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PBS fills up Hispanic Heritage Month with special programming & Spanish lessons for kids

LatinaLista — Hispanic Heritage month is a little less than a month away but already there are plans underway to mark the annual observance.
Among those revving up for the special month is PBS. The public education channel has a whole host of special programming, along with, some new changes that will stay long after the Oct. 15 deadline. Most notably, those changes involve the backbone of their programming — children’s shows.
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Sesame Street’s newest characters are Murray the Monster and Ovejita his Spanish-speaking lamb.
(Source: Sesame Workshop)

It seems Sesame Street gets a new Spanish-speaking character named Ovejita (little lamb) who is the sidekick to a new monster in town named Murray. Ovejita tries to help Murray figure out a new problem every day but first, Murray has to figure out Ovejita’s clues which are delivered in Spanish. Some other children’s shows will also be adding Spanish to their vocabulary : Between the Lions, Dragon Tales and Jay Jay the Jet Plane.
In addition to the children’s programming, PBS plans to air some repeats of favorite Latino-themed shows along with three new ones:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008, 9:30-11:00 p.m. ET
After a childhood of playing cantinas and honky tonks from Texas to Tennessee, Los Lonely Boys have rocked their way to the top of the American music industry, determined to fulfill their father’s long-held dream. This documentary feature film tells the story of three Mexican-American brothers from San Angelo, Texas, who create a unique sound that melds the core of the early San Angelo music scene of the 1950s and 60s with a signature style they call “Texican.”
Wednesday, October 8, 2008, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
LATINOS ’08 examines the 2008 election through the prism of ethnic politics. Latinos are less cohesive than other voting blocs, and they do not fit the black/white racial binary that has long shaped American politics. This documentary examines how today’s candidates and advocacy groups are trying to mobilize and attract this unpredictable group of voters. Will McCain manage to win back Latino defectors, in light of his party’s harsh rhetoric on immigration? Will Obama succeed in securing the votes of the many Latinos who supported Hillary Clinton during the primaries? Another subject of inquiry will be the effectiveness — or lack thereof — of Latino politicians in advancing Latino interests and promoting Latino unity. As these politicians enter the upper echelons of American politics, they face inevitable pressure to abandon their ethnic identity and constituencies. Will the Latino electorate coalesce nonetheless, united around the immigration issue and hemispheric foreign policy considerations? Or will ethnic considerations be trumped by class, education and other factors? In investigating such questions, LATINOS ’08 sheds light on an important part of America’s future. In HD where available.
P.O.V. “Calavera Highway”
Tuesday, September 18, 2008, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET
When brothers Armando and Carlos Peña set off to carry their mother’s ashes to south Texas, their road trip turns into a quest for answers about a strangely veiled past. As they reunite with five other brothers, the two men try to piece together their family’s shattered history. Why was their mother cast out by her family? What happened to their father, who disappeared during the notorious 1954 U.S. deportation program Operation Wetback? “Calavera Highway” is a sweeping story of seven Mexican-American men grappling with the meaning of masculinity, fatherhood and a legacy of rootless beginnings.

Check the PBS press page for a full listing of other specials to be aired for Hispanic Heritage Month.

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