Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from September 15th to October 15th. Why September 15th, you might be wondering? September 15th marks the anniversary of the independence of Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Belize, and Chile also gained their independence in September, making it the perfect time to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States.
Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson; with the approval of Public Law 100-402 in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into law. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions.”
Our society is rich with the influences of Hispanic and Latin Americans; here are just a few authors that you should know and some of their works in our catalog. Would you like more suggestions? Come to the library for a recommendation!
Mexican-American writer Sandra Cisneros grew up in a family that migrated between Mexico and the United States; her writings explore the feelings of being caught between two cultures. Cisneros was the first female Mexican-American writer to be published by a mainstream publisher and one of her goals is to bring attention to more Latino authors. Her works include The House on Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, and My Wicked, Wicked Ways.
Born in Puerto Rico, novelist and actress Esmerelda Santiago attended New York City’s Performing Arts School and graduated from Harvard University. She helped found the media company Cantomedia, and is well-known for her memoirs of her childhood in Puerto Rico. Read When I Was Puerto Rican and America’s Dream for her thoughts on growing up in two cultures.
Luis Alberto Urrea
Luis Urrea was born in Tijuana, Mexico and grew up in San Diego, California. After the murder of his father in Mexico, Urrea wrote an essay about having to pay Mexican police for his father’s body to help him process his grief. It was his first published work, and his writing continues to be influenced by his family’s stories. His most popular books include The House of Broken Angels, The Water Museum, and Queen of America.
Born in the United States, Julia Alvarez was raised in her parents’ homeland of the Dominican Republic; they returned to New York City when she was ten. Her writing often focuses on cultural expectations, stereotypes, and identity, and she is the first Dominican-American writer to be commercially and critically successful. Read her award-winning book How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of Butterflies, or Once Upon a Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA.
A native of Peru, Daniel Alarcón grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. His background is in investigative journalism and he’s currently an assistant professor of broadcast journalism; his fiction writings reflect his journalism background in his stories of societies under pressure. His books include War by Candlelight, The King is Always Above the People, and Lost City Radio.