Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the contributions of Americans of Latin or Hispanic heritage. These picture books are both fiction and nonfiction stories that are excellent choices to share during the month.
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuay, illustrated by Pablo Escobar
Published by HarperCollins, 2019
Pura Belpré introduced Puerto Rican folktales and other stories to children through her work as a writer and New York City children’s librarian. Her legacy lives on through the Pura Belpré award. Includes author’s note and additional resources (books, archival collections, articles, films, and a list of Pura Belpré’s stories mentioned in the book). Also available in the Spanish version Sembrando Historias. 40 pages; grades K-3.
Isabel and Her Colores Go to School by Alexandra Alessandri, illustrated by Courtney Dawson
Published by Sleeping Bear Press, 2021
Isabel’s first-day-of-school jitters are compounded by the fact that she doesn’t speak much English, but she eventually finds a way to make a new friend and share her artistic talents with her classmates. Written in both English and Spanish with two pages of Spanish to English translations for words used in the story. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
We Laugh Alike/Juntos Nos Reímos by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez
Published by Charlesbridge, 2021
Two groups of kids meet on a playground. One group speaks English, and the other speaks Spanish. Through shared play they slowly become friends and learn words from each others’ languages. Includes a glossary of Spanish and English words and anote about the importance of learning languages. The story and author’s note are written in both English and Spanish. 32 pages; grades K-3.
Hear My Voice/Eschcha Mi Voz: The Testimonies of Chidren Detained at the Southern Border of the United States by Warren Binford for Project Amplify
Published by Workman Publishing
Project Amplify is a group of writers, artists, and faith leaders who help children at Clint Border Patrol Station in Texas tell their stories about why they left their countries and the deplorable conditions they’ve experienced in the U.S. Written in both English and Spanish. Includes a foreword by Michael Garcia Bochenek of Human Rights Watch and several pages about Project Amplify and the book, including thumbnail portraits of each artist and questions to ask children about the text. 96 pages; ages 8 and up.
Sharuko: El Arqueólogo PeruanoJulio C. Tello/Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
Published by Children’s Book Press, 2020
Peruvian archaeologist Julio Tello, nicknamed Sharuko (“brave”) grew up in an indigenous community. After getting a Harvard degree, he returned to Peru where his discoveries proved that indigenous cultures originated in Peru, not Mexico or Central America as was previously believed. Includes maps; an afterword, illustrator’s note, and list of sources. 40 pages; grades 2-6.
My Big Family by Yanitzia Canetti, illustrated by Micha Archer
Published by Reycraft Books, 2020
Alex likes the idea of his family getting bigger, but when relatives start arriving from Cuba, things change in ways that are sometimes hard to adjust to. 32 pages; ages 4-8.
Islandborn by Junot Diaz, illustrated by Leo Espinosa
Published by Dial Books, 2018
When Lola’s teacher gives an assignment for kids to draw a picture of their country of origin, Lola interviews relatives and neighbors to learn about the beauty of the Dominican Republic, as well as the “monster” that was the reason her family left. Available in Spanish with the title Lola. 48 pages; grades K-3.
How Are You? ¿Cómo estás? by Angela Dominguez
Published by Henry Holt and Co., 2018
Animals learn to communicate in both English and Spanish. Also available: How Do You Say? = ¿Cómo se dice? 32 pages; ages 3-7.
La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2017
A new twist on the story of the princess and the pea, with illustrations inspired by Peruvian indigenous art. By the same author: Little Roja Riding Hood and The Three Billy Goats Buenos. Includes a glossary of Spanish words used in the text and an illustrator’s note explaining how she was inspired by textile arts of indigenous people of Peru in creating her art. 32 pages; ages 4-8.
All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Mike Curato
Published by Henry Holt and Co., 2017
A boy describes a family trip from the countryside to Havana, traveling in “Cara-Cara”, their ancient sky-blue Chevy that his resourceful father keeps up and running. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael López
Pubished by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019
How 10-year-old Teresa got an invitation to play piano at the White House and used her talents to provide healing music for Abraham Lincoln. Includes an author’s note with a bit more information about Carreño and her later musical career. Available in Spanish, Manos que bailan. 40 pages; grades K-4.
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael López
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers, 2015
Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl growing up in 1930’s Cuba, dreamed of playing drums, but only boys were allowed to be drummers. She kept her dream alive, though, and by the time she was 15, she was good enough to play at President Franklin Roosevelt’s birthday celebration. 48 pages; ages 4-8.
A Song of Frutas/Un Pregón de Frutas by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Sara Palacios
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2021
A girl tells about her visits to Cuba and how she loves to help Abuelo at his fruit stand. Available in Spanish, Un Pregón de Frutas. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Federico and the Wolf by Rebecca J. Gomez
Published by Clarion Books, 2020
Federico, dressed in his red hoodie, heads off to shop for ingredients so he and Abuelo can make the perfect pico, but first he’ll have to outsmart a hungry wolf. Includes a recipe for the perfect pico, and a list of Spanish words with their location in the story. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Sing With Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla by Diana López, illustrated by Teresa Martínez
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers, 2021
The story of Selena Quintanilla’s rise to fame from her impoverished childhood in Corpus Christi, Texas to beloved Tejano singer performing at the Houston Astrodome. Available in Spanish, Canta conmigo: la historia de Selena Quintanilla. Includes author’s note with additional biographical information and a list of Selena’s studio albums. 32 pages; grades K-4.
