Photo by Brian Wegman  on Unsplash

The Montclair Public Library, in partnership with Latinos of Montclair, celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month with a series of cultural programs for all ages that spotlight the diverse traditions of Latin America. 

National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place annually from September 15 to October 15 to celebrate the contributions and heritage of Hispanic and Latino communities throughout the United States.

“We are so proud to be hosting this exceptional celebration with music, poetry, discussions, stories, and games from these beautiful cultures,” says library director Janet Torsney, who hopes the community joins in the celebration. 

Natalia Espejo, president of Latinos of Montclair, says the organization is excited to kick off its second year of Latino Heritage Month activities in partnership with the Montclair Public Library. “Our goal is to highlight the great diversity found in the American Latino experience by offering a variety of events, from Lotería to Cuentos Andinos to a Latine Music & Poetry Showcase led by the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. You won’t want to miss it!” 

All programs are free. Registration is required at unless otherwise noted. This celebration is made possible by funds from the Essex County Division of Cultural Affairs, a New Jersey State Council on the Arts partner.

Adult Programs

The Post-Castro Era, Pandemic, and a New Cold War? Prospects for a Rapidly Changing Caribbean
Tuesday, September 19, 6:30 p.m., Main Library
Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera, professor at Bloomfield College of Montclair State University, will explore the possible political realignment of the Caribbean. Adult School lecture.

The Corner Book Club
Thursday, Sept. 21, 11 a.m., Bellevue Ave. Branch
We’ll read “Afterlife” by Julia Alvarez.

La Placita: Latine Music & Poetry Showcase
Thursday, September 21, 6:30 p.m., Main Library (Plaza)
Enjoy an evening of spoken word poetry with Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Hear cutting-edge Latin voices organized by Paul LaTorre, professor at Bloomfield College of Montclair State University, and backed by music from La Manga, an all-female percussion ensemble. Adult School event.

A Window to Andean Traditions: Panpipe Workshop
Wednesday, September 27, 5:30 p.m., Main Library
Ecuadorian-born musician Pepe Santana will delve into Andean culture while teaching students how to build and play the panpipe. Adult School class.

Evening Showcase of Peruvian Music and Dance
Monday, October 9, 6:30 p.m., Main Library
Enjoy performances by award-winning recording artist Lula Valdivia and Rosa Carhallanqui, founder of Peruincafolk Company. Adult School event.

Broken Promises: Puerto Ricans and Urban Development in Mid-20th Century New York
Tuesday, October 10, 6:30 p.m., Main Library
Lorrin Thomas, professor at Rutgers University, will highlight the ways Puerto Rican New Yorkers responded to the 1950s demolition of the San Juan Hill neighborhood. Adult School lecture.

An Evening with Cocomama: Latin Jazz and More
Thursday, October 12, 6:30 p.m., Main Library
Join us for an entertaining evening of Latin jazz, salsa, and more with Cocomama, whose members hail from around the globe. Registration is not required, but recommended.

Youth & Teen Programs

Teen Book Club (ages 12-18)
Wednesday, Sept. 13, 4 p.m., Main Library
We’ll discuss Latinx Stories & Voices.

Masks of the Americas Workshop (ages 6+)
Saturday, Sept. 16, 12 p.m. or 1:30 p.m., Main Library
Saturday, Oct. 7, 3 p.m., Bellevue Ave. Branch
Learn about masks used in Latin American celebrations, ceremonies, and rituals, then decorate your own. Presented by artist Monica Chavarria. See her “De Colombia P’al Mundo” exhibit in the Main Library Cafe from Sept. 2-30.

Folk Music of Colombia (all ages)
Saturday, September 16, 4:30 p.m., Main Library (Plaza)
Viva Vallenato! Cumbia Band will entertain with the folkloric music of Colombia. Registration is not required, but recommended.

Decima Poetry Workshop (ages 8+)
Wednesday, Sept. 20, 4 p.m., Main Library
Learn about the décima espinela, a unique poetic form created during Spain’s Golden Age. Registration is not required, but recommended.

Estimulación Musical para la Primera Infancia (birth-24 months)
Thursday, September 21, 10:30 a.m., Bellevue Ave. Branch
Learn, sing, and move with your baby in this immersive Spanish lapsit.

Lotería! Bilingual Bingo (ages 5+)
Tuesday, Sept. 26, 4 p.m., Main Library
Join us for MPL’s spin on the traditional Lotería game played in Mexico. Registration is not required, but recommended.

Cuentos andinos: Andean Tales (ages 3-7)
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 4 p.m., Main Library
Listen to books in Spanish and English set in the Andes Mountains, such as “Run, Little Chaski!” by Mariana Llanos. No registration.

Flamenco Para Los Niños (all ages)
Saturday, September 30, 4:30 p.m., Main Library
Admission Nation presents flamenco, the riveting Spanish dance form with colorful costumes and rhythmic sounds. Registration not required, but recommended.

Día de los Muertos (ages 12-18)
Thursday, Oct. 5, 5 p.m., Main Library
Learn about Día de los Muertos by decorating your own sugar skulls and making a community altar. Led by educator Ana Maria Nichim Luna Toporek.

Cuentos Puertorriqueños: Puerto Rican Stories (ages 3-7)
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 4 p.m., Main Library
Enjoy books about the island of Puerto Rico along with acoustic guitar songs in Spanish. No registration.

Bilingual Children’s Author Susie Jaramillo & Kiki Chickie Puppet (babies–pre-K)
Thursday, Oct. 12, 11 a.m., Main Library
Jaramillo will read some of her bilingual Spanish books for young children and lead families in nursery rhyme singalongs. Registration is not required, but recommended.

Era Uma Vez, na Biblioteca: Dia das Crianças Portuguese Storytime (birth-age 9)
Friday, Oct. 13, 4 p.m., Main Library
Celebrate Day of the Children—stories will be interwoven with songs and rhymes, all in Portuguese and led by educator Ana Cristina Coura. Registration not required, but recommended.

Celebrating Frida Kahlo: Make a Self-Portrait with Your Pet (ages 8-11)
Saturday, Oct. 14, 11 a.m., Main Library
Learn about the renowned Mexican painter and feminist icon. Then, create a self-portrait with your pet in her style.

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