I have a ton of new books that I have been wanting to share with you. Since we are celebrating Día de los niños/Día de los libros this week here on MommyMaestra, now is a great time!
Buying new (and old!) titles by multicultural authors has multiple benefits.
First, you are supporting these authors, many of whom have seen the launch date of their new titles postponed because of the pandemic. It seems silly because now, more than ever, books are precious and desperately needed by children and families across the country and the world.
But publishing companies are hard hit, too. Many are having to work from home or furlough their employees. And printing companies have also been closed down. So when you purchase - or pre-order!! - one of these books, you are helping a lot of people.
Last, and perhaps most important, you are helping your kids. You're providing them with opportunities to read stories about their own culture that they might not get in their schools. Or you may be exposing them to other cultures as a way of breaking down stereotypes and helping them understand different customs or outlooks. Or you may be simply providing them with a chance to escape the (boringly?) familiar confines of shelter in place. Or giving them a way to escape the stress of a pandemic that is hurting not just our country, but the world.
So there you have it. Three good reasons to buy books for your kids. And if they are books written by or about Latinos, even better!
Here are my recommendations for today.
The following Amazon links are affiliate links.
Picture Books for Young Readers
Written by Monica Brown
Illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
Here's the book description, but let me tell you. I've already seen the book and it is such a great story. If you have young children who love adventure and are looking for some inspiration, this is it.
Growing up in the late 1800s, Julio Tello, an Indigenous boy, spent time exploring the caves and burial grounds in the foothills of the Peruvian Andes. Nothing scared Julio, not even the ancient human skulls he found. His bravery earned him the boyhood nickname Sharuko, which means brave in Quechua, the language of the Native people of Peru.
At the age of twelve, Julio moved to Lima to continue his education. While in medical school, he discovered an article about the skulls he had found. The skulls had long ago been sent to Lima to be studied by scientists. The article renewed Julio's interest in his ancestry, and he decided to devote his medical skills to the study of Peru's Indigenous history.
Over his lifetime, Julio Tello made many revolutionary discoveries at archaeological sites around Peru, and he worked to preserve the historical treasures he excavated. He showed that Peru's Indigenous cultures had been established thousands of years ago, disproving the popular belief that Peruvian culture had been introduced more recently from other countries. He fostered pride in his country's Indigenous ancestry, making him a hero to all Peruvians. Because of the brave man once known as Sharuko, people around the world today know of Peru's long history and its living cultural legacy.
written by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
illustrated by Laura González
With Spanish vocabulary and a clever counting concept, this poetic story shares the life cycle of a Mexican jumping bean. This curious jumping insect is actually a seedpod from a shrub called yerba de la flecha, into which a caterpillar burrows, living inside the pod until it builds a cocoon and breaks out as a moth. Perfect for preschoolers and prereaders, this creative picture book explores the Mexican jumping bean's daily life and eventual transformation and escape from the pod.
written by Raul the Third
colors by Elaine Bay
colors by Elaine Bay
In this new Vamos! title, Let’s Go Eat, Little Lobo is excited to take in a show with wrestling star El Toro in his bustling border town. After getting lunch orders from The Bull and his friends to help prepare for the event, Little Lobo takes readers on a tour of food trucks that sell his favorite foods, like quesadillas with red peppers and Mexican-Korean tacos. Peppered with easy-to-remember Latin-American Spanish vocabulary, this glorious celebration of food is sure to leave every reader hungry for lunch!
Jam-packed with fun details and things to see, the Vamos! books are perfect for fans of Richard Scarry and Where’s Waldo?
written by Michael Genhart
illustrated by Priscilla Burris
When both grandpas, Abuelo and Opa, visit at the same time, they can’t understand each other’s language and there is a lot of silence. The grandson’s clever thinking helps find a way for everyone to share the day together as two cultures become one family. This unique book includes a bonus fold-out and a note from the author sharing the true story of his own family.
written by Naibe Reynoso
illustrated by Jone Leal
illustrated by Jone Leal
A bilingual book that highlights 11 Latinos who excelled in their professional careers and made U.S. history by accomplishing something that hadn't been done before in their respective fields which include science, sports, the arts and politics. By presenting the true biographical stories of these outstanding Latinos in rhyming verses, young readers will easily follow their journey to success. Each persons biographical story is written in both Spanish and English to encourage and promote bilingual literacy. Some of the men highlighted include Cesar Chavez (Activist), Jose Hernandez(Astronaut), Lin-Manuel Miranda (Playwright), Jean-Michel Basquiat (Artist), Julian Castro (Politician) and more.
written by Juan Felipe Herrera
illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Have you ever imagined what you might be when you grow up? When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside and learned to say goodbye to his amiguitos each time his family moved to a new town. He went to school and taught himself to read and write English and filled paper pads with rivers of ink as he walked down the street after school. And when he grew up, he became the United States Poet Laureate and read his poems aloud on the steps of the Library of Congress. If he could do all of that . . . what could you do? With this newly translated illustrated poem of endless possibility, Juan Felipe Herrera and Lauren Castillo breathe magic into the hopes and dreams of readers searching for their place in life.
by Steven Wolfe Pereira & Susie Jaramillo
In Tiny Travelers Puerto Rico Treasure Quest, readers journey from the historical city of San Juan with its famous "El Morro" fort, to the beautiful bioluminescent bay in Vieques. Tiny Travelers will enjoy getting closer to Puerto Rican culture, and seeing why it is called “La Isla del Encanto” (the island of enchantment).
