When was the last time you sat down to a delicious meal of tacos and guacamole, listened to the newest song by superstars such as Jennifer Lopez or Pitbull, or popped in a movie starring Penelope Cruz or Salma Hayek?
These contributions, and many more, can be attributed to the Hispanic culture.
Each year, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15-Oct. 15 to celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Your Manatee libraries have wide collections of books, DVDs, music albums, audiobooks and online resources both by and about Hispanic Americans and Hispanic Heritage.
Isabel Allende, a New York Times bestselling author who has been translated into over 40 languages, was born in Peru to Chilean parents. While you wait for her 2020 release “A Long Petal of the Sea,” why not pick up her last book, “In the Midst of Winter” (2017), a love story set in Brooklyn and Guatemala with flashbacks to 1970’s Chile and Brazil?
Families will enjoy checking out Valerie Petrillo’s “A Kid’s Guide to Latino History: More than 50 Activities” (2009) to learn about different Latin American countries while creating craft items related to their histories and cultures. It is also available on Hoopla.
Hoopla is also a great destination to listen to the best salsa, merengue and Latin music. New releases by Top 40 artists — such as “Oasis” by J. Balvin (2019) or “Vida” by Luis Fonsi (2019) — can get the party started.
Classics such as “Segovia Plays: Lo Mestre, Bach, Haydn, Rameeau, Rodrigo, Lauro, Scriabin, Cassadau, Villa-Lobos” by Andrés Segovia (2009) or the many albums of the Buena Vista Social Club take us back in time.
While browsing through Hoopla, why not start planning your next trip to Central or South America using one of their travel guides?
Before dusting off your passport, it may be time to brush up on your Spanish. Your library card again has you covered, with access to print, audio, and online resources.
Start with Mango Languages, a self-paced language-learning system that uses real-life situations and actual conversations to teach over 70 languages, including Spanish.
We also have a bilingual children’s print collection, as well as adult and children’s Spanish fiction, non-fiction, and audiobooks to continue practicing your new language skills.
The place to be this Hispanic Heritage Month will be the Manatee Libraries’ outdoor Hispanic Heritage Festival, an afternoon filled with live musical performances, bilingual story times, children’s crafts. and food trucks.
Community partners such as MCR Health, UnidosNOW, Whole Child Manatee and many others will be on hand to answer questions and join in on the fun.
Save the date: The festival is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Oct. 5 at the Downtown Central Library. While there, stop inside to take a look at our diverse and exciting collections.
Call your local branch for more information on available titles.
▪ Central Library — 941-748-5555;
▪ Braden River — 941-727-6079;
▪ Island — 941-778-6341;
▪ Palmetto — 941-722-3333;
▪ Rocky Bluff — 941-723-4821;
▪ South Manatee — 941-755-3892.
You also can access the library via the internet at mymanatee.org/library.
Aileen Valdes is the assistant branch supervisor at the Palmetto Library. Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday in the Bradenton Herald.