Realistic fiction




Historical fiction










Realistic fiction


Ada, A. F. (2002). I love Saturdays y Domingos. Illustrated by E. Savadier. New York: Atheneum. (K-3)


Saturdays and Sundays are very special days for the child in this story. On Saturdays, she visits Grandma and Grandpa, who come from a European-American background, and on Sundays -- los domingos -- she visits Abuelito y Abuelita, who are Mexican-American. While the two sets of grandparents are different in many ways, they also have a great deal in common -- in particular, their love for their granddaughter. While we follow our narrator to the circus and the pier, share stories from her grandparents’ pasts, and celebrate her birthday, the depth and joy of both cultures are conveyed in Spanish and English. This affirmation of both heritages will speak to all children who want to know more about their own families and ethnic backgrounds. (


Ada, A. F. (1995). My name is Maria Isabel. Illustrated by K. D. Thompson. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks. (2-5)


Third grader Maria Isabel, born in Puerto Rico and now living in the U.S., wants badly to fit in at school; and the teacher’s writing assignment “My Greatest Wish” gives her that opportunity. (


Ada, A. F. (199). The gold coin. Illustrated by N. Waldman. New York: Scott Foresman. (K-3)


Determined to steal an old woman’s gold coin, a young thief follows her around the countryside and finds himself involved in a series of unexpected activities. (card catalog)


Altman, L. J. (1995). Amelia’s road. Illustrated by E. O. Sanchez. New York: Lee & Low. (K-3)


Tired of moving around so much, Amelia, the daughter of migrant farm workers, dreams of a stable home. (


Anaya, R. (1999).  Farolitos for Abuelo.  Illustrated by E. Gonzales. Hyperion.  (1-4)


When Luz’s beloved grandfather dies, she places luminaria around his grave on Christmas Eve as a way of remembering him. (card catalog)


Anaya, R. (1995).  The farolitos of Christmas.  Illustrated by E. Gonzales. Hyperion. (1-4)


With her father away fighting in World War II and her grandfather too sick to create the traditional luminaria, Luz helps create farolitos, little lanterns, for their Christmas celebration instead. (card catalog)


Anaya, R. (2004).  The santero’s miracle: A bilingual story.  Illustrated by A. Cordova.

University of New Mexico Press.  (1-4)


In this bilingual story of faith, Don Jacobo has a dream that, in the end, is a reminder that miracles do happen. Jacobo is teaching his visiting grandson Andrés how to become a santero. Christmas is coming, snow is falling in the village, and the two are working on a carving of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers. The half-finished carving stands in the living room beside the two oxen and the angel that don Jacobo carved earlier in the month. The snow-covered mountains are beautiful, but the road to the village is impassable. Andrés’s parents will not be able to get to the house for the holiday, and Jacobo’s neighbor Leopoldo is desperately ill but cannot get to the hospital. Then comes Jacobo’s dream; San Isidro is plowing with the two oxen and the angel is helping. "But we don’t plow ’til April” don Jacobo muses upon awakening. "What does it mean?” The night had been bitterly cold and don Jacobo must bundle up to go to the barn to feed his cows and chickens. As he steps outside, he can hardly believe his eyes. The snow-packed road is clear. (


Brusca, M. (1993). On the pampas. Madison, WS: Turtleback Books. (K-3)


An account of a little girl’s idyllic summer at her grandparents’ ranch on the pampas of Argentina. (card catalog)


Bunting, E. (1998). Going home. Illustrated by D. Diaz. New York: HarperTrophy. (K-3)


From a Caldecott-medal winning team comes the heartwarming story of one family’s special Christmas homecoming. On his trip to Mexico for the holidays, Carlos comes to realize that home can be anywhere, because it stays in the hearts of the people who love you. (


Buss, F. L. (1993). Journey of the sparrows. New York: Yearling. (4-6)


The story of fifteen-year-old Maria Acosta, fleeing El Salvador with her sister and brother, is told in a devastating narrative. The writing is direct, almost documentary, with the emphasis on the plight of the refugees and their desperate attempt to survive and reunite their family. (Horn Book, 1992)


Calhoun, M. (1996). Tonio’s cat. Illustrated by E. Martinez. New York: William Morrow & Company. (K-3)


Brought to life through sun-drenching illustrations, this is the heartwarming story of the love that grows between a lonely little boy and a streetwise cat. (


Casteneda, O. S. (1995). Abuela’s weave. Illustrated by E. O. Sanchez. New York: Lee & Low. (K-4)


A young Guatemalan girl and her grandmother grow closer as they weave some special creations and then make a trip to the market in hopes of selling them. (card catalog)


Christopher, M. (1994). Centerfield ballhawk. Illustrated by E. Beier. New York: Little, Brown and Company. (3-5)


While grounded from team play for two weeks after breaking a neighbor’s window, Jose Mendez bemoans his inability to be a .375 hitter like his father was in the minor leagues. Even his sister is a good hitter. Jose comes to recognize his value as a fielder in the satisfying, if predictable, resolution. (Horn Book, 1992)


Ciavonne, J. (2001). Carlos, light the farolito. Illustrated by D. Clair. New York: Houghton Mifflin. (K-3)


In  a unique, illustrated holiday story, little Carlos must overcome his shyness when he is forced to play his grandfather’s part in the traditional Mexican Christmas pageant known as Las Posadas, a reenactment of the Nativity. (


Cohn, D. (2002). Dream carver. Illustrated by A. Cordova. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle. (K-3)


Mateo and his father carve juguetes, the traditional small wooden animals their family sells at the fiestas in Oaxaca. But Mateo wants to create great big carvings of goats that are pink as bougainvillea and have cactus-green speckles; purple cats with corn-yellow spots and rose-colored jaguars. When he tells his father this dream, he’s scolded for his foolishness, but Mateo perseveres and at the next fiesta, everyone wants one of his creations! Including an informative afterword on this vibrant Mexican art form, this colorful take encourages readers of all ages to follow their dreams. (


Crowley, J. (1998). Gracias the Thanksgiving turkey. Illustrated by J. Cepeda. New York: Scholastic Trade. (K-3)


Young Puerto Rican boy Miguel refuses to go anywhere without his turkey companion, a bird too dear for the Thanksgiving table, and the pair delights everyone in their New York City neighborhood. (


Cumpiano, I.  (2008).  Quinito, day and night/ Quinito, dia y noche.  Illustrated by J. Ramirez.  Children’s Book Press.  (K-2)


From dawn till dusk, Quinito’s life is full of opposites. In the morning, he’s up and running — fast or slowly, depending on the day. If it’s sunny, he’s off to the park to swing high and low. If it’s a rainy, stay-at-home day, Quinito’s quiet at naptime and noisy at playtime. So much to do before the sun sets! This playful story builds awareness in young readers that everywhere they look, opposites abound. Told in both English and Spanish, Quinito, Day and Night is a delight for readers young or old, tall or short, messy or neat. (


Cumpiano, I (2009).  Quinito’s neighborhood/ El vecindario de Quinito.  Illustrated by J. Ramirez.  Children’s Book Press.  (K-2)


What makes a neighborhood? Is it the shops, the buildings, the roads, the schools? Or is it the people? Answering this question is easy for effervescent young Quinito, who knows most of his neighbors–in fact, he is related to many of them. From his carpenter mother and nurse father to his aunt the muralist and cousin Tita, a clown, his is a network of love that encompasses teachers, crossing guards, bankers, postal workers, dance instructors, and truck drivers. Ramírez’s vibrant acrylic-on-canvas paintings bring this community to life, the primitive forms fairly bursting from the book’s pages with their deep hues and sense of emotional warmth. The simple text, equally good in both English and Spanish, is in a font that resembles a child’s printing. Its child appeal, lovely message, and potential inspiration to young authors and artists make Quinito’s Neighborhood a place that youngsters will enjoy visiting.  (School Library Journal)


