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September 07, 2007

Tom Butler
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Blomberg Announces Hispanic Heritage Month Recommended Reading List

TALLAHASSEE – Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg today announced the Just Read, Florida! recommended reading list in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The literary works in this year’s recommended reading list feature Hispanic authors and were selected to help increase students’ interests in Hispanic culture. The reading list contains appropriate selections for all ages, kindergarten through adult.

“We know that reading is the essential foundation to academic success,” said Commissioner Blomberg. “I encourage every Florida student to celebrate the richness and vibrancy of a culture that is such an inherent part of our own state by reading one of the books recommended by Just Read, Florida! during Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated nationwide and begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico achieved independence on September 16 and Chile on September 18. Hispanic Heritage Month has been celebrated in the United States since 1974 when President Gerald Ford issued a Presidential Proclamation extending Hispanic Heritage Week into a month-long observation.

Just Read, Florida! makes reading a priority in Florida’s public schools and among the community groups and volunteer organizations that support them. For more information about Just Read, Florida! or to view the Hispanic Heritage Month Recommended Reading List online, visit

The 2007 Just Read, Florida! recommended reading list for Hispanic Heritage Month:

Elementary School (Grades Pre K–2)

  • DoñaFlor, Pat Mora
  • Abuela, Arthur Dorros
  • Gathering the Sun, AlmaFlor Ada
  • Moon Rope, Lois Ehlert
  • Piñata!, Rebecca Emberley
  • Pablo's Tree, Pat Mora
  • Chato's Kitchen, Gary Soto
  • Sing, Little Sack!, Nina Jaffe
  • Xochtil and the Flowers, Jorge Argueta
  • New Shoes for Silvia, Johanna Hurwitz
  • The Spirit of Tío, Fernando Janice Levy
  • Hispanic Scientists: Ellen Ochoa, Carlos A. Ramirez, Eloy Rodriguez, Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Maria Elena Zavala, Jetty St. John
  • I Am Latino: The Beauty of Me, Sandra Pinkney
  • Domitila: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican Tradition, adopted by Jewel Reinhart Coburn

Elementary (Grades 3–5)

  • Family Pictures, Carmen Lomas Garza
  • Extraordinary Hispanic Americans, Susan Sinnott
  • Baseball in the Barrios, Henry Horenstein
  • The Bossy Gallito, Lucia Gonzalez
  • Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers, Pat Mora
  • Snapshots from the Wedding, Gary Soto
  • Jalapeño Bagels, Natasha Wing
  • Iguanas in the Snow and other Winter Poems, Francisco X. Alarcón
  • Under the Royal Palms: a Childhood in Cuba, Alma Flor Ada
  • Cinco de Mayo: A Mexican Holiday about Unity and Pride, James Garcia
  • Emiliano Zapata: Revolutionary and Champion of Poor Farmers, R. Conrad Stein
  • Alicia Alonso: First Lady of the Ballet, Sandra Martin Arnold
  • The Biographical Dictionary of Hispanic Americans, Nicholas E. Meyer
  • Famous Hispanic Americans, Janet Morey
  • Ellen Ochoa: The First Hispanic Woman Astronaut, Romero Maritza

Middle School (Grades 6–8)

  • Cesar Chavez: A Voice for Farmworkers, Barbara C. Cruz
  • When I was a Boy Neruda Called Me Policarpo, Poli Delano
  • Jessie De La Cruz: Profile of a United Farm Worker, Gary Soto
  • Crossing the Wire, Will Hobbs
  • My Land Sings: Stories from the Rio Grande, Rudolfo A. Anaya
  • Under the Same Sky, Cynthia DeFelico
  • Struggling to Become an American, Robin Santos Doak
  • The Music Thief, Peni Griffin
  • Call Me Maria: a Novel, Judith Ortiz Cofer
  • Hispanic, Female and Young: An Anthology, edited by Phyllis Tashlik
  • My Daughter, My Son, the Eagle, the Dove: An Aztec Chant, Ana Castillo
  • Platero and I, Juan Ramón Jiménez
  • Cuba15, Nancy Osa
  • Becoming Naomi León, Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • The Tree Is Older Than You Are, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Petty Crimes, Gary Soto
  • Flight to Freedom, Ana Veciana–Suarez
  • Among the Volcanoes, Omar S. Castañeda

High School (Grades 9–12)

  • Journey of the Sparrows, Fran Leeper Buss
  • Jesse, Gary Soto
  • Yo!, Julia Alvarez
  • Laughing Out Loud, I Fly: Poems in English and Spanish, Juan Felipe Herrera
  • How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, Julia Alvarez
  • Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya
  • When I Was Puerto Rican, Esmeralda Santiago
  • Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States, Lori Marie Carlson
  • Collected Fictions: Book Three, Jorge Luis Borges
  • The Shadow of the Wind: A Novel, Carlos Ruiz Zafon translated by Lucia Graves
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
  • American Chica, Maria Arana
  • Taking Sides, Gary Soto
  • Before We Were Free, Julia Alvarez
  • Riding Low on the Streets of Gold: Latino Literature for Young Adults, edited with an introduction Judith Ortiz Cofer
  • Growing Up Inside the Sanctuary of My Imagination, Nicholasa Mohr
  • Curse of the Chupa Cabra, Rudolfo Anaya
  • Accidental Love, Gary Soto

Adult Reading

  • Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez, Richard Rodriguez
  • The Line of the Sun, Judith Ortiz Cofer
  • Empress of the Splendid Season, Oscar Hijuelos
  • In the Time of the Butterflies: A Novel, Julia Alvarez
  • Never Through Miami, Robert Quesada
  • Down These Mean Streets, Piri Thomas
  • Our House in the Last World, Oscar Hijuelos
  • The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Oscar Hijuelos