Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Home

Hispanic Heritage Month

 

"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 (hispanicheritagemonth.gov)."

We've compiled a number of great books and videos for you to check out to learn more about these amazing, diverse cultures and the wonderful Americans who come from them. Also, click here to explore the Library of Congress' official website for the holiday which includes digital exhibits full of audio and video from their collection.

Navigation

Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation

Here you'll find PBS's extensive documentary series which highlights the cultures and histories of Latinos in the United States and features interviews with almost 100 different Latinos.

Click "Play Channel" below to get started watching.

Books in Our Collection

The Poet X

Available in our library and on eBook through Overdrive.

Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award!

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers--especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami's determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she doesn't know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can't stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

"Crackles with energy and snaps with authenticity and voice." --Justina Ireland, author of Dread Nation

"An incredibly potent debut." --Jason Reynolds, author of the National Book Award Finalist Ghost

"Acevedo has amplified the voices of girls en el barrio who are equal parts goddess, saint, warrior, and hero." --Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street

Breaking in : the rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the politics of justice

"I knew she'd be trouble."

So quipped Antonin Scalia about Sonia Sotomayor at the Supreme Court's annual end-of-term party in 2010. It's usually the sort of event one would expect from such a grand institution, with gentle parodies of the justices performed by their law clerks, but this year Sotomayor decided to shake it up--flooding the room with salsa music and coaxing her fellow justices to dance.
It was little surprise in 2009 that President Barack Obama nominated a Hispanic judge to replace the retiring justice David Souter. The fact that there had never been a nominee to the nation's highest court from the nation's fastest growing minority had long been apparent. So the time was ripe--but how did it come to be Sonia Sotomayor?
In Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice, the veteran journalist Joan Biskupic answers that question. This is the story of how two forces providentially merged--the large ambitions of a talented Puerto Rican girl raised in the projects in the Bronx and the increasing political presence of Hispanics, from California to Texas, from Florida to the Northeast--resulting in a historical appointment. And this is not just a tale about breaking barriers as a Puerto Rican. It's about breaking barriers as a justice.
Biskupic, the author of highly praised judicial biographies of Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, now pulls back the curtain on the Supreme Court nomination process, revealing the networks Sotomayor built and the skills she cultivated to go where no Hispanic has gone before. We see other potential candidates edged out along the way. And we see how, in challenging tradition and expanding our idea of a justice (as well as expanding her public persona), Sotomayor has created tension within and without the court's marble halls.
As a Supreme Court justice, Sotomayor has shared her personal story to an unprecedented degree. And that story--of a Latina who emerged from tough times in the projects not only to prevail but also to rise to the top--has even become fabric for some of her most passionate comments on matters before the Court. But there is yet more to know about the rise of Sonia Sotomayor. Breaking In offers the larger, untold story of the woman who has been called "the people's justice."

Dancing Hands

Winner of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book

In soaring words and stunning illustrations, Margarita Engle and Rafael López tell the story of Teresa Carreño, a child prodigy who played piano for Abraham Lincoln.

As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too--the Civil War.

Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa's music bring comfort to those who needed it most?

The House on Mango Street

Available in the library and as an eAudiobook through Overdrive.

NATIONAL BESTSELLER * A coming-of-age classic, acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught in schools and universities alike, and translated around the world--from the winner of the 2019 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.

The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes-sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous-Sandra Cisneros' masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

"Cisneros draws on her rich [Latino] heritage ... and seduces with precise, spare prose, creat[ing] unforgettable characters we want to lift off the page. She is not only a gifted writer, but an absolutely essential one." --The New York Times Book Review

I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Available in our library and through Overdrive on eBook and Audiobook.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * A "stunning" (America Ferrera) YA novel about a teenager coming to terms with losing her sister and finding herself amid the pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican American home--from the author of Crying in the Bathroom

"Alive and crackling--a gritty tale wrapped in a page-turner. "--The New York Times

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents' house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.
 
But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga's role.
 
Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.
 
But it's not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister's story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx

Pura Belpré Honor winner for The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano and one of America's most influential Hispanics--'Maria' on Sesame Street--delivers a beautifully wrought coming-of-age memoir. Set in the 1950s in the Bronx, this is the story of a girl with a dream. Emmy Award-winning actress and writer Sonia Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving--and troubled. This is Sonia's own story rendered with an unforgettable narrative power. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors. Each day she is glued to the TV screen that blots out the painful realities of her existence and also illuminates the possibilities that lie ahead. But--click!--when the TV goes off, Sonia is taken back to real life--the cramped, colorful world of her neighborhood and an alcoholic father. But it is Sonia's dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times. Spiced with culture, heartache, and humor, this memoir paints a lasting portrait of a girl's resilience as she grows up to become an inspiration to millions.

The Latino migration experience in North Carolina : new roots in the Old North State

Over recent decades, the Southeast has become a new frontier for Latin American migration to and within the United States, and North Carolina has had one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the nation. Here, Hannah Gill offers North Carolinians from all walks of life a better understanding of their Latino neighbors, bringing light instead of heat to local and national debates on immigration.


