Hispanic Heritage Month (Sep. 15 – Oct. 15) is all about celebrating the contributions of Hispanic and Latino people to the United States. There’s no better way to celebrate Hispanic contributions and culture than through literature! Whether you’re looking for a book for a preschooler or a novel for a teenager, there are many amazing books written by Hispanic and Latino authors. Not sure where to start? We’ve highlighted a few of our favorites.
Pre-K through 2nd Grade
Abuela by Arthur Dorros
Imagine what life would be like if you could fly. In this fun picture book, Rosalba flies around Manhattan with her grandmother and learns a lot about life along the way. The story mixes English and Spanish words and helps kids learn about Hispanic culture.
Gracias Thanks by Pat Mora
What are you thankful for? No matter what language you speak, there are many things to be thankful for. Kids are challenged to find things they are thankful for, just like the young boy in this simple picture book by one of the best-known Hispanic authors for children.
Nino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
Nino is a spectacular wrestler and can defeat all of the greats. Kids will love the exciting illustrations and sound words used throughout the books. Parents will love the Spanish words and pronunciation guides.
3rd through 5th Grade
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Pam Munoz Ryan is one of the best-known Hispanic authors for this age group and Esperanza Rising is one of the best-known Hispanic novels for kids. This story follows a young girl as she loses her father, moves to the United States, and loses her social status, all while discovering herself.
Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
This book discusses cross-cultural friendships and keeping hold of your heritage while trying to assimilate. It follows the relationship between a young farm boy whose parents hire migrant workers to help keep their farm afloat. This novel has won many awards.
My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada
Every child goes through a phase where they must discover who they are and stand up for themselves. In this novel, Maria’s teacher wants to call her Mary, but Maria is a name that holds a lot of significance. It follows Maria and her family as they learn how to balance their heritage with their American life.
6th through 8th Grade
The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan
Pablo Neruda is a famous Hispanic poet and The Dreamer offers a fictional take on his life. This award-winning novel tells the tale of a Chilean boy who goes on to become a famous poet despite having an incredibly negative father. It is a very motivational read for middle school.
Baseball in April and Other Stories by Gary Soto
Gary Soto has written numerous coming-of-age stories for children and young adults. This is one of his best-known collections and a great read for pre-teen and teenage boys. The collection, which has also won numerous awards, including the ALA Best Book for Young Adults, shares stories from Soto’s life growing up in California, and shows not only a Hispanic experience, but an experience all boys can relate to on some level.
I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin
This award-winning novel tells the story of Celeste, an eleven-year-old girl from Chile who is sent to live with her aunt in the United States. Not only does she have to learn how to navigate life in the United States, she must also come to terms with what is going on in her home country and worry about her parents who are still there.
9th through 12th Grade
House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
This is one of the quintessential story collections that every student should read. The coming-of-age book follows Esperanza Cordero as she grows up and learns to connect her Latino culture with her desire for something better. It also includes the popular short story Eleven.
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
This novel has won numerous awards and has been hailed as a “new classic” for the twenty-first century. It tells the tale of the four Garcia sisters who flee the Dominican Republic and must learn to start their lives again in America. Each one has a different experience, but all are connected.
Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa
Violet Paz does not know a lot about her Latina heritage and does not consider herself anything but American. In fact, she is half Polish. This book details how she comes to learn more about her Latina heritage as she plans her traditional coming-of-age party when she turns 15.
While these are some of our favorite books for Hispanic Heritage Month, we know there are many other great books out there. What are some of your favorite books that celebrate Hispanic and Latino culture?
Also, remember to check out our graphic organizers which you can use to help kids think critically and conduct an in-depth analysis of these classic texts.
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