Books to Help You Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
September marks an important shift in the year – students are back in the classroom, the season shifts to fall, and we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. September 15 officially marks the first day of our annual celebration with the date also marks the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries. Within the subsequent 30 days, Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
As Black History Month in February and Asian American and Pacific Islander Month in May, this next month is an opportunity to honor the heritage for so many students and to also help others learn about the culture of their classmates.
First Book’s title selection team has put together a variety of books for readers at any level. Eligible educators, supporting Title I schools and organizations can shop our Latinx Characters and Cultures section on the Marketplace for even more titles at a reduced cost; families and other First Book supporters can shop these titles and support us through Bookshop.org. 10% of your purchase directly supports First Book.
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New Beginning Reader Series
El Toro and Friends Series
by Raúl the Third
Readers will fall in love with Raúl the Third’s unique visual style as they explore the life of luchador El Toro. Perfect for readers of Elephant and Piggie, this new series encourages visual literacy and includes an easy-to-follow mix of Spanish and English words.
by Alicia Salazar, illustrated by Thais Damiao
From the publisher that brought you Katie Woo and Yasmin comes a new series featuring Camila, a young Latina girl who wants to become a star! Each fun read features social-emotional learning themes around determination and resilience.
New Picture Books
by Matt Ringler, illustrated by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay
A quick-thinking father thwarts his daughter’s impending temper tantrum when he transforms an everyday walk outside into an exciting strollercoaster ride through the neighborhood.
by Yuyi Morales
Told with a combination of powerful, spare language and sumptuous and complex imagery that is typical of Yuyi Morales’s work, this is the story of a fawn making her way through a border landscape teaming with flora and fauna native to the region. A gentle but empowering voice encourages her to face her fears when she comes across an obstacle in the form of an insurmountable barrier.
Coquí in the City
by Nomar Perez
Miguel’s pet frog, Coquí, is always with him: as he greets his neighbors in San Juan, buys quesitos from the panadería, and listens to his abuelo’s story about meeting baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Then Miguel learns that he and his parents are moving to the U.S. mainland, which means leaving his beloved grandparents, home in Puerto Rico, and even Coquí behind. Life in New York City is overwhelming, with unfamiliar buildings, foods, and people. But when he and Mamá go exploring, they find a few familiar sights that remind them of home, and Miguel realizes there might be a way to keep a little bit of Puerto Rico with him—including the love he has for Coquí—wherever he goes.
I Wish You Knew
by Jackie Azúa Kramer, Magdalena Mora
A timely, poignant story about what uncertainty feels like to a young girl whose father has been deported—and the empathy that can bloom when people share and listen.
by Lucky Diaz, illustrated by Micah Player
Follow Paletero José’s call and rush along with our narrator as he passes through his vibrant and busy neighborhood in search of the Paletero Man. But when he arrives, our narrator’s pockets are empty! What happened to his dinero? It will take the help of the entire community to get the tasty treat now.
Celebrating the strength of community and the tastes of summer, readers will be hungry for what Paletero Man has in store.
My Two Border Towns
by David Bowles, illustrated by Erika Meza
A picture book debut by an award-winning author about a boy’s life on the U.S.-Mexico border, visiting his favorite places on The Other Side with his father, spending time with family and friends, and sharing in the responsibility of community care.
My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, with stunning watercolor illustrations by Erika Meza, is the loving story of a father and son’s weekend ritual, a demonstration of community care, and a tribute to the fluidity, complexity, and vibrancy of life on the U.S.-Mexico border.
May Your Life Be Deliciosa
by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Loris Lora
Each year on Christmas Eve, Rosie’s abuela, mamá, tía, sister, and cousins all gather together in Abuela’s kitchen to make tamales—cleaning corn husks, chopping onions and garlic, roasting chilis, kneading cornmeal dough, seasoning the filling, and folding it all—and tell stories. Rosie learns from her abuela not only how to make a delicious tamale, but how to make a delicious life, one filled with love, plenty of spice, and family.
A delicious and fortifying picture book inspired by the author’s family, featuring the Mexican tradition of holiday tamale-making.
