Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.
These Americans include those who can trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean.
So, in celebration of Hispanic American Month, Candlewick Press has shared a fantastic list of beautiful books that acknowledge, observe, and celebrate the Latin American countries, traditions, people, struggles, and victories. Enjoy!
Elena Rides/Elena monta en bici: A Dual Edition Flip Book By Juana Medina
Elena wants to ride her bike. She steadies, she readies. She wobbles, she bobbles . . . KA-BANG! Learning to ride a bike is hard. But Elena can do it. She just has to try, try again. With this reassuring story of childlike persistence, Juana Medina, creator of the acclaimed Juana & Lucas series, introduces Elena, a plucky elephant, and the little red bird, Elena’s faithful cheerleader. Simple, energetic text and bold, brilliant artwork convey a relatable tale of the ups and downs of learning something new (not without protest or tears) and the final thrill of mastery that will have children rooting for Elena and ready for her next adventure. This dual-language edition contains the story in both English and Spanish: read it from the Elena Rides side for the English text, then flip the book over to the Elena monta en bici side to read it in Spanish.
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
“A beautifully illustrated, tender story to be shared with all children, sure to evoke conversations about their names.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all—and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her 2019 Caldecott Honor Book, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.
Lupe Lopez: Reading Rock Star! by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Learning to read is kind of a big deal, and Lupe Lopez has a lot to learn—in her own feisty way—to reach her goal of becoming a Reading Rock Star.
Famous at Hector P. Garcia Elementary for being the first kid in kindergarten to ever start a band, Lupe Lopez enters first grade seeking a new sort of fame. She’s ready to rock and roll straight into the role of Reading Rock Star! But despite her best efforts, the words she thought she knew—now grouped in sentences—only glare back at her. Stuck in Group A with the kids who can’t read, she becomes the object of a rival’s mockery. Will her beloved band, and her confidence, survive the sting of defeat? Leave it to Lupe to prove that the beat she feels when she taps her pencil isn’t so very different from words and sentences—and that a real rock star is someone who doesn’t give up. Featuring simple text laced with Spanish words, dynamic illustrations, and a reassuring theme, this sequel to Lupe Lopez: Rock Star Rules! will encourage fledgling readers to keep trying, even if they miss a beat or two.
As Brave as a Lion By Erika Meza
A child and her lion have a one-of-a-kind friendship in this vibrantly illustrated story of overcoming fears—and being there for each other when it matters.
No matter how fast I go or where I end up, my brave lion sticks with me—my lion’s always there!
One little girl feels like she can do anything when she and her lion are together. Whether she’s afraid of the dark, or too shy to speak and in need of finding her voice, her big, bold companion always looks out for her. But one day, the inseparable pair decide to climb the new, dizzyingly high rocket slide at the playground together, and the girl discovers that even lions sometimes get afraid. Can she summon the strength to be his lion when he needs her? Joyful, expressive artwork glowing with bright primary colors brings to life the story of a special bond—and a child’s discovery of unexpected courage.
Merci Suárez Changes Gears By Meg Medina | Ages 9-12
Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren’t going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what’s going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass: The Graphic Novel By Meg Medina | Ages 14+
It’s the beginning of sophomore year, and Piedad “Piddy” Sanchez is having a hard time adjusting to her new high school. Things don’t get any easier when Piddy learns that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Rumor has it that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latina enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first, Piddy is more concerned with learning about the father she’s never met, navigating her rocky relationship with her mom, and staying in touch with her best friend, Mitzi. But when the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang takes over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off from those who care about her—or running away? More relevant than ever a decade after its initial publication, Mel Valentine Vargas’s graphic novel adaptation of Meg Medina’s ultimately empowering story is poised to be discovered by a new generation of readers.
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