Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month!

National Hispanic Heritage Month lasts from September 15 through October 15. That is plenty of time to celebrate by reading some great books either written by Hispanic authors or about Hispanic people, or often, both. Here are some recommendations to get you started. Feliz lectura!

For the very young, these are great picture books:

Dreamers

In this beautiful picture book, Yuyi Morales tells her own story of how she and her son immigrated to the United States. They found refuge and opportunities in the library, where they were welcomed to dream and learn that "Someday we will become something we haven't even yet imagined."

Too Many Tamales

This story will make your tummy ache as you read about how Maria and her cousins have to eat a lot of tamales to find her mother's wedding ring (which she thinks fell off her finger when she was kneading the dough). The pictures are detailed and funny and bring the descriptive words of poet Gary Soto (whose parents were Mexican-American) to life.

For second and third grade readers:

Juana & Lucas

This is an exuberant story told by young Juana, who lives in Bogata, Colombia, and LOVES her friends, Brussels sprouts, soccer, her abuelitos (grandparents), mom, and most of all, her dog Lucas. Learning English is a real challenge, but one that she takes on with gusto so that she can travel to Spaceland in Florida.

Stella Díaz Has Something to Say

Stella is friendly, great at drawing, and kind. When she wants to welcome a new boy to her class, her shyness sometimes makes her speak Spanish when she wants to be expressing herself in English. Unfriendly kids who tease her prove to be no match for Stella, who knows that what she wants to say is important. 

For middle grade readers:

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Merci Suárez begins the sixth grade and knows things will change, but she did not count on her grandfather acting strangely, not fitting in at her private school, and dealing with Edna Santos' jealousy.

The First Rule of Punk

Twelve-year-old María Luisa O'Neill-Morales (who really prefers to be called Malú) reluctantly moves with her Mexican-American mother to Chicago and starts seventh grade with a bang--violating the dress code with her punk rock aesthetic and spurning the middle school's most popular girl in favor of starting a band with a group of like-minded weirdos.

Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish

After a fight at school leaves Marcus facing suspension, Marcus's mother takes him and his younger brother, who has Down syndrome, to Puerto Rico to visit relatives they do not remember or have never met, and while there Marcus starts searching for his father, who left their family ten years ago and is somewhere on the island.

The Circuit

A collection of 12 short stories presented from the perspective of a young boy, in which the author narrates his childhood experiences growing up in a family of Mexican migrant farm workers.

Further excellent reading suggestions for National Hispanic Heritage month can be found on this booklist.

If you ever want to read Spanish books online, they are available for free from the Santa Clara County Library through the Odilo application. There are books for kids in pre-school through middle grades. Ask your librarian if you need help!

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