From September 15th to October 15th, the USA celebrates the generations of Hispanics who have positively influenced and enriched our society.
The term “Hispanic,” as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central America, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.
I think it’s so important to teach our children to celebrate and value all people. We love to learn about other cultures and enjoy their art and cuisine. We love to learn history and read literature.
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown
Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box. And don’t even think of asking her to choose one or the other activity at recess—she’ll just be a soccer playing pirate princess, thank you very much. To Marisol McDonald, these seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together.
Unfortunately, they don’t always make sense to everyone else. Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol—can’t she just be one or the other? Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box, Marisol McDonald doesn’t match. And that’s just fine with her.
A mestiza Peruvian American of European, Jewish, and Amerindian heritage, renowned author Monica Brown wrote this lively story to bring her own experience of being mismatched to life. Her buoyant prose is perfectly matched by Sara Palacios’ engaging acrylic illustrations.
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.
Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña
When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true–she’s finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make . . .
With lyrical, stirring text and stunning, evocative artwork, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson have crafted a moving ode to family, to dreamers, and to finding hope in the most unexpected places.
Love by Matt de la Peña
In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.
Miguel and the Grand Harmony by Matt de la Peña
La Música exists in many places—in the twang of a guitar, in the beat of a drum, even in the whistling wind and the morning bird’s song. She brings color and life wherever she goes, connecting people to a grand harmony. And in the town of Santa Cecilia, she is everywhere.But when La Música discovers a boy with longing in his heart and no music in his home, she vows to help him find his passion.Join award-winning author Matt de la Peña and Pixar artist Ana Ramírez in this story inspired by the Disney Pixar film Coco—a story about friendship, family, and the power of music.
Hairs/Pelitos by Sandra Cisneros
This jewel-like vignette from Sandra Cisneros’s best-selling The House on Mango Street shows, through simple, intimate portraits, the diversity among us.
Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora
Tomás is a son of migrant workers. Every summer he and his family follow the crops north from Texas to Iowa, spending long, arduous days in the fields. At night they gather around to hear Grandfather’s wonderful stories. But before long, Tomás knows all the stories by heart. “There are more stories in the library,”Papa Grande tells him. The very next day, Tomás meets the library lady and a whole new world opens up for him.
Based on the true story of the Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera, a child of migrant workers who went on to become the first minority Chancellor in the University of California system, this inspirational story suggests what libraries–and education–can make possible. Raul Colón’s warm, expressive paintings perfectly interweave the harsh realities of Tomás’s life, the joyful imaginings he finds in books, and his special relationships with a wise grandfather and a caring librarian.
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford
Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro–Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk’s life’s passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg’s collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.
Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown
Ana loves stories. She often makes them up to help her little brother fall asleep. But in her small village there are only a few books and she has read them all. One morning, Ana wakes up to the clip-clop of hooves, and there before her, is the most wonderful sight: a traveling library resting on the backs of two burros‑all the books a little girl could dream of, with enough stories to encourage her to create one of her own.
Inspired by the heroic efforts of real-life librarian Luis Soriano, award-winning picture book creators Monica Brown and John Parra introduce readers to the mobile library that journeys over mountains and through valleys to bring literacy and culture to rural Colombia, and to the children who wait for the BiblioBurro.
Playing Loteria /El juego de la loteria by Rene Colato Lainez
Together a little boy and his grandma discover a world of language and realize that loved ones have special ways of understanding each other.
From North to South / Del Norte al Sur by René Laínez
Near the border, the cars began to move very slowly. Papá, go fast. I want to see Mamá, I said. José loves helping Mamá in the garden outside their home in California. But when Mamá is sent back to Mexico for not having proper papers, José and his Papá face an uncertain future. What will it be like to visit Mamá in Tijuana? When will Mamá be able to come home? Award-winning children s book author René Colato Laínez tackles the difficult and timely subject of family separation with exquisite tenderness. René is donating a portion of his royalties to El Centro Madre Assunta, a refuge for women and children who are waiting to be reunited with their families up north. Joe Cepeda s bright and engaging illustrations bring this story of hope to vivid life.
Soñadores by Yuyi Morales
En 1994, Yuyi Morales dejó su hogar en Xalapa, México, para emigrar a Estados Unidos con su hijo pequeño. Aunque dejó atrás casi todas sus pertenencias, no llegó con las manos vacías.