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Pura’s Cuentos : How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories
by Annette Bay Pimentel
Lyrically written, with lively illustrations, Pura’s Cuentos captures the exuberant spirit and passion of Pura Belpré: celebrated storyteller, author, folklorist, and the first Latina librarian in New York City. A pioneer of bilingual storytimes, she welcomed countless new families to the library, formed cultural bridges in her community, and broke the rules by telling stories that weren’t printed in books–at least, not yet.
Child of the Flower-Song People : Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua
by Gloria Amescua, illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
This moving, beautifully illustrated biography tells the remarkable story of how model and teacher Luz Jiménez became “the soul of Mexico”–a living link between the indigenous Nahua and the rest of the world. Through her deep pride in her roots and her unshakeable spirit, the world came to recognize the beauty and strength of her people.
Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz: The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States
compiled by Warren Binford, foreword by Michael Garcia Bochenek
A moving picture book for older children and families that introduces a difficult topic, amplifying the voices and experiences of immigrant children detained at the border between Mexico and the US. The children’s actual words (from publicly available court documents) are assembled to tell one heartbreaking story, in both English and Spanish (back to back). Each spread is illustrated in striking full-color by a different Latinx artist. A portion of sales will be donated to human rights organizations that work with children on the border.
New Chapter Books
Definitely Dominguita #1: Knight of the Cape
by Terry Catasus Jennings, illustrated by Fatima Anaya
This first book in a new chapter book series features a young Cuban American girl who tries to find adventure based on the classics she read with her beloved abuela—can Dominguita become a noble knight?
All Dominguita wants to do is read. Especially the books in Spanish that Abuela gave to her just before she moved away. They were classics that Abuela and Dominguita read together, classics her abuela brought with her all the way from Cuba when she was a young girl. It helps Dominguita feel like Abuela’s still there with her.
She Persisted: Sonia Sotomayor
by Meg Medina, introduction by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger and Gillian Flint
Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in the history of the United States, but her road there wasn’t easy. She overcame many challenges along the way, including a diagnosis of diabetes at age seven. But she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her dream and inspiring children all over the world to work hard and believe in themselves.
In this chapter book biography by award-winning author Meg Medina, readers learn about the amazing life of Sonia Sotomayor—and how she persisted.
Stella Díaz #3: Stella Díaz Dreams Big
by Angela Dominguez
Here is another middle-grade novel from award-winning author and illustrator Angela Dominguez. Based on the author’s experiences growing up Mexican-American, this infectiously charming character comes to life through relatable storytelling including simple Spanish vocabulary and adorable black-and-white art.
Twins vs. Triplets #1: Back-to-School Blitz
by Jennifer Torres, illustrated by Vanessa Flores
Peace-loving David gets stuck in the middle of a prank war when his neighbors—the Romero Twins and the Benitez Triplets—vie for playground domination in the first book of this heavily illustrated early chapter book series by Jennifer Torres, the author of Stef Soto, Taco Queen.
New Middle Grade & YA Novels
Merci Suárez Can’t Dance
by Meg Medina
In this follow-up to the Newbery Medal-winning novel Merci Suárez Changes Gears, Merci takes on seventh grade, with all its travails of friendship, family, love—and finding your rhythm.
by Karla Arenas Valenti, Dana SanMar
The turn of a card could change your destiny in this captivating middle grade adventure based on the Lotería card game. While searching for her missing cousin, a young girl is transported to a mythical kingdom, becoming entangled in a perilous game of chance.
Karla Arenas Valenti weaves an adventure steeped in magic and mythology—gorgeously illustrated by Dana Sanmar—exploring the notion of free will in a world where fate holds all the cards.
Meet Cute Diary
By Emery Lee
In this own voices rom-com debut, a transgender teen must decide if he’s dedicated to romantic formulas or open to unpredictable love after an internet troll attack on his blog compels him and a fan to start fake dating.
How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe
by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
The Hating Game meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter in this irresistible romance starring a Mexican American teen who discovers love and profound truths about the universe when she spends her summer on a road trip across the country.
When We Make It
by Elisabet Velasquez
An unforgettable young adult debut novel-in-verse that redefines what it means to “make it,” touching on themes of mental illness, sexual assault, food insecurity and gentrification, in the Nuyorican literary tradition of Nicholasa Mohr and the work of contemporary writer Elizabeth Acevedo.
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