31 Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

All students should feel represented by the stories in their classroom library. That’s why Booksource is committed to sharing books that reflect many different cultural backgrounds and experiences. Consider adding these books with Hispanic characters written by Hispanic authors to your collection.

1. Across The Bay 
by Carlos Aponte 
Interest level: P-2

Across The Bay cover image

Author-illustrator Carlos Aponte takes readers on a journey to the heart of Puerto Rico in this enchanting picture book set in Old San Juan. Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his abuela and Coco the cat. Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father. Jolly piragueros, mischievous cats and costumed musicians color this tale of love, family and the true meaning of home.

 

2. Papá And Me
by Arthur Dorros
Interest level: P-2

Papa And Me cover image

A young boy and his papa may speak both Spanish and English, but the most important language they speak is the language of love. In this beautiful bilingual picture book, Arthur Dorros portrays the close bond between father and son, with lush paintings by Rudy Gutierrez. This multi-generational picture book emphasizes the special connection between a parent and child.

 

3. Beauty Woke
by NoNieqa Ramos
Interest level: P-2

Beauty Woke cover image

Beauty is a young Puerto Rican girl who is loved and supported by her community. She is proud of her Taíno and African heritage, until experiencing bigotry makes her forget why she is special. Readers will rejoice as Beauty’s neighborhood rallies around her, helping her to appreciate where she comes from.

 

4. Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played The Piano For President Lincoln
by Margarita Engle
Interest level: P-3

Dancing Hands cover image

Margarita Engle and Rafael López tell the story of Teresa Carreño, a child prodigy who played piano for Abraham Lincoln. A revolution in Venezuela forced Teresa’s 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 a Civil War in her new home. With the country torn apart by war, Teresa’s music brought comfort to those who needed it most.

 

5. Alma And How She Got Her Name
by Juana Martinez-Neal
Interest level: P-3

Alma And How She Got Her Name cover image

For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from. 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? As her father tells the story of her name and the people who inspired it, 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. This book is perfect for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.

 

6. Dreamers
by Yuyi Morales
Interest level: P-3

Dreamers cover image

Caldecott Honor book artist and five-time Pura Belpré Award winner Yuyi Morales tells her own immigration story in this picture book tribute to the transformative power of hope and reading. Thanks to help provided by area children’s librarians, Yuyi learned English as her young son learned to read, through the picture books they shared together.

 

7. Carmela Full of Wishes
by Matt de la Peña
Interest level: K-3

Carmela Full Of Wishes cover image

When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, she’s finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. With lyrical, stirring text and stunning, evocative artwork, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson have crafted a moving ode to family and finding hope in the most unexpected places.

 

8. Juana & Lucas
by Juana Medina
Interest level: P-3

Juana & Lucas cover image

Fans of Judy Moody and Clarice Bean will love Juana, the spunky young Colombian girl who stars in this playful new series. Juana loves many things like drawing and her dog, Lucas. She does not love wearing her itchy school uniform or learning English. But when Juana’s abuelos tell her about a special trip they are planning—one that Juana will need to speak English to go on—Juana begins to wonder whether learning English might be a good use of her time after all.

 

9. Doña Flor: A Tall Tale About A Giant Woman With A Great Big Heart
by Pat Mora
Interest level: K-3

Dona Flor cover image

The creators of Tomás and the Library Lady present a heartwarming and humorous original tall tale—peppered with Spanish words and phrases—about a giant lady with a great big heart. Doña Flor is a giant lady who lives in a tiny village in the American Southwest. One day, the villagers hear a terrifying noise: it sounds like a huge animal bellowing just outside their village. Doña Flor 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.

 

10. Just A Minute: A Trickster Tale And Counting Book
by Yuyi Morales
Interest level: K-3

Just A Minute cover image

This original trickster tale, with its vivacious illustrations and dynamic read aloud text, is at once a spirited tribute to the rich traditions of Mexican culture and a perfect introduction to counting in both English and Spanish.

 

11. My Papi Has A Motorcycle
by Isabel Quintero
Interest level: K-3

My Papi Has A Motorcycle cover image

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. 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.

