All Ages

14 New Children’s and YA Books That Celebrate Hispanic Heritage

by the Brightly Editors

Books are a terrific way to celebrate and ruminate on who we are, who we’ve been, where we come from, and where we’re going. They’re also tremendously valuable in helping us gain greater understanding of cultures and experiences different from our own. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve pulled together a list of great new books, for kids of all ages, that celebrate Latino heritage, culture, and identity. From aspiring luchadoras to determined punk rockers to men and women whose contributions to history won’t soon be forgotten, these stories are great for sharing not only during Hispanic Heritage Month, but all year round.

  • Board Books

  • La Catrina: Emotions/Emociones

    by Patti Rodriguez, illustrated by Ariana Stein

    Share a bit of Mexican history and heritage with the littlest readers with this emotions primer that features one of the main icons of Dia De Muertos or Day of the Dead, La Calavera Catrina. Through pages filled with bold color and expressiveness, babies and toddlers will be introduced to both English and Spanish words and put names and faces to a range of feelings. For more bilingual board books from this author and illustrator, check out the full Lil’ Libros collection.

  • Picture Books

  • La Princesa and the Pea

    by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

    This bilingual retelling of the classic fairy tale is spunky, playful, and fun. Featuring gorgeous illustrations inspired by illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal's native Peru and cleverly crafted rhymes from author Susan Middleton Elya, it’s a joy for both the reader and the listener. Don’t be surprised if the kiddos can’t stop talking about la reina, la niña, and that pesky little guisante.

  • Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos

    by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra

    A semi-biographical look at the early life of the famous Mexican artist, this picture book takes special interest in Frida Kahlo’s beloved pets and other animals that inspired her art. In a unique storytelling format, Kahlo’s life and personality are portrayed through her animals with added biographical details and facts about indigenous Mexico. Vibrant illustrations that reflect Frida’s style help to highlight her imaginative work.

  • Lucía the Luchadora

    by Cynthia Leonor Garza, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez

    Lucía thinks she has what it takes to be a luchadora (she even has an awesome mask and cape to prove it!), but she starts to doubt herself when she’s told only boys can be luchadores. Then her grandma shares a family secret that inspires Lucía to feel proud of her history and empowered to follow in the steps of the luchadoras before her.

  • The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra

    by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ana Aranda

    In this fun and lighthearted tale, three brave goats go on the hunt for the chupacabra, a legendary predator that’s rumored to feed on animals, with the hopes of scaring it away. Filled with vibrant artwork and lots of laughs, little ones will love going on this folkore-inspired adventure.

  • The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!

    by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin

    In the village of La Paz lives one noisy rooster. He was born to sing and there’s nothing and nobody that can stop him. Not even the town’s new mayor who sweeps in with strict rules and outlaws singing. The villagers, who have been scared silent, are inspired by the rooster’s bravery and determination. So much so that they’re moved to kick out the new mayor and take back their city. A compelling allegory about the importance of freedom and finding your voice.

  • Middle Grade

  • The First Rule of Punk

    by Celia C. Pérez

    From her clothing style to her favorite music to the zines she makes, Malú is a true punk kid. When she moves with her mom to a new city, she finds out that her interests make her a misfit at her new school — but she won’t let that faze her. An inspiring story of a girl fighting for self-expression, and navigating the challenges of making new friends, having parents in different states, and learning to love her heritage and identity.

  • The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

    by Pablo Cartaya

    Third-generation Cuban American Arturo Zamora plans to spend his summer playing basketball and washing dishes at his Abuela’s restaurant. That is until a slick and sleazy land developer comes to town looking to tear down the restaurant. In an effort to save his community and its culture, Arturo finds his own voice in his family’s stories and the notable works of Cuban revolutionary José Martí. Will his efforts be enough or will it all be an epic fail?

  • Who Was Cesar Chavez?

    by Dana Meachen Rau, illustrated by Ted Hammond and Nancy Harrison

    As a labor leader and civil rights activist, Mexican American Cesar Chavez is known for dedicating his life to the improved treatment, working conditions, and wages of farm workers. In 1962, he led thousands of migrant farm workers in California and the southwest on strike, a movement that ultimately resulted in the formation of the United Farm Workers union. This biography from the popular Who Was? series tells of Chavez’s early life and the conditions that led to his push for social change.

  • Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics

    by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael Lopez

    A great collection for classrooms, libraries, or home bookshelves, Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics features a wide range of lyrical biographies of notable Latinos. With vibrant illustrations and tight free verse, Lopez and Engle profile figures ranging from César Chávez to José Martí, Pura Belpré, Roberto Clemente, Tito Puente, and beyond.

  • Lucky Broken Girl

    by Ruth Behar

    Ruthie is still adjusting to her new life in New York City, after moving with her family from Cuba, when she gets in a car accident that leaves her bedridden. Months of recovery loom before her and she’s not sure how she’ll get through it. But, with time, Ruthie discovers an inner strength that propels her forward, helping her to learn English, to express herself through art, and to recognize the power of empathy and forgiveness.

  • YA

  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

    by Erika L. Sánchez

    Your perfect Mexican daughter? That’s not Julia. That was her sister, Olga. But Olga died in a terrible accident, and in the wake of that tragedy Julia’s imperfections are even more magnified, especially where her mother is concerned. As Julia sets out to learn more about the person her seemingly perfect sister really was, she begins to unpack the complexities of family pressure, expectations, cultural identity, stereotypes, and the search for one’s own identity.

  • The Go-Between

    by Veronica Chambers

    As the daughter of a famous Mexican telenovela star, Camilla has just been uprooted from Mexico City to California for her mother’s first American sitcom. The students at Cammie’s new private school assume she is a poor Mexican girl from East LA on scholarship. Rather than correcting them, Cammie plays into their misconceptions, hoping they will accept her for who she is separate from her family name and wealth. As she works to keep up the ruse, Cammie’s eyes quickly open to the plights of first-generation Mexican immigrants coming to the United States.

  • An Uninterrupted View of the Sky

    by Melanie Crowder

    Seventeen-year-old Francisco is suddenly faced with an impossible decision when his father is wrongfully accused of a crime: flee the city with (or without) his sister to safety, or live in the prison where his dad is being held. Inspired by real-life events, An Uninterrupted View of the Sky is a heartbreaking, emotional, and beautifully written novel that transports readers to 1999 Bolivia.

What other books would you add to this reading list? Share with us in the comments below.

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