Happy National Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month! Between September 15th and October 15th, our country celebrates National Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month that honors the contributions and cultures of both Hispanic and Latinx people. Yes, Hispanic & Latinx heritage and history should be taught year-round, but it is also important to honor the work of the communities and activists who advocated for these designated National Months. Hopefully, you have already started to observe this month with books, lessons, and discussions with your students and children.

There have been some conversations about whether this month should be known as Hispanic Heritage Month, Latina/o/x Heritage Month, or Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month. In my own classroom, we celebrated it as Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month and talked about the distinctions in an age-appropriate manner. Here is a really good article written about the differences and overlaps between the terms Hispanic and Latina/o/x: https://www.ketchum.com/hispanic-latino-latinx-spanish-clarifying-terms-for-hispanic-heritage-month/

Within this post, there are 25 picture books that I absolutely love for Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month! I have cultivated and organized this list in order to help you all get the fullness and depth that Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month deserves. The list is organized into three sections: 

  1. Picture Books About Hispanic & Latinx Heritage and Representation
  2. Picture Books About Hispanic & Latinx History
  3. Picture Books Featuring the Current Issues and Advocacy of the Hispanic & Latinx Community

Additionally, the picture books were created by Hispanic & Latinx authors and/or illustrators. It is incredibly important that we uplift Hispanic & Latinx authors whenever we talk about Hispanic & Latinx Heritage and History. Their community are the experts that we should be listening to.  

Pick out a couple of these books for your children or students and let’s honor National Hispanic & Latinx Heritage this month and beyond! 

Picture Books About Hispanic & Latinx Heritage and Representation

Me Gusta, by Angela Dominguez 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

Age Range: 4-8 years

Me Gusta is a cute bilingual picture book by Angela Dominguez who writes some of my other favorite picture books that are perfect for little ones. This book celebrates Latinx families and shares what the narrator likes most. The pictures showcase an incredibly diverse representation of Latinx families. 


¡Todos a Celebrar! A Hispanic Customs & Traditions Alphabet Book, by Dr. Ma. Alma González Pérez

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

Age Range: 3-9 years old

I know as a former Kindergarten teacher I was ALWAYS looking for amazing alphabet books and finally I love this one that explores different elements of cultures. Dr Ma. Alma González Pérez writes this alphabet book that shows a different element of the Hispanic culture for each letter of the alphabet. This book is also bilingual because it is written in Spanish and English. 


The Secret of the Plátano, by Luz Maria Mack & illustrated by Stephany Mesa 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

Age Range: 5-9 years

Luz Maria Mack wrote this picture book after being inspired by a dream of her own Abuela. In The Secret of the Plátano, a little boy and his Abuela dance in the moonlight under the plántano trees while exploring nature, connection, and movement. At the end, the book states, “Love is the magic that helps everything grow”. The Secret of the Plátano is set in the Dominican Republic, which is where the author is also from. 


If Dominican Were a Color, by Sili Recio & illustrated by Brianna McCarthy 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

Age Range: 4-8 years

If Dominican Were a Color is a vibrant book about all the colors of the Dominican Republic. Each page explores a new color and how it connects to the culture and people of the Dominican. Sili Recio rhymes the lines within the book to make it more captivating to young readers, such as:

“If Dominican were a color, it would be the sunset in the sky, blazing red and burning bright.

If Dominican were a color, it’d be the roar of the ocean in the deep of the night,

With the moon beaming down rays of sheer delight.”


Vámonos Series, by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein & illustrated by Ana Godinez 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

Age Range: 2-5 years

Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein created such a cute board book series with the Vámonos books. Each bilingual board book features a different famous Hispanic/Latinx city. It details different locations within the city and their significance to the local culture and people. I appreciate the care and love each book is clearly made with. Some of the cities covered within the series include: San Salvador, Lima, San Juan, Los Angeles, and Tegucigalpa. 