Dominguez, K. K. (2002). The perfect piñata/La piñata perfecta. Illustrated by D. Paterson. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman. (K-3)


In preparation for her birthday party, five-year-old Marisa picks out a colorful, butterfly pinata and insists on placing it on her dresser, instead of storing it in the closet. The more she plays with the pinata, the more attached to it she becomes.. On the day of her party, she can’t bear to hit the beautiful pinata. Fortunately, her understanding. creative parents solve the problem and all ends well, with candy streaming from a homemade pinata, and the butterfly safe in Marisa’s arms. Told in English and Spanish, the story is well paced and satisfying. Spanish words placed in the English narrative are easily understood in context. The watercolor pictures convey Marisa’s attachment to the butterfly and her emotional turmoil in the midst of a lively party. Birthday stories are always popular; this new one adds a Latin flavor and an unusual twist. (Booklist)


Dorros, A. (1997). Radio Man: A story in English and Spanish. Translated by S. M. Dorros. New York: HarperTrophy. (1-4)


Diego and his family are migrant farmers who move from state to state picking fruits and vegetables. Each day brings a new experience – a different place, a different crop, and different people to meet. But no matter where Diego goes, his radio goes with him – it helps him to learn about the places he’s going and to keep in touch with the people he meets along the way. (


Dorros, A. (1995). Tonight is Carnaval. New York: Puffin. (4-6)


A family in South America eagerly prepares for the excitement of Carnaval.  (card catalog).


Estes, K. R. (1999). Manuela’s gift. Illustrated by C. Cotts. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. (K-3)


A young girl is disappointed when she doesn’t get the new party dress she wanted for her birthday. But a dream shows her all the things she has to be thankful for. Poetic text and magical paintings make a touching story. (


Figueredo, D. H. (1999). When this world was new. Illustrated by E. O. Sanchez. New York: Lee & Low. (K-3)


When Danilito and his parents move from the Caribbean to New York City, Danilito is scared. He doesn’t speak any English, and he’s heard that some Americans aren’t friendly to foreigners. Danilito’s parents have worries too, about finding new jobs and a new house. But Danilito’s fears disappear when he wakes to the wonder of his first snowfall. His father leads him on a magical trip of discovery that helps Danilito embrace his new home and realize his bond with his family. (


Fine, E. H. (2002). Under the lemon moon. Illustrated by R. K. Moreno. New York: Lee & Low. (K-3)


The theft of all the lemons from her lemon tree leads Rosalinda to an encounter with la Anciana, the Old One, who walks the Mexican countryside helping things grow, and an understanding of generosity and forgiveness. (


Hurwitz, J. (1999). New shoes for Silvia. Illustrated by J. Pinkney. New York: Mulberry Press. (K-3)


A young girl receives a beautiful pair of red shoes from her Tia Rosita and finds different uses for them until she grows enough for them to fit. (card catalog)


Jimenez, F. (2000). La mariposa. Illustrated by S. Silva. New York: Houghton Mifflin. (K-3)


In his first year of school, Francisco understands little of what his teacher says. But he is drawn to the silent, slow-moving caterpillar in the jar next to his desk. He knows caterpillars turn into butterflies, but just how do they do it? To find out, he studies the words in a butterfly book so many times that he can close his eyes and see the black letters, but he still can’t understand their meaning. Illustrated with paintings as deep and rich as the wings of a butterfly, this honest, unsentimental account of a schoolchild’s struggle to learn language reveals that our imaginations powerfully sustain us. La Mariposa makes a subtle plea for tolerance in our homes, our communities, and in our schools. (


Jimenez, F. (2000). The Christmas gift. Illustrated by C. Cotts. New York: Houghton Mifflin. (K-3)


With honesty and rare grace, award-winning author Francisco Jimenez shares his most poignant Christmas memory in this remarkable book. Illustrated with paintings full of strength and warmth, written in spare bilingual text, this simple story celebrates the true spirit of Christmas, and illuminates how children do indeed draw strength from the bonds of their families. (


Johnston, T. (2006).  Angel City.  Illustrated by C. Byard.  Philomel. (2-4)


 In the broken streets of Los Angeles, elderly Joseph finds a baby in a dumpster and brings him home to raise--his "gift from God.” In moving lines that read like free-verse poetry, Johnston describes how man and boy become a family. The survival struggle is clear and heartbreaking: "Will I get to grow up?”  nine-year-old Juan asks after his best friend is killed by a stray bullet. The luxuriant field of corn that Juan and Joseph grow in a vacant lot is a symbol of hope, but children will be most reassured by the obvious, unwavering love between man and child. Johnston’s language frequently invokes God and also includes one curse: "The old man has promised to raise that baby. / Damned if he won't.” Byard’s feathery acrylics extend the sense of fierce love and even religious symbolism in scenes of Joseph cradling the swaddled infant and, later, the growing boy. For more powerful views of growing up in urban violence, suggest Eve Bunting’s Smoky Night (1994) and Barbara Joosse’s Stars in the Darkness (2002). (Booklist)


Jules, J. (2008).  No English.  Illustrated by A. Huntington. Mitten. (K-2)


"No English” is all that Blanca, the new girl from Argentina, says. She spends her time drawing pictures instead of doing class work, and that hardly seems fair to second-grader Diane. One misunderstanding follows another until Diane begins to see how afraid Blanca must feel in their classroom. Their teacher, Mrs. Bertram, helps her class understand that "different” is just different, not strange or weird. She encourages the students to learn about Blanca’s home country. Diane must make things right, but how will she do that when they don't speak the same language? (


Lachtman, O. D. (1995). Pepita talks twice. Illustrated by A. P. DeLange. Houston, TX: Arte Publico/Pinata. (K-3)


This colorfully illustrated picture book charmingly explores the joys and benefits of bilingualism. Capturing the beauty and flavor of biculturalism, this story of a little girl at the crossroads of the English and Spanish-speaking worlds will delight children of all backgrounds who enjoy multicultural identities. (


Leiner, K. (2001). Mama does the Mambo. Illustrated by E. Rodriguez. New York: Hyperion. (K-4)


Sofia tells this story set in Cuba during a time when LPs, not CDs, provided entertainment. Since her papa’s death, the music has stopped in their household and the girl worries that her mother will never find another dance partner. From all over Havana, men line up to get the chance to dance with her, but she is not interested. In the end, Mama chooses to mambo with Sofia at carnival. The text is peppered with easily understood Spanish phrases. Rodriguez’s artwork, done in pastel, gouache, and spray paint with woodblock-ink linework, is dramatic and attractive. Vibrant oranges and reds express the passion mother and daughter have for music and dance. (School Library Journal)


Luenn, N. (1998). A gift for Abuelita: Celebrating the Day of the Dead. Illustrated by R. Chapman. Flagstaff, AZ: Northland Publishing. (K-3)


After her beloved grandmother dies, Rosita hopes to be reunited with Abuelita as she prepares a gift to give her when her family celebrates the Day of the Dead. (


Markel, M. (1995). Gracias, Rosa. Illustrated by D. Paterson. Chicago, IL: Albert Whitman. (K-3)


Kate has a new babysitter, Rosa, who speaks Spanish and comes from Guatemala. Despite their different backgrounds, a sense of appreciation and acceptance of cultural diversity develops between the child and her caretaker. The text is sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases that Rosa teaches Kate. Gentle watercolors capture the evolving friendship in this affectionate story. (Horn Book, 1995)


Marzollo, J. (1997). Soccer cousins. Illustrated by I. Trivas. Canada: Cartwheel Books. (2-4)


