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Press Release

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Department of Education Releases 2008 Hispanic Heritage Month Recommended Reading List

~ Selections help readers learn more about Hispanic culture ~

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Education Just Read, Florida! Office today released the 2008 recommended reading list in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The reading list contains appropriate selections for all ages, kindergarten through adult, to help increase interest in the many aspects and contributions of Hispanic culture to the state of Florida.

“Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the rich culture and countless contributions of people from Spanish-speaking countries,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “Through the recommended reading list, students of all ages have an opportunity to share in this celebration and gain a greater appreciation for the many benefits that diversity has brought to Florida.”

Literary examples from the recommended reading list include “Family Pictures,” by Carmen Lomas Garza for elementary school students (grades three through five), “Call Me Maria: A Novel,” by Judith Ortiz Cofer for middle school students (grades six through eight), and “Bless Me, Ultima,” by Rudolfo Anaya for high school readers.

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated nationwide and begins September 15, 2008, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico achieved independence on September 16th and Chile on September 18th. 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.

The recommended reading list provides a variety of suggested books by grade level for children of all ages, as well as a selection of suggested books for adults. 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! and to view the recommended reading list for Hispanic Heritage Month, please visit www.justreadflorida.com.