About This Guide

Welcome to this resource guide about Travel developed in conjunction with our recurring Armchair Travel program. Each month, we travel to a new travel destination virtually via Facebook. September’s destination is Puerto Rico. Click here for the event page on Facebook. 


Every guide includes resources for you to further explore each destination that we visit. If you have any questions about these guides, Contact Us or call the Information Desk at Kennedy (765-747-8209) or Maring-Hunt (765-747-8204) daily from 1-5pm.

Muncie Travel Agencies

If you are looking to take a trip, the following travel agencies are highlighted by the Muncie, Indiana Chamber of Commerce. 

AAA Travel Insurance
4351 W. Clara Dr.
Muncie, IN 47304

Affordable Tailored Travel, Inc.
8209 N. Tahoe Dr.
Muncie, IN 47303

Storybook World Travel
3621 N. Everbrook Ln.
Muncie, IN

 

Travel Information

Muncie Public Library has a wealth of travel guides available in the collection. Simply go to our catalog, click on Advanced Search at the top right, and change the author and title search functions both to subject.

Then, type in travel guides for the first search and in the second, type in your destination. For example, perhaps I want to take a trip to Mexico. I would do an advanced search for Travel Guides and Mexico each separately as a subject search.  

Online Resources

You can also utilize online resources to plan your trip to other locales. Here are some common sites used to plan a whole trip from booking a flight to lodging and renting a car. It’s a one stop shopping trip.

If you would like to shop around for discounts, try these sites for lodging, airfare, and experience packages.

Flights

Lodging

Experiences

Fast Facts

Official Name: Hellenic Republic
Capital: Athens
Population: 11 million
National Language: Greek
Currency: Euro
Flight from Indianapolis to Athens: 13 hours

The climate in Greece is mostly Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cool, rainy winters. The capital, Athens, has an average temperature of around 90 degrees in August, and about 50 degrees in January. The mountains have a colder, harsher climate than most of the rest of Greece, and often heavy snowfalls.
 

 

Plan Your Trip

Greece by Korina Miller

Lonely Planet Greece is your most up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Stand in the shadow of the Acropolis, compare sunsets and beaches as you hop from island to island, or sample the freshest flavours and    most succulent seafood; all with your trusted travel companion. Title available through Hoopla.

 

The Rough Guide to Greece by Nick Edwards, John Fisher, Rebecca Hall, John Malathronas and Steve Vickers

With user-friendly accommodation and eating reviews, crystal-clear maps, detailed background and a journalistic eye for detail, this guide is suitable for all your Greece travel needs. It also includes top 5 lists and itineraries that will help you plan your route, with insider tips on the best beaches to escape the crowds.

 

Greece by Mike Gerrard

Active travelers trust National Geographic to deliver what they want in a guidebook: expert advice, insider tips, and the cultural feel of each destination not easily found online. These guides are pitch-perfect for today's experiential travel enthusiasts who want an authentic, enriching immersion. Explore the best sites in Greece--from the Acropolis and ancient Delphi to Athens's newest neighborhoods and Santorini sunsets--with this gorgeous guide, replete with updated information and travel tips, cut-away illustrations of some of the country's famous structures, an array of detailed maps, and sumptuous photographs.

 

Frommer’s Greek Islands With Your Family: From Golden Beaches to Ancient Legends by Jos Simon

This guide has all the inside knowledge and advice for a trouble-free holiday full of fabulous memories for all the family. Discover a destination with stunning beaches with azure waters and bustling harbour towns, fascinating historical sites and fortresses to explore, pretty white-washed villages and breathtaking views, friendly and welcoming child-friendly restaurants, dramatic landscapes to discover together. Title available through Overdrive.

Online Resources

Visit Greece is the official website for tourism in the country of Greece. It includes topics on a variety of things related to travel in Greece including places to go, where to stay, what you need to know before visiting the country, the best places to eat, etc.

Places To Visit

Online Resources

Greece from Home is a website devoted to bringing Greece to you at home during the pandemic. Visitors can discover Greece through its food, fashion, destinations, and culture.

The Peloponnese is the peninsula in southern Greece connected by the Isthmus of Corinth, and some of its major cities are Patras, Kalamata, Argos, and Tripoli. Sparta, renowned in the ancient world for its warriors, is also a city in this region, and the site of the Olympic Games was also in this area in a place called Olympia. Other sites of note are Mani, Kardamyli, Nafplio, and Nemea, site of one of the 12 Labors of Herakles where the hero slew the Nemean Lion. 