May Your Life Be Deliciosa, by Michael Genhart & illustrated by Loris Lora 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

Age Range: 2-5 years

May Your LIfe Be Deliciosa is a picture book about a little girl named Rosie making tamales with her Abuela and family during the holidays. Abuela passes down the recipe that she had learned from her own abuela. As a tradition, Abuela shows Rosie how to make tamales while describing each step and how it represents a wish she has for Rosie and the other family members. The illustrations are quite beautiful and show cultural values, such as intergenerational love and community. The picture book also integrates Spanish in a way that will empower Spanish speaking readers and be accessible to those that do not know Spanish. 


Mi Casa Is My Home, by Laurenne Sala & illustrated by Zara González Hoang 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Exploration

Age Range: 3-7 years

In Mi Casa Is My Home, the main character Lucia shows off her home that is filled with memories, cultural traditions, and many of her loved ones. The book mixes Spanish and English as Lucia explains each location in the house and what her familia does together in each room. Lucia’s casa is filled with love and diversity as her Puerto Rican and Spanish familia is explored.  This is a great book to discuss cultural traditions of families and connect with this Hispanic family. 


Islandborn, by Junot Díaz

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: mostly Exploration

Age Range: 5-8 years old

Islandborn is a beautifully written and illustrated book! Leo Espinosa’s illustrations greatly complement Junot Díaz’s story about Lola. Lola is a little girl struggling with her teacher’s question about where her family immigrated from. However, through her friends and family, she is able to learn more about the Dominican Republic and paint a beautiful picture of the island. I love Islandborn and also appreciate the diverse representation of Afro-Latinx people!


Picture Books About Hispanic & Latinx History

The Life of/La Vida De Series, by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein & illustrated by Citlali Reyes 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: depends on the Biography

Age Range: 2-5 years

I wish I found this series when I was still in the classroom! The Life of/La Vida De Series is a bilingual board book series that showcases important Hispanic/Latinx figures from history. Each board book encapsulates the amazing work and life journeys of a historical figure in bite-sized pieces. It is perfect for young readers and students to help them stay engaged while learning history! Some of the biographies included are: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Selena, Pura Belpré, Dolores Huerta, and Celia Cruz. 


Courageous History Makers: 11 Women from Latin America Who Changed the World, by Naibe Reynoso & illustrated by Jone Leal & translated by Gabriella Aldeman

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: depends on the Biography

Age Range: 5-8 years

Courageous History Makers shares mini-biographies of 11 Latinx women who changed the world. Each couple pages uses rhyming verse to tell readers what the featured woman did in English and Spanish. Some of the important women featured include: Mexican painter Frida Khalo, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchu, Grammy-winning musical icon Celia Cruz, and renowned pilot Hermelinda Urvina.


Be Bold! Be Brave!: 11 Latinas Who Made US History, by Naibe Reynoso

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Dependent on the Person Covered

Age Range: 5-8 years old

This great bilingual picture book shares the biographies of eleven latinas who made history! Each person has two pages with illustrations: one written in Spanish and one written in English. Kids will love these great rhymes that will also engage them in learning about important role models from history. It also promotes the beauty of the Spanish language as a bilingual book. 


Fearless Trailblazers: 11 Latinos Who Made US History, by Naibe Reynoso

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Dependent on the Person Covered

Age Range: 5-8 years old

Naibe Reynoso also wrote this picture book about 11 Latinos who made US History. Each person has two pages dedicated to their biography: one page in Spanish and one page in English. Reynoso writes engaging rhymes about each of these heroes and I love the cute illustrations by Jone Leal that compliment the words well. 


Nuestra América: 30 Inspiring Latinas/Latinos Who Have Shaped the United States, by Sabrina Vourvoulias & illustrated by Gloria Félix 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: depends on the Biography

Age Range: 8-12 years

Nuestra América is an illustrated biography collection featuring 30 inspiring Latinas and Latinos who changed the USA. This book from the Smithsonian Latino Center has biographies for each person that go deeper than other biographical collections geared towards elementary students. 

