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Hispanic Heritage Month: Picture Books

My Papi Has a Motorcycle

It’s time to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month! 

From September 15th through October 15th, we acknowledge and honor the influence, contributions, and culture of Hispanic Americans.  There are so many ways to recognize this special event.  Maybe you’d like to learn Spanish.  Or watch a movie that highlights Hispanic culture.  You could entertain your ears by enjoying some flamenco, salsa, or tango music.  What about recreating a meal that is commonly served in Guatemala, Argentina, or Ecuador? Or (and this one is my favorite option) you could read an amazing picture book that is written by and about Hispanic Americans!  Below you can find a sampling of picture books that will help you celebrate this wonderful month; and as always, feel free to contact us so that we can suggest even more titles to assist you in reading diversely throughout the year.

 

 

 

Tito Puente

 Tito Puente: Mambo King/Rey del Mambo  by Monica Brown (preK - 3rd gr.)

SPANISH BIOGRAPHY PUENTE B

In this beautifully illustrated picture book, words and music come to life on the page as readers are treated to a bilingual biography book that highlights the childhood and adult contributions of beloved musician Tito Puente, the “King of Mambo”. Brown excels at writing picture book biographies of famous hispanic figures, including Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, and Pablo Neruda, Poet of the People, among others.

 

 

 

Planting Stories

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise (K - 3rd gr.)

BIOGRAPHY BELPRÉ D

Pura Belpré was the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library system and an inspiration to librarians, book lovers, and fans of storytelling alike.  When she moved from Puerto Rico to NYC in 1921, she brought with her a fierce love of her native country and she passed on that love by integrating the wealth of stories that her culture taught her into the mainstream of her new American life.  It could be argued that she was at the forefront of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, and we owe her a great debt of gratitude for that.

 

 

Island Born

 Islandborn by Junot Dĺaz (K - 3rd gr.)

PICTURE DIAZ 

When Lola’s class is asked to draw a picture of where their family immigrated from, Lola realizes that she doesn’t know much about the land she left when she was a baby.  So begins a journey of discovery through family and friends, as she learns some sad, but mostly wonderful things about the distant island that is still somehow a part of her heart.

 

 

 

Dancing Hands

Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreňo Played the Piano for Abraham Lincoln by Margarita Engle.  (1st - 3rd gr.)

BIOGRAPHY CARREŇO E

Even as a child, Teresa Carreňo found that music lifted her spirits.  She loved to let her hands dance among the piano keys; the melodious notes helped ease so many of her jagged emotions.  Even when she deals with uncertainty as her family migrates from Venezuela to New York, when she battles sorrow as she sees the effect that the Civil War is having on her new country, and when she is nervous about performing in front of strangers, her music gives her the courage to adjust to it all.  But when she is asked to visit the White House to play for President Abraham Lincoln and his family, will her music be enough to give a moment of peace to a family in mourning?

 

 

Vamos

¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raúl Gonzalez the Third (K - 2nd gr.)

PICTURE GONZALEZ 

It’s market day! Join Little Lobo and his dog Bernabé as they travel through their desert town and visit all the people and products in El Mercado.  Bright illustrations, terms in English and Spanish, and a simple storyline work perfectly together in this fun, culturally rich book that is chock full of surprises and smiles.  After you read this volume, you’re sure to want the sequel: ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat.

 

 

 

Imagine

Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera (K - 3rd gr.)

PICTURE HERRERA 

Herrera was the first Latino U.S. Poet Laureate (2015-17), and the poet/author/activist harkens back to his own experience as a child of migrant workers in Imagine.  His boyhood might look different to many readers, but there are gifts in every life, in every experience, and all those moments blend seamlessly together to form you -- a unique individual who should never stop imagining the endless possibilities that the future can offer.

 

 

 

Alma

 Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal (PreK - 2nd gr.)

PICTURE MARTINEZ-NEAL

In this delightful picture book, a young girl learns a new appreciation for her family and herself, as she investigates the meaning behind her name: Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela. Relatives who loved books and flowers, who dreamed of traveling the world, who found purpose in art -- all told, she is connected to five different relatives whose memory offers a world of possibilities to Alma -- and still leaves her with room to grow and make a name for herself.

 

 

Dreamers

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales (PreK - 3rd gr.)

PICTURE MORALES

With sparse text and breathtaking illustrations, Yuyi Morales presents an autobiographical picture book in which she shares her experiences from 1994 when she moved from Mexico to San Francisco as a new mother.  Morales perfectly balances the awe, excitement, and terror of beginning a life in an unfamiliar world that is as unprepared for you as you are for it.  It is a gorgeous book that can be read on many levels and deserves to be enjoyed.

 

 

 

Papi

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero (K - 3rd gr.)

PICTURE QUINTERO

Every night, Daisy and her father take a motorcycle ride through their town.  They prowl down familiar streets, greeting friends and neighbors, enjoying the feel of their colorful and energetic world.  Younger readers will enjoy the carefree nature of the ride and the father/daughter bond, while older readers might pause to reflect on the subtle inclusion of signs of gentrification and “improvements” that might not be the best for everyone.  Whichever way you read it, this book is a winner.

 

Published by on September 23, 2020
Last Modified November 25, 2020