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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

September 22, 2023

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

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Yo Soy Boricua, Pa’ que tú lo sepas! And National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, is a time to celebrate the histories, cultures, languages, identities and contributions of the more than 62.5 million Latinos in the United States whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean and South and Central America. Since our country’s founding, Latinos have made significant social, artistic, cultural, educational, literary, political and economic contributions to American life. Latinos have proudly enriched our nation’s competitiveness, culture and prosperity throughout generations.

As the first Latina, and proud Puerto Rican, serving as the executive vice president of the AFT, I know firsthand the importance of having literature that reflects our students lived experiences and culture.

Over the years, the AFT and First Book have distributed hundreds of thousands of books highlighting Hispanic authors, characters and cultures—including Spanish and bilingual titles. Through our partnership, we have supported school libraries, back-to-school efforts, citizenship clinics, community fairs and large-scale resource distributions in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and other places to provide high-quality books, school supplies and basic-needs items to low-income and underserved communities. And this year, through the AFT’s Real Solutions for Kids and Communities initiative, we’re expanding our partnership with First Book, Reading Universe, WETA and the Barksdale Institute to help teachers access the best evidence-based reading instructional practices. So while others ban books, we will be giving away 2.5 million books by 2024, including books that reflect our students’ diverse cultures.

Join me as we celebrate our culture, nuestra herencia, our diversity and our strength by creating joyful and confident readers with books from your local library or the First Book Marketplace. 

Check out the rest of this blog and more free reading resources here.

First Book’s Latinx Characters & Culture Collection

Explore more resources in this collection here.

  • If you're not a First Book member yet, sign up for free today at www.firstbook.org/AFT. Registration is free and takes about 5 mins.

Hispanic Heritage Month Lesson Plans and Activities

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with these free activities, lesson plans and resources highlighting the contributions of the Hispanic world to history, music, art, literature and more.

Republished with permission from the American Federation of Teachers.

Evelyn DeJesus
Evelyn DeJesus is the executive vice president of the AFT, AFL-CIO. She was elected to the position in July 2019. She began her career in education working as a state-certified parent educator and then as an assistant director for the Even Start Program for pregnant teens, all while pursuing a... See More
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