Hispanic/Latino/Latinx Themed Children’s Books


Abuela/Grandmother.  Durros, A.  (1991).  New York:  Dutton Children’s Books.  Ages  4 – 8.

A little girl imagines that she and her abuela (Spanish for ‘grandmother’) can fly.  The pair enjoy an aerial tour of their city, visiting people and sites important to the grandmother’s past.  The English text contains a few Spanish words and phrases.


Abuela’s Weave.  Castaneda, O. (1993).  New York:  Lee and Low Books.  Ages 3 – 9.  Read-aloud: K and up; Read-alone: Grade 2 and up

Themes: Family Traditions, Overcoming Fear, Grandparents


All For the Better:  A Story of El Barrio.  Mohr. N. (1993).   New York: Steck-Vaughn Company. Grades  2 – 5.


Amelia’s Road.  Altman, L. J.  (1993).  New York: Lee and Low Books.  Ages 3 to 10.  Read-aloud: K and up; Read-alone: Grade 2 and up

Themes: Migrant Workers, Farming, Home, Mexican Americans


Arroz con Leche: Popular Songs and Rhymes from Latin America.  Delacre, L. (1989).   New York: Scholastic, Inc.  Preschool – Grade 3.


Big Enough/Bastante Grande.  Lachtman, O. D.  (1998).  New York:  Pinata Books.  Preschool – Grade 2.

Lupita is sure that she is big enough to help at her mother’s Mexican restaurant, but her mother doesn’t agree.


A Birthday Basket for Tía.  Mora, P. (1996).  New York:  Simon and Schuster.  Grades 2 and up.

A young girl and her cat, Chica, put together a birthday surprise for her aunt.


The Birthday Swap.  Lopez, L.  (1997).  New York: Lee and Low Books.  Ages 4 –  8:  Read-aloud, K – 4

Lori is trying hard to think of a birthday surprise for her older sister, Cookie, but as she soon finds out, Cookie has a surprise for her.


Carlos and the Squash Plant / Carlos y la Planta de Calabaza.  Romero-Stevens, J. (1993).  Arizona: Northland Publishing.  Grades K – 3.

Carlos dislikes taking baths and chooses to ignore his mother’s warnings of what will happen if he doesn’t wash the dirt out of his ears.


Chato’s Kitchen.  Soto, G. (1995).  New York: C. P. Putnam’s Sons.  Grades  K – 4.

This book explores the themes of Latino/Hispanic culture/neighborhoods/friendship.  A “cool cat” named Chato decides he would like to have his neighbors, a family of mice, over for dinner.  The mouse family, smelling a rat, asks if their friend can come along.  When Chato discovers the friend is a “cool dude,” he panics.  Soon he realizes they can all eat enchiladas together.


Chave’s Memories.  Delgado, M. (1998).  Houston: Pinata Books.  Ages 3 – 7.


Cinco de Mayo.  Riehecky, J.  (1994).  New York: Children’s Book Press.  Ages 4 – 8.


Confetti: Poems for Children.  Mora, P.  (1996).  New York:  Lee and Low Books.  Ages 4 and up.


Diego Wants to Be / Diego Quiere Ser.  Rodriquez, D. (1994).  Wisconsin: Highsmith Press.  Grades 1 – 3.

Diego doesn’t want to be a child.  He imagines himself being a fish, a bird, and a dog instead of a little boy.  When he grows old, he wishes to be a child again, but realizes that is too late.


Estela’s Swap.  O’Neil, A. (2002).  New York: Lee and Low Books.  Ages Preschool – Grade 2

A young Mexican American girl accompanies her father to a swap meet, where she hopes to sell her music box for dancing lessons.


Felita.  Mohr, N. (1996).  New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing.  Ages 8 and up.

The everyday experiences of an eight-year-old Puerto Rican girl growing up in a close-knit, urban community.


First Day in Grapes.  Perez, L.K.  (2002).  New York: Lee and Low Books.  Ages 6 – 10

Themes: Latino/Hispanic Interest, Math, Discrimination, Overcoming Fear, Self-Esteem/Identity, Sharing/Giving, Bullying, Migrant Workers


Gathering the Sun.  Ada, A. F.  (1997).  New York:  Lothrop.  Ages 4 – 8.

Using all 28 letters of the Spanish alphabet as a template on each page, Alma Flor Ada has written a special poem in Spanish for each.  Each poem is written in honor of the history, culture, families, heritage, and harvest of Mexican farm workers.  Rosa Zubizarreta, Alma’s daughter, has translated each of the poems into English as well.


Gloria Estefan: Cuban-American Singing Star.  Gonzalez, F. (1993).  Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press.  Ages 4 – 8.


Going Home.  Mohr. N. (1986).  New York:  Bantam Books.  Grades 4 – 7.


Gracias — The Thanksgiving Turkey.  Crowley, J. (1998).  New York: Scholastic, Inc. Ages 4 – 8.

Miguel, a young Puerto Rican boy, doesn’t go anywhere without his turkey — to the delight of everyone in his New York City neighborhood.  (There are some beginning Spanish vocabulary words within the text).


Hairs / Pelitos.  Cisneros, S. (1994).  New York:  Alfred A. Knoph.  Grades: all ages

A child describes how each person in the family has hair that looks and acts different; Papa’s is like a broom, Kiki’s like fur, and Mama’s, with the smell of warm bread.


Home at Last.  Elya, S.M. (2002).   New York: Lee and Low Books.

When she and her family move from Mexico to the United States, eight year old Ana helps her mother adjust to the new situation by encouraging her to learn English.


Isla/Island.  Dorros, A. (1995). New York: Dutton Children’s Books.  Grades 2 and up.