Trajo consigo su fortaleza, su trabajo, su pasión, sus esperanzas y sueños… y sus historias. El nuevo y magnífico libro de Yuyi Morales, Soñadores, se centra en la búsqueda por encontrar un hogar en un nuevo lugar. El trayecto de Yuyi y su hijo Kelly no fue fácil, ya que ella no hablaba inglés en esa época. Pero, juntos, descubrieron un lugar desconocido e increíble: la biblioteca pública. Allí, libro a libro, descifraron la lengua de esta nueva tierra y formaron en ella su hogar.
Soñadores es un homenaje a los migrantes y a todo lo que traen con ellos, y aportan, cuando dejan sus países. Es una historia de familia. Una historia que nos recuerda que todos somos soñadores que llevamos nuestros propios regalos donde quiera que vayamos. Bella y poderosa en todo momento, pero especialmente de una urgente premura hoy en día en que el futuro de los dreamers es incierto, esta es una historia actual y eterna.
El poético texto se complementa con unas espléndidas ilustraciones llenas de detalle y simbolismo. Incluye un ensayo autobiográfico sobre la experiencia de Yuyi, una bibliografía de los libros que la han inspirado (y la siguen inspirando) y una descripción de las bellas imágenes, texturas y recuerdos que utilizó para la creación de este libro.
También disponible la edición en inglés, Dreamers.
La Frontera: El Viaje Con Papa / My Journey with Papa by Deborah Mills
Join a young boy and his father on a daring journey from Mexico to Texas to find a new life. They’ll need all the resilience and courage they can muster to safely cross the border ? la frontera ? and to make a home for themselves in a new land.
My Shoes and I: Crossing Three Borders / Mis zapatos y yo: Cruzando tres fronteras by René Colato Laínez
Young René’s mother has sent him a new pair of shoes from the United States. He loves his new shoes. “They walk everywhere I walk. They jump every time I jump. They run as fast as me. We always cross the finish line at the same time.”
René—with his new shoes—and his father set off on the long journey to meet his mother in the United States. He says goodbye to his friends in El Salvador, and “Uno, dos, tres, my shoes and I are ready to go.” The trip is difficult. They take buses and walk across El Salvador, into Guatemala and then into Mexico. His brand-new shoes lose their shine, turning dirty and gray. They become elephants, pushing against the wind; race cars, fleeing hungry dogs; swim shoes, escaping floods; and submarines, navigating through sticky mud. When holes appear on the soles of his shoes, his father won’t let him give up. “René, my strong boy, we want to be with Mamá.”
Sharing his own experiences, René Colato Laínez’s moving bilingual picture book brings to life the experiences of many young children who make the arduous journey from Central America to the United States in search of a better life.
Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong
In this lively picture book, children discover shapes all around them: rectangles are ice-cream carts and stone metates, while triangles are slices of watermelon and quesadillas. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this playful concept book will reinforce the shapes found in every child’s day!
One Is a Piñata: A Book of Numbers by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Boisterous illustrations and rhyming text: One is a rainbow. One is a cake. One is a piñata that’s ready to break! In this lively picture book, a companion to the Pura Belpré–honored Green Is a Chile Pepper, children discover a fiesta of numbers in the world around them, all the way from one to ten. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this vibrant book enumerates the joys of counting and the wonders that abound in every child’s day!
Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
In this lively picture book that Booklist described as “a cheerful color-concept book that presents a slice of Latino culture through food and fun,” children discover a world of colors all around them: red is spices and swirling skirts, yellow is masa, tortillas, and sweet corn cake. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this playful concept book will reinforce the colors found in every child’s day!
What Can You Do with a Paleta / ¿Qué Puedes Hacer con una Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla
Abuela (English Edition with Spanish Phrases) by Arthur Dorros
In this bilingual paperback edition, discover the joys of a paleta—the traditional Mexican popsicle treat sold from the wagon with the tinkly bell that brings children running from every direction. Create a masterpiece, make tough choices (strawberry or coconut?), or cool off on a warm summer’s day—there’s so much to do with a paleta.
Come join Rosalba and her grandmother, her abuela, on a magical journey as they fly over the streets, sights, and people of New York City which sparkles below. The story is narrated in English, and sprinkled with Spanish phrases as Abuela points out places that they explore together. The exhilaration in Rosalba’s and Abuela’s story is magnified by the loving bond that only a grandmother and granddaughter can share.
In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero
Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents were detained and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.
In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven’t been told. Written with bestselling author Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the author’s and on a system that fails them over and over.
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle
In this poetic memoir, which won the Pura Belpré Author Award, was a YALSA Nonfiction Finalist, and was named a Walter Dean Myers Award Honoree, acclaimed author Margarita Engle tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.
Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother’s tropical island country, a place so lush with vibrant life that it seems like a fairy tale kingdom. But most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. Words and images are her constant companions, friendly and comforting when the children at school are not.
Then a revolution breaks out in Cuba. Margarita fears for her far-away family. When the hostility between Cuba and the United States erupts at the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Margarita’s worlds collide in the worst way possible. How can the two countries she loves hate each other so much? And will she ever get to visit her beautiful island again?
The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition by Reyna Grande
When her parents make the dangerous and illegal trek across the Mexican border in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced to live with their stern grandmother, as they wait for their parents to build the foundation of a new life.
But when things don’t go quite as planned, Reyna finds herself preparing for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years: her long-absent father. Both funny and heartbreaking, The Distance Between Us sheds light on the immigrant experience beautifully capturing the struggle that Reyna and her siblings endured while trying to assimilate to a different culture, language, and family life in El Otro Lado (The Other Side).
Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo
A meningitis outbreak in their underprivileged neighborhood left Sylvia Acevedo’s family forever altered. As she struggled in the aftermath of loss, young Sylvia’s life transformed when she joined the Brownies. The Girl Scouts taught her how to take control of her world and nourished her love of numbers and science.
With new confidence, Sylvia navigated shifting cultural expectations at school and at home, forging her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master’s in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The Astronaut With a Song for the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ellen Ochoa by Julia Finley Mosca
Growing up in a family of immigrants, Ellen dreamed of becoming a professional flutist, but all of that changed when she discovered engineering in college. Though she was told that field of study wasn’t for girls, the bright young scientist refused to give up-ultimately becoming a NASA astronaut who shattered barriers and rocketed to success!
The Storyteller’s Candle / La Velita De Los Cuentos by Lucia Gonzalez
The winter of 1929 feels especially cold to cousins Hildamar and Santiagothey arrived in New York City from sunny Puerto Rico only months before. Their island home feels very far away indeed, especially with Three Kings’ Day rapidly approaching. But then a magical thing happened. A visitor appears in their class, a gifted storyteller and librarian by the name of Pura Belpré. She opens the children’s eyes to the public library and its potential to be the living, breathing heart of the community. The library, after all, belongs to everyonewhether you speak Spanish, English, or both. The award-winning team of Lucía González and Lulu Delacre have crafted an homage to Pura Belpré, New York Citys first Latina librarian. Through her vision and dedication, the warmth of Puerto Rico came to the island of Manhattan in a most unexpected way.
Sylvia & Aki by Winifred Conkling
Young Sylvia Mendez never expected to be at the center of a landmark legal battle. Young Aki Munemitsu never expected to be sent away from her home and her life as she knew it. The two girls definitely never expected to know each other, until their lives intersected on a Southern California farm in a way that changed the country forever. Who are Sylvia and Aki? And why did their family stories matter then and still matter today? This book reveals the remarkable, never-before-told story—based on true events—of Mendez vs. Westminster School District, the California court case that desegregated schools for Latino children and set the stage for Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education at the national level.
Who Was Selena? by Max and Kate Bisantz
As a young girl, Selena Quintanilla sang in a band called Selena y Los Dinos with her brother and sister. The family performed at fairs, weddings, quinceañeras, and on street corners in their native Texas. Selena learned how to sing in Spanish and soon became hugely popular within the Latino community–so much so that she became the best-selling Latin artist of the 1990s. Selena was poised to be a great success, but her life was cut short after being fatally wounded by the president of her fan club. Selena’s contributions to music and fashion during her life made her one of the top Latin musicians in the 1990s, and readers will want to know more about the woman who introduced the world to Tejano music.
I Got This: To Gold and Beyond by Laurie Hernandez
Gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast and Dancing with the Stars champion Laurie Hernandez shares her story in her own words in this debut book for fans of all ages—with never-before-seen photos!
At sixteen years old, Laurie Hernandez has already made many of her dreams come true—and yet it’s only the beginning for this highly accomplished athlete. A Latina Jersey girl, Laurie saw her life take a dramatic turn last summer when she was chosen to be a part of the 2016 US Olympic gymnastics team. After winning gold in Rio as part of the Final Five, Laurie also earned an individual silver medal for her performance on the balance beam. Nicknamed “the Human Emoji” for her wide-eyed and animated expressions, Laurie continued to dance her way into everyone’s hearts while competing on the hit reality TV show Dancing with the Stars, where she was the youngest-ever winner of the Mirrorball Trophy.
