Sept. 8, 2017

“The Latina in me is an ember that blazes forever.” – Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Every year our nation celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 through October 15. It is a time to pay tribute to all of the generations of Hispanic Americans who have contributed to our county and to our communities.

Kathleen Rauth

As of 2015, the United States is the second largest Spanish speaking country, second only to Mexico. And one quarter of Indianapolis Public Schools students are Hispanic, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

As a community of teachers and learners, we celebrate the narratives of our Hispanic students and are enriched by their cultural traditions and life stories. Whether a student has recently arrived in Indianapolis, or comes from a family with a long history in our city, each becomes a part of the diverse mosaic that is IPS. We are rich in partnerships with organizations such as La Plaza and the Indiana Latino Institute. Their efforts to promote Hispanic culture and strengthen the education and opportunities of our families and students make them vital partners in our schools.  

Two special events highlighting Hispanic culture are happening in September.  On Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., FIESTA Indianapolis will be held at the American Legion Mall.  On Sunday, Sept. 17, the Indianapolis Zoo will host a Hispanic Heritage Fiesta. Additionally, the Indianapolis Museum of Art houses a permanent collection of Ancient Art of the Americas, which is always fascinating to visit.

How else can we increase our understanding and appreciation of this community? Books, of course! Authors from throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora have created books that provide readers a window into the lives of their vibrant communities. They also provide mirrors for those who are already part of this rich community. While the numbers of books written from or about the Hispanic experience remain disproportionately small, the number is slowly increasing. The Pura Belpré Award and the Tomás Rivera Award have helped to shine a spotlight on Latinx authors and illustrators. Blogs such as “Vamos a Leer” and “De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children”can help you discover exciting new titles. Here is a list of authors whose books will be a great start in exploring the richness of Hispanic America. This is by no means a complete list, but I hope this will start you, your children, students and friends on a journey of discovery. ¡Feliz Lectura!

Picture Book Authors and Illustrators:

  • Jorge Argueta
  • Monica Brown
  • Isabel Campoy
  • Claudia Dávila
  • Lulu Delacre
  • David Díaz
  • Margarita Engle
  • Angela Dominguez
  • Xavier Garza
  • Yuyi Morales
  • Pat Mora
  • Duncan Tonatiuh

Fiction:

  • Monica Brown
  • Christina Diaz Gonzalez
  • Jacqueline Jules
  • Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
  • Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  • Juana Medina
  • Laura Resau
  • Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • Gary Soto
  • Jennifer Torres

Young Adult Fiction:

  • Socorro Acioli
  • Marjorie Agosin
  • Skila Brown
  • David Bowles
  • Angela Cervantes
  • Zoraida Córdov
  • Alexandra Diaz
  • Xavier Garza
  • Meg Medina
  • Sonia Manzano
  • Daniel José Older
  • Matt de la Peña
  • Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Francisco X. Stork

High School:

  • Isabel Allende
  • Julia Alvarez
  • Rudolpho Anaya
  • Sandra Cisneros
  • Paulo Coehlo
  • Gabriel García Márquez
  • Junot Díaz
  • Esmeralda Santiago
  • Pablo Neruda