If you are highly interested in exploring the ancient world in the Peloponnese, also try Mycenae, where you can take a virtual tour of the archaeological site that was once home to Agamemnon, one of the heroes of the Trojan War! If you are more interested in medieval Greece, try Mystras through YouGoCulture

Ionian Beaches are some of the most beautiful seaside areas in the world with their clear blue waters surrounded by green cliffs. If you like the beach, try these destinations: Myrtos, Voutoumi Beach, Porto Katsiki, and Navagio, or Shipwreck, Beach on Zakynthos.

Athens, the capital of Greece and its largest city, is a popular tourist destination with the Acropolis as its most recognizable landmark. In Ancient Greece, Athens was the first state to introduce democracy as a concept, and it boasted a strong naval force. Its main port is Piraeus where you can hop on a boat to travel to Hydra and other island destinations.  

The site of Delphi was once a holy place in Ancient Greece as the seat of Pythia, the ancient oracle that Greeks consulted in order to make important decisions. Located on the southwestern slope of Mount Parnassus, Delphi was once considered the center of the world by the Greeks and is known as the omphalos, or naval, of the world. 

Meteora is a unique site in Greece. It is a rock formation that has large complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries built into it. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage located near the town of Kalambaka.

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and serves as the capital of Macedonia, which is famous thanks to Alexander the Great. It was also the co-capital of the Byzantine Empire alongside Constantinople in modern day Turkey. It is a popular tourist destination and has numerous sites for people to visit.

Teen Resources

For more book suggestions and to learn more about Greece, check out this PDF iconfun newsletter

The Illiad: A Graphic Novel by Gareth Hinds

In a companion to his award-winning adaptation of "The Odyssey, " incomparable graphic novelist Hinds masterfully adapts Homer's classic wartime epic, capturing all of its grim glory. Includes notes, maps, a cast of characters, and other tools to help readers understand all the action and drama of Homer's epic.

 

Heroes and Heroines of Greece

This title explores the many heroes and heroines of the Greek and Roman civilizations.

Muncie Public Library has many titles about Greek Mythology for kids. If you would like to explore this more, simply go to our catalog, type in “Greek Mythology” in the search box, click search, and then limit the audience to Juvenile at the left in order to see what titles we have for youth  in our collection.
 

Architecture

Engineering An Empire, vol. 1 by The History Channel

An architectural investigation beginning with Greece, the empire that gave rise to Western civilization and produced some of antiquity's greatest treasures. Next discover how Alexander saved the Greek Empire from its period of civil unrest, then voyage to Central America to unlock the mysterious and magical world of the ancient Aztecs.

 

Secrets of the Parthenon by NOVA 

As originally screened on PBS's NOVA series, the documentary special Secrets of the Parthenon carries viewers on a detailed exploration of the titular landmark - one of Ancient Greece's most renowned architectural wonders. As the program points out, the Parthenon has fallen prey, over the centuries, to every type of conceivable destruction - from earthquakes to extensive vandalism to looting and arson. Yet it somehow survived intact through the early years of the 21st century. This documentary examines methods used by the Ancient Greeks to achieve such remarkable architectural precision, the techniques that enabled the Greeks to erect the structure so quickly, and the late 20th-early 21st century restorative efforts of the Acropolis Restoration Project. It also concludes with an incredible historical secret unveiled when a shaft of light discloses a hidden carving.

 

Western Architecture: From Ancient Greece to the Present by Ian Sutton 

Western Architecture is an original and far-reaching survey of the history of architecture in Europe and North America, from ancient Greece to the present.
 

Culture

It’s All Greek to Me: From Homer to the Hippocratic Oath, How Ancient Greece Has Shaped Our World by Charlotte Higgins

An informative, smart, and very amusing narrative about the enormous influence Greeks and Greek culture have had on the rest of the world, from art to architecture to literature to politics to love.

 

The Sappho Companion edited by Margaret Reynolds

Born around 630BC on the Greek island of Lesbos, Sappho is now regarded as the greatest lyrical poet of ancient Greece, ironic and passionate, capturing the troubled depths of love. Her work survives only in fragments, yet her influence extends throughout Western literature, fuelled by the speculations and romances which have gathered around her name, her story and her sexuality.This remarkable anthology brilliantly displays the way different periods have taken up Sappho's haunting story bringing together many different kinds of work. 

 

The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles

Chronicles the exploits and adventures of the warrior Odysseus as he struggles to return home to Ithaca and his beloved wife, Penelope, after the fall of Troy.

Also check out The Illiad by Homer which chronicles the end of the long Trojan War. 

