Each year, we receive dozens of books to be considered in the L4LL Reading Programs. Most of them are beautifully written and/or illustrated works that depict the diversity of the Latino experience. A few years ago, in response to the lack of Latino children’s literature representation in national reading lists, we began sharing our own list of some of the incredible titles that are published each year by talented Latino authors and illustrators. We had hoped to encourage these national lists to begin including books by Latinos. Some, such as the New York Times, have included Latino illustrators, such as Raúl Colón and Duncan Tonatiuh, in their annual Best Illustrated Children’s Books list, but have yet to include any Latino authors in their annual Notable Children’s Books list. We hope that this year will be different.
As we head into the holidays and the end of the year, we want to share our annual Remarkable Latino Children’s Literature selection of exemplary books written by Latinos. You can download and print a copy of our list here. We know that there are other fantastic stories that have been published this year. As always, we’d love to hear from you. What titles would you add to our list? Share them in the comments below.
As always, BRAVO to the amazing authors and illustrators who work so hard to give a voice to our culture and traditions.
The following list contains affiliate links.
Drum Dream Girl
By Margarita Engle. Illustrated by Rafael López. (HMH Books for Young Readers, $16.99)
A beautifully written and visually vibrant book based on the true story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, the Chinese-African-Cuban, who at the age of 10, dared to break Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers.
Salsa: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem
By Jorge Argueta. Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. (Groundwood Books, $18.95)
A visual and auditory celebration, this book follows a brother and sister as they follow a recipe to make an outstanding salsa.
By José Lozano. (Cinco Puntos Press, $16.95)
A sweet, bilingual tale about Lilly Lujan who goes everywhere in her little chanclas- baptisms, barbeques, picnics, quinceañeras, and more. Until one day, her chanclas are gone. What will she do?
Mango, Abuela, and Me
By Meg Medina. Illustrated by Angela Dominguez. (Candlewick, $15.99)
When Abuela comes to stay, Mia doesn’t understand what she is saying… and Abuela doesn’t understand her either! But with the help of a parrot named Mango, the two find a way to learn and speak each other’s language.
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
Written & illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. (Harry N. Abrams, $18.95)
Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man whose art is beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.
Maya’s Blanket/La manta de Maya
Written by Monica Brown. Illustrated by David Diaz. (Children’s Book Press, $17.95)
In this Latino spin on a traditional Yiddish folk song, a handmade blanket transforms as little Maya grows up.
¡Vámonos! Let’s Go
By René Colato Laínez. Illustrated by Joe Cepeda (Holiday House, $16.95)
“The Wheels on the Bus” takes on a new, bilingual identity as children sing in both English and Spanish about the exciting noises made by all sorts of vehicles.