Nuestra América showcases the following notable figures: Sylvia Acevedo, Luis Álvarez, Pura Belpré, Martha E. Bernal, Julia de Burgos, César Chávez, Sandra Cisneros, Roberto Clemente, Celia Cruz, Olga E. Custodio, Óscar de la Renta, Jaime Escalante, Macario García, Emma González, Laurie Hernández, Juan Felipe Herrera, Dolores Huerta, Jennifer Lopez, Xiuhtezcatl Martínez, Sylvia Méndez, Lin-Manuel Miranda, C. David Molina, Rita Moreno, Ellen Ochoa, Jorge Ramos, Sylvia Rivera, María Elena Salinas, Sonia Sotomayor, Dara Torres, and Robert Unanue.


Dream with the/Sueña con las Latinitas, by Juliet Menéndez 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: depends on the Biography

Age Range: 0-4 years

Dream with the/Sueña con las Latinitas is a cute board book version of Juliet Menéndez’s Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers biographical collection. Each page features a famous Latina and has a sentence about what she did in the world.The sentence is translated in English and Spanish. The book’s hand-painted illustrations are vibrant and more than worthy of being showcased as wall art within our homes!


Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers, by Juliet Menéndez 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: depends on the Biography

Age Range: 8-12 years

In this illustrated biography collection, Latinitas features 40 Latinas who are celebrated across the globe. Each couple pages showcases a famous Latina with a beautiful hand-painted illustration and their biography. The biography is more detailed than other biographical collections so this book is geared towards older elementary children. 

The book features Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Juana Azurduy de Padilla, Policarpa Salavarrieta, Rosa Peña de González, Teresa Carreño, Zelia Nuttall, Antonia Navarro, Matilde Hidalgo, Gabriela Mistral, Juana de Ibarbourou, Pura Belpré, Gumercinda Páez, Frida Kahlo, Julia de Burgos, Chavela Vargas, Alicia Alonso, Victoria Santa Cruz, Claribel Alegría, Celia Cruz, Dolores Huerta, Rita Moreno, Maria Auxiliadora da Silva, Mercedes Sosa, Isabel Allende, Susana Torre, Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Sonia Sotomayor, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Mercedes Doretti, Sonia Pierre, Justa Canaviri, Evelyn Miralles, Selena Quintanilla, Berta Cáceres, Serena Auñón, Wanda Díaz-Merced, Marta Vieira da Silva, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Laurie Hernandez.


Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation, by Duncan Tonatiuh 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 6-10 years

Duncan Tonatiuh wrote this picture book to tell the true story of Sylvia Mendez and her family as they fought against racism through school segregation in California in 1947. Separate Is Never Equal details a historical event that the Hispanic/Latinx community had to fight against in order to bring more inclusion and equality to our country. 


Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics, by Margarita Engle

The Spectrum of Multicultural Lit.: Dependent on the Person Covered

Age Range: 8-12 years old

This book has poems about different amazing Hispanics and their contribution to history! Each person also has illustrations to accompany the informative poems. Bravo has poems about Aida de Acosta, Arnold Rojas, Baruj Benacerraf, César Chávez, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, Félix Varela, George Meléndez, José Martí, Juan de Miralles, Juana Briones, Julia de Burgos, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Paulina Pedroso, Pura Belpré, Roberto Clemente, Tito Puente, Ynes Mexia, and Tomás Rivera.


Picture Books Featuring the Current Issues and Advocacy of the Hispanic & Latinx Community

Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz: The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States, compiled by Warren Binford for Project Amplify 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation 

Age Range: 8+ years

Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz is a heart-wrenching but much-needed picture book. Written in Spanish and English, this book holds the testimonies of children detailed at the Southern Border of the United States. The children give the true details of the tragic conditions they are put through, including not getting enough food, not accessing medical care for their babies, and much more violations of their human rights. Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz was also illustrated by 17 brilliant Latinx artists. I would highly recommend this book to talk about the realities of our Southern border, but make sure to read through this book first because it is intense and needs strong facilitation when read to children (this does not mean you should shy away from it because their truths need to be shared).  


