The 9 Books by Hispanic Authors to Win 2016 ALA Awards

The 2016 Hispanic ALA Award Winners

The 2016 Hispanic ALA Award Winners

What an incredible week! Yesterday at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston, something amazing happened. Eight Hispanic authors or illustrators won or were recognized by no less than seven different awards, most of whom have not traditionally recognized the works of Hispanic authors or illustrators. It was an emotional moment celebrated by Latino authors, illustrators, publishers, agents, librarians, literary/diversity activists, and readers everywhere.

The most jaw-dropping moment occurred when Matt de la Peña received the John Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in the realm of children’s literature. His beautifully written book “Last Stop on Market Street” isn’t about the Latino experience, but rather about the relationship between a grandparent and grandchild, and how growing up poor gives us a unique opportunity to perceive the beauty in our surroundings. It is certainly worthy of the Newbery Medal.

In addition, well-known author Pam Muñoz Ryan was also recognized by the Newbery Medal committee. Her latest book “Echo” was named a Newbery Honor Book. Until yesterday, Margarita Engle’s verse novel “The Surrender Tree” was the only Newbery Honor-winning book by a Latino author. And NO Hispanic authors had ever received the coveted Newbery Medal.

Several other authors and illustrators were recognized by other awards (see image above), including the beloved Pura Belpré Award.

If you’d like to check out these wonderful books and read others by these talented authors and illustrators, you can purchase them below using our Amazon affiliate links.

Last Stop on Market Street
Newbery Medal Winner &
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
Last Stop on Market Street
written by Matt de la Peña
illustrated by Christian Robinson

Newbery Honor Book &
Odyssey Honor Recording
written by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Funny Bones
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award &
Belpré Illustrator Honor Book
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

Out of Darkness
Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award
Out of Darkness
by Ashley Hope Pérez

Alex Award
Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League
by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Enchanted Air
Belpré Author Award &

YASLA finalist
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
written by Margarita Engle

Drum Dream Girl
Pura Belpré Illustrator Award
Drum Dream Girl
illustrated by Rafael López
written by Margarita Engle

My Tata’s Remedies
Belpré Illustrator Honor Book
My Tata’s Remedies / Los remedios de mi tata
illustrated by Antonio Castro L.
written by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford

Mango, Abuela, and Me
Belpré Author & Illustrator Honor Book
Mango, Abuela, and Me
written by Meg Medina
illustrated by Angela Dominguez

The Smoking Mirror
Belpré Illustrator Honor Book
The Smoking Mirror
written by David Bowles

Remarkable Latino Children’s Literature of 2015

Remarkable Latino Children's Literature 2015

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
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.  

Little Chanclas
Little Chanclas
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
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
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.

Mayas Blanket
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.

Vamonos Lets Go
¡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.

10 Tips to Nurture a Biliterate and Bilingual Child

10 Tips to Nurture a Biliterate and Bilingual ChildThe following is part of our series on Raising Biliterate Children by guest contributor, Dr. Carlos Ulloa. In this article, he’s partnered with Laine Gen to present these helpful tips for parents.

Below are some tips to consider as you help instill in your child a lifelong love of reading, writing, listening and speaking in two languages. 


If you want to develop a bilingual and biliterate child, you must be a strong and consistent example in the home. When you embrace the gift of speaking, listening, reading and writing in two languages, you model a family value that can be passed on for generations. Accept it, you are your child’s first teacher! Do not relinquish this important responsibility to anyone.  But don’t feel like you have to speak perfectly. All language learners make mistakes, and getting corrected is one way we learn. You are modeling effort, not perfection. 


If you can’t make trips to visit abuelita and abuelito, call them on the phone or Skype with them weekly.  Nothing is sadder to a Spanish-speaking grandparent or relative than when children cannot communicate with family because of language barriers. Start with basic greetings. Plan out a few phrases and teach them to your children each time you call. Ask your family not to switch to English at the slightest misunderstanding (if they speak English). Again, emphasize and encourage effort on the part of your children and how their attempts to communicate are a gift and sign of respect to their elders. 