Poignant and funny, Laurie’s story is about growing up with the dream of becoming an Olympian and what it took to win gold. She talks about her loving family, her rigorous training, her intense sacrifices, and her amazing triumphs.
Be prepared to fall in love with and be mesmerized by America’s newest sweetheart all over again.
That’s Not Fair! / ¡No Es Justo!: Emma Tenayuca’s Struggle for Justice/La lucha de Emma Tenayuca por la justicia by Carmen Tafolla and Sharyll Teneyuca
A vivid depiction of the early injustices encountered by a young Mexican-American girl in San Antonio in the 1920’s, this book tells the true story of Emma Tenayuca. Emma learns to care deeply about poverty and hunger during a time when many Mexican Americans were starving to death and working unreasonably long hours at slave wages in the city’s pecan-shelling factories. Through astute perception, caring, and personal action, Emma begins to get involved, and eventually, at the age of 21, leads 12,000 workers in the first significant historical action in the Mexican-American struggle for justice. Emma Tenayuca’s story serves as a model for young and old alike about courage, compassion, and the role everyone can play in making the world more fair.
Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.
Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren
Dolores is a teacher, a mother, and a friend. She wants to know why her students are too hungry to listen, why they don’t have shoes to wear to school. Dolores is a warrior, an organizer, and a peacemaker. When she finds out that the farm workers in her community are poorly paid and working under dangerous conditions, she stands up for their rights.
This is the story of Dolores Huerta and the extraordinary battle she waged to ensure fair and safe workplaces for migrant workers. The powerful text, paired with Robert Casilla’s vibrant watercolor-and-pastel illustrations, brings Dolores’s amazing journey to life. A timeline, additional reading, articles, websites, and resources for teachers are included.
This bilingual book allows young readers to enter Celia Cruz’s life as she becomes a well-known singer in her homeland of Cuba, then moves to New York City and Miami where she and others create a new type of music called salsa.
An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise
When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.
Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle
As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War.
Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it most?
Doña Flor is a giant lady who lives in a tiny village in the American Southwest. Popular with her neighbors, she lets the children use her flowers as trumpets and her leftover tortillas as rafts. Flor loves to read, too, and she can often be found reading aloud to the children. One day, all the villagers hear a terrifying noise: it sounds like a huge animal bellowing just outside their village. Everyone is afraid, but not Flor. She wants to protect her beloved neighbors, so with the help of her animal friends, she sets off for the highest mesa to find the creature. Soon enough, though, the joke is on Flor and her friends, who come to rescue her, as she discovers the small secret behind that great big noise.
Mama The Alien/Mama la Extraterrestre by Rene Colato Lainez
When Mama’s purse falls on the floor, Sofia gets a peek at Mama’s old Resident Alien card and comes to the conclusion that Mama might be an alien from outer space. Sofia heads to the library to learn more about aliens. Some are small and some are tall. Some have four fingers on each hand and some have large, round eyes. Their skin can be gray or blue or green. But Mama looks like a human mother! Could she really be an alien? Sofia is still puzzling out this mystery when she sees an alien-looking Mama one night. It turns out Mama is doing a beauty treatment so she will look her best for her citizenship ceremony. That’s when Sofia realizes that in English, an alien can be someone from another planet, and it can also be a person from another country. Just like Mama! Filled with imagination and humor, Mama the Alien/Mama la extraterrestre is a lighthearted immigration tale and a celebration of family, no matter where that family comes from. Even if it s outer space!”
I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada
Saturdays and Sundays are very special days for the child in this story. On Saturdays, she visits Grandma and Grandpa, who come from a European-American background, and on Sundays — los domingos — she visits Abuelito y Abuelita, who are Mexican-American. While the two sets of grandparents are different in many ways, they also have a great deal in common — in particular, their love for their granddaughter.
While we follow our narrator to the circus and the pier, share stories from her grandparents’ pasts, and celebrate her birthday, the depth and joy of both cultures are conveyed in Spanish and English. This affirmation of both heritages will speak to all children who want to know more about their own families and ethnic backgrounds.
Maya’s Blanket/La Manta de Maya by Monica Brown
Little Maya has a special blanket that Grandma stitched with her own two hands. As Maya grows, her blanket becomes worn and frayed, so with Grandma s help, Maya makes it into a dress. Over time the dress is made into a skirt, a shawl, a scarf, a hair ribbon, and finally, a bookmark. Each item has special, magical, meaning for Maya; it animates her adventures, protects her, or helps her in some way. But when Maya loses her bookmark, she preserves her memories by creating a book about her adventures and love of these items. When Maya grows up, she shares her book Maya’s Blanket/La manta de Maya with her own little daughter while snuggled under her own special blanket. Inspired by the traditional Yiddish folk song Hob Ikh Mir a Mantl ( I Had a Little Coat ), this delightful story puts a child-focused, Latino spin on the tale of an item that is made into smaller and smaller items. Maya’s Blanket/La manta de Maya charmingly brings to life this celebration creativity, recycling, and enduring family love.
