Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month!

National Hispanic Heritage Month lasts from September 15 through October 15. That is plenty of time to celebrate by reading some great books either written by Hispanic authors or about Hispanic people, or often, both. Here are some recommendations to get you started. Feliz lectura!

For the very young, these are great picture books...
 
Dreamers In this beautiful picture book, Yuyi Morales tells her own story of how she and her son immigrated to the United States. They found refuge and opportunities in the library, where they were welcomed to dream and learn that "Someday we will become something we haven't even yet imagined."
Too Many Tamales This story will make your tummy ache as you read about how Maria and her cousins have to eat a lot of tamales to find her mother's wedding ring (which Maria thinks fell off her finger when she was kneading the dough). The pictures are detailed and funny and bring the descriptive words of poet Gary Soto (whose parents were Mexican-American) to life.


For second and third grade readers...
 
Juana & Lucas This is an exuberant story told by young Juana, who lives in Bogata, Colombia, and LOVES her friends, Brussels sprouts, soccer, her abuelitos (grandparents), mom, and most of all, her dog Lucas. Learning English is a real challenge, but one that she takes on with gusto so that she can travel to Spaceland in Florida.
Stella Diaz Has Something To Say Stella is friendly, great at drawing, and kind. When she wants to welcome a new boy to her class, her shyness sometimes makes her speak Spanish when she wants to be expressing herself in English. Unfriendly kids who tease her prove to be no match for Stella, who knows that what she wants to say is important. 

For middle grade readers...
 
Merci Suarez Changes Gears There are many good reasons why this book won the 2019 Newbery Medal. Latina writer Meg Medina sets her story in Florida, where Merci is dealing with the many changes of being in middle school and the disconcerting forgetfulness of her beloved grandfather, Lolo. Family support as symbolized by the three intergenerational houses that form Merci's home environment help see Merci through her tough times and emerge stronger than ever. 
The First Rule of Punk Maria Luisa (who prefers to be called Malu) has lots of change going on in her life. She has to move to Chicago with her mom (who all-too-often sees only her shortcomings), leave behind her beloved dad and dog, and deal with starting a new school. Fortunately her love of punk music helps her to find her people and embrace her half-Mexican heritage in unexpected ways.
Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish Don't let Marcus Vega's size fool you into thinking he's the bully everyone thinks he is--he's actually a good-hearted kid who is misunderstood. When his mother takes him and his younger brother who has Down syndrome to Puerto Rico to meet his relatives, Marcus becomes preoccupied with finding his father, who left the family early in Marcus' life. The warmth of his relatives surrounds Marcus and helps him to embrace his heritage.
The Circuit Francisco Jimenez, a Mexican-American writer and professor at Santa Clara University, tells of his childhood experiences in this collection of 12 short stories about growing up in a family of Mexican migrant farm workers. The writing is lovely and moving in its simplicity.

 

Further excellent reading suggestions for National Hispanic Heritage month can be found on this booklist.


If you ever want to read Spanish books online, they are available for free from the Santa Clara County Library through the Odilo application. There are books for kids in pre-school through middle grades. Ask your librarian if you need help!
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