Make time to read with your child every day. There is nothing like escaping into a great story together! Find your child’s inner passion and then look for books, magazines, and websites related to his or her favorite topic. One child I knew was a reluctant reader in Spanish (his second language) until his mother found a Minecraft handbook in Spanish. Suddenly, he couldn’t wait to read each day.

While reading together, consciously ask questions aloud about the author, story setting, characters or plot. Ask your child to predict what will happen next and then see if the predictions are correct. This is what great readers do in their heads, and you can model it for your child. Put yourself into the book and honor your child’s responses.

There are a growing number of bilingual books written in English and Spanish. Your local library and your child’s school library can help you find Pura Belpré Award-winning books. The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. Established in 1996, the award is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. For a list of current award and honor books, check out the Pura Belpré home page at 


A simple and fun pre-writing activity is to talk about new and familiar words you see when you are walking, driving, or riding the bus. When encountering new words, be curious about them. Model using a dictionary and help your child figure out meanings by breaking the word into smaller parts.

Writing is a process. Start small: Craft your grocery shopping list with your child and alternate languages each week. Older, second-language learners love to label all the furniture in the house. Write down a favorite family recipe together. Label captions on the back of your family photos (who, what and where) or create a photo album together online or through social media. Card making is also a wonderful and purposeful form of reading and writing, and don’t forget thank you notes to family members or classmates who give birthday or holiday gifts. Expand from letter writing to recording family stories together. 


Cooking together requires searching for a recipe (using alphabetization skills), reading it together, reviewing the vocabulary as you find the ingredients and once again as you combine them. This is hands-on language learning at its finest. You can even write a review of the dish after you eat! 


When you are at home or in the car, listen to songs in both languages. Check out CDs by José Luis Orozco, Suni Paz, or Juan Sánchez from your library or use online resources like Pandora’s Música infantil station. Talk about the lyrics. What is the singer trying to say? Audiobooks in English and Spanish are also a wonderful way to improve your child’s listening comprehension in the car. 


First, eat dinner together as a family. This can be a homemade meal or take-out, but sit together at the table and talk about the vocabulary of the food you are eating. Turn off the television and all devices. Talk about the day’s events.  Share a rose/rosa and a thorn/espina. The rose/rosa  is a wonderful moment in the day and a thorn/espina is an event in the day that needs some helpful advice from the family. Then, after dinner, play a game together. Look for games like Candy Land, Uno, or Battleship that have simple vocabulary based on numbers and colors, which can be played easily in different languages. Select games your child enjoys playing. 


Use technology to enhance learning only after kids have had time to do chores, play outdoors, and exercise their imaginations. Ditch the cable. Movies can be checked out from the library and watched on the weekend. Set the captions to a different language while you watch. If your child wants some computer time, there are great eBook resources like Bookflix, a Scholastic website requiring a subscription but available for free for patrons of California libraries. Bookflix allows you to access fiction and nonfiction books paired on a topic. Some pairs are available in both English and Spanish. All of these stories are animated, narrated by native speakers, and feature words that change color as they are read aloud (like in karaoke). Also, reluctant readers are sometimes much more motivated to read if they can do it on a tablet rather than a traditional book. But make sure all electronics are off at least an hour before bedtime so you can relax together with a bedtime story from a real book or your imagination. 


Librarians are an underutilized resource. They live to help you find unusual items. Most libraries have inter-library loan programs, where you can borrow materials from other sources and they are sent right to your local branch for you to pick up. If the library doesn’t have what you are looking for, put in a purchase request. Ask your branch manager to consider allocating more resources to books, videos, CDs, and story time in Spanish or other languages. And finally, when you purchase books, check your local independent bookstore to see if they can order for you. Some indie bookstores will give you a discount if you register your book club, so create one and start saving! 


Language learning happens most effectively when you are in a community, surrounded by people who speak that language. In fact, children need exposure to another language for about a third of their waking hours in order to acquire it naturally. More and more school districts are creating free public charter schools that offer your child the chance to become part of a bilingual community from a very young age. New programs require a lot of time investment on the part of parents to create enrichment opportunities, but your efforts will pay off in the long run as you give your child the life-long gift of being able to read, write, speak and listen in two languages.


