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Family books to celebrate Hispanic heritage month

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 14, 2021

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage month with the kid-friendly biography “I am Frida Kahlo,” by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos.  (Pixabay)
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage month with the kid-friendly biography “I am Frida Kahlo,” by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. (Pixabay)

Wednesday marks the first day of National Hispanic Heritage month. If you would like to teach your child more about Hispanic and Latino culture, traditions and experiences, here are a few books for family story time.

“Waiting for the Biblioburro,” written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra – Nobody loves stories more than Ana. She loves to read them to her brother to help him fall asleep. Unfortunately, Ana’s small village only has a few books available and she’s already read them all. One day she wakes up to the most incredible site – a traveling library carried on the back of a burro.

I am Frida Kahlo,” written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos – A kid-friendly biography on Mexican painter and icon Frida Kahlo. Learn more about how Kalho became inspired to paint and her childhood love for nature.

“Alma and How She Got Her Name,” written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal – Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has always wondered why her name is so long, so she turns to her dad for answers. It turns out her name represents a long and beautiful story about her heritage, including her grandmother Sofia, who loved books and flowers; her great-grandmother Esperaniza, who loved to travel; and many other namesakes. Once Alma learns the story of her long name, she decides it’s not too long, it’s actually just perfect.

“Islandborn,” written by Junot Díaz and illustrated by Leo Espinosa – One school day, Lola and her classmates are asked to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from. Lola struggles with the assignment because she immigrated as a young child and can barely remember what her island looked like. With a little help from her imagination, she reflects on her birthplace and her family’s story, remembering the words of her abuela, “Just because you don’t remember a place doesn’t mean it’s not in you.”

“The Day of the Dead: A Bilingual Celebration,” written by Bob Barner and illustrated by Teresa Mlawer – Learn about the various traditions of the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) used to celebrate and remember ancestors, such as preparing offerings of flowers, breads, foods and sugar skulls. Descriptions are offered in English and Spanish.

Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You,” written by Sonia Sotomayor and illustrated by Rafael López – Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor uses her own childhood experience of being diagnosed with diabetes to encourage all children with all sorts of challenges and differences to appreciate the unique things they can offer the world.

“Mango, Abuela, and Me,” written by Meg Medina and illustrated by Angela Dominguez – Mia’s abuela has decided to leave her sunny home filled with palm trees and parrots to live with Mia and her parents in the city. Mia discovers that abuela has a hard time understanding English, so she comes up with a fun way to teach her the language.

“Across the Bay,” written and illustrated by Carlos Aponte – Carlitos lives a happy life with his mother, his abuela and Coco the cat. His curiosity, however, draws him across the bay to the capital city so he can search for his father. Along the way, Carlitos learns lessons about the true meaning of home and family.

“Carmela Full of Wishes,” written by Matt de la Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson – Carmella wakes up on her birthday to discover her wish has come true – she’s finally old enough to travel through the neighborhood with her brother to do the family errands. Along the way, she finds a dandelion and her brother shows her how to make a wish.

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