We are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15! Let’s use this time to celebrate the history and beauty of Hispanic culture all over the world.
Hispanic Heritage Week was first observed in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson. However, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended the week into a month-long celebration and signed Hispanic Heritage Month into law. Each year, our presidents make official proclamations to begin the month. So whether you’re of Hispanic or Latino origin or not, I encourage you to share these books with your children so they can learn the beauty of this culture, especially here in Miami!
Why is Hispanic Heritage Month in the middle of two months?
Interestingly enough, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from the middle of September until mid-October to coincide with the independence of various Hispanic countries like Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
Did you know Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua all share the same Independence Day of September 15?
How can you bring Hispanic heritage into your home?
What’s better than books that tell of Hispanic and Latinx people and culture?
I’ve compiled a list of books that are great for different age groups, contain a mix of English and Spanish, and are both fiction and nonfiction. So, I hope you will agree these books touch upon culture, people, families, and the diversity of various groups of Hispanics. I own all these books and love them! I have conveniently linked all the books here so you can easily purchase them from our Amazon Storefront just by clicking the photo of the book. All books are under $15 and on Amazon Prime! FYI… You can find tons of other great items for Moms by Moms on our Amazon page!
I Love Saturdays y Domingos by Alma Flor Ada, illustrated by Elivia Savadier
We are a multicultural family; my husband is Non-Hispanic American, and I am Hispanic American; so, this book really resonated with me. The book details a young child’s visits with her grandparents on Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturdays, the lead character visits grandma and grandpa, and they have a European-American background. And then on Sundays, Domingos, she goes to visit her abuelita and abuelito, they are Mexican-American. It shows the beautiful differences in culture along with their similarities, especially their love for their grandchild. I loved reading it to Parker and in a way, comparing the ways his grandparents are different and equally special. I loved that the book used both English and Spanish in a way that helps expand their vocabularies. This book is recommended for ages 5-8 but my almost 3-year-old had no trouble with it.
Mango, Abuela y Yo or Mango, Abuela and Me by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez
This book comes in Spanish and English. I bought it in Spanish but either one works well because the story is so sweet. A little girl’s grandmother moves in from her Latin American home country and immediately they realize there is a language barrier. The granddaughter and grandmother are desperately trying to communicate with each other and by working together, they find a way to teach each other words in English and Spanish. Using a fun new tactic along with the help of a fun parrot named Mango, the two create an even stronger bond. I love that the words were written in both languages so your child can learn or you can help teach them as you read and continue beyond Hispanic Heritage Month. The book is recommended for ages 5-8 but I think it works perfectly well for younger or older.
Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself by Margaret Frith, illustrated by Tomie dePaola
Who doesn’t love Frida? Her paintings, her strength, her spunk. I love that this book because it is a biography with a twist of fiction. A young girl writing a school report on Frida narrates this book for a fun new perspective. It combines real reproductions of Frida’s artwork along with original illustrations and fun comments from the narrator. It’s a quick-moving look at Frida’s life, her childhood, her struggles, and her amazing creativity and uniqueness. Frida’s creative personality comes to life and the book helps us understand how this incredible artist is an inspiration to love oneself and why exactly it is that she painted so many self-portraits. This book was solely in English and is recommended for ages 5-9.
My Name is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra
This book was particularly special to me because I am Chilean. This biography of Gabriela Mistral by Monica Brown is an absolute beauty. Mistral was a Chilean poet and a teacher and she became the first Nobel Prize-winning Latina woman in the world. She has inspired adults and children alike. This book is both eye-catching and beautiful to read as the words seem to move with the pages with the beat of poetry. Mistral traveled the world and shared her passion for storytelling. It was a lovely tribute to a woman who taught us the power words can have and that we must always follow our dreams. The story is bilingual with English and Spanish side by side without losing its majesty. Recommended for ages 4-10, it can be for younger readers as well.
Turning Pages by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Lulu Delacre
This book is Sonia Sotomayor’s children’s autobiography, her story of becoming the first Hispanic and Latina supreme court justice. Perfect for Hispanic Heritage Month. What a beautifully illustrated book and the story is even better. Sonia Sotomayor’s life was full of difficulty, including her diagnosis of diabetes and the passing of her father. However, she overcame her struggles and she found inspiration, support, and contentment in… guess what? BOOKS! She writes beautifully to inspire young children to love books as she does. Sotomayor teaches us all about overcoming adversity and being driven to make a positive impact on our great country. Recommended for ages 4-8 years old. It comes in either English or Spanish, we loved it in English.
Yes! We Are Latinos: Poems and Prose About the Latino Experience by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, illustrated by David Diaz
A book for the older readers, this collection of poems and short stories are fictionalized profiles of Latinx American characters along with historical information of where they came from. The stories open a window into the wealth of Hispanic Americans that exist in our country, making for a beautiful read for Hispanic and non-Hispanic readers. From African ancestry, Asian ancestry, Sephardic, the book touches nearly any combination of Latinx you can think of and gives a glimpse into the real history along with what it’s like to live in different cities in the United States. This book is recommended for ages 10-13 years, but I think the book is great for adults, as well!
My Name is Gabito/Me llamo Gabito: The Life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Monica Brown, illustrated by Raul Colon
Another Monica Brown book, My Name is Gabito uses incredible imagery to capture the talent of Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His powerful imagination is beautifully depicted in this multilingual book that goes from English to Spanish seamlessly. Marquez, nicknamed Gabito as a child, was one of the greatest writers of our time. This picture book follows his childhood in Colombia to his life more recently, prior to his 2014 death. A very inspiring story of a man full of imagination that saw beauty in the world. 4-10 years old is the recommended age but also works for younger and older age groups.
I truly encourage you to delve into some books with your children this Hispanic Heritage Month. So, I hope this list makes it easier for you to choose and may you celebrate the diversity and beauty of Hispanic heritage not just for a month, but every day.
Do you have any books you’d recommend? I’d love to hear your favorites too. Drop a comment below!