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Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month with Books for the Entire Family

Each year we celebrate Latinx Heritage Month — also referred to as Hispanic Heritage Month — between September 15 and October 15.  Because we are book people, we wanted to share with you books written by Latinx authors to help you celebrate.  This book list features a wide variety of titles — a board book, picture books, chapter and middle grade, young adult, and adult titles.

These stories recognize Latinx contributions to the world of literature and they’re great options for reading throughout the year.  Because what better way to honor Latinx culture and history with your friends and family than immersing yourself in books?  So share these books written by Latinx authors and celebrate Latinx voices and culture all year long!

BOARD BOOK

La Catrina: Emotions/Emociones by Patti Rodriguez, illustrated by Ariana Stein

Inspired by one of the most recognized symbols of Dia De los Muertos (Day of the Dead), this book introduces little ones to emotional expressions and their first English and Spanish words–and teaches them to recognize feelings like emocionado (excited), triste(sad), and confiado (confident).

PICTURE BOOKS

Across the Bay by Carlos Aponte

Author-illustrator Carlos Aponte takes readers on a journey to the heart of Puerto Rico in this enchanting picture book set in Old San Juan.

Not a Bean by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez, illustrated by Laura González

A Mexican jumping bean isn’t a bean at all. It’s a fascinating home and food source for a special kind of caterpillar!

With Spanish vocabulary and a clever counting concept, this poetic story shares the life cycle of a Mexican jumping bean. This curious jumping insect is actually a seedpod from a shrub called yerba de la flecha, into which a caterpillar burrows, living inside the pod until it builds a cocoon and breaks out as a moth.

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña

A celebration of the love between a father and daughter, and of a vibrant immigrant neighborhood, by an award-winning author and illustrator duo.

With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl’s love letter to her hardworking dad and to memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change.

Love by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Loren Long

In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.

Turning Pages by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Lulu Delacre

In Turning Pages, Justice Sotomayor shares that love of books with a new generation of readers, and inspires them to read and puzzle and dream for themselves. Accompanied by Lulu Delacre’s vibrant art, this story of the Justice’s life shows readers that the world is full of promise and possibility–all they need to do is turn the page.

Islandborn by Junot Díaz, illustrated by Leo Espinosa

From New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz comes a debut picture book about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination.

Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination’s boundless ability to connect us–to our families, to our past and to ourselves.

CHAPTER BOOKS & MIDDLE GRADE

Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina

Juana loves many things — drawing, eating Brussels sprouts, living in Bogotá, Colombia, and especially her dog, Lucas, the best amigo ever. She does not love wearing her itchy school uniform, solving math problems, or going to dance class. And she especially does not love learning the English. Why is it so important to learn a language that makes so little sense? But when Juana’s abuelos tell her about a special trip they are planning–one that Juana will need to speak English to go on–Juana begins to wonder whether learning the English might be a good use of her time after all.

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

This coming-of-age tale by New York Times best-selling author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.

My Year in the Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver

Sixth-grader Lu Olivera just wants to keep her head down and get along with everyone in her class. The trouble is, Lu’s old friends have been changing lately — acting boy crazy and making snide remarks about Lu’s newfound talent for running track. Lu’s secret hope for a new friend is fellow runner Belinda Gresham. But in 1970 in Red Grove, Alabama, blacks and whites don’t mix. As segregationist ex-governor George Wallace ramps up his campaign against the current governor, Albert Brewer, growing tensions in the state — and in the classroom — mean that Lu can’t stay neutral about the racial divide at school. Will she find the gumption to stand up for what’s right and to choose friends who do the same?

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

The First Rule of Punk is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place, and learning to rock out like no one’s watching.

YOUNG ADULT

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

A poignant but often laugh-out-loud funny contemporary YA about losing a sister and finding yourself amid the pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican-American home.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Juliet Milagros Palante is a self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx. Only, she’s not so closeted anymore. Not after coming out to her family the night before flying to Portland, Oregon, to intern with her favorite feminist writer–what’s sure to be a life-changing experience. And when Juliet’s coming out crashes and burns, she’s not sure her mom will ever speak to her again.

Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher

Co-founder of the Women’s March makes her YA debut in a near future dystopian where a young girl and her brother must escape a xenophobic government to find sanctuary.

Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

Anita de la Torre never questioned her freedom living in the Dominican Republic. But by her twelfth birthday in 1960, most of her relatives have immigrated to the United States, her Tío Toni has disappeared without a trace, and the government’s secret police terrorize her remaining family because of their suspected opposition to Trujillo’s iron-fisted rule.  Using the strength and courage of her family, Anita must overcome her fears and fly to freedom, leaving all that she once knew behind.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.

ADULT

Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis

In defiance of the brutal military government that took power in Uruguay in the 1970s, and under which homosexuality is a dangerous transgression, five women miraculously find one another–and, together, an isolated cape that they claim as their own. Over the next thirty-five years, they travel back and forth from this secret sanctuary, sometimes together, sometimes in pairs, with lovers in tow. Cantoras is a breathtaking portrait of queer love, community, forgotten history, and the strength of the human spirit.

Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

When Marcelo Hernandez Castillo was five years old and his family was preparing to cross the border between Mexico and the United States, he suffered temporary, stress-induced blindness. Castillo regained his vision, but quickly understood that he had to move into a threshold of invisibility before settling in California with his parents and siblings. Thus began a new life of hiding in plain sight and of paying extraordinarily careful attention at all times for fear of being truly seen. Before Castillo was one of the most celebrated poets of a generation, he was a boy who perfected his English in the hopes that he might never seem extraordinary.

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

Afterlife is a compact, nimble, and sharply droll novel. Set in this political moment of tribalism and distrust, it asks: What do we owe those in crisis in our families, including–maybe especially–members of our human family? How do we live in a broken world without losing faith in one another or ourselves? And how do we stay true to those glorious souls we have lost?

What do you think about these books?

Have you read any of these books?  Are any on your TBR?  What are your favorite reads from this list?  Please feel free to share what Latinx Heritage Month means to you, or your favorite Latinx author or story.

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