Mid-September marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, a tribute to the contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the US.
You may be wondering how you can celebrate Hispanic and Latino cultures as a family, especially if you have little ones. One way is through literature. Reading books about Hispanic and Latino people can be a great way to teach children about different backgrounds, to show them that their own ethnicities can and should be represented in print, and to foster empathy and social awareness. To help get you started, we’ve rounded up books written by and depicting Hispanic and Latino authors and characters.
Children’s Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
Infants and older
- Proud to Be Latino: Food by Ashley Marie Mireles and Edith Valle. Vibrant graphics portray Hispanic Latino foods. The book is filled with interesting facts about each food.
Preschool and older
- Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal. A vibrant story of a young girl, curious to find out the meaning of her name.
- Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor. A Growing Readers book about embracing and celebrating our differences.
- Moon Rope by Lois Ehlert. Ehlert’s recognizable graphic illustrations bring a classic Latin American folk tale to life. Use this as an introduction to Latin American myths and stories.
- ¡Pío Peep! by Alma Flor Ada, F. Isabel Campoy, Alice Schertle, and Vivi Escriva. This colorful book features 29 traditional Latin American nursery rhymes written in both Spanish and English.
- The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier. Inspired from the traditional tale The Little Red Hen, little Ruby sets out to build her own fort with no help from her brothers. Girl power meets engineering and technology in this new and reimagined edition.
- Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez. Disaster strikes when the cousins lose a ring during a tamale-making party. Children will relate to this story about family, food, and tradition.
- What Can You Do With a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla and Magaly Morales. A young girl introduces readers to her Mexican barrio and paletas, frozen fruit popsicles.
School-Age and older
- A Girl Named Rosita by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Leo Espinosa. A lovely picture biography about Rita Moreno, trailblazing dancer and actress.
- Islandborn by Junot Diaz and Leo Espinosa. Lola is troubled when the teacher asks the children to draw a picture of where they came from. She doesn’t remember the island (the Dominican Republic) where she was born. She asks her family and neighbors and comes to realize that the island will always be a part of her. This is a beautiful representation of a vibrantly diverse neighborhood in New York.
- Tito Puente Mambo King by Monica Brown and Rafael Lopez. A vibrant biography about Tito Puente.