HISPANIC AMERICAN/LATINX HERITAGE CHILDREN'S BOOKS
Children's books about Hispanic American/Latinx culture and characters abound -- from fun and fanciful picture books to historical fiction, fantasy, biography, romance, science fiction, and coming-of-age tales. All are great reads during Hispanic American Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15 each year), but they are a wonderful introduction to other peoples and cultures at any time of the year. Below are a couple of book suggestions to get the reading going! Note: If you have a relevant book site to suggest for this page, please contact us at email@example.com. (Image credit: Jose A. Bernat Bacete/Getty Images; Brightly)
The Last Cuentista, written by Donna Barba Higuera, received the 2022 John Newbery Medal, winning one of the most prestigious prizes in children’s literature. It was also named the 2022 Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award winner. In this dystopian science fiction adventure geared for readers age 10 and up, a girl named Petra Peña wants nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few people, including Petra and her family, have been chosen to journey to a new planet. As the main character, Petra is brave, compassionate, and resourceful as she works to save her family and their Latino history.
The Pura Belpré Award
Named after the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library, the Pura Belpré Award is presented annually by the American Library Association to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
In addition to 2022's winner, The Last Cuentista, three Belpré Children’s Author Honor Books were named:
Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna, written by Alda P. Dobbs; Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua, written by Gloria Amescua; and De aquí como el coquí, written and illustrated by Nomar Perez and translated by Farah Perez.
A full list of 2022 American Library Association Awards may be found by clicking here.
The book How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland won the 2022 Pura Belpré Young Adult Author Award. When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers, and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible. A Kirkus starred review noted, “Readers will fall in love with this poignant, powerful, and poetic coming-of-age tale.”
¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge, written and illustrated by Raúl Gonzalez, won the 2022 Pura Belpré Youth Illustrator Award. Little Lobo and his dog Bernabé have a new truck, and they are using it to carry party supplies over the bridge with their pals El Toro and La Oink Oink. The line is long and everyone on the bridge is stuck. How will they pass the time? Eventually, everyone comes together for an epic party on the bridge between two different countries. ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat, also by Gonzalez, won the 2021 Pura Belpré Youth Illustrator Award.
• Lectura Books is a great site for finding English-Spanish books for young readers. Check it out here.
• Hispanic Mama is a website whose goal is to empower through heritage and language. On the site, find a list of the author's top 40 children's picture books to celebrate Hispanic heritage. Family favorites all, many of the listed books focus on typical Latin American dishes.
• Colours of Us has curated a list of books in celebration of Hispanic heritage for children ages five through 10. Find that here.
• Multicultural Children's Book Day has also curated a list of diverse book links. Find that here.
• What Do We Do All Day is a website and newsletter started by a mom who wanted her children to unplug and get more engaged in games and reading aloud. Her site provides an interesting list of children's books intended for Hispanic Heritage Month. Click to see that list here.
• A Mighty Girl, a site with great book ideas for raising confident girls, offers a list of 60 books starring Latina Mighty Girls.
• School Library Journal features a list of biographies about Latinx luminaries. Find that list here.
• Common Sense Media is a source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families and schools, where parents and teachers can find reviews of children's books, movies, and other media. Find this group's list of children's books with Latinio/a characters here. Also on this website, a list of bilingual (English/Spanish) children's books.
• Interested in Spanish language chapter books? How about this list from Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes, a website focusing on multicultural parenting, culture, raising bilingual kids, food, and travel!
• Brightly, a website geared to raising children who love to read, features a list of 15 picture books that celebrate Hispanic heritage. Click here for this list. Brightly also features an article on "The Importance of Latinx Representation in Children's Literature." Read that here.
• Reading Rockets has curated a list of books for the month aimed at ages three through nine. Discover stories about families and everyday life in Hispanic communities, as well as books about joyful festivals and holidays. Many books are written in Spanish and English. Click here for more. Plus, there is a tool called Book Finder where readers can create a customized list of fiction and nonfiction books by author, illustrator, age, reading level, genre, format, and topic. That's linked here.
• Pragmatic Mom is a blog that tackles all kinds of topics in the broad field of children's literature. Find a list of top 10 Latino/a books for children here.
• Scholastic has curated a list of 15 books to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month that embrace Hispanic culture, characters, and traditions with, and for, kids of all ages. Another list introduces students to the richness of Hispanic heritage with a curation of 27 fiction and nonfiction books for grades PreK-9.
• ADL has a list, too, of the top eight must-read books for Hispanic Heritage Month. That's here.
• Goodreads has curated a list of children's books for Hispanic American Heritage Month, too. Find that here.