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Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15-Oct. 15

Each year during National Hispanic Heritage month, people throughout the United States honor the many contributions of Latin American communities to our country and celebrate the histories and cultures of people whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

The observation started with President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. Sept. 15 was declared the start of this celebration because of its historical and cultural significance as the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and other Latin American countries.

In partnership with Little Shop of Stories, the Better Together Advisory Board is honoring the long and storied presence of Latin American communities in the United States and the substantial contributions they have made to our nation’s advancement. The board asked Little Shop staff to recommend a few books about Latin American people, culture and history that we can read in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Here are their suggestions.

Dreamers

US In Progress 

 

Dreamers, by Yuyi Morales (children). This autobiographical picture book describes Yuyi Morales’ journey with her son from migrant to award-winning illustrator, and how, despite finding themselves strangers in a strange land, they found a welcoming, wonderful place in the public library. It was there that, through the stories of this new land, they discovered everything they needed to make the United States their home.

Us, in Progress: Short Stories about Young Latinos, by Lulu Delacre (young adults). This collection of short stories presents a portrait of Latino boys and girls living in the United States. With prose, poetry, and illustrations, the award-winning author paints a wide-ranging picture of what it means to grow up Latino in America today.

Into the Beautiful North, by Louise Alberto Urrea (adults). Nayeli is a young woman from a small town in Mexico where most of the men, including her father, have gone to the United States to find work. After seeing the movie The Magnificent Seven, she decides to cross the border to find seven worthy men to return with her to repopulate the town and protect it from the threat of bandidos. You can find these great books and many others at Little Shop of Stories, 133 E. Court Square. Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Discussion Questions:

1.    How are the life experiences and values of the characters in the book similar to yours?

(Or, for younger children: How are the characters in the book similar to you?)

2.    Several of the characters faced challenges in their lives -- how would you have responded to those difficulties?

3.    Has anyone in your family or extended family immigrated to the United States? What is their story?

4.    Which Latinx groups exist in the City of Decatur (i.e. El Salvadorans, Venezuelans, Guatemalans, etc.)? In what ways are these cultures celebrated or acknowledged?