To help young readers celebrate their heritage or learn about Hispanic culture, check out some of these colorful picture books!
My Papi has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero – When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her. But as the sun sets, she knows that the love she feels will always be there.
Nino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales – Señoras y Señores, put your hands together for the fantastic, spectacular, one of a kind . . . Niño! Fwap! Slish! Bloop! Krunch! He takes down his competition in a single move! No opponent is too big a challenge for the cunning skills of Niño — popsicle eater, toy lover, somersault expert, and world champion lucha libre competitor!
Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina – Mia’s abuela has left her house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can’t read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English, and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. Then, Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has the perfect idea for how to help them all communicate a little better.
La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya – El principe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree. The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa. But the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too! Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.
Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown – Ana loves stories. But in her small village there are only a few books and she has read them all. One morning, Ana is greeted by the most wonderful sight: a traveling library resting on the backs of two burros — all the books a little girl could dream of, with enough stories to encourage her to create one of her own! Inspired by the heroic efforts of real-life librarian Luis Soriano, who brought literacy and culture to rural Colombia.
The Secret Footprints by Julia Alvarez – A retelling of the Dominican legend of the ciguapas, creatures who lived in underwater caves and whose feet were on backward so that humans couldn’t follow their footprints. Although the ciguapas fear humans, Guapa can’t help but be curious — especially about a boy she sees on the nights when she goes on the land to hunt for food. When she gets too close to his family and is discovered, she learns that some humans are kind.
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal – 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 her ancestral namesakes. 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!
Islandborn by Junot Diaz – Every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places. So when Lola’s teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can’t remember The Island — she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories, Lola’s imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island.
All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle – Together, a boy and his parents drive to the city of Havana, Cuba, in their old family car. Along the way, they experience the sights and sounds of the streets — neighbors talking, musicians performing, and beautiful, colorful cars putt-putting and bumpety-bumping along. In the end, though, it’s their old car that the boy loves best.
Marta! Big & Small by Jen Arena – As Marta explores the jungle, she knows she’s bigger than a bug, smaller than an elephant, and faster than a turtle. But, then, she meets the snake, who thinks Marta is sabrosa — tasty, very tasty! But Marta is ingeniosa, a very clever girl, and she outsmarts the snake with hilarious results. With simple Spanish, this fun read-aloud picture book teaches little ones to identify opposites and animals and learn new words along the way.
Gracias/Thanks by Pat Mora – A young multiracial boy celebrates family, friendship, and fun by telling about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful.
Sebi and the Land of Cha Cha Cha by Roselyn Sanchez – It is El Carnaval Latino and Sebi is really excited. She loves the colorful clothes, the lively music but most of all she loves the dance. Her mother says she is a bit too young to take dance lessons. But when a beautiful Cotorra bird flies by and invites her and her friend, Keeke to follow, they are led on an exciting adventure to an enchanted land where the dancing fun has just begun!
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