Areli Is a Dreamer: A True Story by Areli Morales, a DACA Recipient, by Areli Morales & illustrated by Luisa Uribe

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation 

Age Range: 4-8 years

Areli Morales wrote this picture book about her real-life experience as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipient. In Areli Is a Dreamer, Areli starts the book living in Mexico with her Abuela and brother Alex. She loves it there since she can be with her other family members. However, her parents now live in New York and are working to get Alex and then Areli to them in the United States. Eventually, Areli leaves for New York where everything is different and she faces racism and xenophobia in her new school. A few years later, her class takes a field trip to Ellis Island where she learns about the immigration facilitated there and sees parallels in her own journey. Areli is left with hope for her new life in New York and as a Dreamer. Areli Is a Dreamer is a perfect book to talk about DACA and the Dreamers. It is very informative with a firsthand account of recent immigration to the US. You can also use it to have critical conversations about how we need to make school a welcoming place for everyone. 


Where Are You From?, by Yamile Saied Méndez & illustrated by Jaime Kim

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation 

Age Range: 4-8 years

Where Are You From? is a picture book all about a little girl struggling with the othering and hurtful question she gets from her classmates: “Where are you from?”. In the book, she goes to her abuelo to ask him how to deal with this question and he helps her see the beauty in her heritage and identity. This is a great book to talk about the prejudice (and sometimes racism) that stems from this question and othering of communities of color, specifically Latinx communities. 


Dreamers, by Yuyi Morales

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation 

Age Range: 4-8 years

Yuyi Morales writes and illustrates this beautiful picture book memoir. Dreamers follows a woman and her baby as they immigrate to another country. They are met with both beauty and obstacles. At the end, Morales writes about how they became dreamers. This book is great to introduce immigration from the perspective of immigrants. 


My Two Border Towns, by David Bowles & illustrated by Erika Meza

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation 

Age Range: 4-8 years

My Two Border Towns is a picture book sharing a little boy’s experience going between two Border Towns. One morning, the little boy and his father cross the US-Mexico Border. The little boy details their errands along with the family members and community they see within the border town. Near the end, the boy and his dad visit their friends who are seeking asylum but are stuck at the border because neither country “has room for them”. As they drop off supplies to the asylum seekers, the little boy reflects about how unfair this is and how he hopes the asylum seekers can soon go back and forth between the Border Towns just like him. The little text details of this picture book make it an incredibly strong and justice-oriented book! 


The Coquíes Still Sing: A Story of Home, Hope, and Rebuilding, by Karina Nicole González & illustrated by Krystal Quiles

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Between Exploration & Conversation

Age Range: 4-8 years

The Coquíes Still Sing was inspired by the rebuilding of Puerto Rico after the 2017 Hurricane Maria. In this picture book, the main character Elena loves the singing of the coquí frogs. The frogs suddenly fall silent as her family prepares for a hurricane and their home becomes unsafe. After some time, Elena and her Puerto Rican community find hope as they start to rebuild their homes and hear the coquí frogs’ singing return. 


Isabel and her Colores Go to School, by Alexandra Alessandri & illustrated by Courtney Dawson

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Between Exploration & Conversation

Age Range: 5-8 years

Alexandra Alessandri’s new bilingual picture book is about a little girl named Isabel who is nervous to go to her new school. At the school, they speak English, unlike Isabel’s home where she speaks Spanish and feels more comfortable. Her first day is full of misunderstandings and more anxiety. However, by the end of the day, Isabel uses coloring to communicate and make new friends! Alessandri flawlessly weaves in Spanish throughout the book to bring the story more to life. 


I Wish You Knew, by Jackie Azúa Kramer & illustrated by Magdalena Mora 

The Spectrum for Multicultural Lit.: Conversation

Age Range: 4-7 years

I Wish You Knew is about Estrella and how she wishes her teacher and classmates knew about her father’s deportation. Estrella was greatly affected by it and it shows up in how she acts throughout the day. The beautiful text in this book uncovers how she is feeling about the deportation and the various things she wishes her class knew. The other half of the book shows the empathy and connection that can happen in a caring classroom community. The teacher responds about how she wishes her students knew she is there for them and then leads her class through a “I Wish You Knew” exercise where her students share things they wished their class knew about them. I Wish You Knew is a quick read that can help you talk about deportation and also inspire your class to complete the “I Wish You Knew” exercise together.


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