 

12. ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat and ¡Vamos! Let’s Go To The Market
by Raúl the Third
Interest level: K-3

Vamos images

Richard Scarry’s Busytown gets a Mexican-American makeover in the marketplace of a buzzing border town from Pura Belpré Medal-winning illustrator Raúl the Third. Bilingual in a new way, these paper over board books teach readers simple words in Spanish as they experience the bustling life of a border town. Follow Little Lobo and his dog Bernabe as they deliver supplies to a variety of vendors, selling everything from sweets to sombreros, portraits to pinatas, carved masks to comic books!

 

13. Octopus Stew
by Eric Velasquez
Interest level: K-3

Octopus Stew cover image

The octopus that 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. This beautifully illustrated picture book, drawn from the author’s childhood memories, celebrates creativity, family, Puerto Rican food, Latinx culture and more.

 

14. Feathered Serpent And The Five Suns
by Duncan Tonatiuh
Interest level: K-5

Feathered Serpent And The Five Suns cover image

Award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh brings an ancient Mesoamerican creation myth to life. Long ago, the gods of Mesoamerica set out to create humans. They tried many times during each sun, or age. When all their attempts failed and the gods grew tired, only one did not give up: Quetzalcoatl: the Feathered Serpent. With his instantly recognizable, acclaimed art style and grand storytelling, Tonatiuh recounts a creation tale of epic proportions.

 

15. Soldier For Equality: José De La Luz Saénz And The Great War
by Duncan Tonatiuh
Interest level: 1-3

Soldier For Equality cover image

José de la Luz Saenz—or Luz—believed in fighting for what was right. Although he was born in the United States, he and his family experienced prejudice because of their Mexican heritage. When World War I broke out, Luz volunteered to join the fight. Because of his ability to quickly learn languages, he became part of the Intelligence Office in Europe. Upon his return to the U.S., he joined other Mexican-Americans whom he had met in the army to fight for equality. His contribution helped lead to the creation of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which is the oldest Latino civil rights organization.

 

16. Lowriders In Space (series) 
by Cathy Camper
Interest level: 3-7

Lowriders in Space image

Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack and Elirio Malaria love working with cars. You name it, they can fix it. But the team’s favorite cars of all are lowriders. The stars align when a contest for the best car around offers a prize of a trunkful of cash, just what the team needs to open their own shop! What will it take to transform a junker into the best car in the universe?

 

17. Stella Diaz Has Something To Say
by Angela Dominguez
Interest level: 3-7

Stella Diaz Has Something To Say cover image

Award-winning picture book author and illustrator Angela Dominguez tells a heartwarming story based on her experiences growing up Mexican-American. Simple Spanish vocabulary is integrated within the text, providing a bilingual element. When a new boy arrives in Stella’s class, she really wants to be his friend, but sometimes Stella accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English and pronounces words wrong, which makes her turn roja.

 

18. Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics
by Margarita Engle
Interest level: 3-7

Bravo! cover image

Musician, botanist, baseball player, pilot: the Hispanic people featured in this collection come from many different countries and from many different backgrounds. Celebrate their accomplishments and their contributions to a collective history and a community that continues to evolve and thrive today!

 

19. Frizzy
by Claribel A. Ortega
Interest level: 3-7

Frizzy cover image

According to Marlene’s mom, it’s time to grow up, focus on school and “look presentable,” AKA straighten her hair. But Marlene hates going to the salon each weekend, and she doesn’t see a problem with her natural curls! This story shows diversity within one Latinx family and offers a nuanced perspective on the pressure to have “good hair.”

 

20. Paola Santiago And The River Of Tears
by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Interest level: 3-7

Paola Santiago And The River Of Tears cover image

12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. Paola’s mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night looking for young people to drag into its murky depths. Paola organizes a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it’s the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Paola sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mom was right.

