September 15- October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to pay tribute to the remarkable stories and enriching contributions of Hispanic Americans around the world. From literary powerhouses to investigative journalists, these motivational speakers educate, connect, and inspire audiences on the Latino/a experience. Contact us for more information about bringing one of these speakers to your school, library, business, or association to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Cristina Henríquez is the author of the widely acclaimed novel The Book of Unknown Americans, which has been called “a flawlessly written book about immigration.” She brings to life the human stories behind the ongoing immigration debate through her characters. Inspired by the true stories of her family and neighbors’ journeys to America, she speaks about identity, immigration narratives, and the writing process with a variety of audiences.
Dan-el Padilla Peralta came to the United States from the Dominican Republic with his family in 1989. After his mother made the decision to stay in America after their visas lapsed, their family faced tremendous obstacles—including years living in homeless shelters—until Peralta received a scholarship to the oldest private school in the country. In his memoir, Undocumented, and in his lectures, Peralta chronicles his journey from the rough streets of New York City to the top of his class at Princeton, and offers an honest and inspiring glimpse of the Hispanic-American immigrant experience. His speeches address the history of immigration and his own inspiring odyssey to the Ivy League.
Lauren Markham is the author of The Far Away Brothers, the true story of teenage identical twins who traded El Salvador’s gang violence for life as undocumented immigrants in California. An accomplished journalist, educator, and advocate, Markham is an authority on international refugee issues and child migration in the United States. The Far Away Brothers examines the root causes of this migration, while attempting to understand why and how children migrate to the United States alone and under extremely dangerous conditions. Her presentations touch on the effects of recent American policy and the future of undocumented immigrants. She also speaks on the complex issues facing inner-city schools with high immigrant populations.
Jean Guerrero is a bilingual writer and journalist with extensive experience reporting in Latin America as a foreign correspondent. Her upcoming memoir, Crux, describes Guerrero’s quest to understand the mind of her father, a Mexican immigrant who grappled with mental health and addiction. In addition to speaking about U.S./Mexico relations, she delivers thoughtful lectures on journalism, memoir-writing, and rethinking mental illness.
Former U.S. border patrol agent Francisco Cantú shares his intimate perspective of the everyday violence that permeates the U.S./Mexican border in his searing memoir, The Line Becomes a River. A third-generation Mexican-American raised near the border, he empathized with those trying to cross it, even as he detained them. Cantú speaks frankly, compassionately, and knowledgeably about the migrants who risk and lose their lives attempting to cross the border. In his keynotes, he gives faces to the nameless multitudes, refuting the incendiary policy and rhetoric aimed at them.
Carlos Andrés Gómez is a spoken word poet and author of the coming-of-age memoir Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood. He headlines festivals worldwide, tackling true masculinity, ending youth violence, and building self-esteem. He was also the co-star of Spike Lee’s Inside Man and a performer on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry. Most recently, he collaborated with musician John Legend on a project to help young men break down notions of masculinity and understand the impact of gender stereotypes. His presentations provide critical tools for audiences to navigate conversations around identity, bullying, self-esteem, and beyond.
Erika L. Sanchez is the author of the acclaimed young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, which was an instant New York Times bestseller and received a nomination for the National Book Award. Informed by her experience growing up as the child of formerly undocumented Mexican immigrants, Sánchez brought an unforgettable voice to the immigration debate. Sánchez further explores issues of gender, race, immigration, and displacement in her poetry, most recently in the acclaimed collection Lessons on Expulsion. An advocate for young women everywhere, her inspiring talks delivered in both English and Spanish leave audiences inspired to tell their own stories.
Matt de la Peña is a New York Times-bestselling author who has received numerous accolades for his young adult novels and picture books, including the prestigious Newbery Medal. His books include The Last Stop on Market Street, Love, and Carmela Full of Wishes, among many others. He speaks to audiences of all ages about the profound impact of creativity and literacy.
Contact us for more information about speakers for Hispanic Heritage Month.