This entry in the Hello Reader! Series works some basic Spanish and information about Mexico’s celebration of the Day of the Dead into the story. David’s lack of success on the soccer field convinces him that he’s not cut out to play. However, he’s thrilled to be invited to Mexico to watch his cousin play. The visit turns out to be a great opportunity for David to learn about the holiday and to regain his confidence on the sports field. (Booklist)


Miller, E. I. (1999). Just like home! Come en mi tierra. Illustrated by M. Reisberg. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman. (K-3)


A young girl describes how she adjusts to life in the United States as she evaluates the similarities and differences between her new home and her former home. Some things are the same, while others are vastly different. The child’s viewpoint is conveyed through folkloric-style illustrations accompanied by a succinct, lively text in both Spanish and English. (Horn Book, 1999)


Mohr, N. (1999). Going home. New York: Puffin. (4-6)


Everything in Felita’s life seems to change the year she turns twelve. Felita spends her summer in Puerto Rico, where she struggles to fit in. By the time summer has ended, Felita is beginning to feel at home with herself and her Puerto Rican heritage. (


Mora, P. (1997). A birthday basket for Tia. Illustrated by C. Lang. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks. (K-3)


With the help and interference of her cat Chica, Cecilia prepares a surprise gift for her great-aunt’s ninetieth birthday. (card catalog).


Mora, P. (1994). Pablo’s tree. Illustrated by C. Lang. New York: Simon & Schuster. (K-3)


Each year on his birthday, a young Mexican American boy looks forward to seeing how his grandfather has decorated the tree he planted on the day the boy was adopted. (card catalog)


Mora., P. (1999). The rainbow tulip. Illustrated by E. Sayles. New York: Viking. (K-3)


A Mexican-American first-grader experiences the difficulties and pleasures of being different when she wears a tulip costume with all the colors of the rainbow for the school May Day parade. (


Perez, A. I. (2002). My diary from here to there/Mi diario de aqui hasta alla. Illustrated by M. C. Gonzalez. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (2-5)


One night young Amada overhears her parents whisper of moving from Mexico to Los Angeles where greater opportunity awaits. As she and her family journey north, Amada records in her diary her fears, hopes, and dreams for their lives in the United States. Amada learns that with her family’s love and a belief in herself, she can make any journey and triumph over any change — here, there, anywhere. (


Perez, A. I. (2000). My very own room: Mi propio cuartito. Illustrated by M. C. Gonzalez. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (K-3)


As the oldest and only girl in her family, the determined narrator not only dreams of having her own room, she finds a way to make it happen. With her mother’s permission and her four brothers’ help, she transforms a storage closet into a small bedroom. The bilingual first-person text realistically portrays a child who takes charge and makes changes. The art’s curved lines and warm colors add to the sense of family unity and security. (Horn Book, 2001)


Perez, L. K. (2002). First day in grapes. Illustrated by R. Casilla. Lee and Low Books. (3-5)


All year long, Chico’s family moves up and down the state of California to pick fruits and vegetables. Every September, Chico starts at a new school. Often, the other kids pick on him — maybe because he’s always new, or maybe because he speaks Spanish sometimes. But third grade promises to be different. He likes his teacher, and she recognizes his excellent abilities in math — he may even get to go to the math fair! When some fourth-grade bullies tease him, he surprises them with strengths of his own.  (


Reeve, K. (1998). Lolo and Red-Legs. Flagstaff, AZ: Rising Moon Books for Young Readers. (4-6)


When eleven-year-old Lolo captures a tarantula, it turns an ordinary summer into a series of adventures that take him and his friends beyond their Mexican-American neighborhood in East Los Angeles. (


Reiser, L. (1996). Margaret and Margarita – Margarita y Margaret. New York: Pearson Learning. (K-3)


Margaret speaks English but not Spanish. Margarita speaks Spanish but not English. Can they still play? Of course they can! (


Reiser, L. (1998). Tortillas and lullabies. Illustrated by C. Valientes Organization. New York: Greenwillow. (K-3)


Written in English and Spanish, this companion to Reiser’s "Cherry Pies and Lullabies” tells another story of family love - this time within a Costa Rican culture. Extraordinary folk-art paintings by "Corazones Valientes”, an organization of Costa Rican women artists, accompany the tale. (


Rodriguez, L. J. (1999). It doesn’t have to be this way: A Barrio story. Illustrated by D. Galvez. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (4-6)


One day, a member of the local gang tells Monchi it’s time to join up. He is scared but excited. The older boys give him the handshake, girls talk to him, and even teachers are afraid of him. But when a tragic event changes everything, Monchi must make an important decision. The love and respect of his uncle helps him find a way out. (


Ryan. P. M. (2005). Becoming Naomi Leon. Scholastic. (4-7)


Half-Mexican Naomi Soledad, 11, and her younger disabled brother, Owen, have been brought up by their tough, loving great-grandmother in a California trailer park, and they feel at home in the multiracial community. Then their alcoholic mom reappears after seven years with her slimy boyfriend, hoping to take Naomi (not Owen) back and collect the welfare check. Determined not to let that happen, Gram drives the trailer across the border to a barrio in Oaxaca to search for the children’s dad at the city’s annual Christmas arts festival. In true mythic tradition, Ryan, the author of the award-winning Esperanza Rising (2000), makes Naomi’s search for her dad a search for identity, and both are exciting. Mom is demonized, but the other characters are more complex, and the quest is heartbreaking. The dense factual detail about the festival sometimes slows the story, but it’s an effective tool for dramatizing Naomi’s discovery of her Mexican roots and the artist inside herself. (Booklist)


Soto, G. (1998). Big bushy mustache. Illustrated by J. Cepeda. New York: Knopf. (K-3)


It’s almost Cinco de Mayo, and Ricky’s class is going to put on a play to celebrate the festive Mexican holiday. When asked to choose his costume, Ricky picks a big, bushy mustache, just like his dad’s. With humor and tenderness, Soto evokes a warm celebration of both the beloved tradition of Cinco de Mayo and the strong bonds of love between father and son. (


Soto, G. (2002). If the shoe fits. Illustrated by T. Widener. New York: Putnam. (K-4)


Rigo doesn’t like being the youngest brother. He always has to wear his big brothers’ hand-me-downs. Plus, his brothers-Hector, Manuel, and Carlos-always seem to lose buttons, rip holes, and wear the clothes out before they get to Rigo! But Rigo’s luck changes on his birthday when his mom gives him a pair of shoes. He loves them for their shine and style, but most of all he loves them because they are brand-new. After he outgrows the shoes, and trades them to his uncle for old Mexican centavos, Rigo learns that some hand-me-downs are better than brand-new. (


Soto, G. (1998). Snapshots from the wedding. Illustrated by S. Garcia. New York: Paper Star. (K-3)


Maya attends a family wedding and captures it all on film, from her cousin getting rice in his eye to the cake that tasted as delicious as it looked, in a beautifully illustrated tale of a special family day. (


Soto, G. (1992). Taking sides. New York: Harcourt Brace. (4-6)


Fourteen-year-old Lincoln Mendoza, an aspiring basketball player, must come to terms with his divided loyalties when he moves from the Hispanic inner city to a white suburban neighborhood. (card catalog)


Soto, G. (1998). The old man and his door. Illustrated by J. Cepeda. New York: Paper Star. (K-3)


Failing to pay attention to his wife’s instructions to bring el puerco, the main dish, to his neighbor’s barbecue, an elderly gardener brings instead la puerca, a door, with educational results. (


Soto, G. (1994). The skirt. Illustrated by E. Velasquez. New York: Yearling Books. (4-6)


Miata Ramirez is heartsick after leaving her mother’s folklorico skirt on the bus, so she enlists the help of her best friend, Ana, to find the skirt before the upcoming folklorico dance. (