Dr. Ulloa grew up speaking Spanish with his mother and English with his father. Dr. Ulloa has 25 years of experience as an elementary teacher, director of curriculum and instruction, Descubriendo la Lectura/Reading Recovery teacher, parent involvement specialist and dual immersion principal. He currently serves as a commissioner on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), an advisory board to the California State Board of Education. Ulloa earned his B.A. at San Diego State University in Liberal Studies with a Spanish Bilingual Emphasis, masters in Education from Harvard University and doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Ulloa can be contacted at or connect with him on Twitter: @DrCarlosUlloaJr.

Laine Gen grew up in a monolingual household but became trilingual as an adult by living and teaching in France and Mexico.  She holds a B.A. in French and a masters in teaching English to speakers of other languages.  She married a Chinese American and has picked up some Cantonese along the way from her in-laws.  Her two children attend Loma Vista Immersion Academy in Petaluma, California and are growing up bilingual in English and Spanish.  She can be reached at

A Guide to Translanguaging in Latino/a Literature for Educators PreK-12

Guide to Latino Literature

We’re so pleased to share with you this valuable free resource for both parents and educators. Created by Vanessa Pérez Rosario, Ph.D., a professor of Latino Studies with a focus on literature and education. Click here to download Translanguaging in Latino/a Literature: A Guide for Educators.


Translanguaging in Latino/a Literature: A Guide for Educators
by Vanessa Pérez

In an interview, writer Esmeralda Santiago reflects on her choice to become a writer. She remembers looking for books that she could identify as a young woman who had migrated from Puerto Rico to Brooklyn as a teenager and recalls, “there were no books about Puerto Rican girls in Brooklyn. I think that I was driven to be a writer because I didn’t exist in the literature, and therefore didn’t exist in the culture. I simply wasn’t there.”

While today there are many wonderful works of literature that reflect the Latino/a experience and are appropriate for very young children through high school, these books often don’t make it into our curricula or our classrooms. This Latino/a Literature Guide offers teachers culturally sustaining literature suggestions, deepens our understanding of bilingualism and the language practices of Latino/a bilinguals, which is enriching and empowering for the bilingual reader. The Guide was created in the context of the City University of New York – New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals (CUNY NYSIEB) and is aligned with our core principals, to develop a multilingual ecology in schools and to see bilingualism as a resource.

This Guide offers analysis of language use in 32 works of Latino/a literature that are appropriate for Grades PreK-12, analyzing seventeen books for Grades PreK-6 and fifteen books for Grades 7-12. The analysis of each book includes lexile level, themes, author biography and website, a list of supplemental resources, a summary of the book, and an analysis of the way the author uses translanguaging, the flexible use of linguistic resources in literature. Analyzing the way that authors translanguage, or flexibly use Spanish and English in their texts, helps us to explore our bilingualism and bicultural identities leading to a deeper understanding of bilingualism. The Guide encourages literacy development through the use of culturally relevant texts and it deepens our understanding of bilingualism and the language practices of Latino/as.

How might teachers use this Guide in the classroom? Some of our schools have already started using the Guide and this is how they are doing it. Schools are purchasing the books included here for independent reading classroom libraries. Some schools are replacing the books recommended by purchased curricula for the books recommended here because they are more culturally sustaining and relevant to the children’s lives. In the Guide, non-fiction reading is introduced along with the literary texts in the form of the author’s biographies. In the additional resources section for each book you can often find links to author interviews and literary analysis of the text, helping teachers meet the non-fiction reading requirements. The books included here can serve as models for assignments where students are asked to include words from their home language in their own poetry or narrative writing. Finally, one elementary school has decided to use the book América is her name by Luis Rodríguez (included in the Guide) to introduce students to the poetry unit. In the story, América, a young Mixteca girl migrates to Chicago and she is having a hard time fitting in. When her teacher Mr. Aponte encourages her to write and recite poetry in English and in Spanish or whatever language she feels most comfortable with, she is able to make sense of the world around her and find a sense of home through poetry.

I invite you to download your free copy here.

The 2015 Pura Belpré Award Winners

2015 Pura Belpré Award Winners

2015 Pura Belpré Award Winners

This post uses affiliate links.

