September 15th to October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month. Along with activities and food, books are one of my favorite ways to help my sons appreciate the diversity of various cultures. Below are my top picks for Hispanic Heritage Month books for children to celebrate the varied Latino experience.
For Younger Kids
In this book, young Cecilia – along with the help/interference of her cat Chica – prepares a gift to surprise her great-aunt for her ninetieth birthday.
2. Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet In Spanish And English
Using beautiful images, this poetic alphabet book takes a peek into the story and lives of Hispanic migrant agricultural workers.
Nacho, a mythical pitacoche bird is the only one of his colorful kind. After falling in love with Lolita, a swallow, Nacho attempts to win the love of such a different bird.
For Older Kids
A New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year, this collection of short stories shares the stories of Puerto Ricans who lived in the Bronx (“El Bronx”) borough of NYC from 1946 to 1956.
This award-winning book by Pam Muñoz Ryan was inspired by the stories she heard as a child from her grandmother, Esperanza Ortega Muñoz. “Do not be afraid to start over” is the main theme of the book that is set during the time of the American Great Depression.
3. Taking Sides
After moving from the barrio to the suburbs, Lincoln Mendoza must decide where his loyalty lies when his new school’s (primarily rich, white) basketball team competes again his (primarily Hispanic) old basketball team from the barrio.
This is a collection of true short stories based on author Alma Flor Ada’s Cuban childhood. The effect that the love and values of family and friends has on individuals is shown in the eleven stories.
For even more options, please visit the “Children’s Hisanic & Latino Books section on Amazon.com.
Updated, originally published on September 12, 2012