Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

9 Children’s Books for Hispanic Heritage Month

9 Children’s Book’s for Hispanic Heritage Month

It’s time for a fiesta! Head to your local library or over to your favorite bookstore to explore some children’s books celebrating Latino culture and heritage. Here are our book recommendations for ages infant through eight+ for Hispanic Heritage month.


Age: 0+


Fiesta Babies by Carmen Tafolla and Illustrated by Amy C’ordova
In this fun and colorful book for babies and toddlers, children are out on the town—parading, dancing and singing with a mariachi band. This book is great for read-alouds, for introducing a culture and for learning a few Spanish words.



Opuestos: Mexican Folk Art Opposites in English and Spanish (English and Spanish Edition) by Cynthia Weill
Wood sculptures from Oaxaca by Quirino and M’artin Santiago
Against brightly colored backdrops, pictures of animals carved out of wood in very bold hues depict pairs of opposing words both in English and in Spanish.


High. Alto Low. Bajo
Hello. Hola. Goodbye. Adios.


It’s a wonderful Spanish starter book for young kids. I had fun saying them aloud several times so much so that I almost forgot I was reading it to my kids!


Age: 4+


What Can You Do with a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla and Illustrated by Magaly Morales
A book about paletas…popsicles…what’s not to love? This book is also a celebration of Latino barrios, neighborhoods where the accordion plays and the aroma of tacos fills up the air. And when the paleta wagon rolls in, all the barrio children are excited to pick out a flavor. We realized we truly love books by Carmen Tafolla—they are simple, engaging and always bursting with colors!



Pablo’s Tree by Pat Mora and Illustrated by Cecily Lang
This is a gentle story of the cherished bond a small boy shares with his grandfather, Lito. Lito had bought a tree around the time the family was preparing for Pablo’s adoption. He reminisces over the day Pablo came home and how he had welcomed him by planting the tree. Every year Lito decorates the tree in special ways for Pablo’s birthday and it’s a tradition now for Pablo to spend the night playing with Lito under the decked up tree. So how did Lito decorate the tree and surprise Pablo on this fifth birthday?



Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Illustrated by Ed Martinez
We partake in the festivities of a Latino family through a little girl’s predicament. Maria is caught up feeling all grownup while helping her mother make tamales for Christmas. And she forgets completely about the diamond ring she was trying on, even as she was kneading the masa. Where could it have gone? Maria and her cousins gobble up an entire batch of tamales to find the ring! With a smear of humor and an ambience of warmth in a Latino household, this book beautifully celebrates their culture.



I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Elivia Savadier
With a befitting title to begin, this book brings out the everyday experiences of a mixed- race child as she spends her weekends with two sets of grandparents—Saturdays with Grandma and Grandpa, and her Sundays with Abuelita y Abuelito. The juxtaposition of the cultural differences, while highlighting the uniqueness of their heritage, also gives insight into how much they have in common.



Just a Minute!: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book (Pura Belpre Medal Book Illustrator (Awards)) by Yuyi Morales
This book will make kids smile while also incorporating some basic counting in Spanish. Senor Calavera, who is a fun-looking skeleton (calavera means skull in Spanish), comes to Gandma Beetle’s house to take her with him, but she outsmarts him by stalling then stalling some more as he grows bored and impatient. The illustrations are bright and fun so even my easily frightened kids were not scared off by the skeleton and were emphatic we take this book home from the library. (Review by Stephanie Meade)


Age: 8+


Abuela’s Weave by Omar.S.Castenada and illustrated by Enrique.E.Sanchez
This is a heartwarming intergenerational story that captures the values, particularly the familial closeness of the Mayan people. Esperanza and her grandmother spend long hours every day weaving a tapestry together in their quiet village as they prepare for market day in a big city in Guatemala. As we follow Esperanza to the market (just as her grandmother does), we get a good sense of the country and its culture, including traditional attire, urban and rural lifestyles and an appreciation for the local handicrafts.



Oye, Celia! by Katie Sciurba and Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
Oye, Celia!
When I hear you, I hear Cuba –
Your Cuba, my Cuba,
Our Cuba.