A young girl and her grandmother take an imaginary journey to the Caribbean island where her mother grew up and where some of her family still lives.


Jalapeño Bagels.  Wing, N.  (1996).  New York:  Simon & Schuster.  Ages 4 – 8, Grades K – 3.

A warm family story set in a bakery owned by Pablo’s Mexican mother and Jewish father.  When Pablo needs to bring something to school from his culture for International Day he turns to his parents’ bakery and chooses something that represents both cultures — just like him!  Includes glossary and recipes.


La Mariposa.  Jimenez, F.  (1998).  Boston: Houghton-Miffin.  Grade: First grade (Bilingual)

Because he can only speak Spanish, Francisco, son of a migrant worker, has trouble when he begins first grade, but his fascination with the caterpillar in the classroom helps him begin to fit in.


Magda’s Tortillas / Las Tortillas de Magda.  Chavarria-Chairez, B.  (2000).  Houston: Arte Publico Press. Age: 7 and up

Magda is excited about her seventh birthday; her abuela is showing her how to make tortillas.  But no matter how hard Magda tries to roll the dough into round spheres, she can’t.


Margaret / Margarita.  Reiser, L.  (1993).  New York:  Greenwillow.  Ages: Preschool.

Margaret, who only speaks English, and Margarita, who only speaks Spanish, meet in the park and have fun playing together.


My First Book of Proverbs / Mi Primer Libro de Dichos.  Gonzalez, R. & Ruiz, A. (1995).  San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.  Grades 4+


My Name is María Isabel.  Ada, A. F. (1993).  New York:  Simon & Schuster.  Grade 3.

A young girl enters a new school and on her first day is stripped of her rightful name because there already are “too many Marías” in the class.  In a world where she is unable to express herself because of the stigma of having her name changed, María Isabel responds through her writing, which becomes the tool for her to regain her rightful identity.


Pablo’s Tree.  Mora, P.  (1994).  New York:  Simon and Schuster.  Ages 4 – 8.

Each year on his birthday, a young Mexican American boy looks forward to seeing how his grandfather has decorated the tree he planted on the day the boy was adopted.


Pepita Talks Twice / Pepita Habla dos Veces.  Lachtman. O. D.  (1995).  Houston: Arte Publico Grades:  K – 2

Pepita is sick of translating for friends and neighbors –- so she decides to stop speaking Spanish, but soon finds this is easier said than done.


Pepita Thinks Pink.  Lachtman, O. D.  (1999).  Houston: Arte Publico Press.  Grades: K and up.

Pepita is excited about her new neighbor until she sees that she likes pink -– a color Pepita really hates.


The Red Comb.  Pico, F. (1991).  Mexico: Bridge Water Books.  Grades 2 and up.

Set in 19th century Puerto Rico, a young girl and her elderly neighbor work to help a runaway slave.


Speak English  for Us, Marisol.  English, K.  (2000).  Illinois:  Albert Whitman.  Grades 1 – 4

Bilingual, Marisol is sometimes overwhelmed when her Spanish-speaking family and neighbors need her to translate for them.


The Adventures of Connie and Diego.  Garcia, M.  (1994).  Children’s Book Press.  Ages 6 and up.  Eng./Spanish

Tired of being teased because they were born with different colors all over their bodies, Connie and Diego leave the Land of Plenty.  A contemporary legend of mixed-race twins who search for a place to belong.


Tomás and The Library Lady.  Mora, P. (1997).  New York:  Alfred Knoph, Inc.  Interest Level: K – 2

While helping his family in their work as migrant laborers far from their home, Tomás finds an entire world to explore in the books at the local public library.


Tonio’s Cat.  Calhoun, M. (1996).  New York: Morrow Junior Books.  Ages 4 – 8.

Tonio’s family has just moved to California, and he faces many adjustments.  In addition to having to adjust to leaving his dog behind, he must learn to interact with new children who tease him and his cat.


Too Many Tamales.  Soto, G. (1993).  New York: Putnam’s Sons.  Grades K – 3.

Any child who has ever delighted in a forbidden snack or tried to cover up a mistake will enjoy reading this wonderful Christmas story that reflects the holiday traditions of Latino culture.


TEACHER RESOURCES — Books and Videos:


The Grapes of Wrath Cesar Chavez Foundation Email:  HYPERLINK “mailto:chavezfdtn@igc.apc.org” chavezfdtn@igc.apc.org


Heroes Hispanos: Latinos Who Have Fought in United States Wars   (Youtube educational video Published on Oct 16, 2012)

Rudy Padilla presents “Heroes Hispanos”.  Hispanics have been part of every war in which the United States has fought.  The Revolutionary War of 1776 was won with the much-needed support of Spain, which was then in control of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85h3X4n0z04


The Hispanic Presence in North America from 1492 to Today.  Fernandez-Shaw, Carlos M.  Translated by Alfonso Bertodano Stourton and others.  New York: Facts on File, 1991. ISBN: 0-8160-2133-3. 375 p. Grade 6 – 10.

A general historical overview beginning with colonization and a discussion of Hispanic culture, followed by a state-by-state study of the history and influence of Hispanics in the United States.  Photographs, listings of media, associations, selected readings, and index are included.  A valuable reference tool.


Latino Heroes of the Civil War.  Walbridge, M. (1997).  New York:  J. Weston Walch.  For young adults.


Quinceañera:  A Latina’s Journey to Womanhood.  Lankerford, M.  Photographs by Jesse Herrera. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1994.

Describes  the preparation and ceremony of a young girl’s quinceañera, a rite of passage at age fifteen for Latinas, celebrating their journey from childhood to womanhood.

Developed by Idalí Feliciano & Vanessa Colon


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