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beaty
Every morning, Abuelo walks Sofia to school . . . until one day, when Abuelo hurts his ankle at a local landfill and he can no longer do so. Sofia misses her Abuelo and wonders what she can do about the dangerous Mount Trashmore. Then she gets an idea—the town can turn the slimy mess into a park! She brainstorms and plans and finally works up the courage to go to City Hall—only to be told by a clerk that she can’t build a park because she’s just a kid! Sofia is down but not out, and she sets out to prove what one kid can do.
A Gift from Abuela by Cecilia Ruiz
The first time Abuela holds Nina, her heart overflows with tenderness. And as Nina grows up, she and Abuela spend plenty of time together. Abuela can’t help thinking how much she’d like to give Nina a very special treat, so she saves a little bit of her money every week — a few pesos here, a few pesos there. When the world turns upside down, Abuela’s dream of a surprise for Nina seems impossible. Luckily, time spent together — and the love Abuela and Nina have for each other — could turn out to be the very best gift of all. With a soft and subtle hand, author-illustrator Cecilia Ruiz draws from her own history to share a deeply personal tale about remembering what’s most important when life starts to get in the way.
The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart
When Isabel and her family move to the United States, Isabel misses all the things she left behind in Mexico, especially her aunt Lupita and hearing people speak Spanish. But she also experiences some wonderful new things–her first snow storm and a teacher who does not speak Spanish but has a big smile. Even better, Papa and her brother Chavo help her turn a big box into her own quiet place, where she keeps her books and toys and writes letters to Aunt Lupita. As she decorates and adds more and more on to her quiet place, it is here that Isabel feels the most at home in her new country while she learns to adjust to the changes in her life.
Set in the 1950s and told through Isabel’s letters to her aunt, Sarah Stewart and Caldecott Medalist David Small have created a charming and unforgettable young heroine who will win the hearts of readers in this story of immigration and assimilation.
What Can You Do With a Rebozo?/¿Qué puedes hacer con un rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla
A cradle for baby, a superhero’s cape, a warm blanket on a cool night–there are so many things you can do with a rebozo. Through the eyes of a young girl, readers are introduced to the traditional shawl found in many Mexican and Mexican-American households.
Growing Up With Tamales / Los tamales de Ana by Gwendolyn Zepeda
“My name is Ana. Every year, my family makes tamales for Christmas. This year, I am six, so I get to mix the dough, which is made of cornmeal. My sister Lidia is eight, so she gets to spread the dough on the corn husk leaves. I wish I was eight, so that my hands would be big enough to spread the dough just right–not too thick and not too thin.”
And so the years pass, and Ana turns eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen. But every year, big sister Lidia is always two years older. Ana envies her elder sibling and wishes she could do what Lidia does: put just the right amount of meat inside the tamales and roll them up; steam the tamales without scalding herself with the hot, hot steam; chop and cook the meat for the tamales without cutting or burning her hands.
When she turns eighteen, though, Ana knows she will keep making tamales and she will be able to do all of the steps herself in her very own factory. When Christmas comes around, Ana will deliver tamales to all of her customers around the world, in delivery trucks that say “Ana’s Tamales.” And maybe Ana will even let Lidia work for her.
Gwendolyn Zepeda’s rhythmic prose is combined with April Ward’s bright illustrations to create an affectionate and amusing story about sibling relationships that introduces an important Hispanic holiday tradition–making tamales!
Mango Moon by Diane de Anda
When a father is taken away from his family and facing deportation, his children are left to grieve and wonder about what comes next. Maricela, Manuel, and their mother face the many challenges of having their lives completely changed by the absence of their father and husband. Their day-to-day norm now includes moving to a new house, missed soccer games and birthday parties, and emptiness. Though Mango Moon shows what life is like from a child’s perspective when a parent is deported, Maricela learns that her love for her father continues on even though he’s no longer part of her daily life.
Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina
Mia’s abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can’t read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English (“Dough. Masa”), and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. Then Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has the perfecto idea for how to help them all communicate a little better.
Walk with Me by Jairo Buitrago
A deceptively simple, imaginative story depicting the complex emotional reality of a girl whose father no longer lives at home.