Available in multiple formats

 

Antigone, Oedipus the King, Electra by Sophocles

Love and loyalty, hatred and revenge, fear, deprivation, and political ambition: these are the motives which thrust the characters portrayed in these three Sophoclean masterpieces on to their collision course with catastrophe. Recognized in his own day as perhaps the greatest of the Greek tragedians, Sophocles's reputation has remained undimmed for two and a half thousand years. His greatest innovation in the tragic medium was his development of a central tragic figure, faced with a test of will and character, risking obloquy and death rather than compromise his or her principles: it is striking that Antigone and Electra both have a woman as their intransigent `hero'. Antigone dies rather thanneglect her duty to her family, Oedipus's determination to save his city results in the horrific discovery that he has committed both incest and parricide, and Electra's unremitting anger at her mother and her lover keeps her in servitude and despair. 

 

The Republic by Plato

"What is at stake is far from insignificant: it is how one should live one's life." Plato's The Republic is widely acknowledged as the cornerstone of Western philosophy. Presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and three different interlocutors, it is an inquiry into the notion of a perfect community and the ideal individual within it. During the conversation, other questions are raised: What is goodness? What is reality? What is knowledge? The Republic also addresses the purpose of education and the roles of both women and men as "guardians" of the people. With remarkable lucidity and deft use of allegory, Plato arrives at a depiction of a state bound by harmony and ruled by "philosopher kings."

Also, check out other Greek philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, Democritus, and many others! Just do a Google search on Greek philosophers to see who comes up.

 

Online Resources

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in New York City, New York,  has a wide-ranging collection of Greek art that includes sculpture, jewelry, coins, pottery, etc. If you would like to see some of the collection virtually, watch this video from Art and Travel by Dave available on YouTube.

Google Arts and Culture is a non-profit initiative that preserves and brings the world’s art and culture to anyone, anywhere. Many different organizations contribute to this initiative including those from Greece. Click here to find resources related to the art and culture of Greece and explore!

YouGoCulture is a virtual platform designed to allow you the visitor to explore Greece from the comfort of home.  Visitors can sample what the country has to offer through a variety of topics including destinations, arts and crafts, gastronomy, experience, and myth. 

Did you know that the Olympic Games originated in Greece? Learn more about the history, spectators and events by going to the Olympic Games website.

Food

Flavors of Greece by Rosemary Barron

Rosemary Barron, the founder of Greece's premier cooking school, presents a collection of uncomplicated and flavorful Grecian-inspired recipes.

 

 

My Greek Table: Authentic Flavors and Modern Home Cooking From My Kitchen to Yours by Diane Kochilas

Inspired by her travels and family gatherings, the recipes and stories Diane Kochilas shares in My Greek Table celebrate the variety of food and the culture of Greece. Her Mediterranean meals, crafted from natural ingredients and prepared in the region's traditional styles--as well as innovative updates to classic favorites--cover a diverse range of appetizers, main courses, and desserts to create raucously happy feasts, just like the ones Diane enjoys with her family when they sit down at her table. 


Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes: Over 100 Recipes from the Great Food Regions of the World by Jamie Oliver

This new book of mine is all about fun, escapist recipes. It's an adventurous cookbook that embraces the big hitters from the incredible countries I've visited recently, as well as completely new things I've made up by taking cues from the influences around me. I've taken some of the most famous and exciting dishes from these beautiful places and tweaked them so you can recreate the paellas of Spain, the tagines of Morocco and the risottos of Italy easily, and authentically, in your own kitchen. Every now and then, being brave, escaping the daily routine and filling up on other cultures is a great thing to do. Just get out there and discover the fantastic flavors, people, and places that exist just a flight away. So, if you've been talking about going somewhere in particular but haven't gotten around to booking your ticket, I urge you to go for it. You'll come back feeling optimistic about life, with a head full of beautiful memories--not to mention ideas for incredible dishes. In the meantime, let this book introduce you to some of the fantastic new recipes and flavors I've discovered, and maybe even reintroduce you to recipes you've loved and enjoyed on your own holidays, but just never knew how to make.

Online Resources

Try searching online as well for traditional Greek foods and recipes to see what’s out there! Here’s what we found: 

History

The Greeks: An Illustrated History by Diane Harris Cline

An illustrated comprehensive and accessible history of Ancient Greece explores the rise and fall of the Greek empire, its powerful legacy for the modern world, and new discoveries shedding light on ancient Greek civilization.

 

The Oxford History of Byzantium edited by Cyril Mango

Byzantium linked the ancient and modern worlds, shaping traditions and handing down to both Eastern and Western civilization a vibrant legacy. The Oxford History of Byzantium is the only history to provide in concise form detailed historical coverage from the Roman beginnings to the fall of Constantinople and assimilation into the Turkish Empire. Against a backdrop of stories of emperors, intrigues, battles, and bishops the contributors to this beautifullyillustrated volume explore everyday life in cities and villages, manufacture and trade, machinery of government, the church as an instrument of state, minorities, education, literary activity, beliefs and superstitions, monasticism, iconoclasm, the rise of Islam, and the fusion with Western, or Latin,culture.


