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Books for Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15th marked the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month—a time to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens with origins in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Click here to learn more about these 30 days of celebration, which include the dates on which Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile celebrate their independence.

We’ve also highlighted these titles from the Amplify Library to help you bring the celebration into your middle school classrooms:

Insight

American Latin Music: Rumba Rhythms, Bossa Nova, and the Salsa Sound
By Matt Doeden

The crowd sways to the melodic strumming of a bossa nova guitarist. A vocalist belts out lyrics that blend English and Spanish. Couples dance to salsa’s syncopated rhythms. These are the sounds of Latin music. Before Latin music exploded into the mainstream in the 1990s, it was on the sidelines of American pop. Ritchie Valens fused Latin dance music with rock. Julio Iglesias popularized Latin ballads in the United States. And Gloria Estefan was the first crossover artist. But after Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” exploded onto the pop scene in 1999, Latin music took center stage. Follow the evolution of Latin music through the decades. Learn how its distinct sounds and catchy rhythms have been integrated into American pop. Discover how it is used for political expression. And read more about global stars such as Victor Jara, Selena, and Shakira.

Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel
By Diana Lopez

Thirteen-year-old Erica is a plain-Jane girl with no special talents and a Boyfriend Wish List a mile long. She’s not super duper smart like her younger sister or always the center of attention, like her greedy little brother nicknamed Jimmy Gimme. Then one day her mother comes home with nine bikinis—one to wear each day before her mastectomy. After the family learns of Erica’s mother’s cancer, they travel to South Texas to visit a church’s cuarto de milagros, the room church where people leave treasured items in exchange for God’s help. While there, Erica vows to stand up and stand out in a whole new way—for her mother, for others with cancer, and for herself.

Crossing the Wire
By Will Hobbs

When falling crop prices threaten his family with starvation, fifteen-year-old Victor Flores heads north in an attempt to “cross the wire” from Mexico into the United States so he can find work and send money home. But with no money to pay the smugglers who sneak workers across the border, Victor struggles to survive as he jumps trains, stows away on trucks, and hikes grueling miles through the Arizona desert.

Victor’s journey is fraught with danger, hunger, freezing cold, scorching heat, and dead ends. It’s a gauntlet run by millions attempting to cross the border. Through Victor’s often desperate struggle, Will Hobbs brings to life one of the great human dramas of our time.

Roberto & Me
By Dan Gutman

When Stosh travels into the past to meet Roberto Clemente, a legendary ballplayer and a beloved humanitarian, he’s got only one goal: warning Roberto not to get on the doomed plane that will end his life in a terrible crash. In the 1960s, Stosh meets free-spirited Sunrise, and together they travel across the country to a ball game that leaves them breathless—and face-to-face with Clemente. But when the time comes for Stosh to return to the future, he finds that his adventure has only just begun…

Join Stosh and Sunrise on a journey that will take you into the past—from the excitement of Woodstock to a life-changing encounter with Roberto Clemente—and into a surprising future!

Sonia Sotomayor: First Hispanic U.S. Supreme Court Justice
By Lisa Tucker McElroy

When President Barack Obama nominated then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States, the country celebrated. Not only would the Supreme Court welcome its third woman justice but also its first Hispanic member. Many Americans saw the appointment of the first Hispanic justice as an important step in the civil rights movement.

We Are Not Beasts of Burden: Cesar Chavez and Delano Grape Strike, California 1965-1970
By Stuart A. Kallen

“The only way we could win was to keep fighting for a long time..the only way we could win was by staying with it.” —Cesar Chavez

As the sun rose on September 8, 1965, in Delano, California, thousands of acres of ripe grapes hung heavy on the vine. But instead of harvesting the crop, Filipino farmworkers on nine large ranches laid down their tools and walked out of the vineyards in protest of their low wages and dangerous working conditions. The strike quickly caught the attention of Cesar Chavez, who had been organizing Mexican American farmworkers through the United Farmworkers Union. Together, thousands of California agricultural laborers fought for their rights through strikes, boycotts, and a 250-mile (400-kilometer) protest march, the longest march in U.S. history. For more than five years, their struggle had the support of the American public and led to labor laws and agricultural practices that ensure the rights of all farmworkers to decent pay, safe working conditions, and other benefits. In this compelling story of the rise of Cesar Chavez from local organizer to national civil rights hero, we’ll learn how he and other leaders of the grape strike endured violence and fought corruption to win rights for workers. And we’ll see how the story continues in the 21st century as the United Farmworkers Union works to protect the civil rights of every agricultural laborer in the nation.

About Amplify ELA:

Amplify ELA is a blended curriculum designed specifically for grades 6–8. With Amplify ELA, students learn to tackle any complex text and make observations, grapple with interesting ideas, and find relevance for themselves. Built specifically for middle school, Amplify ELA is an interactive core curriculum that brings complex texts to life. Amplify ELA inspires students to read more deeply, write more vividly, and think more critically. With text always at the center, students are encouraged to make meaning for themselves. They develop ideas and opinions on real-world, relevant texts, instead of focusing on right or wrong answers. To learn more about Amplify ELA visit amplify.com/ela.

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