Soto, G. (1996). Too many tamales. Illustrated by E. Martinez. New York: Scott Foresman. (K-3)


Maria tries on her mother’s wedding ring while helping make tamales for a Christmas family get-together. Panic ensues when hours later, she realizes the ring is missing. (card catalog)


Torres, L. (1999). Saturday sancocho. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux. (K-3)


Everyday Saturday, Maria Lili makes chicken sancocho with her grandparents. Mama Ana and Papa Angelino. One Saturday they discover that there is nothing in the house except eggs. Somehow, Mama Ana has a way to make chicken sancocho with eggs, and Maria Lili can’t wait to find out how. (


Velasquez, E. (2001). Grandma’s records. New York: Walker & Company. (K-3)


Velasquez relates his personal experience as a young boy who spent summers with his grandmother in 1950s Spanish Harlem, where “Grandma wrapped me in her world of music.” As merengues and salsas played all through the long, hot summer, Grandma would dance and tell Eric about her life in Puerto Rico. One day, Grandma’s nephew Sammy, who plays percussion in the best band in Puerto Rico, comes to town for a concert. He surprises Grandma and Eric with tickets to the show. The concert proves to be "a magical moment in time” for Eric, and particularly for Grandma, whose special song, "In My Old San Juan,” is sung directly to her. The song, which describes the sadness and uncertainties of leaving Puerto Rico for a foreign country, is reproduced at the book’s end in both Spanish and English. Rich oil paintings lovingly depict the special times in Grandma’s New York apartment and the excitement of the live concert. Short biographies of the band’s three famous members add to the book’s value as a resource for a study of the Puerto Rican culture. (Booklist)


Vidal, B. (2004). Federico and the Magi’s gift: A Latin American Christmas story. Knopf. (K-2)


On the night of January fifth, Federico and his sisters go to sleep hoping for gifts from the Magi, who "ride though the night sky bringing regalos to good girls and boys.” While his sisters and parents are sleeping, wakeful Federico goes out and watches the stars until he sees the Magi approaching on their flying camels. The appended glossary helpfully translates regalos (gifts) and eight other Spanish words, though the meanings are usually evident from the context and illustrations. Decoratively patterned, the gouache-and-watercolor paintings employ naive forms and glowing colors to create magical scenes expressing a child's delight in a world that is full of wonders: the dark, quiet garden; the constellations; and the Magi themselves. According to the jacket flap, the story is based on Vidal's childhood experiences in Argentina, and the artwork does have the look of a lovingly re-created time and place. With its quiet narrative and beautiful illustrations, this celebrates the end of the Christmas season in a distinctly Latin American way, yet its story is accessible to every child. (Booklist)


Wing, N. (1996). Jalapeno bagels. Illustrated by R. Casilla. New York: Atheneum Books. (K-3)


While trying to decide what to take for his school’s International Day, Pablo helps his Mexican mother and Jewish father at their bakery and discovers a food that represents both his parents’ backgrounds. (amazon. com)


Winter, J. (2003).  Nino’s mask. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers. (K-3)


When Nino is told he is too young to wear a mask at the fiesta, he carves his own and surprises his family and the village by becoming the hero Perro who catches the Tigre and saves the corn crop for the year. The story, relayed in hand-lettered dialogue balloons, is told in first person with Spanish words (in capitals) incorporated into Nino’s thoughts as he considers all the masks and figures he could be. Winter’s art is more textured than usual, with decorative lines creating patterns that reflect Mexican motifs. Her felt-tip-pen pictures, infused with warm pinks and oranges, capture the flavor of the story’s backdrop. An illustrated glossary and an explanation of the fiesta customs can be found on the back page. (Booklist)







Ada, A. F. (2001).  Gathering the sun: An alphabet in Spanish and English (Spanish edition).  Illustrated by S. Silva.  Rayo.  (4-6)


Using the Spanish alphabet as a template, Ada has written 27 poems that celebrate both the bounty of the harvest and the Mexican heritage of the farmworkers and their families. The poems, presented in both Spanish and English, are short and simple bursts of flavor: "Árboles/Trees,” "Betabel/Beet,” "César Chávez,” etc. Silva’s sun-drenched gouache paintings are robust, with images sculpted in paint. Brimming with respect and pride, the book, with its mythic vision of the migrant farm worker, will add much to any unit on farming or Mexican American heritage.  (Booklist)


Amado, E. (1999). Barrilete: A kite for the Day of the Dead. Photographs by J. Hairs. Toronto, CA: Groundwood. (K-3)


Every year on November 2, the Day of the Dead, the villagers of Santiago Sacatepequez in Guatemala fly some of the biggest kites in the world in memory of their deceased loved ones. Brilliantly colored and often spanning 23 feet, the kites fill the sky over the cemetery. This is the story of Juan, who has built a kite every year with his grandfather. Since his grandfather has died, Juan must now carry on the tradition alone. Beautiful photographs show Juan, with his friends’ help, sending his kite soaring into the sky. (


Ancona, G. (1998). Barrio: Jose’s neighborhood. New York: Harcourt Brace. (4-6)


Presents life in a barrio in San Francisco, describing the school, recreation, holidays, and family life of an eight-year-old boy who lives there. (


Ancona, G. (1995). Fiesta U.S.A. New York: Lodestar Books. (3-6)


In a tribute to the customs and traditions of Latinos in the United States, engaging photographs capture four fiestas: the Day of the Dead, las Posadas, the dance of  the Matachines, and Three Kings' Day. (


Ancona, G. (1994). El pinatero: The piñata maker. New York: Harcourt Brace. (2-4)


Describes how Don Ricardo, a craftsman from Ejutla de Crespo in southern Mexico, makes pinatas for all the village birthday parties and other fiestas. (card catalog)


Bandon, A. (1993). Mexican Americans (Footsteps to America). Parsippany, NJ: Silver Burdett. (4-6)


A discussion of the economic differences between Mexico and the United States and how they have led to an increase in Mexican immigration spotlights the problems faced by those who cross the border in search of a better life. (


Brown, T. (1992). Hello, amigos! Photographed by F. Ortiz. New York: Henry Holt. (K-3)


Follows a day, a birthday, in the life of a Mexican American child, who lives with his family in the Mission District of San Francisco. (card catalog)


Crandell, R. (2002). Hands of the Maya: Villagers at work and play. New York: Holt. (K-3)


Experience a day in the life of a Maya village. The wisdom of the phrase "Many hands make light work” comes across in vivid detail as the community prepares a warm meal, weaves clothing, constructs roofs, and creates art and music. Best of all-in the morning or at the end of the busy day, a pair of strong, gentle hands never seems hard to find.
With its lyrical prose and richly textured photographs, this engaging picture book captures the hard work, love, and respect of the Maya culture.


