September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic American Heritage & Latinx Heritage Month. During this month, we pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic and Latinx Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. All month, WITS staff will be updating this blog post with book suggestions, local events, and other ways to recognize the inspiring achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans. Here is a brief history of the month of recognition, courtesy of hispanicheritagemonth.org:
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402. The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.About National Hispanic Heritage Month
Virtual Family Events
The official website for National Hispanic American Heritage Month includes many celebratory resources and event listings. Don’t miss:
- Virtual Pajama Party for kids aged 8–12. Saturday, September 25, at 8pm ET. “The free program will feature Winifred Conkling and Sylvia Mendez and focus on the book Sylvia and Aki. Attendees will learn about the importance of civil rights and the value of friendship. Register here.“
- Homegrown Concert: Cambalache Wednesday, September 29, 12:30pm – 1pm ET. “Cambalache, named for a Spanish word that means “exchange,” is a Chicano-Jarocho group based in East Los Angeles. Cambalache plays and promotes traditional son jarocho through performance, music workshops, and educational demonstrations.”
- P&P Live! Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month Panel with Alda Dobbs, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Karla Arenas Valenti and David Bowles Wednesday, September 29, 7pm ET. “In celebration of Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month we present a panel of Latinx children’s book authors who will discuss the use of Mexican history and folklore in their stories and the importance of diverse literature for young readers.”
Book Lists for Adult Readers
- Penguin Random House’s Books to Read for Latinx Heritage Month “Join us in celebrating Latinx and Hispanic authors, creators and trailblazers whose stories are redefining identity and shaping today’s culture, from music to politics and everything in between. Share these incredible stories year-round using the hashtag #IAmLaCultura.”
- Haymarket Books for Latinx Liberation “In celebration of radical, intersectional histories of struggles for Latinx Liberation, we’re offering 40% off all the books on our Latinx Liberation Reading List. Get a free Ebook (where available) and free shipping on orders over $25 inside the US.”
- Book Riot: Reading In Color “September 15- October 15 marks Latinx heritage month. While we obviously celebrate Latinx authors all year round, cultural awareness months are sorely needed as there is still a fight waging to erase certain narratives. Because the history of some nonwhite groups in the Western world is inherently tied to racial animus, many conflate the teaching of that history as being anti-white or anti-American. You can read about an instance of this in this article by Rioter Sarah Hannah Gómez about Florida’s ban on Critical Race Theory. [Here] are some books from different genres by Latinx authors for you to get into.”
- Bookshop.org’s In Celebration of Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month “As Random House celebrates Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re sharing a wide range of books and honoring Latinx and Hispanic voices and stories. Whether you want to get lost in an immersive novel, discover a vibrant new memoir, or find some kitchen inspiration, we hope there’s a book here for you.”
- Fiction and nonfiction favorites from Politics and Prose.
Other Fun Things
- Politics and Prose’s Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month YouTube Playlist “Watch Carmen Maria Machado, Julia Alvarez, Patricia Engel, Maria Hinojosa, and other fantastic Latinx authors that have graced us with a book talk in the past!”
- Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Culturally Specific Books WITS’ 2020 blog in celebration of this month!