National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 until Oct. 15. It’s a time to celebrate the diverse histories, cultures and contributions of Latinx people. We can do that with our children by reading them books written by Latinx authors. There books are a great place to introduce new cultures to kids and expand their knowledge of the multicultural world we live in.
Niño Wrestles the World written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Niño Wrestles the World is a book that is begging to be read out loud. It’s a fun story that shows just how far the imagination can take a kid with a passion for adventure. Niño wrestles using his stellar moves, like the “tickle tackle” and the “puzzle muzzle” to best his opponents, but when it comes to his biggest challenge, “Las Hermanitas”, Niño pulls out his very special moves. It will appeal to kids who love adventure and imagination, while at the same time, teaching them a little bit about the Mexican culture of lucha libre with a healthy dose of learning some Spanish words at the same time. Find a read aloud here.
Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Two cousins—Charlie, who is American, and Carlitos, who is Mexican—write letters to each other describing their lives in their home countries. This back and forth shows them — and the reader – that their lives aren’t that different. In English, with Spanish words sprinkled throughout that are easily understood from the context.
Tonatiuh’s writing is simple but full of imagery to that enhances the experiences for all readers: “Skyscrapers are buildings so tall they tickle the clouds” or “The subway is like a long metal snake and it travels through tunnels underground.” Find a read aloud here.
Dreamers written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
This lovingly-illustrated picture book memoir looks at the wide array of gifts migrants bring with them when they leave their homes. It’s a story about family. And it’s a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own strengths wherever we go. Beautiful and powerful, this is a story that is both topical and timeless. Find a read aloud here.
Middle Grade Chapter Books
Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
Charlie spent his childhood listening to his abuela’s tales of Hispanic mythology. One day, in middle school Charlie experiences a strange transformation which suggests those tales weren’t myths after all. He is thrown into a world which is both familiar and bizarre, and with the help of his friend, Violet, Charlie follows clues from a map in his mother’s locket that takes him on a hair-raising adventure. Charlie switches fluently from English to Spanish, but the meaning will be perfectly clear to non-Spanish speaker and there is a helpful glossary of Hispanic mythology in the endnotes.
A perfect choice for the reader who loves Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
In the 1930s, Esperanza and her family live on a ranch in Mexico. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother make a risky escape to Southern California, where they become farm workers. Although Muñoz Ryan explores historical topics like the Depression, farm worker’s rights, labor organization, and minority status this is ultimately a story about how a girl from a privileged background grows in maturity and understanding.
Emiley Bainbridge is the editorial assistant at MetroFamily Magazine. She’s married to Russ and mom of Olivia and Nicholas. She’s currently taking forever to get a Master’s Degree in Library Science. She’s passionate about her family, Oklahoma and baked goods and enjoys reading, musical theater and dance parties.