Delacre, L. (2000). Salsa stories. New York: Scholastic. (4-6)


Welcome to Carmen Teresa’s festive home, where relatives, friends, and neighbors from all over Latin America gather to celebrate New Year’s Day. Dona Josepha gives Carmen Teresa a blank notebook, and everyone suggests that she fill it with stories that the guests remember from childhood. So begins a unique collection of tales told by a charming cast of characters. In the end, Carmen Teresa decides to create a cookbook filled with recipes for the dishes mentioned in each story. (


Emberley, R. (2000). My day, mi dia. New York: Little, Brown and Company. (K-3)


In simple phrases and bold, colorful images, Rebecca Emberley invites the youngest readers to learn basic words in both Spanish and English. Using brilliantly colored paper cutouts, she has created settings filled with familiar objects, each clearly labeled with both its Spanish and English names. Just right for children who speak either language at home, these bilingual books introduce the very young to the richness of our multicultural society and make learning a new language - be it Spanish or English - fun. (


Emberley, R. (1993). My house, mi casa.  New York: Little, Brown and Co. (K-3)


Captioned illustrations and Spanish and English text describe things found in a house. (


Eyla, S. M. & Banks, M. (2007).  N is for Navidad.  Illustrated by J. Cepeda. Chronicle. (K-2)


Bienvenidos! to a celebration of Christmas, Latino-style! From the ngel (angel) hung above the door to the zapatos (shoes) filled with grass for the wise men’s camels, each letter in this festive alphabet introduces children to a Spanish word, and each colorful page takes them through another joyous aspect of the 22 days of the traditional holiday. Vibrant art from acclaimed illustrator Joe Cepeda beautifully complements the lively, rhythmic text to bring the reader a wealth of heritage and a season of light! Feliz Navidad!  (


Eyla, S. M. (1998). Say hola to Spanish. Illustrated by L. Lopez. New York: Lee and Low Books. (K-4)


An entertaining introduction to the Spanish language features kid-friendly rhyming text and colorful illustrations that make words easier to remember, as well as a variety of activities. (


Foley, E. (1997). Puerto Rico (Festivals of the World). Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens. (K-3)


Describes how the culture of Puerto Rico is reflected in its festivals. (card catalog)


Garland, S. (2000). Voices of the Alamo. Illustrated by R. Himler. New York: Scholastic Trade. (4-6)


Hear the dramatic story of the Alamo told by the people who shaped the history of the land, from a Spanish padre who helped build the mission in the 1700s to a young boy who visits the modern-day Alamo museum. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, VOICES OF THE ALAMO is a ground-breaking and provocative book. (


Garza, C. L. (1993). Family pictures/cuadros de familia. Translated by R. Zubizarreta. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (all ages)


The author describes, in bilingual text and illustrations, her experiences growing up in a Hispanic community in Texas. (


Garza, C. L. (1996). In my family/en mi familia. Translated by F. X. Alarcon. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (all ages)


Following the best-selling Family Pictures, In My Family/En mi familia is Carmen Lomas Garza’s continuing tribute to the family and community that shaped her childhood and her life. Lomas Garza’s vibrant paintings and warm personal stories depict memories of growing up in the traditional Mexican-American community of her hometown of Kingsville, Texas. (


Garza, C. L. (1999). Magic windows/ventanas magicas. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (all ages)


In her third book, the author takes readers on a fascinating journey--in both English and Spanish--that explores her family, community, and ancestors through the traditional folk art of "papel picado” or cut-paper art. (


Gonzalez, M. C. (2007).   My colors, my world/ Mis colores, mi mundo. Children’s Book Press. (K-1)


Little Maya longs to find brilliant, beautiful, inspiring color in her world…but Maya’s world, the Mojave Desert, seems to be filled with nothing but sand. With the help of a feathered friend, she searches everywhere to discover color in her world. In the brilliant purple of her mother’s flowers, the cool green of a cactus, the hot pink sunset, and the shiny black of Papi’s hair, Maya finally finds what she was looking for. The book’s appealing narrative and bold illustrations encourage early readers to observe and explore, and to discover the colors in their own.  (


Guy, G. F. (2003). Fiesta. Illustrated by R. K. Moreno. Rayo. (PreK-1)


Three children begin with una canasta (one basket) and proceed to fill it with scrumptious candies, trinkets, and toys in preparation for a Mexican fiesta. Readers are invited to count along as they gather dos trompetas (two horns), tres animalitos (three little animals), cuartro aviones (four airplanes), cinco trompos (five tops), etc. in joyous anticipation of the party and the cracking open of the pinata. A simple bilingual text provides numbers in English and in Spanish. The soft-edged full-color illustrations done in pencils, pastels, and watercolors have a subtle folkloric quality. The colorful artwork complements the simplicity and childlike appeal of this delightful picture book. (School Library Journal)


Guy, G. F. (2005). Siesta. Illustrated by R. K. Moreno. Greenwillow. (PreK-1)


A sister and brother and a stuffed bear embark on an adventure. An empty blue backpack is packed with an interesting array of items: a red jacket, green flute, yellow book, black flashlight, white clock, and multicolored blanket. Then it’s off to the backyard where the clothesline and blanket make the perfect tent, the flute provides a bedtime serenade for the jacket-wrapped teddy, and soon, all are sleeping. This charmingly simple story is told in short sentences, Spanish first, followed by the English translation. The words for colors are written in their appropriate hues and reinforced by the gorgeous pastel, watercolor, and pencil illustrations. Soft edges, pure glowing colors, and rounded forms create a sense of warmth and reassurance. Like Fiesta (HarperCollins, 1996), this book has appeal far beyond its obvious teaching function. (School Library Journal)


Herrera, J. F. (2000). The upside down boy: El nino de cabeza. Illustrated by E. Gomez. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (K-3)


The Upside Down Boy is Juan Felipe Herrera’s memoir of the year his migrant family settled down so that he could go to school for the first time. Jaunito is bewildered by the new school and misses the warmth of country life. Everything he does feels upside down. He eats lunch when it’s recess, he goes out to play when it’s time for lunch, and his tongue feels like a rock when he speaks English. But his sensitive teacher and loving family help him find his voice through poetry, art, and music. (


Hoobler, D. & Hoobler, T. (1998). The Mexican American family album. New York: Oxford University Press Children’s Books. (4-6)


History comes alive through the eyes of Mexican Americans as we share their true life experiences. Cesar Chavez, Sandra Cisneros, Lee Trevino, and Linda Ronstadt are just a few examples of celebrated Mexican Americans. Their stories, and the stories of thousands of others like them, combined with more than 150 photos, provide a rare glimpse into the immigrant experience. (


Hoyt-Goldsmith, D. (1995). Day of the Dead: A Mexican-American celebration. Photographs by L. Migdale. New York: Holiday House. (4-6)


Ten-year-old twins from Sacramento, California, tell the story of their family’s Day of the Dead celebration. In contrast to books that portray the holiday in rural Mexico, this explains the holiday’s history while focusing on celebrations of an American family living in a Mexican American community. The twins and their mother are photographed in ordinary clothes, with the state capitol in the background, as well as in costume and in a procession. Aztec beliefs and their intermingling with Catholic rituals are explained, and descriptions of dancing, art, and prayer repeatedly illustrate the unity of past and present during festival days. A glossary of terms with clear phonetic pronunciations follows. (Booklist)


Hoyt-Goldsmith, D. (2000). Las Posadas: An Hispanic Christmas celebration. Photographs by L. Migdale. New York: Holiday House. (4-6)


Las Posadas is a nine-night celebration that tells the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus. It began more than 400 years ago in Spain, and today Las Posadas is celebrated in Mexico, some Latin American countries, and in U.S. communities with a strong Spanish cultural influence. Hoyt-Goldsmith follows 11-year-old Kristen and her family as they prepare for and participate in the festival. Numerous clear, colorful photos bring the text to life. Kristen is shown preparing special foods with her mother and grandmother, the neighbors carve figures of saints, and Kristen plays the role of Mary on the second night of the festival. A recipe for Las Posadas cookies, biscochitos, is provided, along with The Song of Las Posadas in both Spanish and English. Musical notation is included. Photos by Lawrence Migdale convey the excitement of the celebration. Once again Hoyt-Goldsmith and Migdale offer young readers a comprehensive, inviting look at a unique cultural experience. (Booklist)


Hoyt-Goldsmith, D. (2004). Three Kings Day: A celebration at Christmastime. Illustrated by L. Migdale. Holiday. (2-4)