This book is a tribute to the Cuban-American salsa icon, Celia Cruz. This was a great introduction to both the revered singer and salsa dancing for my eight-year-old. The elaborate glossary was particularly educational. The text and the illustrations are also powerful and riveting. A great read to celebrate the arts during Hispanic Heritage month.
9 books for hispanic heritage month-final

More Great Stuff You'll Love:

Arranged Marriage 101

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline

Does Islam's reputation for severity and harshness apply to how Muslims raise children?

Ramadan Star and Moon Craft

A craft recycled from your kid's art work!

Si­, Yes: Raising Bilingual Twins

Language acquisition in three-and-a-half year old, bilingual twins.


Meera Sriram has been reviewing and recommending diverse children’s literature for about ten years now. She loves to pass on a title or an author to a friend (or a stranger, for that matter). Picture books particularly appeal to the inner child in her. She moved to the U.S. at the turn of the millennium from India. After graduate studies and a brief stint as an electrical engineer, she decided to express herself in other creative ways, primarily through writing. She has co-authored four books for children, all published in India. Her writing interests include people and cultures, nature, and life’s everyday moments. She also runs an early literacy program for toddlers and preschoolers in her neighboring communities. She lives in Berkeley, CA, with her husband and two kids. Curling up to read a good book with her children is something she looks forward to every day. She constantly fantasizes about a world with no boundaries over hot chai, to help her stay warm in foggy Northern California. More at www.meerasriram.com.

Leave us a comment!

  1. Comments9 Children’s Books for Hispanic Heritage Month | Mazzocchi ESL   |  Thursday, 26 September 2013 at 8:05 am

    […] 9 Children’s Books for Hispanic Heritage Month […]

  2. CommentsAnn   |  Monday, 30 September 2013 at 2:01 am


  3. CommentsClementina Llanes   |  Sunday, 06 October 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Perhaps you would like to check out my little bilingual children’s story with a nice recipe, The Pumpkin Moon Empanadas.” Please check my blog for a little peak. ¡Gracias!
    Clementina Llanes
    A Little Cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate

  4. CommentsIntegrating Our Bookshelves   |  Wednesday, 23 April 2014 at 3:10 pm

    […] *In Culture Parent – 9 Children’s Books for Hispanic Heritage Month *Florida Department of Education – Hispanic Heritage Month 2014 Recommended Reading List […]

  5. Commentsalma flor ada   |  Friday, 19 September 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for this wonderful website and for having recommend my book I LOVE SATURDAYS Y DOMINGOS.
    If you send me an email with your postal mailing address I would like to share with you my most recent book
    (co-authored with Isabel Campoy) YES, WE ARE LATINOS, which focuses on the diversity within the Latino heritage.
    Thanks for facilitating the “magical encounter” between children and good books!

  6. CommentsMeera Sriram   |  Saturday, 20 September 2014 at 11:35 am

    Thank you, Alma Flor Ada! It’s exciting to hear from you! We’d love to read your new book – I will email you the postal address.
    And thank you for being appreciative of our effort, yes, we truly hope children get to read wonderful books and stories from diverse cultures and continents!

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!

A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
[…] in their homes even if the US is an anomaly. Here are two articles on co-sleeping (click here and here) and one “Dear Abby” (click […...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Hi...I am an Asian who was adopted and raised by Caucasian American missionaries in South America. I have two kids-my daughter is 16 and my son is 11. When I had my first baby I too was indoctrinate...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
This Karina, the Karina from the article. I'm now 13. It took this article was written 3 years ago and barely coming across it right now. I was originally trying to look for my folkloric pictures fo...
From How This Single Working Mom Raised a Trilingual Kid
Nice recipe, thank for shari...
From Vaisakhi Recipe: Sarson Ka Sag
I've been in Germany Ten years now, Lived in Frankfurt and Stuttgart, specifically Leonberg. In Frankfurt I was shocked by how unfriendly the People were, how aggressive their Drivers, but in Leonbe...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
At DreamAfrica, we are a streaming app for animations and films from around the world. We celebrate cultural representation in digital media and invite you to download and share our DreamAfrica appp...
From What We Are Not About
Imagine those people who work at your typical IT Department, yeah those weirdos with low EQ, no manners, no social skills; indeed those who kiss the bosses' ass when it's convenient, but get offend...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I contacted the editor of this magazine (Stephanie) and she told me she'd inform Jan about this article. I have since changed my mind about going to Germany because of Merkel's policies, and this i...
From Are Germans Really Rude?

More Columns