The Rise of Athens: The Story of the World’s Greatest Civilization by Anthony Everitt
The achievements of Athens have left a profound impact on Western culture. The Athenians invented the first real democracy (albeit one that included only adult males) and, in doing so, transformed the very notion of government. They established the concept of philosophy, raising issues with which today's thinkers still wrestle, and shaped the arts of tragedy and comedy, architecture and sculpture, as well as the study of history. 


For other titles related to Greek History and Civilization, check out our catalog. Try subject searches within the catalog’s advanced search function for Greece and Civilization for best results.

Online Resources

To learn more about Greek History, especially during the Ottoman and Modern era, check out Hellenism.net, a site devoted to all things Greece. This is also a good resource for learning more about Greek culture currently. You can also read about Greek History in Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Religion

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton

Monsters, mortals, gods, and warriors: For over sixty years readers have chosen this book above all others to discover the thrilling, enchanting, and fascinating world of Western mythology. From Odysseus's adventure-filled journey to the Norse god Odin's effort to postpone the final day of doom, Edith Hamilton's classic collection not only retells these stories with brilliant clarity but shows us how the ancients saw their own place in the world and how their themes echo in our consciousness today. An essential part of every home library, Mythology is the definitive volume for anyone who wants to know the key dramas, the primary characters, the triumphs, failures, fears, and hopes first narrated thousands of years ago-and still spellbinding to this day.


Bullfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes by Thomas Bullfinch

First published in three separate volumes from 1855 to 1863, Bulfinch's Mythology quickly became the standard source of classic tales from ancient Greece and Rome, the Norse tradition, and beyond. This edition contains the full text of The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes, the first volume of Bulfinch's seminal work. From stories of the Greek gods of Mt. Olympus to retellings of the Iliad and the Odyssey, from descriptions of mythological monsters to tales of Hindu and Egyptian deities, Bulfinch's versions of these classic stories bring their characters to life. Throughout the text, Bulfinch includes examples of literary interpretations of and allusions to the various stories and points out proverbial expressions that have their origins in the mythology he relates, making this a vital reference for students of literature as well as a delightfully vibrant collection of the stories that form our cultural heritage.

Muncie Public Library has many titles about Greek Mythology. If you would like to explore this more, simply go to our catalog and type in “Greek Mythology” in the search box to see what titles we have in our collection.

 

Philokalia: The Eastern Christian Spiritual Texts annotated by Allyne Smith

The Philokalia is a collection of texts written by spiritual masters within the Eastern Orthodox Church between the 4th and 15th centuries. They were originally written to guide monks in the spiritual life, and the texts were compiled by Nicodemus the Hagiorite and Macarius of Corinth in the 18th century and became more widely read as a result. Today, it serves as the principal spiritual text within the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Online Resources

To read more about the Ancient Greek religion and their practices, read this article written by staff within the Greek and Roman Art Department from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Today, many Greeks practice what is known as Eastern Orthodoxy, which is very similar to Roman Catholicism. To learn more about the Eastern Orthodox Religion, read this article.

Fast Facts

Official Name: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Capital: San Juan
Population: about 3 million
National Language: Spanish and English
Currency: US Dollar
Flight from Indianapolis to San Juan: 6 hours

The climate in Puerto Rico is classified as tropical rainforest with temperatures ranging from warm to hot year round and a rainy season that spans from April to November. The average island temperature is 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of its location, the island does experience a hurricane season. The most recent major hurricane to hit it was Maria, which caused tremendous destruction to the island.

Plan Your Trip

Puerto Rico: Treasure Island

Aside from its 430 kilometers of golden sand coasts, Puerto Rico hides a colonial treasure of untold wealth. In the capital city of San Juan, signs of its sixteenth-century origins remain as well as colossal fortresses, earning it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Nestled in the Caribbean Sea, this island is a water-sports paradise, renowned for diving, sailing, and deep-sea fishing. It is also home to one of the rarest bioluminescent bays on the planet, not to mention a massive rainforest and spectacular caves. Even if it is an American territory, Puerto Rico has a thriving artistic, musical, and culinary scene, and its culture and traditions are unique, rich, and colorful. Available through Hoopla.

Travel with Kids: Puerto Rico

Explore the rich history and culture of the colonial ports of Ponce and Old San Juan where Nathan and Seamus find adventure playing pirates in the old colonial fort of El Morro. Then it's off to find frogs in El Yunque, the Caribbean National Forest, and to explore the underground caves of Rio Camuy. Finally, the Simmons family finds time to relax on the beaches of Vieques Island, a small enclave that exudes the ambiance of a bygone era in the Caribbean. Available through Hoopla.


