National Hispanic Heritage Month Book List

National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to American society and culture and to honor five of our Central American neighbors who celebrate their independence

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

The following book list will include reading for all ages K-2, Elementary 3-5, Middle School 6-8, and High School 9-12.  (Sources: Florida Dept of Education, PBS, School Library Journal)(and a few recommended by myself!)

TEACHERS:  The Smithsonian Education Organization have set up a page full of wonderful teaching resources

Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia Cover Image
By Carmen Garza, Carmen Garza (Illustrator), Sandra Cisneros (Introduction by)
$10.95
ISBN: 9780892392070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Children's Book Press (CA) - April 1st, 2013

Family Pictures is the story of Carmen Lomas Garza's girlhood: celebrating birthdays, making tamales, finding a hammerhead shark on the beach, picking cactus, going to a fair in Mexico, and confiding to her sister her dreams of becoming an artist. These day-to-day experiences are told through fourteen vignettes of art and a descriptive narrative, each focusing on a different aspect of traditional Mexican American culture. The English-Spanish text and vivid illustrations reflect the author's strong sense of family and community. For Mexican Americans, Carmen Lomas Garza offers a book that reflects their lives and traditions. For others, this work offers insights into a beautifully rich community.

 


Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia Cover Image
By Carmen Garza, Carmen Garza (Illustrator), Sandra Cisneros (Introduction by)
$10.95
ISBN: 9780892392070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Children's Book Press (CA) - April 1st, 2013

Family Pictures is the story of Carmen Lomas Garza's girlhood: celebrating birthdays, making tamales, finding a hammerhead shark on the beach, picking cactus, going to a fair in Mexico, and confiding to her sister her dreams of becoming an artist. These day-to-day experiences are told through fourteen vignettes of art and a descriptive narrative, each focusing on a different aspect of traditional Mexican American culture. The English-Spanish text and vivid illustrations reflect the author's strong sense of family and community. For Mexican Americans, Carmen Lomas Garza offers a book that reflects their lives and traditions. For others, this work offers insights into a beautifully rich community.


How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay (The Tia Lola Stories #1) Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780440418702
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling - August 13th, 2002

A delightfully entertaining story of family and culture from acclaimed author Julia Alvarez.

Moving to Vermont after his parents split, Miguel has plenty to worry about! Tía Lola, his quirky, carismática, and maybe magical aunt makes his life even more unpredictable when she arrives from the Dominican Republic to help out his Mami. Like her stories for adults, Julia Alvarez’s first middle-grade book sparkles with magic as it illuminates a child’s experiences living in two cultures.


Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller (Max's Lucha Libre Adventures) Cover Image
By Xavier Garza (Illustrator)
$12.95
ISBN: 9781933693989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cinco Puntos Press - October 18th, 2011

Margarito acts like any other eleven-year-old aficionado of lucha libre. He worships all the players. But in the summer just before sixth grade, he tumbles over the railing at a match in San Antonio and makes a connection to the world of Mexican wrestling that will ultimately connect him—maybe by blood!—to the greatest hero of all time: the Guardian Angel.

A 2012 Pura Belpré Author Honor Award winner!

Xavier Garza was born in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. An enthusiastic author, artist, teacher, and storyteller, his work is a lively documentation of the dreams, superstitions, and heroes in the bigger-than-life world of south Texas.

Praise for Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller…

"Garza—an author, artist, and storyteller—paints larger-than-life portraits of the luchadores and offers readers authentic insights into the exciting world of lucha libre … Bold, black-and-white comic-style art opens each chapter and gives readers a sense of what the luchadores look like. With its quick pace, humor, and endearing characters, this title — like Garza’s picture book Lucha Libre (2005) — is sure to turn more kids into lucha libre fans." — Booklist

“Garza’s masterful illustrations and the many well-written action scenes make this a must-read for middle-grade boys.”—The Monitor

"This action packed bilingual mystery novel uses playful language that reinforces elements of Mexican-American culture and overflows with almost unbridled excitement for Lucha wrestling." — The Pura Belpré Committee