 

21. The Dragon Slayer
by Jaime Hernandez
Interest level: 3-8

The Dragon Slayer cover image

How would a kitchen maid fare against a seven-headed dragon? What happens when a woman marries a mouse? And what can a young man learn from a thousand leaf-cutter ants? Famed Love and Rockets creator Jaime Hernandez asks these questions and more as he transforms beloved myths into bold, stunning and utterly contemporary comics.

 

22. Yes! We Are Latinos
by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy
Interest level: 4-6

Yes! We Are Latinos cover image

Through first-person poems and descriptive prose, thirteen different Latinx young people are introduced to readers. The histories of immigrants from various countries are presented in a way that is both heartwarming and informational. Young Latinx readers will find themselves in the text and non-Latinx children can learn of the breadth and depth of the contributions made by Latinos to the U.S.

 

23. Merci Suárez Changes Gears
by Meg Medina
Interest level: 4-7

Merci Suarez Changes Gears cover image

Merci knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci and her brother Roli aren’t like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because they are scholarship students. So when Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Plus, Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately: forgetting important things, falling from his bike and getting angry over nothing. Can thoughtful, strong-willed Merci Suárez navigate these difficult changes?

 

24. The First Rule Of Punk
by Celia C. Pérez
Interest level: 4-7

The First Rule Of Punk cover image

A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book, The First Rule of Punk is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place and learning to rock out like no one’s watching. On day one at her new school, twelve-year-old Malu inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad says to remember the first rule of punk: be yourself. When Malu assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, she finally begins to feel at home.

 

25. The Epic Fail Of Arturo Zamora
by Pablo Cartaya
Interest level: 4-8

The Epic Fail Of Arturo Zamora cover image

For Arturo, summertime in Miami means playing basketball until dark, sipping mango smoothies and keeping cool under banyan trees. And maybe a few shifts as junior lunchtime dishwasher at Abuela’s restaurant. But this summer also includes Carmen, a cute girl who moves into Arturo’s apartment complex and turns his stomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn’t notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it.

 

26. Lucky Broken Girl
by Ruth Behar
Interest level: 5-9

Lucky Broken Girl cover image

Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger. She comes to understand how fragile life is, and how friends, neighbors and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.

 

27. My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey Of Home, Loss, And Hope
by Diane Guerrero with Erica Moroz
Interest level: 5-9

My Family Divided cover image

Before landing a spot on the megahit Netflix show Orange is the New Black, before wowing audiences as Lina on Jane the Virgin and before her incredible activism and work on immigration reform, Diane Guerrero was a young girl living in Boston. One day, while Guerrero was at school, her undocumented immigrant parents were taken from their home, detained and deported. Guerrero’s life, which had been full of the support of a loving family, was turned upside down. Reflective of the experiences of millions of undocumented immigrant families in the United States, Guerrero’s story is at once heartbreaking and hopeful.

 

28. They Call Me Guero: A Border Kid’s Poems
by David Bowles
Interest level: 5-9

They Call Me Guero cover image

Twelve-year-old Mexican American boy “Guero” is bilingual and deeply entrenched in both his cultures. Though his nickname is Spanish for Latino guys with pale skin, Guero considers himself puro Mexicano. Students will connect with Guero’s big heart and learn how poetry can help them manage tough feelings.

 

29. The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo
Interest level: 8-12

The Poet X cover image

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. But Xiomara pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook. With mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, Xiomara doesn’t know how she could attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud.

 

30. Clap When You Land
by Elizabeth Acevedo
Interest level: 9-12

Clap When You Land cover image

In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives. Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people. In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their lives are forever altered.

 

31. Furia
by Yamile Saied Méndez
Interest level: 9-12

Furia cover image

This powerful, contemporary YA novel will appeal to fans of The Poet X and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life. At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising soccer-star brother’s shadow and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father. On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. Filled with authentic details and the textures of day-to-day life in Argentina, Furia is the story of a girl’s journey to make her life her own.

Book cover image

Looking to improve the diversity of your classroom library?

All of Booksource’s inclusive collections are curated with authentic experiences and diverse representation in mind.

What other books by Hispanic authors do your students love? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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