September 15 – October 15th is observed in the United States as Hispanic Heritage Month. National Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements in the United States. To celebrate, we curated a special book list to honor authors who have a Hispanic, Latin American background.
The titles feature a mix of bilingual books, picture books and stories that will give your family a deeper look into the lives and cultural experiences of some of the authors.
La Princesa and the Pea
by Susan Middleton Elya and Juana Martinez-Neal
El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree.
The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa, but the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too . . .
Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.
Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You
by Sonia Sotomayor and Rafael López
In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges–and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.
Alma and How She Got Her Name
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. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.
La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for los Niños
by Susan Middleton Elya and Juana Martinez-Neal
Classic favorites get a modern Latino twist
The itsy arañita
climbed up the water spout.
Down came la lluvia
and washed la araña out.
Classic Mother Goose rhymes get a Latino twist in this cozy collection. From young Juan Ramón sitting in el rincón to three little gatitos who lost their mitoncitos, readers will be delighted to see familiar characters in vibrant, luminous scenes brimming with fanciful details.
La Madre Goose will make a playful multicultural addition to every modern bookshelf.
¡Te amo, te abrazo, leo contigo!/Love you, Hug You, Read to You!
by Tish Rabe and Frank Endersby
“There are three things I’ll always do . . . love you, hug you, read to you!” The simple promise of togetherness offered in this bilingual (Spanish and English) board book is enhanced by interactive prompts throughout, encouraging parents to engage with their child while reading. Studies show that asking questions, like the ones in this book, helps children learn to read faster than if they just listen to a story. Love and literacy are gifts we can give to our children every day!
My Papi Has a Motorcycle
by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña
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.
With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl’s love letter to her hardworking dad and to memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change.
Nosotros Means Us: Un cuento bilingüe
A moving bilingual ode to the unshakeable bond between a parent and child in the tradition of Runaway Bunny and The Wonderful Things You Will Be.
If I were a sheep, you would be a lamb.
If I were a bear, you would be a cub.
As a mother holds her toddler, they muse over the way their love would translate if they were different animals. But no matter how they change, they will always be “us.” This bilingual story is a timeless ode to the unshakable bond between parent and child.
Not a Bean
by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez and Laura Gonzalez
With Spanish vocabulary and a clever counting concept, this poetic story shares the life cycle of a Mexican jumping bean. This curious jumping insect is actually a seedpod from a shrub called yerba de la flecha, into which a caterpillar burrows, living inside the pod until it builds a cocoon and breaks out as a moth. Perfect for preschoolers and pre-readers, this creative picture book explores the Mexican jumping bean’s daily life and eventual transformation and escape from the pod.
Cerca / Close
by Juan Felipe Herrera and Blanca Gómez
Some things are close — cerca. Others are far — lejos. With sweet simplicity, this charming dual-language board book and its companion volume, Lejos/Far, engage young children.
Mi cuarto está cerca de la cocina. My bedroom is close to the kitchen.
As she walks from her kitchen through a daisy-filled yard to the house next door, a little girl notices things that are close to each other — just as the little boy she goes to visit is close to her.
Carmela Full of Wishes
by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson
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.