Caribbean by Christopher P. Baker

Take in the dizzying views from the top of Jamaica's Blue Mountains, stroll the cobbled colonial plazas of Habana Vieja, or marvel at the majesty of St. Lucia's volcanic spires. Covers Cuba, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Martin/Sint Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire.

Online Resources

Discover Puerto Rico is the country’s official travel and tourism page. Come here to find great destinations based on your interests, good food, and the latest news on traveling to and from the country. Check out the organization’s Facebook page and YouTube channel for curated content to enjoy including virtual vacations!

This Puerto Rico Travel Guide was curated by U.S. News Travel. It includes topics on what to do, where to stay, what to eat, how to dress, what to expect in terms of the culture, and how to get around the island. 

Places to Visit

Mosquito Bay, located on the beautiful island of Vieques, is described as magical due to the organisms (Pyrodinium bahamense, Dinoflagellates) that live within its waters. These “dinos” produce a burst of blue light when they come into contact with other organisms creating a bioluminescent bay. In 2008, the Guinness Book of World Records declared it the brightest in the world.

Speaking of water, Puerto Rico has many beautiful beaches. If you enjoy being near the ocean, check out this article from The Travel Channel to see what beaches you might want to visit while in Puerto Rico. On the other hand, if you want adventure and more nature in your vacation, go to El Yunque National Forest, hike the underground caverns at Camuy River Cave Park, or zipline from the heights of the Orocovis Mountains at Toroverde

For history lovers, San Juan is the place for you! It is the capital of Puerto Rico and the third oldest European-established capital in the Americas (founded 1521). While there, you can visit the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, which is the grandest religious building in Puerto Rico and the seat of its Archdiocese. The current church dates to 1540, but it is not the original. Last, no visit to San Juan would be complete without a trip to its two castle fortifications, Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal.

If you want to experience salsa, the dance not the food, visit Santurce and Hato Rey, two barrios of San Juan, and see if anyone is willing to teach you. Santurce especially has a thriving arts scene where you can tour the street art while Hato Rey is reminiscent of downtown areas in the states where people can catch all sorts of events like baseball games and concerts. In Santurce, you also will find a hopping nightlife scene at Calle Loiza, which is a foodie’s dream! Make sure to head to a coffee shop for your caffeine fix either in the morning or before enjoying the evening’s activities. Puerto Rico is very well-known for its coffee, so even if you are not a coffee drinker, be sure to experience it just this one time.

Obsessed with Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda? Visit his family’s hometown of Vega Alta where you can visit La Placita de Güisin and see the mural of Miranda and his grandfather! 

Want to experience Carnivale which is equivalent to our Mardi Gras here in the states? Go to Ponce and check out the Carnivale de Ponce that happens every year in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. It is an explosion of color, dance, and fun! Ponce also happens to be the second largest city in Puerto Rico and much like San Juan is filled with culture and history.

Travel Memoirs

Try these travel memoirs to read about some visitor experiences within Puerto Rico.

The Not-Quite States of America by Doug Mack

This book traces the author's explorations of U.S. territories including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands to juxtapose their blends of culture against the expansionist views of the Founding Fathers.

 

Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World by Leigh Ann Henion

Children have the ability to marvel over simple things in nature--leaves, pebbles, twigs. When she becomes a mother, Leigh Ann Henion starts to question: Could experiencing earth's most dazzling natural phenomena make the world similarly new again? Phenomenal is the improbable story of how she chases eclipses, auroras, and other natural phenomena around the globe to reawaken her sense of wonder. Whether standing on the still-burning volcanoes of Hawai'i or in the fearsome lightning storms of Venezuela, amid the vast wildebeest migration in Tanzania, or the millions of swirling butterflies that roost on a mountaintop in Mexico, Henion discovers the visceral awe that her child experiences every day. Her spiritual wanderlust puts her in the path of modern-day shamans, reindeer herders, and astrophysicists. These seekers trust their instincts, follow their passions, shape their days into the lives they most want to lead. And, somewhere along the way, Leigh Ann Henion becomes one of them.
 

 

Relief Efforts

In September 2017, Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, one of the worst storms that the country has seen in the last 80 years. In fact, the country is still recovering. To learn more about relief efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in September 2017, visit the American Red Cross or Mercy Corps.

To read more about the situation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, try this title.

The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists by Naomi Klein

In the rubble of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans and ultrarich "Puertopians" are locked in a pitched struggle over how to remake the island. In this vital and startling investigation, bestselling author and activist Naomi Klein uncovers how the forces of shock politics and disaster capitalism seek to undermine the nation's radical, resilient vision for a "just recovery.” Available through Hoopla.

