National Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month is celebrated annually from Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. This is a month-long celebration and recognition of the history, culture, and contributions Hispanic and Latino individuals and communities have contributed to the United States. According to the 2020 U.S. Census Data, nearly 500 Bedfordites, or 3.5 percent, of Bedford residents identified as being of Hispanic or Latino origin.
There are many ways to observe National Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month. Across the country, there are festivals, art exhibits, lectures, concerts, and more. A great local way to observe this month-long celebration is to head to the Bedford Free Public Library.
Next Thursday, Oct. 12, in the Library Meeting Room from 4 to 5 p.m. there will be a Papel Picado craft afternoon. “Papel Picado is a traditional Mexican decorative craft made by cutting elaborate designs into sheets of tissue paper.”
There is no registration required, and while at the library, pick out some books honoring and celebrating the Hispanic and Latino history and culture.
Here is a collection of books available at the library suggested by Library Director Richard Callaghan, and Young Adult and Reference Librarian Pam Aghababian.
- “Our America: a Hispanic history of the United States” by Felipe Fernández-Armesto.
- “The other face of America: Chronicles of the immigrants shaping our future” by Jorge Ramos
- “Once I was you: a memoir of love and hate in a torn America” by Maria Hinojosa.
- “El Norte: the epic and forgotten story of Hispanic North America” by Carrie Gibson
- “Decoding ‘Despacito’: an oral history of Latin music” by Leila Cobo
- “How the García Girls Lost Their Accents” by Julia Alvarez
- “Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas
- “The Sunbearer Trials” by Aiden Thomas
- “How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe” by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
- “Once Upon a Quinceañera” by Monica Gomez-Hira
- “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- “The Last Cuentista” by Donna Barba Higuera
Aghababian also recommends anything written by Elizabeth Acevedo, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Margarita Engle.
- “Too Many Tamales” by Gary Soto
- “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña
- “All the Way to Havana” by Margarita Engle
- “Lucky Broken Girl” by Ruth Behar
- Zapato Power Series by Jacqueline Jules
- “Pele, the King of Soccer” by Eddy Simon
- “Dreams from many Rivers: a Hispanic history of the United Sates told in poems” by Margarita Engle
- “Radiant Child: the story of young artist Jean-Michel Basquiat” by Javaka Steptoe
For more children’s book recommendations, the Library has a pamphlet of suggestions: https://www.bedfordlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Hispanic-Latinx-Booklist.pdf
For additional children’s and young adult books, Aghababian suggested checking out the Pura Belpré Awards list from the American Library Association. The Pura Belpré Awards are “presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.”
The list can be found here: https://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/belpre
There are additional resources besides books at the library (or accessible free online) to observe Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, including audiobooks, music, and movies.