Is your family excited to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with the Free Library? We are too! The mid-month heritage celebration is set from September 15–October 15 in order to include the Independence Days of Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. But of course, the full list of cultures and countries of origin encompassed by this diaspora is much longer, including parts of Europe, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.
Reservations about the term "Hispanic" and its history notwithstanding, this particular mixed heritage Chicano-Latinx-etc. household still finds joy in honoring our unique and shared cultural inheritances from around the globe. There are lots of ways to celebrate from enjoying ancestral foods and music to nurturing a language tradition or learning about sharing histories. This holiday designates a time to honor the contributions of generations of Americans who have called this land home, and to imagine our way into the future together.
Celebrate with the Free Library
Sign up for the Fall Into Reading Challenge online! Beginning September 15, you can join an all-ages Hispanic Heritage Month Activity Challenge to learn about Hispanic history and experience the diverse cultures of the Latin American and Caribbean diaspora that share this heritage. Earn badges for reading books and graphic novels, visiting museum exhibitions, practicing poetic traditions, or exploring martial arts. Get to know some local history, current issues, and thriving cultural centers. Explore the contributions of the Hispanic community in the United States and discover how they shaped Philadelphia’s past and present!
The Free Library’s Languages and Learning Center offers a variety of language-learning opportunities, including access to Mango Languages, a virtual Spanish conversation group, and literacy for Spanish speakers. Keep an eye on their events calendar for new programs in the works. Find even more resources for Spanish speakers online. There's plenty to explore here, whether you want to brush up on an ancestral language or learn something new.
The Culinary Literacy Center is another wonderful place to celebrate both cultures familiar and new to you. Check out their listing of classes for updated offerings including English-language learning opportunities, cooking classes, and tonight’s free Global Food Festival, a part of this year’s Welcoming Week celebration.
Get your groove on with online access to Contemporary World Music or enjoy some cinematic storytelling from other countries with the World Cinema Collection. For ebooks and audiobooks available in Spanish, try OverDrive en español, or explore our OverDrive World Languages collection.
To find children’s titles that celebrate Hispanic American history and heritage at your local library, try our booklists, including Hispanic Heritage Month for Children, sequential comics stories, teen titles, and more. For books with linked activities, explore Youth Services’ featured collection of picture books telling our diverse stories.
Picture Books for Hispanic Heritage Month
Try our printable Read Aloud Guides featuring a summary, vocabulary words, and activity ideas for each featured title!
Alma and How She Got Her Name (2018) by Juana Martinez-Neal
Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela thinks her name is too long, so her father tells her the story of her name and the five relatives who inspired it.
Carmela Full of Wishes (en español) (2018) by Matt de la Peña
Carmela finds a dandelion and wants to come up with the perfect wish, but she falls and crushes her flower. Will her wishes ever come true?
Coquí in the City (2021) by Nomar Perez
When Miguel's parents tell him the family is moving, he thinks of all the things he will miss about his home - but he knows he will miss his pet frog Coquí most of all. Will Miguel and his parents be able to feel at home in the new city?
El Chupacabras (bilingüe) (2018) by Adam Rubin
One day, a goat from the farm goes missing from the farm and returns as flat as a pancake. Carla, and her father Hector consider the culprit in this humorous retelling of the legend of the goat sucker.
Islandborn (en español) (2018) by Junot Díaz
When Lola’s teacher asks the class to draw a picture of their first countries, Lola asks her neighbors to tell her all about the island she left when she was just a baby.
Julián is a Mermaid (2018) by Jessica Love
Young Julian tells his Abuela how much he loves mermaids and, thanks to a surprise from Abuela, eventually learns how to become one.
Let Me Fix You A Plate: A Tale of Two Kitchens (2021) by Elizabeth Lilly
Every year, a young girl and her parents drive to visit her grandparents. First, they drive to West Virginia to stay with Mawmaw and Pawpaw. Then, they drive to Florida to visit Abuela and Abuelo. The girl describes all of the delicious treats they eat in the two households and shares how they come together in her own home.
Mango, Abuela, and Me (2015) by Meg Medina
A grandmother leaves her home to live with her granddaughter, Mia, but it’s hard for them to communicate. Mia comes up with an ingenious idea.
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale (2007) by Carmen Agra Deedy
In this retelling of a Cuban folktale, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach follows her grandmother's advice for finding the perfect husband — pouring coffee on her suitor's shoes during their date! Will this test help her find the right match?
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (2019) by Andrea Beaty
Sofia Valdez loves her community and works alongside her Abuelo to do whatever it takes to make a difference. But when her Abuelo gets hurt at the landfill, Sofia gets the idea to turn a slimy mess into a park.
The Day You Begin (en español) (2018) by Jacqueline Woodson
Being new isn’t easy. It isn’t easy to see how you can be friends with people who, at first, might only see all the ways you are different from them. If we remember who we are, we can find the bravery to begin.
What Can You Do with a Paleta? (bilingüe) (2009) by Carmen Tafolla
Nothing is more exciting than the tinkly bell of the paleta wagon! A young girl takes us on a tour of her barrio and shares how a paleta is an icy treasure full of possibilities.
What is your favorite way to celebrate the month? Let us know in the comments below!