Each year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th. During this month, our country honors the generations of Hispanic Americans who have shaped and improved the culture of our nation and society. Here at Scholastic, we certainly have a lot to celebrate during Hispanic Heritage Month, as we publish many books that can be enjoyed during this special month and all year round.
Recently my colleagues and I were talking about author Pam Muñoz Ryan. (It’s probably more accurate to say we were gushing about her.) We all agree that Ryan uses language beautifully and draws from her personal history in a uniquely compelling way. Esperanza Rising, the moving novel inspired by the life of Ryan’s grandmother, taught me more about the Mexican immigration experience than any textbook ever could. Ryan’s other novels, such as Paint the Wind, Becoming Naomi León, and Riding Freedom are all equally awe-inspiring and poignant.
Author Sonia Manzano also paints an evocative landscape in her novel, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. In this novel, readers are transported back to the Puerto Rican East Harlem barrio in 1969, a fiery, unforgettable setting in American history, when young Latinos took control of their destinies. Manzano invokes her personal history and infuses her story with actual news accounts, resulting in a thought-provoking book that has sparked many meaningful discussions with my colleagues and friends.
Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Welcome To My Neighborhood! A Barrio ABC (available in both English and Spanish editions) is an excellent picture book that introduces young readers to the rich culture of the Philadelphia barrio. Hudes, the Tony-winning author of In the Heights and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, is originally from Philadelphia and much of her writing is set there, at the intersection of the city’s many ethnic and historic communities.
OOM readers, what are your favorite books to read during Hispanic Heritage Month?