Congratulations to the 2015 Pura Belpré Award Winners! The winners were announced this morning and we’ve listed them below. We’re excited to discover a couple of new titles and to see several of our own picks from last year’s Remarkable Latino Children’s Literature list.

Pura Belpré Author Award
Honors Latino authors whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience.

I Lived on Butterfly Hill

I Lived on Butterfly Hill
written by Marjorie Agosín, illustrated by Lee White


Pura Belpré Author Honor Book

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes
written by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Raúl Colón


Pura Belpré Illustrator Award
Honors a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.

Viva Frida

Viva Frida
Written & illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Books

Little Roja Riding Hood

Little Roja Riding Hood
illustrated by Susan Guevara
written by Susan Middleton Elya

Green Is A Chile Pepper

Green Is a Chile Pepper
illustrated by John Parra
written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong

Separate Is Never Equal

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation
illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh

Latino Children’s Literature on Google Play

20 Latino Books for Kids on Google Play

With more and more families accessing literature on tech devices such as tablets, eReaders, and even smartphones, we decided now was a great time to share some Latino eBooks for kids. Our friends and underwriters at Google have a growing collection of Latino children’s literature in eBook format available for download via the Google Play store. We hope you enjoy these titles as much as we do and continue to explore their online store for additional titles. The more you purchase these types of books, the more you show them that these titles are in demand and the more eBooks written by and about Latinos they’ll offer!

10 Latino Books for Teens

10 Latino Books for Teens

I first discovered Latino literature when I was a teenager in high school taking a multicultural lit class. The experience was life changing for me. Since then so many more books by and about Latinos have been written and published for young adults. Here are just a few of our favorite Latino literature titles for teens. What titles would you add to our list?

Psst! Any of these would be ideal reads for our YA Challenge!

(All the links below are affiliate links. When you click on one and make a purchase, we receive a small commission, which helps with the running of this website.)

My Own True Name: New and Selected Poems for Young Adults
by Pat Mora

a major selection of new and previously published poems chosen by Pat Mora herself with young-adult readers in mind. Using the cactus plant as her guiding metaphor for our existence, she presents more than sixty poems grouped variously into “Blooms,” “Thorns,” and “Roots.” Each section opens with a graceful line drawing from artist Anthony Accardo, and the whole is prefaced by a whimsical and intimate introduction, “Dear Fellow Writter.”

Names on a Map: A Novel
by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The Espejo family of El Paso, Texas, is like so many others in America in 1967, trying to make sense of a rapidly escalating war they feel does not concern them. But when the eldest son, Gustavo, a complex and errant rebel, receives a certified letter ordering him to report to basic training, he chooses to flee instead to Mexico. Retreating back to the land of his grandfather—a foreign country to which he is no longer culturally connected—Gustavo sets into motion a series of events that will have catastrophic consequences on the fragile bonds holding the family together.

My Name is Cool: 18 Stories from a Cuban-Irish-American Storyteller
by Antonio Sacre

Born in Boston to a Cuban father and an Irish-American mother, Antonio Sacre is one of the fewleprecanos on the national speaking circuit. Using his own personal history and telling the stories that audiences across the nation have found so captivating and wonderful, this  award-winning storyteller and author  weaves the Spanish language, Cuban and Mexican customs, and Irish humor into an unforgettable book of humor, inspiration, tradition, and family.

by Skila Brown

Carlos knows that when the soldiers arrive with warnings about the Communist rebels, it is time to be a man and defend the village, keep everyone safe. But Mama tells him not yet — he’s still her quiet moonfaced boy. The soldiers laugh at the villagers, and before they move on, a neighbor is found dangling from a tree, a sign on his neck: Communist. Mama tells Carlos to run and hide, then try to find her. . . . Numb and alone, he must join a band of guerillas as they trek to the top of the mountain where Carlos’s abuela lives. Will he be in time, and brave enough, to warn them about the soldiers? What will he do then? A novel in verse inspired by actual events during Guatemala’s civil war, Caminar is the moving story of a boy who loses nearly everything before discovering who he really is.