In many countries with a strong Catholic tradition, Three Kings Day, celebrated on January 6, is as important as Christmas Day itself. It is the day when gifts are exchanged. In some communities, including the Puerto Rican barrio of New York City depicted here, it is also a time for parades, fancy dress, and parties. This photo-essay looks at El Día de los Tres Reyes through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl and her family. Informative sidebars, a glossary of Spanish terms, and evocative full-color photos add to the straightforward, readable text. An essential purchase for multicultural collections and libraries serving Latino communities, this is also a good resource for students doing research on Christmas customs. (School Library Journal)


Lowery, L. (2003). Day of the dead. Illustrated by B. Knutson. Carolrhoda Books. (K-3)


Introduces the holiday, Day of the Dead, or Dâia de los Muertos, and describes how it is celebrated in Mexico and in the United States. (card catalog)


MacMillan, D. M.  (1997). Mexican Independence Day and Cinco de Mayo (Best holiday books). Springfield, NJ: Enslow Publishers. (K-3)


The historical origins of these culturally diverse holidays and the ways they are observed are presented in these useful, but unexciting, volumes. The books particularly focus on how the holidays are celebrated in modern day America with public festivals featuring traditional foods, music, and clothing. (Horn Book, 1998)


Martinez, E. C. (1995). The Mexican-American experience (Coming to America). Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press. (4-6)


Highlighting important Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, this overview deals with the history of Mexico and what has prompted Mexicans to immigrate to the United States. Illustrated with black-and-white and color photographs, the book discusses important issues such as bilingualism and illegal immigration, but the brevity of the text results in an incomplete look at the Mexican-American experience. (Horn Book, 1995)


Menard, V. (2000). The Latino holiday book from Cinco de Mayo to Dia de los Muertos: The celebrations and traditions of Hispanic Americans. New York: Marlowe & Company. (4-6)


The Latino Holiday Book is the essential resource for everyone wanting to celebrate and honor the special traditions and celebrations of Hispanic-Americans. Author Valerie Menard takes us through the full year, covering new year’s traditions, Día de los Reyes, Calle Ocho, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, the feast day of San Juan Bautista, the Cuban and Mexican celebrations of independence, National Puerto Rican Day, the feast of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre and Our Lady of the Divine Inspiration, Día de la Raza (the Latin American version of Columbus Day), Día de los Muertos, the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and Christmas. Weddings, birthdays, and quinceañeras are also explored in rich detail. For each celebration, Menard discusses their religious or social history, typical customs, special foods and activities, and gives recipes and instructions for making the authentic foods and crafts that particularly represent a day’s traditions. (


Mora, P. (2007). Yum!; Mmmm!; Que rico! America’s sproutings. Illustrated by R. Lopez.  Lee & Low. (K-3)


This concept book serves as a delicious introduction to 14 types of food, all of which have their origins in the Americas. Snippets of information and a haiku poem accompany each one, ranging from blueberry and chili pepper through papaya, prickly pear, and vanilla. Using English and a smattering of Spanish words, Mora crafts a playful introduction to each one, as in "Pumpkin”: "Under round luna,/scattered tumblings down the rows,/autumn’s orange face.” The sense of whimsy is further underscored in López’s colorful acrylic on wood-panel illustrations. Artful compositions and brilliant complementary colors bear out the book’s multicultural themes. The art conveys an infectious sense of fun, as smiling suns and moons beam down upon happy children and animals, along with a trumpet-wielding peanut-butter sandwich and a dancing pineapple. Teachers will find this a welcome addition to their social-studies units, but it should also win a broad general audience for its inventive, fun-filled approach to an ever-popular topic: food. (School Library Journal)


Nickles, G. (2000). The Hispanics. New York: Crabtree. (4-6)


The search for gold and other treasures brought the earliest Hispanic migrants to North, Central, and South America in the 1500s. This intriguing look at the many Hispanic cultures who came to stake their claims in North America and how their traditions are still celebrated today features full-color artwork and eyewitness accounts. (


Ochoa, G. (1998). The New York Public Library Amazing Hispanic American history: A book of answers for kids.  New York: John Wiley and Sons. (4-6)


Consists of questions and answers about Latinos, revealing the common history which unites them while also showing how they differ depending upon their country of origin. (


Paulsen, G. (1998). The tortilla factory. Illustrated by R. W. Paulsen. New York: Voyager Picture Books. (1-4)


In a lyrical tribute to the Mexican farm worker, award-winning author Gary Paulsen pays homage to a cycle of life - from seed to plant to tortilla. With Ruth Wright Paulsen’s expressive paintings, the story brings forth the poetry and beauty of a simple way of life. (


Perez, L. K. (2002).  First day in grapes.  Illustrated by R. Casilla.  Lee & Low.  (3-5)


Growing up in a migrant family, Chico has experienced first school days in artichokes and first days in onions, and "now his first day in third grade would be in grapes.” His encounters with bullies and the grumpy school bus driver shake Chico’s confidence, but a friendly classmate and an understanding teacher help him adjust. In fact, Ms. Andrews admires his remarkable math talent and invites Chico to compete in the Math Fair. When the bullies return at lunch, Chico stands up to them and challenges them with math questions until they retreat, and the day ends with an upbeat bus ride home. The quick resolution with the school bullies strains credibility, but the rest of the story rings true. Realistic watercolor, pastel, and colored-pencil illustrations are especially adept at portraying Chico’s emotions. His story will resonate with migrant students and those who have moved frequently. For others, it’s an insightful glimpse of another way of life and a reminder that different kids have different talents.  (Booklist)


Press, P. (1996). Puerto Rican Americans. New York: Benchmark Press. (5-6)


No synopsis available.


Silverthorne, E.  (1994). Fiesta! Mexico’s great celebrations. Illustrated by J. D. Ellis. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press. (4-6)


Describes the cultural and historical background and ways of celebrating many religious and patriotic festivals of Mexico. Includes instructions for making some of the traditional crafts and foods. (card catalog)


Simmons, M. (2003). Jose’s buffalo hunt: A story from history. Illustrated by R. Kil. University of New Mexico Press. (3-5)


Based on actual events, José’s Buffalo Hunt is the true story of an eleven-year-old boy and his first participation in the annual buffalo hunt on the Llano Estacado in 1866. José Arrellanes lived with his parents and his older brother Pablo in the hamlet of San Miguel, on the Pecos River in northern New Mexico. Like their neighbors, the family farmed, raising corn, beans, chile, and onions. Each fall they traveled to the Texas Panhandle to bring down the buffalo, or cíbolas, and carry the meat back to their village so everyone would have plenty to eat during the long, cold winter. This beautifully illustrated book brings to life a world where people travel by ox cart and where wolves trot beside them across the empty plains. The ciboleros dress in buckskins and are on friendly terms with the Comanches. A classic tale of a boy’s initiation to manhood, this story has been an oral tradition in the Arrellanes family for almost a century and a half.



Tafolla, C. (2008).  What can you do with a rebozo?  Illustrated by A. Cordova.  (Tricyle).  (K-1)


A cradle for baby, a superhero’s cape, a warm blanket on a cool night--there are so many things you can do with a rebozo. Through the eyes of a young girl, readers are introduced to the traditional shawl found in many Mexican and Mexican-American households. Lively rhyme and illustrations as brightly colored as the woven cloths themselves celebrate a warm cultural icon that, with a little imagination, can be used in many different ways.  (


Vazquez, S. (1999). Cinco De Mayo. Austin, TX: Raintree/Steck-Vaughn. (4-6)


Introduces the customs and practices of this Mexican holiday. Mexican Americans observe this holiday in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. (


Westridge Young Writers Workshop. (1999).  Kids explore America’s Hispanic heritage.

