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Our Latino Heritage: Books for Young People on the Hispanic American Experience

The books listed are a sampling of the titles available. Ask your Children's Librarian for further suggestions and tell us which are your favorites.

Picture Stories

image of books covers

Chato goes' cruisin'
Soto, Gary

Chato, a very cool cat, wins a free sea cruise, but he and his pal Novio Boy are shocked to find only dogs on board!

jPS Soto
Estela's swap
O'Neill, Alexis

Estela’s generosity earns her a great swap at the local flea market.

jPS Onei
F is for fiesta
Elya, Susan Middleton

A boy celebrates his fourth birthday is this lively alphabet book that incorporates Spanish words.

jPS Elya
Fernando's gift
Keister, Douglas

A Costa Rican boy consoles a friend when they find her favorite rain forest tree cut down. Bilingual.

jPS Keis
Fiesta!
Guy, Ginger Foglesong

A simple counting story that follows three children as they buy items to put in their party piñata. Bilingual.

jPS Guy and jBOARD
A gift of gracias: the legend of Altagracia
Alvarez, Julia

An original story about the Virgin Mary’s magical appearance to a young Dominican girl.

jPS Alva
Jalapeño bagels
Wing, Natasha

Pablo finds the perfect food to represent his Mexican and Jewish heritage for International Day at school.

jPS Wing
Julio's magic
Dorros, Arthur

As much as he wants to win the wood-carving contest himself, a Mexican village boy helps his elderly mentor garner the annual prize.

jPS Dorr
Mama & Papa have a store
Carling, Amelia Lau

Guatemalan, Mayan, and Chinese cultures blend as a preschooler describes a typical busy day in her parents’ general store.

jPS Carl
My little car
Soto, Gary

Teresa’s new pedal car is the hottest low-rider in town until she neglects it. With a little TLC, she and Abuelito (Grandpa) prove that an oldie can still be a goody.

jPS Soto
My very own room
Pérez, Amada Irma

An eight-year-old gets support from her loving Mexican-American family to leave the room she shares with five brothers. Bilingual.

jPS Pere
Xochitl and the flowers
Argueta, Jorge

A girl from El Salvador tells the inspiring story of her family’s backyard flower business in the Mission. Bilingual.

jPS Argu

Folktales

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Fiesta femenina: celebrating women in Mexican folktale
Gerson, Mary-Joan

Eight tales of remarkable women that represent a variety of cultural traditions.

j398.2097 Gers
The golden flower: a Taino myth from Puerto Rico
Jaffe, Nina

Vibrant art brings to life the story of the origin of the sea and the island of Puerto Rico.

j398.2097 Jaff
Just a minute: a trickster tale and counting book
Morales, Yuyi

Not even Señor Calavera can rush Grandma Beetle when she is preparing for a big birthday fiesta!

j398.2097 Mora
The lizard and the sun
Ada, Alma Flor

A Mexican tale in which Lizard perseveres to find the sun asleep in a rock, thus bringing light back to the earth. Bilingual.

j398.2 Ada
Momentos mágicos (Magic moments)
Loya, Olga

Fifteen scary stories, trickster tales, tales of strong women, and myths. Bilingual.

j398.2098 Loya
Señor Cat’s romance and other favorite stories from Latin America
González, Lucia M.

Six of the most popular tales colorfully illustrated to reflect their Spanish origins and Latin flavor.

j398.2 Gonz

Fiction

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Abuela's weave
Castañeda, Omar S.

A young girl travels with her grandmother to sell their weavings at a Guatemalan market.

jF Cast
Becoming Naomi León
Ryan, Pam Muñoz

When her long-lost mother reappears, Naomi is glad Gram takes her and her younger brother back to Oaxaca to find their father and gain legal custody.

jF Ryan
Breaking through
Jiménez, Francisco

Autobiographical story of the author’s difficult teen years, from his family’s deportation to when he begins college.

jF Jime
The color of my words
Joseph, Lynn

Set in the Dominican Republic, a girl who wants to be a writer tells the poignant story of her people’s deadly fight to save their village from developers.

jF Jose
The composition
Skármeta, Antonio

Life under a dictatorship comes into focus for a nine-year-old boy when a soldier comes to school and instructs the children to write an essay about what their families do at night.

jF Skar
Doña Flor: a tall tale about a giant woman with a great big heart
Mora, Pat

The title says it all about this Pura Belpré Medal winning book.

