Every year between September 15 and October 15, Americans across the United States celebrate National Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month in honor of the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central, and/or South America. Originally designated as “Hispanic Heritage Week” by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, the 30-day period that is celebrated today was signed into U.S. law as a joint resolution by President Ronald Reagan and Congress in 1988.
So why does the celebration kick off in the middle of September? Well, September 15 was selected as the first day in symbolic recognition of the Independence Days for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, as well as Mexico (September 16) and Chile (September 18).
Over the next month, many public schools throughout the City will commemorate National Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month with school events, afterschool activities, and parent nights that are fun, informative, and educational for students and their families. To find out whether a particular school is celebrating Latinidad this month, contact the school’s parent coordinator or main office for more information.
With that said, you can also celebrate and learn about Latino American achievements and cultures outside of our schools, too! Check out the following list of books, websites, and events for ideas and activities that you and your families can utilize and participate in this month and throughout the year!
- Angels Ride Bikes/Los Ángeles Andan en Bicicleta (and other Fall poems/ y otros poemas de otoño) by Francisco X. Alarcon
- The Beach Trip (Sofia Martinez series) by Jacqueline Jules
- Dona Flor: A Tall Tale about a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart by Pat Mora
- Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
- Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza
- Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes
- Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina
- Pedro Goes Buggy (Pedro series) by Fran Manushkin
- Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
- The Tree Is Older Than You Are by Naomi Shihab Nye
- Where the Flame Trees Bloom by Alma Flor Ada
- Xochitl And The Flowers/Xochitl, la Nina de las Flores by Jorge Argueta
- Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa
- Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
- Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
- Facts of Life: Stories by Gary Soto
- Heat by Mike Lupica
- How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay (The Tia Lola Stories) by Julia Alvarez
- I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin
- Island of Dreams by Jasminne Mendez
- Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose
- Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller by Xavier Garza
- A Thunderous Whisper by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
High School Grades
- Ana of California by Andi Teran
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
- Before by Carmen Boullosa
- Bloodline by Joe Jiménez
- Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
- How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
- Mi Barrio by Corey Michael Blake, illustrated by Shane Clester
- More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
- Night at the Fiestas: Stories by Kirstin Valdez
- The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano
- The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle
- The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
The Official National Hispanic Heritage Month website is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and other government agencies to celebrate Latino American/Hispanic/Pre-Columbian cultures. The site provides digital collections and exhibitions, event listings, and helpful resources, including links to the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives’ Hispanic Heritage Month-themed Pinterest boards.
The Smithsonian Institution’s Education webpage provides links to the Smithsonian’s various Hispanic/Latino heritage-related digital resources in one place. The page, which was created with educators in mind, contains links to interdisciplinary lesson plans, videos, posters, and interactive websites regarding various Hispanic/Latino American experiences. The resources on the page, much of which can also be used by students as well as parents who are seeking to provide supplemental home instruction to their children, is appropriate for students of all ages, unless otherwise noted.
Time for Kids has a great, kid-friendly Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month-themed website for elementary and middle school students containing news stories and facts regarding Hispanic/Latin cultures and people.
PBS has a great webpage dedicated to the celebration of Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month. In addition to containing links to all episodes of PBS’ acclaimed 2013 documentary series, “The Latino Americans,” the page also contains links to articles, photo albums, and videos regarding a wide range of Hispanic/Latino personalities and experiences. The materials available on this website can be appropriate for both younger and older students.
The National Archives has a vast online collection of primary source documents available (i.e. maps, historical images, written documents, etc) that could be used to supplement any instruction regarding the personalities and historical events that played a crucial role in Hispanic/Latino American history. This site is geared for educators, but it may also be used by middle and high school students who are looking to add to their instruction or research.
K-8 teachers, parents, and students alike can use Scholastic’s “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage” webpage for notable biographic and geographic facts concerning Hispanic/Latino American history beginning with Christopher Columbus’ first arrival in the Americas in 1492. Teachers will also find suggested lessons designed for K-8 students on this webpage.
Coqui Club: ¡Celebra!
Wednesday, October 5, 9:30 p.m. – 10:30 a.m. (Session 1) & 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Session 2)
Las Galerias at El Museo del Barrio – 1230 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan
Cost: Suggested price of $9 for adults; $5 for students and seniors
Learn, play, explore, and grow at El Museo’s bilingual program for children who are 1 -4 years old and their caregivers. Join the Coqui Club on the first Wednesday of each month, and have your young children embark on an adventure to discover new ways of interacting with art and each other. With time for play, storytelling, museum walks, and art making, Coquí Club provides a fun and active way to explore El Museo.
No reservations required, as it is a first-come, first-served event. And remember to dress for a mess!
Visit El Museo’s website for more information.
Arts, Culture & Fun Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month in the Heights
Saturday, October 15, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
J. Hood Wright Park in Manhattan
Join NYC Parks’ Arts, Culture & Fun team as they celebrate Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month with music, dance, performances, art and more. Attendees can take a beginner salsa dance lesson, and then show off their moves once the floor opens up to dancers of all levels. In addition to salsa, DJs will also be playing bachata and merengue music.
For more information, visit NYC Parks’ website.
Know about other family-friendly events that are being held to celebrate Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month? Let us know in the comments below!