"Garza captures the excitement of the wrestling matches with energetically descriptive passages … This action-packed winner of a 2012 Pura Belpré Author Honor Award is sure to be a favorite." — Language Arts

"Garza has done it again...a unique middle grade novel that pays homage to the Mexican tradition of masked wrestlers...We don't often see middle grade novels that are bilingual and that include male Latino protagonists. Garza and Cinco Puntos Press have really outdone themselves in hitting on all of these areas that are lacking in the world of children's books...Here's to more books like this in the near future!"—All Brown All Around


The Color of My Words Cover Image
$5.99
ISBN: 9780064472043
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - April 23rd, 2019

Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa is a blossoming writer growing up in the Dominican Republic, a country where words are feared. Yet there is so much inspiration all around her -- watching her brother search for a future, learning to dance and to love, and finding out what it means to be part of a community -- that Ana Rosa must write it all down. As she struggles to find her own voice and a way to make it heard, Ana Rosa realizes the power of her words to transform the world around her -- and to transcend the most unthinkable of tragedies.


Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba Cover Image
$23.99
ISBN: 9780805089363
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - March 31st, 2009

Daniel has escaped Nazi Germany with nothing but a desperate dream that he might one day find his parents again. But that golden land called New York has turned away his ship full of refugees, and Daniel finds himself in Cuba.

As the tropical island begins to work its magic on him, the young refugee befriends a local girl with some painful secrets of her own. Yet even in Cuba, the Nazi darkness is never far away . . .

About the Author

Margarita Engle is a Cuban American poet, novelist, and journalist whose work has been published in many countries. She is the author of young adult nonfiction books and novels in verse including The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor Book, The Poet Slave of Cuba,Hurricane Dancers, and The Firefly Letters. She lives in northern California.

Praise for Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba…

Praise for Tropical Secrets:

“This book is an outstanding choice for young people of all reading skills. Reluctant readers will be encouraged by the open layout and brief text, and everyone will be captivated by the eloquent poems and compelling characters.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Engle gracefully packs a lot of information into a spare and elegant narrative that will make this historical moment accessible to a wide range of readers.”—Publishers Weekly

“Engle’s tireless drive to give voice to the silenced in Cuban history provides fresh options for young readers.”--Kirkus Reviews

“As in The Poet Slave of Cuba (2006) and The Surrender Tree (2008), both selected as Booklist Editors’ Choice titles, Engle’s latest book tells another story set in Cuba of those left out of the history books. In fluid, clear, free verse, two young people speak in alternating personal narratives...the international secrets make for a gripping story about refugees that becomes sharply focused through the viewpoint of the boy wrenched from home, haunted by the images of shattered glass and broken family.”—Booklist

“This moving free-verse historical novel tells the tale of thirteen-year-old Daniel, a Jewish refugee who escapes Nazi Germany in 1939 in hopes of finding safety abroad…the emphasis on the inner life of the characters gives the narrative an emotional drama that transcends its period.”—BCCB

“Readers who think they might not like a novel in verse will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly and smoothly the story flows...The book will provide great fodder for discussion of the Holocaust, self-reliance, ethnic and religious bias, and more.”—VOYA


Too Many Tamales Cover Image
By Gary Soto, Ed Martinez (Illustrator)
$8.99
ISBN: 9780698114128
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - August 8th, 1996

As she helped her mother prepare the tamales for Christmas dinner, Maria slipped her mother's diamond ring onto her finger for just a moment. But suddenly, the ring was gone, and there were 24 tamales that just might contain the missing ring. "A warm family story that combines glowing art with a well-written text to tell of a girl's dilemma."--School Library Journal, starred review.


El Bronx Remembered Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780064471008
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - June 19th, 1993

In a city called New York ...
In a neighborhood called El Bronx ...

  • The Fernandex children own a very special pet: A white hen named after their favorite Hollywood movie star.
  • A new girl comes to school - a gypsy child who can read palms and foretell the future.
  • A young boy must face the humiliation of wearing his uncle's orange roach-killer shoes to his high school graduation.

