Representation matters. National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15) honors the culture, history, and achievements of Hispanic Americans who continue to inspire and influence others to dream big. In Spanish, it’s known as Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana.
Hispanic heritage can be explored in a variety of ways. Reading stories based on the real cultural experiences of the author is one of them! We’re sharing 10 book recommendations that will help you and your family to learn more and celebrate a culture that crosses seas, lands, and borders.
- Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor
This picture book, by the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, is about the power of honoring people's differences. Twelve diverse kids introduce themselves and share more about a condition they each live with (ex: diabetes, autism, Down syndrome, etc.). Using bright illustrations and upbeat text, young readers will gain perspective and perhaps even see a bit of themselves or someone they know in the stories.
- Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
These vivid, mixed-media illustrations describe Yuyi's journey to a new country, the difficulties she faced, and the power of libraries to transform minds. It’s an inspiring story of following your dreams in an unfamiliar world to make a better tomorrow.
- Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez
After persistent questioning from her peers, teachers, and friends' parents, the young girl in this story is feeling left out. She turns to her Abuelo (grandfather) for answers. "Where am I from?" she asks, knowing he has faced these same types of questions too. He doesn't give her the response she expects, but she gets an even better one!
- Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña
This sweet and spunky young girl is immensely likable, and readers will root for her wishes to come true. Set in an immigrant community where workers labor in fields, Carmela's father is not living at home with the family because he needs "his papers fixed." This book explores separation by circumstance and how families long to be together.
- Areli Is a Dreamer by Areli Morales
In the style of a third-person memoir, Areli recalls her journey from Mexico to New York and the reality of living as an undocumented immigrant. The tale begins amid the warmth of family at her Abuela's (grandmother’s) house with calls from Mamá and Papá from America. Then one day, Areli must join them in the states. Morales, a DACA Dreamer, shares her personal experience of a life-disrupting migration that evolves into a heartfelt story that deeply resonates.
- Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina
When a little girl's far-away grandmother comes to stay, love and patience transcend language in this tender story. Mia's Abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live in the city with Mia and her parents. Mia discovers that Abuela can't read the words inside her bedtime story, but she soon finds inspiration to spark new, colorful ways to communicate.
- The Day of the Dead: A Bilingual Celebration by Bob Barner
Follow two children as they celebrate their ancestors by preparing offerings of flowers, sugar skulls, and special bread. They guide their loved ones home to join the festivities by spreading marigold petals. The celebrations are described in brief, lyrical text presented in both Spanish and English. The author's note provides more detail about the holiday, its historical context, and the inspiration behind the artwork.
- Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
Alma discovers pride in her strong relatives. The limited colors used in the drawings provide a look back and a look forward as Alma grows to recognize the strength in her name.
- Abuela by Arthur Dorros
Join Rosalba and her Abuela on a magical journey. The author uses a lovely mix of English and Spanish to describe moving from the busy streets of Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty. Brightly colored illustrations capture what they see along the way and the richness of memories.
- Islandborn by Junot Díaz
A unique book on immigration that explains why people leave their home countries in an age-appropriate way. When Lola hears so many beautiful stories about the island, she asks the obvious question, "Then why did they come to the U.S.?" This story celebrates creativity, diversity, and the ability to connect to our past.
Find a cozy spot and dive into a rich cultural experience using these stories to spark important conversations that have a lasting impact. We hope you’ll enjoy the journey.