Selena Queen of Tejano Music/Selena, reina de la música Tejano by Silvia López, illustrated by Paola Escobar
Published by little bee books, 2020
Another picture book biography about Selena that’s also available in both English and Spanish versions. Includes several pages of additional information about Selena and her music, ending with a few paragraphs about her murder at the age of 23. Available in Spanish, Selena, reina de la música Tejano 48 pages; grades 2-5.
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
Published by Candlewick, 2018
When Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela complains that her name is too long, her father tells her five stories about the people for whom she is named. The author’s note tells the story of her own full name, Juana Carlota Martinez Pizarro, and how it reminds her of her roots in Peru. Also available in a Spanish edition, Alma y Cómo Obtuvo su Nombre. 32 pages; ages 4-8.
Zonia’s Rainforest by Juana Martinez-Neal
Published by Candlewick, 2021
Zonia is Asháninka, the largest indigenous group living in the Peruvian rain forest. She loves playing all day with her animal friends, but at the end of the day she is disturbed when she finds the stumps of trees that have been cut down. Her mother tells her the forest is calling to her, and Zonia promises to help. Includes additional information about the Asháninka, the Amazon and threats to it, and Zonia’s animal friends in order of appearance. Spanish version also available: La Selva de Zonia. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
Published by Candlewick, 2020
Daniela’s next-door neighbor and best friend Evelyn is moving away. Will their friendship survive? Available in Spanish, Evelyn Del Rey se muda. 32 pages; ages 4-8.
La Frontera: El viaje con papá/My Journey with Papa by Deborah Mills and Alfredo Alva, illustrated by Claudio Navarro
Published by Barefoot Books, 2018
Alfredo tells of his dangerous journey traveling from Mexico to the U.S. with his father. Written in English and Spanish. Includes photos of Alfredo and his family, and information on Alfredo’s story, borders and culture, and immigration. 48 pages; grades 1-5.
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Published by Neal Porter Books, 2018
Yuyi Morales tells her son how they traveled from Mexico to the U.S. to build a new life and try to make their dreams come true. Includes a note from Morales about her journey from Mexico to the U.S. and how the public library helped her pursue their dreams in their new country; also books that have inspired her. Also available: Soñadores, the Spanish language version. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal
Published by Children’s Book Press, 2017
José Martí’s advocacy for Cuban independence landed him in jail, and eventually led to his exile. Living in New York, he wrote poetry and children’s stories that are still read today. He returned to Cuba in 1895, where he died fighting for independence. Written in both English and Spanish. 32 pages; grades 2-6.
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña
Published by Kokila, 2019
When Papi comes home from work, his daughter rushes out to meet him, and the two go on a motorcycle tour of their city. Also available in Spanish as Mi Papi Tiene Una Mota. 40 pages; ages 4-8.
Training Day (El Toro and Friends series) by Raúl the Third, colors by Elaine Bay
Published by Versify, 2021
El Toro’s trainer Kooky Dooky has his hands full trying to get El Toro out of bed and ready for his big wrestling march with The Wall in book 1 of this early readers series. 56 page; ages 4-8.
¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raúl the Third, colors by Elaine Bay
Published by Versify, 2019
Little Lobo and his dog Bernabé have a big day when they load up their wagon and make deliveries to different humans and animals at the Mercado. Also available: ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat and ¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge. 48 pages; ages 4-8.
Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor
Published by Philomel Books, 2018
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor tells how books helped her as a child and influenced her in her career. Available in Spanish: Pasando Páginas: La Historia de mi Vida. Includes a timeline and photos on the endpapers. 40 pages; grades 2-5.
Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua by Gloria Amescua, illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Published by Harry N. Abrams, 2021
Growing up in Mexico, Luz Jiménez learned the language and culture of her people, the Nahua. Tragedy forced her and her family to Mexico City, where she became an artist’s model and shared the Nahua language and culture, becoming known as “the spirit of Mexico”. Includes notes from the author and artist, a photograph and a list of illustrations that were inspired by other artists’ work who painted Luz. Also a timeline, glossary, notes, and a bibliography. 48 pages; grades 1-5.
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015
How Mexican artist Lupe Posada became famous for his Calaveros prints that are still popular Dia de los Muertos decor. Includes a lengthy author’s note about Posada and the history of Dia de los Muertos celebrations; a glossary and bibliography; and a list of U.S. locations where Posada’s works can be viewed. Grades 1-5.
The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2016
A retelling of an Aztec legend about how two Mexican volcanoes, Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl, came to be. Includes an author’s note giving more history of the legend. 40 pages; grades 1-4.