In the South Bronx - or El Bronx, as it's known to the people who live there - anything can happen. A migrant "fresh off the boat" from Puerto Rico can be somebody on the mainland, pursue the American Dream ... and maybe even make it come true.

Here are stories that capture the flavor and beat of El Bronx in its heyday, from 1946-1956.

New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year
Finalist, 1976 National Book Award for Children's Literature
A Notable Children's Trade Book in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)


Mas alla de mi  Reaching Out Spanish Edition Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780547250311
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - September 7th, 2009

From the perspective of the young adult he once was, Francisco Jimenez describes the challenges he faces when continuing his education. During his college years, the very family solidarity that allows Francisco to survive as a child is tested. Not only must he leave his family when his goes to Santa Clara University, but while Francisco is there, his father abandons the family and returns to Mexico. This is the story of how Francisco copes with poverty, with his guilt over leaving his family financially strapped, with his self-doubt about succeeding academically, and with separation. Once again, his telling is honest and true—and inspiring.

About the Author

Francisco Jim�nez emigrated from Tlaquepaque, Mexico, to California, where he worked for many years in the fields with his family. He received both his master's degree and his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is now chairman of the Modern Languages and Literature Department at Santa Clara University, the setting of much of Reaching Out. He is the award-winning author of The Circuit, Breaking Through, La Mariposa, and his newest novel, Reaching Out. He lives in Santa Clara, California, with his family.


Waiting for the Biblioburro Cover Image
By Monica Brown, John Parra (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781582463537
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tricycle Press - August 9th, 2011

Ana loves stories. She often makes them up to help her little brother fall asleep. But in her small village there are only a few books and she has read them all. One morning, Ana wakes up to the clip-clop of hooves, and there before her, is the most wonderful sight: a traveling library resting on the backs of two burros‑all the books a little girl could dream of, with enough stories to encourage her to create one of her own.

Inspired by the heroic efforts of real-life librarian Luis Soriano, award-winning picture book creators Monica Brown and John Parra introduce readers to the mobile library that journeys over mountains and through valleys to bring literacy and culture to rural Colombia, and to the children who wait for the BiblioBurro.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book was donated to Luis Soriano's BiblioBurro program.

About the Author

MONICA BROWN's Peruvian-American heritage has inspired in her a desire to share Latino/a stories with children. Her books have garnered starred reviews, The Américas Award, and a Pura Belpré Honor. In addition, she received the prestigious Rockefeller Fellowship on Chicano Cultural Literacy from the Center for Chicano Studies at the University of California. Monica is currently Professor of English at Northern Arizona University in U.S. Latino and Multicultural Literature.

JOHN PARRA is an award-winning illustrator, designer, teacher, and fine art painter whose work is avidly collected. John’s books have received starred reviews and have appeared on the Texas 2x2 Reading List. He has received the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for illustration, the 2006 International Latino Book Award for Best Children’s Book Interior Illustrations, and the 2010 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Award for Gracias/Thanks, written by Pat Mora.

Praise for Waiting for the Biblioburro…

Review, School Library Journal, June 1, 2011
"The pleasure and love of reading are joyfully brought forth in this simple, happily rendered tale."

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2011
"Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life...The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun."

Review, Publishers Weekly, May 9, 2011
"Parra's naïve-styled acrylics brim with scenes of country life. A palette of salmon pinks and turquoise and sky blues, painted on board, give the book a rough-hewn, handmade quality and an innocent, childlike appeal (with her wide face, delicate features, and rouged cheeks, Ana even resembles a porcelain doll). In a metafictional ending, readers will notice that the book Ana hands the bibliotecario upon his return is this very book--fitting, as this truly is Ana's story."

Review, The Horn Book, July/August 2011
“This sample of the impact of traveling librarians on rural children, inspired by a Colombian teacher-librarian, not only celebrates their work but eloquently portrays a matchless way to inspire learning: by feeding the natural hunger for story....Small, brown-faced Ana’s enthusiasm is contagious, and the satisfying denouement, in which she donates her homemade book to the traveling collection, is just right."