Culture

Puerto Rico Strong: A Comics Anthology Supporting Disaster Relief and Recovery by Vita Ayala

Puerto Rico Strong is a comics anthology that explores what it means to be Puerto Rican and the diversity that exists within that concept, from today's most exciting Puerto Rican comics creators. Despite being a US territory, Puerto Rico is often thought of as a foreign land, if it's even a thought in the mind of the average American at all. Its people exist in all corners of America; some of them have parents who immigrated from the home island, others are a part of families that have been on the mainland for generations. Then there are those who have come to the states in search of a dream but struggle to integrate into an unfamiliar culture, while there are those who have lived in the United States all of their lives but still have the same struggle because of the color of their skin or their sexual identity. These stories follow individuals from diverse walks of life but are all part of the culture that is Puerto Rico.

Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago

As a young girl growing up in Spain, Ana Larragoity Cubillas is powerfully drawn to Puerto Rico by the diaries of an ancestor who traveled there. And twin brothers Ramón and Inocente -- both in love with Ana -- will get her there. She marries Ramón, and in 1844, at eighteen, travels to a remote sugar plantation the brothers have inherited. Ana relishes the challenge of running Hacienda los Gemelos, until Civil War breaks out in the United States…  Available through Overdrive

Online Resources

The arts are very much alive on the island of Puerto Rico, and you can learn more about the arts and crafts culture through Welcome to Puerto Rico. The two most well-known art museums on the island are the Museo de Arte de Ponce Leon and the  Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. Check out their online collections!

Google Arts and Culture is a non-profit initiative that preserves and brings the world’s art and culture to anyone, anywhere. Many different organizations contribute to this initiative including those from Puerto Rico. Click here to find resources related to the art and culture of Puerto Rico and explore!

To find more Puerto Rican literature, try a Google search for “Puerto Rican authors” or “Puerto Rican literature”.

Food

A Taste of Latin America: Culinary Traditions and Classic Recipes from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela by Patricia Cartin

You may not realize it but you probably already enjoy many of the ingredients found in Latin American cooking. Sweet potatoes, squash, corn, chocolate, chili peppers ... all of these originated in Latin America. But A Taste of Latin America expands your expectations of these fundamental food elements. The recipes in this cookbook provide a private peek inside the home kitchens of ten southern nations. Here you'll learn authentic methods of preparing Latin American meals. And while you enjoy these new savory and sweet dishes, you'll also learn about the history and culture of our neighbors to the south.

Latin American Street Food: The Best Flavors of Markets, Beaches, & Roadside Stands from Mexico to Argentina by Sandra A. Gutierrez

From tamales to tacos, food on a stick to ceviches, and empanadas to desserts, Sandra A. Gutierrez's Latin American Street Food takes cooks on a tasting tour of the most popular and delicious culinary finds of twenty Latin American countries, including Mexico, Cuba, Peru, and Brazil, translating them into 150 easy recipes for the home kitchen. These exciting, delectable, and accessible foods are sure to satisfy everyone.

Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America by Maricel E. Presilla

The co-owner of two Latin restaurants in Hoboken, New Jersey, presents 500 recipes from the Latin world ranging from Mexico to Argentina and all the Spanish-speaking countries of the Caribbean including adobos, sofritos, empanadas, tamales, ceviches, moles and flan.

 

Online Resources

Try searching online as well for traditional Puerto Rican foods and recipes to see what’s out there! Here’s what we found: 

 

History

War Against All Puerto Ricans by Nelson A. Denis

In 1950, after over fifty years of military occupation and colonial rule, the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico staged an unsuccessful armed insurrection against the United States. Violence swept through the island: assassins were sent to kill President Harry Truman, gunfights roared in eight towns, police stations and post offices were burned down. In order to suppress this uprising, the U.S. Army deployed thousands of troops and bombarded two towns, marking the first time in history that the U.S. government bombed its own citizens. Nelson A. Denis tells this powerful story through the controversial life of Pedro Albizu Campos, who served as the president of the Nationalist Party. A lawyer, chemical engineer, and the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard Law School, Albizu Campos was imprisoned for twenty-five years and died under mysterious circumstances. By tracing his life and death, Denis shows how the journey of Albizu Campos is part of a larger story of Puerto Rico and U.S. colonialism. Through oral histories, personal interviews, eyewitness accounts, congressional testimony, and recently declassified FBI files, War Against All Puerto Ricans tells the story of a forgotten revolution and its context in Puerto Rico's history, from the U.S. invasion in 1898 to the modern-day struggle for self-determination. Denis provides an unflinching account of the gunfights, prison riots, political intrigue, FBI and CIA covert activity, and mass hysteria that accompanied this tumultuous period in Puerto Rican history. Available through Hoopla.