The girl conjures up an imaginary companion, a lion, who will come with her on the long walk home from school. He will help her to pick up her baby brother from daycare and shop at the store (which has cut off the family’s credit), and he’ll keep her company all along the way until she is safe at home. He will always come back when she needs him, unlike the father whom she sees only in a photograph — a photograph in which he clearly resembles a lion.
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell.
All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez
Grandpa says circles are all around us. He points to the rainbow that rises high in the sky after a thundercloud has come. “Can you see? That’s only half of the circle. That rest of it is down below, in the earth.” He and his granddaughter meditate on gardens and seeds, on circles seen and unseen, inside and outside us, on where our bodies come from and where they return to. They share and create family traditions in this stunning exploration of the cycles of life and nature.
The Composition by Antonio Skarmeta
Pedro is a nine-year-old boy whose main interest in life is playing soccer. The arrest of his friend Daniel’s father and a visit to the school of an army captain who wants the children to write a composition entitled “What My Family Does at Night” suddenly force Pedro to make a difficult choice.
César: ¡Sí, se puede! Yes, We Can! by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
Born in 1927 in Yuma, Arizona, César Chavez lived the hardscrabble life of a migrant worker during the Depression. Although his mother wanted him to get an education, César left school after eighth grade to work. He grew to be a charismatic leader and founded the National Farm Workers Association, an organization that fought for basic rights for farm workers. In powerful poems and dramatic stylized illustrations, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand and David Díaz pay tribute to Chavez’s legacy helping migrant workers improve their lives by doing things by themselves for themselves.
Clemente! by Willie Perdomo
Born in Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente was the first Latin American player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the only player for whom the five-year initiation period was waived. Known not only for his exceptional baseball skills but also for his extensive charity work in Latin America, Clemente was well-loved during his eighteen years playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He died in a plane crash while bringing aid supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Danza!: Amalia Hernández and Mexico’s Folkloric Ballet by Duncan Tonatiuh
Danza! is a celebration of Hernández’s life and of the rich history of dance in Mexico. As a child, Amalia always thought she would grow up to be a teacher, until she saw a performance of dancers in her town square. She was fascinated by the way the dancers twirled and swayed, and she knew that someday she would be a dancer, too. She began to study many different types of dance, including ballet and modern, under some of the best teachers in the world. Hernández traveled throughout Mexico studying and learning regional dances. Soon she founded her own dance company, El Ballet Folklórico de México, where she integrated her knowledge of ballet and modern dance with folkloric dances. The group began to perform all over the country and soon all over the world, becoming an international sensation that still tours today.
Joelito’s Big Decision: La Gran Decisión de Joelito by Ann Berlak
Every Friday evening 9 year old Joelito goes with his family to MacMann’s for a juicy burger. But this Friday is different. This time, Joelito’s best friend Brandon is standing in a crowd outside the fast food restaurant protesting the low pay his parents earn there. Will Joelito cross the picket line for a tasty burger? Find out in Joelito’s Big Decision (La gran decisión de Joelito), in English & Spanish. Ages: 6-12. “…the flow of the story is not only well-paced but lovingly told. It feels natural, as if based on conversations overheard among children. Berlak has a vivid understanding of the issue as seen through the fourth-grader’s eyes… The influence of classic Mexican folkloric art is proudly overt… In fact, the creative visuals should only enhance the readers’ sense of wonder. Camacho is widely celebrated for his murals…The story of workers fighting for dignity and security for their families is ongoing. The heritage of struggle is well told here.” The Cultural Worker “This is a wonderful book taking on a timely topic. What do you do when Friday is your favorite day because you get to go have hamburgers at your favorite restaurant, BUT, when you get there your friends are outside protesting? …Will you stand up or sit down (and eat)?
Kitchen Dance by Maurie J. Manning
A little girl wakes in the night to mysterious, inviting noises. She rouses her brother, and they sneak downstairs and peek into the kitchen. To their amazement and delight, their parents are dancing and singing—“?Como te quiero! Oh, how I love you!” —as they clean up and put food away. Mama and Papa discover the two kids and sweep them into the embrace of a family dance. Slowly, the song changes to a lullaby. . . the children close sleepy eyes. . . then Mama and Papa tuck them into bed again. The story reads like poetry. The art moves from subdued tones to hot tropical colors and back again. And as you turn the pages, you can almost hear the music—changing from a pop ballad to a hot tango to a cozy lullaby. All in all, it’s a perfect bedtime book, with a satisfying hugs-and-kisses ending.
