¡Salud, Familia! is a landmark publishing and outreach program of Arte Público Press that encompasses health and nutrition education.. The books for distribution to low-income Hispanic families with school-aged children residing in urban and rural areas by our partnering organizations, to expand access to wellness information through lively and engaging bilingual children’s books.
¡Salud, Familia! is comprised of four major components: bilingual children’s books with health messages; the national broadcasting of public service announcements; a website with resources for educators, parents and health workers; and a groundbreaking policy book, At Risk: Latino Children’s Health. The program has been funded by the Marguerite Casey Foundation, The California Endowment, The Simmons Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The ¡Salud, Familia! series features children as protagonists making choices about exercise, food consumption and other relevant topics. The themes and scenarios are recommended by Arte Público’s national advisory board, and are presented by attractive visual imagery appealing to Latino cultural sensibilities and traditions. The back cover of each book offers parents and teachers tips for recipes, shopping for healthy food, limiting screen time, creating healthy environments for nutrition and exercise, visits to doctors and clinics, immunizations, and communications topics, such as how to read to young children.
¡Salud, Familia! bilingual titles to date are Let’s Salsa / Bailemos salsa by Lupe Ruiz-Flores with illustrations by Robert Casilla, Level Up / Paso de nivel by Gwendolyn Zepeda with illustrations by Pablo Torrecilla, The Patchwork Garden / Pedacitos de huerto by Diane de Anda with illustrations by Oksana Kemarskaya, A Day without Sugar / Un día sin azúcar by Diane de Anda with illustrations by Janet Montevalvo, I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón by Gwendolyn Zepeda with illustrations by Pablo Torrecilla, Sofía and the Purple Dress / Sofía y el vestido morado by Diane Gonzales Bertrand with illustrations by Lisa Fields, and Adelita and the Veggie Cousins / Adelita y las primas verduritas by Diane Gonzales Bertrand with illustrations by Christina Rodriguez. The books are distributed free of charge nationally at selected county and city health clinics, migrant farm worker education programs and inner city neighborhoods with high Latino populations.
The ¡Salud, Familia! website offers downloadable documents and links to vetted Latino-specific health and nutrition pages. Visitors to the site can find a directory of health and nutrition resources and services along with directions on how to obtain free copies of the series of books.
Childhood obesity and diabetes among Latinos are already at pandemic levels, and ¡Salud Familia! hopes to change the attitude on food nutrition at the grass-roots level as well as a the policy level. Dr. Nicolás Kanellos, founder and director of Arte Público Press, said “The financial burden of dealing with problems such as obesity and diabetes will be alleviated in the future through preventive measures; accessible materials that target younger generations are vastly important.”