The Statesman and the Storyteller by Mark Zwonitzer

John Hay, Lincoln's private secretary and later secretary of state under presidents McKinley and Roosevelt, and Samuel Langhorne Clemens, famous as "Mark Twain," grew up fifty miles apart on the banks of the Mississippi River in the same rural antebellum stew of race, class, and want. This shared history drew them together in the late 1860s, and their mutual admiration never waned in spite of sharp differences. In The Statesman and the Storyteller, the last decade of their lives play out against the tumultuous events of the day, as the United States government begins to aggressively pursue a policy of imperialism, overthrowing the duly elected queen of Hawaii; violently wresting Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines away from Spain; and finally supporting a revolution to clear a path for the building of the U.S.-controlled Panama Canal. Stunning in its relevance, The Statesman and the Storyteller explores the tactics of America's earliest global policies and their influence on U.S. actions for years to follow. Ultimately, it is the very human rendering of Clemens and Hay that distinguishes Zwonitzer's work, providing profound insights into the lives of two men who helped define their era. Available through Hoopla.

Colonel Roosevelt by H. Paul Jeffers
 
Colonel Roosevelt is an exciting and thoroughly captivating portrait of a man and a country at a crossroads. The Spanish-American War of 1897-1898 was the shortest conflict in American history. Yet it played a pivotal role in propelling the United States onto the twentieth-century world stage - along with the man whose nationalistic and military ideals were most responsible for bringing it about. With his keen eye for characterization and rich period detail, Jeffers captures the spirit of a newly industrialized nation with dreams of the spoils of empire hitherto reserved for her European rivals, a country flexing her newfound muscles." "No man more clearly exemplified late nineteenth-century notions of manifest destiny than Theodore Roosevelt. And no man was more willing to wage war to fulfill them. As Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt dreamed of a massive two-ocean navy capable of exerting American influence around the world. Going to war against an aging Spain, with Cuba as the prize, seemed the perfect way to make his dream come true.The events and colorful personalities of this crucial period come to vivid life in Colonel Roosevelt, from William Randolph Hearst and Henry Cabot Lodge, to Richard Harding Davis and Stephen Crane. Here, too, is the personal side of Theodore Roosevelt, much of it revealed in his own words. It is a candid glimpse of the blunt man behind the historic figure, relishing the swirl of international tensions he so vigorously helped to stir.

The Spanish-American War by Joseph Stromberg
 
In 1895 Cuba began its struggle for independence from Spain-a struggle that resulted in a demand for US involvement. This demand gained intensity when the USS Maine inexplicably sank in a Havana harbor in 1898. Tensions between the two nations rose as the United States continued to insist that Spain grant Cuba its independence and withdraw forces from the island. On April 24, 1898, Spain declared war on the United States. Due to an utter lack of preparedness on Spain's part, the war was decidedly one-sided. The conflict lasted less than a year. In the resulting treaty, Spain renounced its claim to Cuba, and the United States acquired colonies in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. The United States at War series is a collection of presentations that review the political, economic, and social tensions that have erupted in military conflict and examine how the conflict resolved, or failed to resolve, those tensions. Available through Hoopla.

 

Online Resources

Puerto Rico has a rich heritage. In order to learn more about its history and other topics about the country, read about it here via Encyclopedia Britannica. Smithsonian Magazine also has a brief article about the history of Puerto Rico, and the Library of Congress focuses on Puerto Rico during the 19th and early 20 centuries here.

If you would like to do more research on Puerto Rico and its heritage, please check out INSPIRE! INSPIRE is Indiana's Virtual Online Library, a collection of academic databases and other information resources that can be accessed by Indiana residents using any computer equipped with Internet access in Indiana. INSPIRE is a service of the Indiana State Library, supported by the Indiana General Assembly through Build Indiana Funds, The Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act and in partnership with the Academic Libraries of Indiana.

Language

Barron’s E-Z Spanish by Ruth J. Silverstein

Spanish becomes easy when you approach it the E-Z way! Open this book for clear, concise, skill-building instruction in vocabulary, verbs in seven tenses, parts of speech, sentence structure, vocabulary and grammar rules demonstrated in charming stories, oral proficiency with help from book's pronunciation guide and much more.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Spanish, Levels 1-4

A team of memory and linguistic experts have designed this world class foreign language self-study course. International travelers, students, and business people can now learn to converse in a new language in less than half the time they expect. Instant Language is guaranteed to work for beginners, as a refresher course, and even for people who have been frustrated in other attempts to learn a new language.

The Story of Spanish by Jean-Benoît Nadeau

Just how did a dialect spoken by a handful of shepherds in Northern Spain become the world's second most spoken language, the official language of twenty-one countries on two continents, and the unofficial second language of the United States? Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow, the husband-and-wife team who chronicled the history of the French language in The Story of French, now look at the roots and spread of modern Spanish. Full of surprises and honed in Nadeau and Barlow's trademark style, combining personal anecdote, reflections, and deep research, The Story of Spanish is the first full biography of a language that shaped the world we know, and the only global language with two names--Spanish and Castilian.