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind
by Meg Medina

Sixteen-year-old Sonia Ocampo was born on the night of the worst storm Tres Montes had ever seen. And when the winds mercifully stopped, an unshakable belief in the girl’s protective powers began. All her life, Sonia has been asked to pray for sick mothers or missing sons, as worried parents and friends press silver milagros in her hands. Sonia knows she has no special powers, but how can she disappoint those who look to her for solace? Still, her conscience is heavy, so when she gets a chance to travel to the city and work in the home of a wealthy woman, she seizes it. At first, Sonia feels freedom in being treated like all the other girls. But when news arrives that her beloved brother has disappeared while looking for work, she learns to her sorrow that she can never truly leave the past or her family behind.

Under the Mesquite
by Guadalupe Garcia Mccall

Lupita, a budding actor and poet in a close-knit Mexican American immigrant family, comes of age as she struggles with adult responsibilities during her mother’s battle with cancer in this young adult novel in verse.

When Lupita learns Mami has cancer, she is terrified by the possibility of losing her mother, the anchor of her close-knit family. Suddenly, being a high school student, starring in a play, and dealing with friends who don’t always understand, become less important than doing whatever she can to save Mami’s life.

While her father cares for Mami at an out-of-town clinic, Lupita takes charge of her seven younger siblings. As Lupita struggles to keep the family afloat, she takes refuge in the shade of a mesquite tree, where she escapes the chaos at home to write. Forced to face her limitations in the midst of overwhelming changes and losses, Lupita rediscovers her voice and finds healing in the power of words.

Esperanza Rising
by Pam Munoz Ryan

Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.

The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child
by Francisco Jiménez

“The Circuit,” the story of young Panchito and his trumpet, is one of the most widely anthologized stories in Chicano literature. At long last, Jimenez offers more about the wise, sensitive little boy who has grown into a role model for subsequent generations of immigrants.

These independent but intertwined stories follow the family through their circuit, from picking cotton and strawberries to topping carrots–and back agai–over a number of years. As it moves from one labor camp to the next, the little family of four grows into ten. Impermanence and poverty define their lives. But with faith, hope, and back-breaking work, the family endures.

Baseball in April and Other Stories
by Gary Soto

The Mexican American author Gary Soto draws on his own experience of growing up in California’s Central Valley in this finely crafted collection of eleven short stories that reveal big themes in the small events of daily life. Crooked teeth, ponytailed girls, embarrassing grandfathers, imposter Barbies, annoying brothers, Little League tryouts, and karate lessons weave the colorful fabric of Soto’s world. The smart, tough, vulnerable kids in these stories are Latino, but their dreams and desires belong to all of us.

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal 
by Margarita Engle

One hundred years ago, the world celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, which connected the world’s two largest oceans and signaled America’s emergence as a global superpower. It was a miracle, this path of water where a mountain had stood—and creating a miracle is no easy thing. Thousands lost their lives, and those who survived worked under the harshest conditions for only a few silver coins a day.

From the young “silver people” whose back-breaking labor built the Canal to the denizens of the endangered rainforest itself, this is the story of one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, as only Newbery Honor-winning author Margarita Engle could tell it.

10 Latino Books for Tweens


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?

(All the links below are affiliate links. When you click on one and make a purchase, we receive a small commission, which helps with the running of this website.)

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.

Salsa Stories 
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.

Neighborhood Odes 
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.

Video of the Week: Carmen Tafolla Reads What Can You Do with a Paleta?


*This post contains affiliates links.

This week’s DIY Summer Reading Camp theme is SUMMER/VERANO, and one of the books recommended in this camp is Carmen Tafolla‘s What Can You Do with a Paleta? (affiliate link). We thought it would be great to share with you this video of Dr. Tafolla reading her book aloud. So grab your nene and enjoy learning all about what you can do with a paleta!

Video of the Week: Irania Macias Patterson


*This post contains affiliates links.

This week’s DIY Summer Reading Camp theme is NATURE/NATURALEZA, and one of the books recommended in this camp is Irania Macia Patterson’s Chipi Chipis, Small Shells of the Sea (affiliate link). So we were excited to find this video of Irania discussing in Spanish her book, writing for Latino children, and encouraging authors in North Carolina (and around the country).