jF Mora
First day in grapes
Pérez, L. King

On his first day in third grade at a new school a migrant boy is confronted by two bullies.

jF Pere
Keeper
Peet, Mal

El Gato tells of his rise from poor village woodcutter to World Cup-winning goalie in this ghostly mystery.

jF Peet
La línea
Jaramillo, Ann

A fifteen-year-old’s carefully-made plans to join his parents in California go awry when his younger sister secretly follows him.

jF Jara
My land sings: stories from the Rio Grande
Anaya, Rudolfo

Five folktales and five original stories set in the Río Grande area of New Mexico.

jF Anay
The streets are free
Kurusa

Residents of a poor, crowded neighborhood in Caracas, Venezuela organize to get a park built.

jF Kuru

Poetry and Songs

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Canto familiar
Soto, Gary

Poems of home and family, the block, and the neighborhood, served up with vivacious full-color prints.

j811.54 Soto
Fiestas: a year of Latin American songs of celebration
Orozco, José-Luis

Colorful collage illustrations celebrate 21 holiday and seasonal songs. Bilingual.

j784.4961 Fies
Laughing tomatoes and other spring poems
Alarcón, Francisco X.

First of four collections that celebrate Los Angeles, Mexico and the author’s Mexican-American heritage and childhood. Bilingual.

j811.54 Alar
Mamá Goose: a Latino nursery treasury
Ada, Alma Flor and Campoy, F. Isabel

A joyful collection of lullabies, finger and lap games, nursery rhymes, songs (no music), and riddles from the rich diversity of Spanish-speaking peoples. In Spanish, with “creative” English versions.

j398.8094 Mama
Messengers of rain: and other poems from Latin America
edited by Lee, Claudia M.

Sixty-four poems from 19 countries have been translated into English from the original Spanish in this attractive compilation.

j861.008 Mess

Nonfiction

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Barrio: José’s neighborhood
Ancona, George

A spirited photo-essay about a 9-year-old boy who lives in San Francisco’s Mission District.

j979.461 Anco
Celebrating a Quinceañera: a Latina’s 15th birthday celebration
Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane

A 10-year-old from Cloverdale, CA helps her older cousin prepare for the special, traditional day that will mark her becoming an adult.

j395.24 Hoyt
The festival of bones (El festival de las calaveras)
San Vicente, Luis

Poetic text and shivery art introduce the Day of the Dead. Bilingual.

j394.266 Sanv
An illustrated treasury of Latino read-aloud stories
edited by Suarez-Rivas, Maite

A broad mix of Pre-Columbian myths and legends, fables and riddles, fairy tales and stories, history, and more recent Spanish-American literature are presented in English and Spanish.

j860.8 Illu
Machu Picchu
Mann, Elizabeth

A description of the Inca civilization and the building of their sacred fortress city high in the Andes Mountains of Peru.

j985.34 Mann
Magic windows (Ventanas Mágicas)
Garza, Carmen Lomas

Stories of her family and Mexican heritage are depicted in papel picado by the author/artist. Bilingual.

j306.8505 Loma
Secrets in stone: all about Maya hieroglyphs
Coulter, Laurie

The fascinating story of the Maya, their mysterious language and how it was deciphered. With craft and party game ideas.

j497.415 Coul

Biography

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100 Hispanic Americans who changed American history
Laezman, Rick

Short biographical sketches of men and women covering a broad spectrum from Ponce de León to Oscar de la Hoya.

j920.0092 Laez
Harvesting hope: the story of Cesar Chavez
Krull, Kathleen

A vivid picture biography of the renowned Mexican-American union leader and organizer.

jB Chav
My name is Celia (Me llamo Celia)
Brown, Monica

Colorful portrayal of the Cuban singer, Celia Cruz, who became known worldwide as the Queen of Salsa. Bilingual.

j780.2 Cruz
The pot that Juan built
Andrews-Goebel, Nancy

The life and art of the renowned, self-taught Mexican potter, Juan Quezada, are revealed in cumulative rhyme and bold illustrations.

j738.092 Quez
Roberto Clemente: pride of the Pittsburg Pirates
Winter, Jonah

Tribute to the Puerto Rican athlete and humanitarian, the first Latino inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

jB Clem
The upside down boy (El niño de cabeza)
Herrera, Juan Felipe

Poetic memories of the author’s youth when his migrant parents settled down so he could attend school. Bilingual.

jB Herr