Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month!
Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month!
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15 and honors the histories, traditions, diverse cultures, and contributions of Hispanic and Latine Americans. September 15 is an important date in the history of many Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) as it’s when they declared their independence from Spain in 1821.
Did you know that the Hispanic population in the United States is more than 62 million people? This vibrant community includes 21 Spanish-speaking countries and territories and is the largest ethnic group in the United States. Two great resources to learn more about this month include the Library of Congress’ National Hispanic Heritage Month website and the National Park Service’s Hispanic Heritage Month page.
Join us in celebrating the Hispanic and Latine community! We’re spotlighting essays from Capstone authors Adriana Erin Rivera, Keka Novales, Alicia Salazar, and Alex Sanchez, plus have fun activities for your classroom, the perfect books for kids, and PebbleGo articles to extend student learning.
Hearing My Island Sing
In Paloma’s Song for Puerto Rico: A Diary from 1898, Paloma writes a song of hope for her island homeland during the midst of the Spanish- American War when the U.S. military invaded Puerto Rico. The song “Hear My Island Sing” expresses Paloma’s love for the sounds of the island as the future of Puerto Rico is uncertain.
The Fabric of Culture
When author Keka Novales became a mother, she found a greater appreciation for her Guatamalan heritage and knew that teaching her kids about the traditions and customs would be an important way for them to feel connected with the fabric of the culture.
“Through stories, not only my children but other kids would establish that cultural connection; that is how Lola was born. The ¡Hola, Lola! books portray a second-generation Guatemalan-American child. The central character, Lola, can be a mirror where second-generation children can see themselves or a window for children from other cultures to see Lola's world as Lola experiences a lot of firsts of growing up.”
What Camila Means as A Bicultural POC
Author Alicia Salazar shares how embracing her bicultural identity influenced her Camila the Star books and her hope that all beginning readers will connect with and get to know a wider world, one with room for everyone.
“One of my favorite things about Camila is that she is a Mexican American kid pursuing a love of acting, singing, and dancing that is relatable to every kid, no matter their culture. For Mexican American girls, Camila’s passion, drive, and determination to pursue the things she loves can be validating and motivational. For kids who don’t happen to be Mexican American and have the lived experience of straddling two or more cultures, I hope the books open their minds to new perspectives. Books like the Camila series and other series that highlight diversity remind us all that the world is made up of more than one culture and one perspective.”
Hispanic Heritage is an Idea Worth Celebrating
A favorite from his childhood, The Story of Ferdinand still resonates with author Alex Sanchez. In this essay he talks about how the story’s central message has influenced his writing today.
“Years later, when I wrote my first novel I made one of the central characters Latino, never expecting the reaction it would stir. Dozens of young Latinx readers flooded me with enthusiastic emails saying it was the first time they’d seen a teen like themselves portrayed on the page. Their excitement reminded me of the impact The Story of Ferdinand, the Spanish bull, had had on me growing up. And I thought about that book’s timeless message: be true to who you are.”
Educator Resources & Downloadables
Camila the Star
Día de los Muertos
Articles to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
For expanded learning, check out various PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next articles. These featured articles provide insight into the culture and traditions of many countries. There are also notable Hispanic and Latine figures in the Biographies module!
Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we've curated a list of books featuring beloved Latine characters, as well as special holidays and biographies of notable civil rights leaders, politicians, astronauts, and more.