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 family nights that are fun and informative for students and 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.
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.
- All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzane Kaufman
- All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia
- All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Mike Curato
- Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
- Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
- Danza! Amalia Hernandez and el Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh
- Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
- Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown, art by John Parra
- Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina
- Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
- La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
- Lucía the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez
- Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family by Carrie Lara, illustrated by Christine Battuz
- Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown, illustrated by Joe Cepeda
- Ugly Cat & Pablo by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Tom Knight
Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
- Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
- The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya
- The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez
- Forest World by Margarita Engle
- Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
- Jabberwalking by Juan Felipe Herrera
- Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
- Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya.
- My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope by Diana Guerrero and Erica Moroz
- The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz
- Ricanstruction: Reminiscing and Rebuilding Puerto Rico by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, Gail Simone, and others
- Rick Riordan Presents: The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes
- Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
- Tight by Torrey Maldonado
High School Grades
American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrera
- American Road Trip by Patrick Flores-Scott
- Anger is a Gift by Mrk Oshiro
- The Champions’ Game: A True Story by Saul Ramirez (as told to John Seidlitz)
- Corazon by Yesika Salgado
- Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork
- I Am Alfonso Jones: A Graphic Novel by Tony Medina, illustrated by Stacey Robinson & John Jennings
- Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas Series) by Zoraida Cordova
- Pride by Ibi Zoboi
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Shadow House Fall (The Shadowshaper Cypher, Book 2) by Daniel José Older
- The Official National Hispanic Heritage Month website is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and other U.S. 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.
- Google Arts & Culture’s Latino Cultures in the US platform is a robust family, student, and teacher-friendly website that provides users with access to high-resolution images and videos of Latino art and historical figures. The site also features interviews with Latino celebrities and influencers, and it even provides users with virtual tours of art exhibitions, outdoor murals, and Latino neighborhoods from across the U.S.
- The Smithsonian Latino Center provides links to the Smithsonian’s various Hispanic/Latino heritage-related digital resources. The page contains links to 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 families who are seeking to provide supplemental home instruction to their children, is appropriate for students of all ages, unless otherwise noted.
- The National Archives’ DOCSTeach site 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.
- 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.
- Thanks to the Poetry Foundation, students, teachers, and families can check out the organization’s great collection of outstanding Latino poetry through its U.S. Latinx Voices in Poetry page. The collection is intended to be broad and inclusive, and it features poetry from writers like Julia Alvarez, Harry Gamboa, Jr., and Carmen Tafolla, among many others.
- K-8 teachers, parents, and students alike can use Scholastic’s “Bring Hispanic Heritage Month to Life” webpage for notable resources designed for K-8 students, including discussion guides, writing activities, and lesson plans.
- The DOE’s National Hispanic Heritage Month WeTeachNYC page contains outstanding resources that can be used by K–12 teachers, families, and students inside or outside the classroom. Resources include lesson plans, digital exhibitions, timelines, and key primary sources.
NYC Parks: Movies Under the Stars
September 2018–October 2018
6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
(see schedule for locations, movie listings, and other details)
Held in select parks across the City, these screenings are free to the public. This month’s movie screenings include films like Coco, Neruda, and Frida (viewer discretion is advised).
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own picnic blankets and/or chairs; you may also bring your own food, but please be advised that alcohol and smoking are prohibited.
To learn more about this month’s Movies Under the Stars, visit the NYC Parks’ Hispanic Heritage Month webpage.
The Broadway League’s Hispanic Heritage Month Concert
September 25, 2018
5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. (weather permitting)
Duffy Square (West 46 Street & Broadway, Manhattan)
Celebrate Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month, Broadway-style! Hosted by singer and actress, Bianca Marroquin, this outdoor concert will include performances from current and recent Broadway stars, including Kathryn Allison (Aladdin), Ashley De La Rosa (Mean Girls), Mariand Torres (Wicked), and Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton), among others.
For more information, visit the Broadway League’s ¡Viva Broadway! page
54th Annual Hispanic Day Parade
Sunday, October 7, 2018, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Parade runs northward on Fifth Avenue
43rd – 69th Streets in Manhattan
Celebrate the last days of Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month by joining approximately a million New Yorkers along Fifth Avenue for a day of dancing, costumes, and floats in honor of the countries and people that make up Latin America.
Know about other family-friendly events that are being held to celebrate Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month? Let us know in the comments below!