The Little Doctor /El Doctorcito by Juan J. Guerra
Salvador raced home from school to share exciting news with his abuela: he made an A+ on his science test! But at home, he learns that his grandmother needs his help. She is going to the doctor and wants her grandson to interpret for her. Abuela is nervous because she has never been to a doctor in the United States. In El Salvador, she either saw a curandera or drank te de manzanilla when she felt sick.
When he learns that none of the physicians speak Spanish, the boy realizes that he is completely responsible for making sure the doctor understands his grandmother and that she understands his instructions! But in spite of his help, the visit does not go well. The doctor rushes in and out. He doesn’t listen to Abuela. And he tells Salvador that she should not eat so much Mexican food! Abuela is so upset that she threatens not to take the medication the doctor prescribes! What can Salvador do to help her?
Looking for Bongo by Eric Velasquez
The boy knows Bongo was right there with him this morning—but suddenly, Bongo is missing. He asks his whole family if they’ve seen the stuffed toy. “Yo no sé,” says abuela, “I don’t know.”
Mom and Dad haven’t seen him either. And Gato just meows and runs away.
When he finds Bongo, the boy is thrilled—but he still doesn’t understand how his toy ended up there. So he sets a trap to catch the Bongo thief.
Luis Paints the World by Terry Farish
Luis wishes Nico wasn’t leaving for the Army. To show Nico he doesn’t need to go, Luis begins a mural on the alleyway wall. Their house, the river, the Parque de las Ardillas―it’s the world, all right there. Won’t Nico miss Mami’s sweet flan? What about their baseball games in the street?
But as Luis awaits his brother’s return from duty, his own world expands as well, through swooping paint and the help of their bustling Dominican neighborhood.
Martí’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy
A bilingual biography of José Martí, who dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty, the abolishment of slavery, political independence for Cuba, and intellectual freedom. Written in verse with excerpts from Martí’s seminal work, Versos sencillos.
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero
When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her.
But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there.
Little Night/Nochecita by Yuyi Morales
As the long day comes to an end, Mother Sky fills a tub with falling stars and calls, “Bath time for Little Night!”
Little Night answers from afar, “Can’t come. I am hiding and you have to find me, Mama. Find me now!”
Where could Little Night be? Down a rabbit hole? In a blueberry field? Among the stripes of bees? Exquisitely painted and as gentle as Little Night’s dress crocheted from clouds, this is a story to treasure.
Octopus Stew by Eric Velasquez
The octopus Grandma is cooking has grown to titanic proportions. “¡Tenga cuidado!” Ramsey shouts. “Be careful!” But it’s too late. The octopus traps Grandma!
Ramsey uses both art and intellect to free his beloved abuela.
Then the story takes a surprising twist. And it can be read two ways. Open the fold-out pages to find Ramsey telling a story to his family. Keep the pages folded, and Ramsey’s octopus adventure is real.
This beautifully illustrated picture book, drawn from the author’s childhood memories, celebrates creativity, heroism, family, grandmothers, grandsons, Puerto Rican food, Latinx culture and more.
Pele, King of Soccer/Pele, El Rey del Futbol by Monica Brown
This bilingual picture book will inspire, teach, and amaze readers as they learn about the man who revolutionized the sport of soccer.
Do you know how a poor boy from Brazil who loved fútbol more than anything else became the biggest soccer star the world has ever known?
Rene Has Two Last Names / Rene tiene dos apellidos by Rene Colato Lainez
Young Rene is from El Salvador, and he doesn’t understand why his name has to be different in the United States. When he writes Colato, he sees his paternal grandparents, Rene and Amelia. When he writes Lainez, he sees his maternal grandparents, Angela and Julio. Without his second “like a hamburger without the meat or a pizza without cheese or a hot dog without a wiener.”
His new classmates giggle when Rene tells them his name. “That’s a long dinosaur name,” one says. “Your name is longer than an anaconda,” another laughs. But Rene doesn’t want to lose the part of him that comes from his mother’s family. So when the students are given a project to create a family tree, Rene is determined to explain the importance of using both of his last names. On the day of his presentation, Rene explains that he is as hard working as Abuelo Rene, who is a farmer, and as creative as his Abuela Amelia, who is a potter. He can tell stories like his Abuelo Julio and enjoys music like his Abuela Angela.
Roses for Isabella by Diana Cohn
Roses for Isabella invites us to experience life in Ecuador through the eyes of a young girl who keeps a journal and loves to write. We learn about Isabella’s parents who work on one of the hundreds of farms growing beautiful roses that are sold all over the world. But not all of these farms are fair to workers and kind to the earth. Through Isabella, we learn how her family’s life changes for the better when her parents find work at a Fair Trade farm.
Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural / Sofi y el mágico mural musical by Raquel M. Ortiz
When Sofi walks through her barrio to the local store, she always passes a huge mural with images from Puerto Rico: musicians, dancers, tropical flowers and her least favorite a vejigante, a character from carnival that wears a scary mask.
One day on her way home from the bodega, she stops in front of the mural. Is one of the dancers inviting her to be his partner? “Okay, lets dance,” Sofi giggles, and suddenly shes in Old San Juan, surrounded by dancers and musicians playing bongos, tambourines and güiros. She begins to dance and sing with her new friends, but her pleasure turns to fear when the vejigante wearing a black jumper with yellow fringe and a red, three-horned mask spins her around and around! What does he want from her? How can she get away?
Tito Puente, Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo by Monica Brown
In this vibrant bilingual picture book biography of musician Tito Puente, readers will dance along to the beat of this mambo king’s life. Tito Puente loved banging pots and pans as a child, but what he really dreamed of was having his own band one day. From Spanish Harlem to the Grammy Awards—and all the beats in between—this is the true life story of a boy whose passion for music turned him into the “King of Mambo.”
¡Si, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A. by Diana Cohn
¡Sí, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can! is a bilingual fictional story set against the backdrop of the successful janitors’ strike in Los Angeles in 2000. It tells about Carlitos, whose mother is a janitor. Every night, he sleeps while his mother cleans in one of the skyscrapers in downtown L.A. When she comes home, she waves Carlitos off to school before she goes to sleep. One night, his mamá explains that she can’t make enough money to support him and his abuelita the way they need unless she makes more money as a janitor. She and the other janitors have decided to go on strike.
How will Carlitos support his mother? Carlitos wants to help but he cannot think of a way until his teacher, Miss Lopez, explains in class how her own grandfather had fought for better wages for farmworkers when he first came to the United States. He and the other children in his class join the marchers with a very special sign for his mom!
Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago
In this moving and timely story, a young child describes what it is like to be a migrant as she and her father travel north toward the U.S. border.
They travel mostly on the roof of a train known as The Beast, but the little girl doesn’t know where they are going. She counts the animals by the road, the clouds in the sky, the stars. Sometimes she sees soldiers. She sleeps, dreaming that she is always on the move, although sometimes they are forced to stop and her father has to earn more money before they can continue their journey.
As many thousands of people, especially children, in Mexico and Central America continue to make the arduous journey to the U.S. border in search of a better life, this is an important book that shows a young migrant’s perspective.
The Streets are Free by Kurusa
This inspiring book is based on the true story of the children of the barrio of San Jose de la Urbina in Caracas, Venezuela. There are no parks where they live, and the children must play in the streets. They ask the mayor for an empty lot to build a playground, but all they get are campaign promises. They know that they are the only ones who will make something happen, so they get their friends and family involved until the whole barrio unites to create a space of their own.
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy.
Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez
This resonant picture book tells the story of one girl who constantly gets asked a simple question that doesn’t have a simple answer. A great conversation starter in the home or classroom—a book to share, in the spirit of I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo.
When a girl is asked where she’s from—where she’s really from—none of her answers seems to be the right one.
Unsure about how to reply, she turns to her loving abuelo for help. He doesn’t give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one.
Where am I from?
You’re from hurricanes and dark storms, and a tiny singing frog that calls the island people home when the sun goes to sleep….
With themes of self-acceptance, identity, and home, this powerful, lyrical picture book will resonate with readers young and old, from all backgrounds and of all colors—especially anyone who ever felt that they don’t belong.
Books about Sonia Sotomayor for every reading level:
Who Is Sonia Sotomayor? by Megan Stine
When I Grow Up: Sonia Sotomayor by Annmarie Anderson
I am Sonia Sotomayor by Brad Meltzer
Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor
Women Who Broke the Rules: Sonia Sotomayor by Kathleen Krull
- Read a new book. Get some that are in Spanish and in English.
- Learn some history about Central and South American and Latinx Americans.
- Learn about different countries, ethnic groups, origins.
- Go to a new restaurant or try a new recipe. There’s so much more out there than mediocre strip mall Tex-Mex dives.
- Visit an art or cultural exhibit.
- Listen to music.
- Donate to a charity benefiting an Hispanic or immigration cause.
- Movie night.
- Learn some Spanish.
- Discuss discrimination and injustice.
- Discuss immigration.
- Activities from Scholastic.