Each illustrated spread invites children to discover hidden "treasures" - icons, animals, statues, instruments, and more - that make up the rich cultural heritage of Puerto Rico.
Books for Middle Schoolers
Written by Mae Respicio
Lou Bulosan-Nelson has the ultimate summer DIY project. She's going to build her own "tiny house," 100 square feet all her own. She shares a room with her mom in her grandmother's house, and longs for a place where she can escape her crazy but lovable extended Filipino family. Lou enjoys her woodshop class and creating projects, and she plans to build the house on land she inherited from her dad, who died before she was born. But then she finds out that the land may not be hers for much longer.
Lou discovers it's not easy to save her land, or to build a house. But she won't give up; with the help of friends and relatives, her dream begins to take shape, and she learns the deeper meaning of home and family.
by Hilda Eunice Burgos
Her last name may mean kings, but Ana María Reyes REALLY does not live in a castle. Rather, she's stuck in a tiny apartment with two parents (way too lovey-dovey), three sisters (way too dramatic), everyone's friends (way too often), and a piano (which she never gets to practice). And when her parents announce a new baby is coming, that means they'll have even less time for Ana María.
Then she hears about the Eleanor School, New York City's best private academy. If Ana María can win a scholarship, she'll be able to get out of her Washington Heights neighborhood school and achieve the education she's longed for. To stand out, she'll need to nail her piano piece at the upcoming city showcase, which means she has to practice through her sisters' hijinks, the neighbors' visits, a family trip to the Dominican Republic . . . right up until the baby's birth! But some new friends and honest conversations help her figure out what truly matters, and know that she can succeed no matter what. Ana María Reyes may not be royal, but she's certain to come out on top.
Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe (Book 2)
by Carlos Hernandez
A brilliant sci-fi romp with Cuban influence. Among many other challenges, Sal and Gabi have to try to make everything right with our world when there is a rogue Gabi from another universe running loose.
Sal Vidon doesn't want to live a Mami-free life. Pulling different versions of his mother from other universes is how he copes with missing his own, who died years ago. But Sal's father, a calamity physicist, is trying to shut down all the wormholes Sal creates, because Papi thinks they are eroding the very fabric of our world. All of Papi's efforts are in vain, however, because a Gabi from another universe has gone rogue and is popping up all over the place, seeking revenge for the fact that her world has been destroyed. While Sal and Gabi work together to keep both Papi and Rogue Gabi under control, they also have to solve the mystery of Yasmany, who has gone missing from school. Could it have something to do with the wormhole in the back of his locker?
by Kim Baker
Newt Gomez has a thing with bears. Last year he survived a bear attack. And this year, he finds an unusual bear statue that just might grant wishes. Newt's best friend, Ethan, notices a wishbone on the statue and decides to make a wish. When it comes true, Newt thinks it's a coincidence. Even as more people wish on the bear and their wishes come true, Newt is not convinced.
But Newt has a wish too: while he loves his home on eccentric Murphy Island, he wants to go to middle school on the mainland, where his warm extended family lives. There, he's not the only Latinx kid, he won't have to drive the former taco truck--a gift from his parents--and he won't have to perform in the talent show. Most importantly, on the mainland, he never has bad dreams about the attack. Newt is almost ready to make a secret wish when everything changes.
Books for Young Adults
by Matt Mendez
Juan has plans. He's going to get out of El Paso, Texas, on a basketball scholarship and make something of himself--or at least find something better than his mom Fabi's cruddy apartment, her string of loser boyfriends, and a dead dad. Basketball is going to be his ticket out, his ticket up. He just needs to make it happen.
His best friend JD has plans, too. He's going to be a filmmaker one day, like Quinten Tarantino or Guillermo del Toro (NOT Steven Spielberg). He's got a camera and he's got passion--what else could he need?
Fabi doesn't have a plan anymore. When you get pregnant at sixteen and have been stuck bartending to make ends meet for the past seventeen years, you realize plans don't always pan out, and that there some things you just can't plan for...
Like Juan's run-in with the police, like a sprained ankle, and a tanking math grade that will likely ruin his chance at a scholarship. Like JD causing the implosion of his family. Like letters from a man named Mando on death row. Like finding out this man could be the father your mother said was dead.
Soon Juan and JD are embarking on a Thelma and Louise-like road trip to visit Mando. Juan will finally meet his dad, JD has a perfect subject for his documentary, and Fabi is desperate to stop them. But, as we already know, there are some things you just can't plan for...
by Elizabeth Acevedo
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.
And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
by Margarita Engle
As a little boy, Rubén Darío loved to listen to his great uncle, a man who told tall tales in a booming, larger-than-life voice. Rubén quickly learned the magic of storytelling, and discovered the rapture and beauty of verse.
A restless and romantic soul, Rubén traveled across Central and South America seeking adventure and connection. As he discovered new places and new loves, he wrote poems to express his wild storm of feelings. But the traditional forms felt too restrictive. He began to improvise his own poetic forms so he could capture the entire world in his words. At the age of twenty-one, he published his first book Azul, which heralded a vibrant new literary movement called Modernismo that blended poetry and prose into something magical.