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Every year between September 15 and October 15, Americans across the United States celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month in honor of the histories, cultures, traditions, and contributions of U.S. families with roots in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central, and 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 in 1988 as a joint resolution by President Ronald Reagan and Congress. This year’s theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation,” in recognition and support of the diversity within our nation’s Hispanic/Latinx community.

So why does this celebration kick off in the middle of September? 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).

Many public schools throughout the City are commemorating National Hispanic Heritage Month with events, fun activities, and interesting lessons that highlight the experiences, perspectives, and contributions of Hispanic/Latinx people in the US, and it is in this spirit that we have put together the following list of books for students in grades 3-K through 12. We hope students (and anyone else!) enjoy and learn from these outstanding books and resources—let us know in the comments section below if you have any recommendations you’d like to share!

Banner featuring still photos of NYC students wearing Central/South American straw hats

Booklists for Young Readers

Early Elementary School (Grades 3-K through 2)

  • The Cot in the Living Room by Hilda Eunice Burgos; art by Gaby D’Alessandro
  • Gustavo, the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago
  • If Your Babysitter is a Bruja by Ana Siqueira; art by Irena Freitas
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña; art by Christian Robinson
  • Octopus Stew by Eric Velasquez
  • One of a Kind, Like Me/Único como yo by Laurin Mayeno; art by Robert Liu-Trujillo; translation by Teresa Mlawer
  • Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise; art by Paola Escobar
  • Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor; art by Lulu Delacre
  • Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez; art by Jaime Kim
  • Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter by Mark Gonzales; art by Mehrdokht Amini

Cover for the book, "If Your Babysitter is a Bruja"

Elementary School (Grades 3–5)

  • Cuba in My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas
  • Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
  • Isla to Island by Alexis Castellanos
  • Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers by Juliet Menéndez
  • Lety Out Loud by Angela Cervantes
  • ¡¡Manu!! by Kelly Fernández
  • Silver Meadows Summer by Emma Otheguy
  • The Way to Rio Luna by Zoraida Córdova

Book cover for the graphic novel/book, "¡¡Manu!!"

Middle Grades (Grades 6–8)

  • Before We Were Free by Julía Alvarez
  • Coming Up Cuban by Sonia Manzanao
  • The Insiders by Mark Oshiro
  • Invisible: A Graphic Novel by Christina Diaz Gonzalez; art by Gabriela Epstein
  • The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
  • The Moon Within by Aida Salazar
  • The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel
  • Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
  • They Call Me Güero:  A Border Kid’s Poems by David Bowles
  • Tumble by Celia C. Perez

Cover for the book, "The Last Cuentista"

High School (Grades 9–12)

  • Breathe and Count Back from Ten by Natalia Sylvester
  • Cemetery Boys  by Aiden Thomas
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
  • Keeper by Mal Peet
  • The New David Espinoza by Fred Aceves
  • Signal to Noise by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
  • This Train is Being Held by Ismée Williams
  • Where I Belong by Marcia Argueta Mikelson
  • Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Cover for Isabel Ibañez's book, "Woven in Moonlight"


We hope you are all able to use our booklist to find some great new reads! Do you have any favorite titles that you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below!

On behalf of the DOE, we wish everyone a wonderful and inspiring Hispanic Heritage Month.

Banner photo by RODNAE Productions. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Pexels.

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