Exploring the larger social forces behind demographic shifts, Gill shows both how North Carolina communities are facing the challenges and opportunities presented by these changes and how migrants experience the economic and social realities of their new lives. Latinos are no longer just visitors to the state but are part of the inevitably changing, long-term makeup of its population. Today, emerging migrant communities and the integration of Latino populations remain salient issues as the U.S. Congress stands on the verge of formulating comprehensive immigration reform for the first time in nearly three decades. Gill makes connections between hometowns and the increasing globalization of people, money, technology, and culture by shedding light on the many diverse North Carolina residents who are highly visible yet, as she shows, invisible at the same time.

Cuba 15

For fans of Matt de la Peña and Sandra Cisneros comes a novel about family and identity, where Violet Paz prepares for her quinceañero and learns about her Cuban heritage.

Violet Paz has just turned fifteen, a pivotal birthday in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother. Fifteen is the age when a girl enters womanhood, traditionally celebrating the occasion with a quinceañero.

But while Violet is half Cuban, she's also half Polish, and more importantly, she feels 100% American. Except for her zany family's passion for playing dominoes, smoking cigars, and dancing to Latin music, Violet knows little about Cuban culture, nada about quinces, and only tidbits about the history of Cuba.

So when Violet begrudgingly accepts Abuela's plans for a quinceañero-and as she begins to ask questions about her Cuban roots-cultures and feelings collide. The mere mention of Cuba and Fidel Castro elicits her grandparents'sadness and her father's anger. Only Violet's aunt Luz remains open-minded.

With so many divergent views, it's not easy to know what to believe. All Violet knows is that she's got to form her own opinions, even if this jolts her family into unwanted confrontations. After all, a quince girl is supposed to embrace responsibility-and to Violet that includes understanding the Cuban heritage that binds her to a homeland she's never seen.

"Violet's hilarious cool first-person narrative veers between farce and tenderness, denial and truth."--Booklist, Starred Review

"This funny and tender chronicle of Violet's 15th year...[has] heart and humor."-Kirkus Reviews

"Cuba 15 will make readers laugh, whether or not their families are as loco as Violet's."--The Horn Book Magazine

"Osa's tale about a warmhearted, fun-loving family, a teenager's typical ambivalence about different cultures, the stress of dealing with high school demands and pressures, a budding romance, and how an imaginative, high-spirited young woman handles some thorny issues and does some growing up in the process, rings true and makes for an entertaining story."-VOYA

"The characters are so charming that while readers are in their company, the experience is interesting and engaging."-SLJ
A Pura Belpré Honor Book
An ALA Notable Book
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A Booklist Top Ten Youth First Novels

Building a Latino civil rights movement : Puerto Ricans, African Americans, and the pursuit of racial justice in New York City

In the first book-length history of Puerto Rican civil rights in New York City, Sonia Lee traces the rise and fall of an uneasy coalition between Puerto Rican and African American activists from the 1950s through the 1970s. Previous work has tended to see blacks and Latinos as either naturally unified as "people of color" or irreconcilably at odds as two competing minorities. Lee demonstrates instead that Puerto Ricans and African Americans in New York City shaped the complex and shifting meanings of "Puerto Rican-ness" and "blackness" through political activism. African American and Puerto Rican New Yorkers came to see themselves as minorities joined in the civil rights struggle, the War on Poverty, and the Black Power movement--until white backlash and internal class divisions helped break the coalition, remaking "Hispanicity" as an ethnic identity that was mutually exclusive from "blackness."

Drawing on extensive archival research and oral history interviews, Lee vividly portrays this crucial chapter in postwar New York, revealing the permeability of boundaries between African American and Puerto Rican communities.

The new southern-Latino table : recipes that bring together the bold and beloved flavors of Latin America & the American South

In this splendid cookbook, bicultural cook Sandra Gutierrez blends ingredients, traditions, and culinary techniques, creatively marrying the diverse and delicious cuisines of more than twenty Latin American countries with the beloved food of the American South.

The New Southern-Latino Table features 150 original and delightfully tasty recipes that combine the best of both culinary cultures. Gutierrez, who has taught thousands of people how to cook, highlights the surprising affinities between the foodways of the Latin and Southern regions--including a wide variety of ethnic roots in each tradition and many shared basic ingredients--while embracing their flavorful contrasts and fascinating histories.



These lively dishes--including Jalapeno Deviled Eggs, Cocktail Chiles Rellenos with Latin Pimiento Cheese, Two-Corn Summer Salad, Latin Fried Chicken with Smoky Ketchup, Macaroni con Queso, and Chile Chocolate Brownies--promise to spark the imaginations and the meals of home cooks, seasoned or novice, and of food lovers everywhere. Along with delectable appetizers, salads, entrees, side dishes, and desserts, Gutierrez also provides a handy glossary, a section on how to navigate a Latin tienda, and a guide to ingredient sources. The New Southern-Latino Table brings to your home innovative, vibrant dishes that meld Latin American and Southern palates.