A few weeks ago, someone asked us to share more books for older children. So we’re happy to share just a few of our favorite titles for tweens that were written by or about Latinos. What titles would you add to our list?
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Case of the Pen Gone Missing: A Mickey Rangel Mystery / El caso de La pluma perdida: Coleccion Mickey Rangel
by Rene Saldana
The first book in The Mickey Rangel Mystery series for intermediate readers, author and educator Rene Saldana, Jr. has crafted another appealing book for kids, and his wise-cracking, smart protagonist will appeal to even the most reluctant readers.
Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller
by Xavier Garza
Margarito acts like any other eleven-year-old aficionado of lucha libre. He worships all the players. But in the summer just before sixth grade, he tumbles over the railing at a match in San Antonio and makes a connection to the world of Mexican wrestling that will ultimately connect him—maybe by blood!—to the greatest hero of all time: the Guardian Angel.
A Mummy in Her Backpack / Una momia en su mochila
by James Luna
Flor and her best friend Lupita stare in astonishment as a cowboy hat, followed by a small man with dark yellow skin and thin, stringy hair, emerges from her backpack. He introduces himself as Rafa, a mummy from the famous museum in Guanajuato. Flor visited the museum and learned that some people buried there mummified naturally. She can’t believe that an actual mummy hitched a ride with her to the United States!
The Legend of Ponciano Gutiérrez and the Mountain Thieves
by A. Gabriel Meléndez, The Paiz Family
Once upon a time in the Mora Valley of northern New Mexico there lived a farmer named Ponciano Gutiérrez. On a trip through the mountains he was taken captive by Vicente Silva and his gang of bank robbers. This tale of Ponciano’s quick-witted escape has been a bedtime story for generations in the Paiz family.
The Missing Chancleta and Other Top-Secret Cases / La chancleta perdida y otros casos secretos
by Alidis Vicente
Flaca’s chancleta, or flip flop, has gone missing! She prepares to investigate the theft: “Pencil and notepad: in hand. Straw hat for disguise: on. Magnifying glass: Check.” She interviews each of her family members, all of whom are suspects. Oddly, their stories check out, so Flaca will have to dig deeper to find the culprit.
Normally, Detective Flaca a pale, scrawny second grader doesn’t allow civilians to read her confidential case files. But young readers willing to sign the confidentiality agreement that appears before the three top-secret cases included in this bilingual collection are in luck!
Yes! We Are Latinos!
by Alma Flor Ada
Thirteen young Latinos and Latinas living in America are introduced in this book celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino and Latina experience in the United States. Free-verse fictional narratives from the perspective of each youth provide specific stories and circumstances for the reader to better understand the Latino people’s quest for identity. Each profile is followed by nonfiction prose that further clarifies the character’s background and history, touching upon important events in the history of the Latino American people, such as the Spanish Civil War, immigration to the US, and the internment of Latinos with Japanese ancestry during World War II.
by Lulu Delacre
When Carmen Teresa receives a notebook as a holiday gift, the guests suggest she write down their own childhood stories, which they tell. But Carmen Teresa, who loves to cook, collects their family recipes instead!
With energy, sensitivity, and warmth, Lulu Delacre introduces readers to a symphony of colorful characters whose 9 stories dance through a year of Latin American holidays and customs. Countries include Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Guatamala and Peru. Seventeen delicious and authentic recipes are included.
The Wild Book
by Ms. Margarita Engle
Fefa struggles with words. She has word blindness, or dyslexia, and the doctor says she will never read or write. Every time she tries, the letters jumble and spill off the page, leaping away like bullfrogs. How will she ever understand them?
But her mother has an idea. She gives Fefa a blank book filled with clean white pages. “Think of it as a garden,” she says. Soon Fefa starts to sprinkle words across the pages of her wild book. She lets her words sprout like seedlings, shaky at first, then growing stronger and surer with each new day. And when her family is threatened, it is what Fefa has learned from her wild book that saves them.
Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White
by Lila Quintero Weaver
In 1961, when Lila was five, she and her family emigrated from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Marion, Alabama, in the heart of Alabama’s Black Belt. As educated, middle-class Latino immigrants in a region that was defined by segregation, the Quinteros occupied a privileged vantage from which to view the racially charged culture they inhabited. Weaver and her family were firsthand witnesses to key moments in the civil rights movement. But Darkroom is her personal story as well: chronicling what it was like being a Latina girl in the Jim Crow South, struggling to understand both a foreign country and the horrors of our nation’s race relations. Weaver, who was neither black nor white, observed very early on the inequalities in the American culture, with its blonde and blue-eyed feminine ideal. Throughout her life, Lila has struggled to find her place in this society and fought against the discrimination around her.
by Gary Soto
Award-winning poet Gary Soto and Caldecott winner David Diaz turn their eyes on the world of kids. From family pictures to pinatas, from the gato with a meow like a rusty latch to Fourth of July fireworks, the startling and often overlooked moments that define childhood are vividly brought to life by these two acclaimed talents.