Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments and talents of Hispanic Americans. First established 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, it was later expanded in 1988 to cover a 30-day period by President Ronald Reagan.
The month honors Hispanic achievements and also celebrates the independence of various Latin American countries, such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile.
Another area of focus is celebrating Hispanic art and culture. Hispanic culture is diverse and vibrant, with each country bringing their own unique traditions and style. From literature to film and arts, Hispanic Americans have contributed greatly to American culture producing stunning and thought-provoking works.
To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, here are a few books and films by Hispanic creators to celebrate and educate.
Books to read this Hispanic Heritage Month
For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez
The founder of Latina Rebels and a “Latinx Activist You Should Know”(Teen Vogue) arms women of color with the tools and knowledge they need to find success on their own terms. — Google Books
In For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez offers wisdom and a liberating path forward for all women of color. She crafts powerful ways to address the challenges Brown girls face, from imposter syndrome to colorism. She empowers women to decolonize their worldview, and defy “universal” white narratives, by telling their own stories. Her book guides women of color toward a sense of pride and sisterhood and offers essential tools to energize a movement.
Living Beyond Borders by Margarita Longoria
In this mixed-media collection of short stories, personal essays, poetry, and comics, this celebrated group of authors share the borders they have crossed, the struggles they have pushed through, and the two cultures they continue to navigate as Mexican Americans. Living Beyond Borders is at once an eye-opening, heart-wrenching, and hopeful love letter from the Mexican American community to today’s young readers.
A powerful exploration of what it means to be Mexican American. — Google Books
Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz
Winner of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, Natalie Diaz weaves together her Latina and Indigenous identity in a collection of tender, heart-wrenching and defiant poems that are an anthem against erasure of people like herself.
Postcolonial Love Poem is a timely piece that explores various aspects of identity and life as a Latina and Indigenous woman in America today and what it means to love and be loved in an America troubled by conflict and racial injustice.
Latinx Art: Artists, Markets, and Politics by Arlene Dávila
In Latinx Art Arlene Dávila draws on numerous interviews with artists, dealers, and curators to explore the problem of visualizing Latinx art and artists. Providing an inside and critical look of the global contemporary art market, Dávila’s book is at once an introduction to contemporary Latinx art and a call to decolonize the art worlds and practices that erase and whitewash Latinx artists. Dávila shows the importance of race, class, and nationalism in shaping contemporary art markets while providing a path for scrutinizing art and culture institutions and for diversifying the art world. — Google Books
You might be interested: 10 Books by Latinx authors to read summer 2021
Hispanic Cultural films to watch
In the Heights – In the Heights is a celebration of Hispanic culture and community set against the backdrop of Washington Heights. The film weaves together the stories of various members of the community, telling a tale of love, family, friendship, and culture.
“Lights up for In the Heights, a joyous celebration of heritage and community fueled by dazzling direction and singalong songs.” —Rotten Tomatoes
Coco – A movie for the whole family, Disney’s Coco tells the story of a young boy in a fictional Mexican village who dreams of becoming a famous musician like his idol. The moving coming-of-age story celebrates culture and family in a fun-loving, heartfelt tale about learning from our elders.
Frida – Celebrating a cultural icon, Frida tells the bold and controversial life of artist Frida Kahlo. The biopic chronicles the artist’s life, starting in Mexico City, and explores her relationships, politics, and art in a poignant and moving film.
The Graduates – This documentary mini-series explores the many issues in education today through the eyes of six Latino and Latina students from across the United States, shining a necessary light on the hardships Latinx students face.
“These student profiles offer a first-hand perspective on the challenges facing many Latino high school students, including over-crowded schools, crime-ridden neighborhoods, teen pregnancy and pressure to contribute to the family finances.” — IMDB
The series can be viewed on PBS.