7 Children’s Books That Transcend Hispanic Heritage Month

In this guest post, New York Public Library Head of Teen Services Elisa Garcia shares some of her favorite titles for fostering conversation and dialogue during Hispanic Heritage Month and BEYOND. Welcome, Elisa!

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated September 15- October 15. While it is great that these days are solely dedicated to celebrating and highlighting Hispanic Heritage, in public libraries part of our mission is to ensure that our collections reflect the diversity of our users and that culture and diversity are celebrated year round! The following recommended titles are valuable additions to our library collection that not only celebrate the diversity of Latinx culture, but can be used year-round to celebrate culture and diversity of all peoples.

Galápagos Girl/ Galapagueña

Galápagos Girl

This is the true story of Valentina Cruz, who is now a biologist but grew up in the Galapagos Island with her family. This delightful story shares Valentina’s experience and how her childhood influenced her to become a biologist and fostered her love for animals and nature.

Activity: Students can learn about Ecuador, its peoples, and culture, as well as the origin of the Galapagos Island, its species, and preservation. Check out the Activity Guide.

Under the Lemon Moon

Under the Lemon Moon

Under the Lemon Moon is set in the beautiful Mexican countryside and through its story touches on the power of giving and forgiveness.

Activity: Have a conversation with your child or student about forgiveness and sharing.  Under the Lemon Moon serves as a good anchor book to discuss how we can practice forgiveness and sharing with others. View the Teacher’s Guide.

Ana Maria Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle

Ana Maria Reyes

Ana Maria Reyes is ready for a change even if it means leaving her beloved Washington Heights neighborhood.  This is a story about family, perseverance, following your dreams and immigrants from the Dominican Republic.

Activity: Have students learn about the history of the Dominican Republic, its people, culture and food.  It’s also a good opportunity to have Dominican- American speakers talk about their experiences growing up in America.

¡Olé! Flamenco

¡Olé! Flamenco

In ¡Olé! Flamenco we get to experience Hispanic Culture through the dance of Flamenco, its origin, and the role it plays in cultural celebrations.

Activity: Host a multicultural dance fair and have students learn about the origin and significance of specific dances in the culture of different countries.

¡Beisbol! Latino Baseball Pioneers and Legends

¡Beisbol! Latino Baseball Pioneers and Legends

Baseball in Latin America means family, traditions going to el “play,” and culture. In ¡Beisbol! Latino Baseball Pioneers and Legends we meet 14 baseball players from Latin America and how they influenced baseball history in America.

Activity: Have a discussion with students about baseball culture in Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s also a good opportunity to highlight famous baseball players of Latin America and have students research their country of origin. View the Teacher’s Guide.

Martí’s Song for Freedom/ Martí y sus versos por la libertad

Martí's Song

This is the story of Cuban national Jose Martí—both his appreciation of his homeland Cuba and his love for New York State.  It’s a bilingual biography written in verse with beautiful illustrations of Cuba and New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Activity: During Poetry Month have students recite verses from the book and follow up with a discussion about Marti’s love for his homeland and his search for freedom. View the Teacher’s Guide.

All the Stars Denied

All the Stars Denied

All the Stars Denied is a companion novel to the critically acclaimed novel, Shame the Stars. In this companion novel, Guadalupe Garcia McCall delves deeper into the little-known history of the massive deportation of Mexican-American citizens in the midst of the Great Depression. Through all of the characters’ struggles, All the Stars Denied manages to bring the spirit of hope, renewal and tenacity of the human spirit.

Activity: Have students discuss the various ways social activism can take place and have them brainstorm activities that help to make their communities or schools a better place.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elisa GarciaElisa Garcia is Head of Teen Services at The New York Public Library.  She is firmly rooted in fostering a love of reading in reluctant teen readers and a strong commitment to providing them with diverse books that represent them and their experience.  Elisa enjoys mentoring new librarians, connecting people to the public library and promoting diversity in librarianship.

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