 New York: Econo-Clad Books. (3-6)


Presents writings by students in grades three to seven on topics of Hispanic culture, including dance, cooking, games, history, art, songs, and role models. (card catalog)





Traditional Literature


Aardema, V. (1998). Borreguita and the coyote: A tale from Ayulta, Mexico.  P. Mathers. New York: Scott Foresman. (K-3)


A little lamb uses her clever wiles to keep a coyote from eating her up. (card catalog)


Aardema, V. (1991). Pedro and the padre: A tale from Jalisco, Mexico. Illustrated by F. Henstra. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers. (K-3)


Lazy Pedro is a likable rascal who enjoys deceiving people, but after narrowly escaping a drowning because of one of his lies, he vows to amend his ways. This lively tale incorporates expressive noises and selected Spanish phrases, enhancing the storytelling flavor. The muted watercolors depict the Mexican setting aptly. (Horn Book, 1991)


Ada, A. F. (1999). The lizard and the sun. Illustrated by F. Davalos. New York: Scott Foresman.  (K-3)


When the sun disappears from ancient Mexico, a little lizard refuses to give up her quest to bring back light and warmth to everyone. (


Ada, A. F. (1997). Mediopollito/half-chicken: A folktale in Spanish and English.  Illustrated by K. Howard. New York: Scott Foresman/. (K-3)


A bilingual folktale about the creation of the weather vane finds Half-Chicken, who has one eye, one leg, and one wing, enjoying a series of adventures that finally take him to the top. (


Ada, A. F. (1998). The rooster who went to his uncle’s wedding. Illustrated by K. Kuchera. New York: PaperStar. (K-3)


Late for his uncle’s wedding, Rooster has a beak full of mud and no one - neither the grass, nor the sheep, nor the dog - will help him get clean, that is, until the sun decides to help Rooster. (


Ada, A. F. (1999). The three golden oranges. Illustrated by R. Cartwright. New York: Atheneum Books. (K-3)


In this version of a popular Hispanic folktale, three brothers in search of brides are told by an old woman that they will each find the wives they want - if they work together. She sends them on a quest to bring her three golden oranges. Of course, the two oldest try on their own and fail, and the youngest pulls them together. In a nice twist, he is finally rewarded by a strong bride who chooses him. (Booklist, 1999)


Anzaldua, G. E. (2001). Prieteta and the ghost woman. Illustrated by C. Gonzalez. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (K-4)


In a bilingual retelling of a famous Mexican legend, Prietita sets out to find the missing herb that can cure her mother’s illness and, while lost in the woods, comes face to face with the mysterious la Llorona, the ghost woman. (


Argueta, M. (1995). Magic dogs of the volcanoes. Illustrated by E. Simmons. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (K-3)


When the magic dogs who live on the volcanoes of El Salvador and protect the villagers from harm are pursued by lead soldiers, they are aided by two ancient volcanoes. (card catalog)


Bernier-Grand, C. T. (1995). Juan Bobo: Four folktales from Puerto Rico. Illustrated by E. R. Nieves. New York: HarperTrophy. (K-3)


True to their oral tradition, these tales from rural Puerto Rico are told with immediacy and spirit. The exuberant folk-style illustrations in bright tropical colors reflect the island setting and the scenes of comic confrontation. Juan Bobo is a classic fool character who manages, somehow, to muddle things up yet work things out. He always gets the last word. In the funniest story, he dresses a pig for church in Sunday best, complete with mantilla and high heels. In another piece, he just can’t make sense of formal table manners. New readers will enjoy the dialogue and the general silliness. Younger children will enjoy hearing these stories read aloud. Part of the fine I Can Read series, the book has a clear design with large type and illustrations on almost every page; a Spanish translation is provided in small print at the back. (Booklist)


Campoy, F. I. (2002). Rosa Raposa. Illustrated by J. Aruego & A. Dewey. New York: Gulliver. (K-2)


Jaguar, the sharp-toothed, beady-eyed bully, is determined to eat Rosa Raposa for dinner. But Jaguar had better watch out, because clever Rosa has some surprises in store for him! In three hilarious South American trickster episodes, Rosa uses her sharp imagination to make Jaguar look like the biggest fool in the forest.  F. Isabel Campoy and bestselling illustrators Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey have created a story that will keep readers wondering how Rosa Raposa will get the last laugh this time.  (


Coburn, J. R. (2000). Domitila: A Cinderella tale from the Mexican tradition. Illustrated by C. McLennan. Auburn CA: Shen’s Books. (4-6)


Domitila is not only "sweeter than a cactus bloom in early spring”, she is also a talented cook and an amazing leather artist. Most of the classical elements of a Cinderella story can be found in Domitila. A gentle weaving of her mother’s nurturing with strong family traditions is the secret ingredient for Domitila to rise above hardship to eventually become the Governor’s bride. Moreover, with a firm belief in simplicity and realism, Domitila makes a lasting impression as a triumphant Cinderella in her humility, service, and unassuming modesty. Unlike most ivory tower Cinderellas, the only transformation in this story is Timoteo’s—Domitila’s suitor—as we watch him mature from an arrogant politician’s son to a compassionate family man. There is no glass slipper to fight over, and no fairy godmother to save the day. All Domitila has are her innate qualities and her family legacy. Finally, the readers are invited to get to know Cinderella for who she is, unlike the typical fantasy character! With love and care in every stroke, McLennan captured on canvas the warmth of relationships, the fondness for color and texture, and the versatile patterns characteristic of the Mexican people. Readers will soon fall in love with the shimmering light of the desert landscape and this well-told story of Cinderella-with-a-twist. (


Czernecki, S. & Rhodes, T. (1994). Pancho’s piñata. New York: Hyperion Books for Children. (1-3)


On Christmas Eve Pancho rescues a star from a cactus and receives the gift of happiness. (card catalog)


Deedy, C. A. (2007).  Martina the beautiful cockroach: A Cuban folktale.  Illustrated by M. Austin. (K-2)


Martina the beautiful cockroach doesn’t know coffee beans about love and marriage. That’s where her Cuban family comes in. While some of the Cucarachas offer her gifts to make her more attractive, only Abuela, her grandmother, gives her something really useful: un consejo increa­ble, some shocking advice.
“You want me to do what?” Martina gasps.
At first, Martina is skeptical of her Abuela’s unorthodox suggestion, but when suitor after suitor fails the Coffee Test, she wonders if a little green cockroach can ever find true love. Soon, only the gardener Pérez, a tiny brown mouse, is left. But what will happen when Martina offers him café cubano?
After reading this sweet and witty retelling of the Cuban folktale, you’ ll never look at a cockroach the same way again
. (


DePaola, T.  (1997).  The legend of the poinsettia.  Putnam Juvenile. (k-3)


When Lucida is unable to finish her gift for the Baby Jesus in time for the Christmas procession, a miracle enables her to offer the beautiful flower we now call the poinsettia. (card catalog)


DePaola, T. (2001). The night of Las Posadas. New York: Penguin. (K-4)


The young people chosen to portray Mary and Joseph in the Santa Fe Las Posadas celebration are delayed by a snowstorm. Instead, another couple arrives to act the part of the Holy Family. Later, Sister Angie discovers that her beloved carving of Mary and Joseph seems to have come to life to save the pageant. DePaola's characteristic warm illustrations and detailed retelling of the miracle make this a satisfying Christmas story. (Horn Book, 1999)


Ehlert, L. (2000). Cuckoo: A Mexican folktale. New York: Voyager Books. (K-3)


A story told in both English and Spanish follows the vain Cuckoo, who despite her beauty is lazy and selfish and who finally overcomes her faults when a fire threatens the season’s seed crop. (


Ehlert, L. (1997). Moon rope: A Peruvian folktale. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace. (K-3)


An adaptation of the Peruvian folktale in which Fox and Mole try to climb to the moon on a rope woven of grass. (card catalog)


Gerson, M. J. (2001). Fiesta femenina: Celebrating women in Mexican folktale. Illustrated by C. Gonzalez. New York: Barefoot Books. (4-6)


