality children’s and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States, and to provide teachers with recommendations for classroom use.
Art, Music, and Dance have always been a part of life in the region, even dating back to pre-colonial times. As time progressed, all three elements became intertwined with the local and national realities of each country, creating a wide variety of traditions and celebrations.
Bolivia is a country in central South America, with a varied terrain spanning Andes mountains, the Atacama Desert and Amazon Basin rainforest.
Brazil is one of the most naturally diverse countries in the Western Hemisphere. It is home to beaches, the Amazon, and major cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Not only is Brazil the largest country in Latin America, it is gaining ground as a major global player. Its economy is now ranked as the fifth largest in the world and it is host to the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.
Situated south of Peru and west of Bolivia and Argentina, Chile fills a narrow 2,880-mile strip between the Andes and the Pacific. One-third of Chile is covered by the towering ranges of the Andes.
Resources from related CLAS Educator Workshops and Institutes.
Coffee has been one of the most highly demanded commodities in the world for centuries. It is produced in over 70 countries worldwide and is a primary export for several Latin American nations including Brazil, Guatemala, and Colombia.
College and University
Colombia is bordered on the northwest by Panama, on the east by Venezuela and Brazil, and on the southwest by Peru and Ecuador.
Costa Rica is a rugged, rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific.
Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea, famous for the 1959 Socialist Revolution of Fidel Castro which ushered in a controversial era of communism.
Culture and Traditions
Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated across Latin America October 31-November 2. During that time, people across Latin America honor their dead and celebrate the cycle of life. The holiday originated in Mexico, though it is celebrated in Guatemala, Bolivia, and other countries in Latin America. During the celebrations, families and friends of departed loved ones create a space for them to return to the world of the living and celebrate those things which they enjoyed in life. The process embodies the belief that death is a natural and necessary part of life, and invites all participants to celebrate rather than mourn.
The Dominican Republic is a small country in the Caribbean, located on the island of Hispañola, shared with its neighbor to the West, Haiti. The country has a powerful political and social history shaped by power struggles and intense race relations, and in the past has been known for its sugar production and today, a booming tourist industry.
Ecuador is a country straddling the equator on South America’s west coast. Its diverse landscape encompasses Amazon jungle, Andean highlands and the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands.
El Salvador is the smallest of the Central American countries, with an area equal to that of Massachusetts, and it is the only one without an Atlantic coastline. Most of the country is on a fertile volcanic plateau about 2,000 ft (607 m) high.
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Geography and Maps
Guatemala is a nation torn between the past and the future, struggling to enter modern global society while clinging to a tumultuous, yet proud past. Home to volcanoes, colonial architecture, ancient Maya archeological sites, and over 20 modern indigenous languages, it borders Mexico, Belize, and the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts, giving it an incredible range of natural beauty.
Haiti, in the West Indies, occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. About the size of Maryland, Haiti is two-thirds mountainous, with the rest of the country marked by great valleys, extensive plateaus, and small plains.
Honduras, in the north-central part of Central America, has a Caribbean as well as a Pacific coastline. Guatemala is to the west, El Salvador to the south, and Nicaragua to the east. The second-largest country in Central America, Honduras is slightly larger than Tennessee. Generally mountainous, the country is marked by fertile plateaus, river valleys, and narrow coastal plains.
With a population of over 120 million people, Mexico is the largest Spanish speaking country in the world.
Migration as a process affects all parts of the world and Latin America is no exception. From rural/urban to international, migration constantly changes the social, economic, and cultural realities of Latin American communities.
Largest but most sparsely populated of the Central American nations, Nicaragua borders Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. It is slightly larger than New York State. Nicaragua is mountainous in the west, with fertile valleys. Two big lakes, Nicaragua and Managua, are connected by the Tipitapa River. The Pacific coast is volcanic and very fertile.
Panama is a country on the isthmus linking Central and South America.
PreK - 5th Grade
Reading and Language Arts
Educators from many disciplines and grade levels took part in this 20-hour program on one of the world’s most diverse countries in the world: Brazil. Throughout this institute held at Vanderbilt University, teachers explored the history of race in Brazil, the Portuguese language, capoeira, current events in Brazil, education in Brazil, as well as participated in interactive, reflective workshops on best practices in the language classroom and strategies to incorporate language into interdisciplinary classrooms. Educators collaborated to design interdisciplinary curricular resources for use in their classrooms and schools. This program was sponsored by Vanderbilt University, Tulane University, and the University of Georgia through a Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center grant. View the institute webpage. See photos from the 2015 Somos Nós Institute Somos Nós Institute at Tulane University and the 2016 Somos Nós Institute at Vanderbilt University.