 

For other titles related to learning the Spanish language, check out our catalog. Try a subject search within the catalog’s advanced search function for “Spanish language”.

Music

Opus by Marc Anthony

Opus finds the great salsero working again with longtime producer and pianist Sergio George. It is not only a worthy successor to 3.0 but ultimately surpasses it. Anthony and George have crafted a 21st century salsa that is at once elegant and passionate. Their exposition of salsa is reliant on great songs and innovative charts. While percussion remains the genre's cornerstone, their reliance on the lead role of the piano -- with vibrant montunos, colorful chord voicings and melodic flair -- is the album's aesthetic guidepost. Wrapped tightly inside the mix are exquisitely layered and textured horns and transcendent strings that are never overbearing. Together, these elements elevate the songs into a unique sphere, without ever forsaking salsa's root lineage.

MAS: Musico, Alma, Sexo by Ricky Martin

The last time Ricky Martin released a record -- way back in 2005, a good six years before Musica + Alma + Sexo -- the Puerto Rican singer was half a decade removed from his last blast of crossover success and still closeted. In 2011, he’s one year removed from coming out and even further removed from the place he used to occupy in pop culture, that of a handsome, dexterous crossover artist with a flair for frivolous club/dance cuts and adult contemporary crossovers. Theoretically, this loosening of expectations would give him some freedom to roam on Musica + Alma + Sexo, and it does to the extent that he does not feel compelled to devote the record to the English language. His two English cuts, the Joss Stone duet “The Best Thing About Me Is You” and “Shine,” are buried at the end of the record, the rest of the album sung in Spanish -- but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Musica has a distinctly Latin lilt in its rhythms. This is clean, gleaming dance and lite-pop, all shepherded by Desmond Child, the old studio pro responsible for co-writing hits for Kiss, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, and Cher, not to mention Ricky’s own “Livin’ la Vida Loca.” Child helps steer Musica + Alma + Sexo toward a high thread-count upscale pop that knows no borders. It’s all pleasant enough and Martin has enough effortless charm to keep things light and sometimes even engaging.

Online Resources

YouTube is a great site for listening to music of all types. Type in “Puerto Rican music” to see what users have uploaded. Bomba y plena came from Puerto Rico, and to learn more about it, watch this video from Discover Puerto Rico or read the Smithsonian’s Folkways article about bomba y plena.

Salsa was developed by the Puerto Ricans of New York City during the 1960s  with a heavy influence from Cuba and the Caribbean. The site Welcome to Puerto Rico describes Salsa and other musical styles from Puerto Rico. 

The national instrument of Puerto Rico is the cuatro. It's played like a guitar, but shaped like a violin. The original cuatro had four strings - hence the name - but modern cuatros have 10 strings arranged in 5 pairs. It's most commonly found in jibaro orchestras, which play Puerto Rican folk music. If you would like to learn more, read this article from the Cuatro Project or listen to some samples on YouTube!

People

Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero by David Maraniss

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "When Pride Still Mattered" comes a book destined to become a modern classic--a full-scale biography of great baseball player and humanitarian Roberto Clemente, who lived, played, and died with enduring passion and grace.
 

Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Díaz

Jaquira Díaz writes an unflinching account of growing up as a queer biracial girl searching for home as her family splits apart and her mother struggles with mental illness and addiction. From her own struggles with depression and drug abuse to her experiences of violence to Puerto Rico's history of colonialism, every page vibrates with music and lyricism.

Rita Moreno: A Memoir by Rita Moreno

In this luminous memoir, Rita Moreno shares her remarkable journey from a young girl with simple beginnings in Puerto Rico to Hollywood legend and one of the few performers, and the only Hispanic, to win an Oscar, Grammy, Tony and two Emmys. Here, for the first time, Rita reflects on her struggles to break through Hollywood s racial and sexual barriers. She explores the wounded little girl behind the glamorous facade and what it took to find her place in the world. She talks candidly about her relationship with Elvis Presley, her encounters with Howard Hughes, and the passionate romance with Marlon Brando that drove her to attempt suicide. And she shares the illusiveness of a perfect marriage and the incomparable joys of motherhood.


Many famous people have come from Puerto Rico including Lin-Manuel Miranda who led us on our visit to Puerto Rico! To see who else originates from the island country, try doing a Google search for “Famous Puerto Ricans”. 
 

Teen Resources

Check out PDF iconPassport to Another Land: Puerto Rico to learn more about the culture, language, and traditions of this beautiful American territory.