A celebration, not only of the strength of Mexican women, but the richness and miraculous qualities of Mexican culture. (Kirkus, August 15, 2001)


Haviland, V. (1999). Favorite fairy tales told in Spain. Illustrated by M. Passicot. New York: Bt. Bound. (4-6)


Includes “The flea”, “Four brothers who were both wise and foolish”, “The half-chick”, “The carlanco”, “Juan Cigarron”, and “The enchanted mule”. (card catalog)


Hayes, J. (1999). A spoon for every bite. Illustrated by R. Leer. New York: Orchard Books. (K-3)


In a humorous cautionary story based on traditional Hispanic folktales from the Southwest, a proud and wealthy man foolishly squanders his fortune in a game of one-upmanship by trying to buy enough spoons to use a different one for each bite of food. (


Jaffe, N. (1996). The golden flower: A Taino myth from Puerto Rico. Illustrated by E. O. Sanchez. New York: Simon & Schuster. (K-3)


A myth from one of the indigenous cultures of the West Indies explains how a golden flower first brought water to the world and how Puerto Rico came into existence. (


Johnston, T. (1998). The tale of rabbit and coyote. Illustrated by T. dePaolo. New York: Paper Star. (K-3)


Rabbit outwits Coyote in this Zapotec tale which explains why coyotes howl at the moon. (card catalog)


Kimmel, E. A. (2004). Cactus soup. Illustrated by P. Huling. Cavendish. (1-3)


When a group of hungry soldiers rides into San Miguel, the townspeople don’t want to share their food. They hide their tortillas, tamales, beans, and flour and put on torn clothes to look poor. But the Capitan is not fooled …he asks for a cactus thorn to make some cactus soup, and before long he has tricked the townspeople into giving him salt and chilies, vegetables, and a chicken as well! Whimsical watercolors add to the humor in this Southwestern twist on the classic Stone Soup. (


Kimmel, E. A. (2007).  The three cabritos.  Illustrated by S. Gilpin. Marshall Cavendish. (K-3)


Noted folklorist Kimmel presents his own version of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” Here the goats (cabritos) are on their way to Mexico for a fiesta across the border. Alas, each in his turn is stopped by Chupacabra, a legendary creature who attacks farm animals. The story follows the familiar form but with a decidedly Spanish-flavored bent, including Spanish words (defined in the glossary). In Kimmel’s telling, it is the eldest brother who conquers the monster, not through might but by playing the accordion. (His accordion is a magical instrument, and it makes the chupacabra dance until he bursts.) The story moves briskly, but the fat, blue chupacabra is far from frightening, looking more like a Macy’s holiday balloon than anything that would scare a hardy goat. Recommended for larger libraries or those serving Hispanic communities.  (Booklist)


Kurtz, J. (1996). Miro in the kingdom of the sun. Illustrated by D. Frampton. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (K-3)


A retelling of an ancient folktale follows Miro, a young Incan girl, who struggles to find the cure for the city’s sick and dying prince, whose only hope lies in the water from a lake “at the corner of the world.” (


Lowell, S. (1992). The three little javelinas. Illustrated by J. Harris. Flagstaff, AZ: Rising Moon Books for Young Readers. (all ages)


A southwestern adaptation of “The Three Little Pigs.” (card catalog)


Marcantonio, P. S. (2005). Red Ridin’ in the Hood: And other cuentos. Illustrated by R. Alarcao. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. (3-5)


The fractured fairy tale gets cool Latino flavor in this lively collection of 11 fresh retellings, with witty reversals of class and gender roles and powerful, full-page pictures that set the drama in venues ranging from the desert and the barrio to a skyscraper. The old scary demons, such as the witch in the forest, are in evidence, but there’s also a Sleeping Beauty story told about a hurt, angry orphan witch who gets revenge for not being invited to a spoiled, rich girl’s quinceacera. In "Emperador’s New Clothes,"” Emperador runs the high-school scene. His perfectly gelled, spiky hair makes him look as if he just popped out of a teen magazine. Then Veronica tricks him into appearing at the assembly in his underpants. Unfortunately, some messages are much too heavily spelled out: Beauty teaches Beast not only about the revolution but also about the meaning of fear and true ugliness; Jack finds his dream not in the sky but in hard work. But the lively, fast-paced retellings, the Spanish idiom (there’s a glossary at the back), and the dynamic, full-page pictures, several per story, make this great for storytelling collections. (Booklist)


Mike, J. M. (1995). Juan Bobo and the horse of seven colors: A Puerto Rican legend. Illustrated by H. Reasoner. New York: Troll Associates. (4-6)


After winning seven wishes from a magical horse, the foolish Juan Bobo wastes six of them on his way to try to make the king's daughter laugh. (


Mohr, N. & Martorell, A. (1995). The song of El Coqui and other tales of Puerto Rico. Illustrated by A. Martorell. New York: Viking Children’s Books. (K-3)


Three Puerto Rican stories include the title story, which represents the land’s indigenous Tainos; the tale of la Guinea, which is rooted in the nation’s African culture; and la Mula’s tale, a story of Spanish origin. (


Montes, M. (2000). Juan Bobo goes to work: A Puerto Rican folktale. Illustrated by J. Cepeda. New York: HarperCollins Juvenile Books. (K-3)


In this rollicking Juan Bobo tale, our hero sets out to find work at the farm and the grocery. Although the tasks are simple and the directions couldn’t be clearer, he always find a way to bungle things up as only a character whose name means “Simple John” could! (


Mora, P. (2005).  Dona Flor: A tall tale about a great woman with a great big heart.  Illustrated by R. Colon.  Knopf.  (2-5)


The creators of Tomas and the Library Lady (1997) offer another glowing picture book set in the American Southwest, but this time, the story is a magical tall tale. In a cozy village, Dona Flor grows from an unusual child, who can speak the language of plants and animals, into a giant, whose heart is as large as her enormous hands and feet. After ferocious animal cries terrorize the villagers, Flor sets out to find their source. The culprit--a tiny, mischievous puma, who ingeniously amplifies his kittenish growl into a beastly roar--is an amusing surprise, and Flor soothes the cat in its own language, returning peace to her village. Mora strengthens her economical, poetic text with vivid, fanciful touches: the villagers use Flor’s colossal homemade tortillas as roofs, for example. Colon’s signature scratchboard art extends the whimsy and gentle humor in lovely scenes of the serene heroine sweet-talking the animals or plucking a star from the sky. A winning read-aloud, particularly for children who can recognize the intermittent Spanish phrases.  (Booklist)


Morales, Y. (2004). Just a minute: A trickster tale and counting book.  Chronicle Boooks. (K-2)


In this original trickster tale, Senor Calavera arrives unexpectedly at Grandma Beetle’s door. He requests that she leave with him right away. "Just a minute,” Grandma Beetle tells him. She still has one house to sweep, two pots of tea to boil, three pounds of corn to make into tortillas -- and that’s just the start! Using both Spanish and English words to tally the party preparations, Grandma Beetle cleverly delays her trip and spends her birthday with a table full of grandchildren and her surprise guest. This spirited tribute to the rich traditions of Mexican culture is the perfect introduction to counting in both English and Spanish. The vivacious illustrations and universal depiction of a family celebration are sure to be adored by young readers everywhere. (


Palacios, A. (1993). The hummingbird king: A Guatemalan legend. Illustrated by F. Davalos. New York: Troll Associates.


A young chief who had been protected by a hummingbird is killed by his jealous uncle and then transformed into a quetzal, symbol of freedom. (


Palazzo-Craig, J. (1996). Bobo’s magic wishes: A story from Puerto Rico. Illustrated by H. Reasoner. New York: Troll Associates. (K-3)


Juan Bobo, the shepherd, catches a beast -- a horse of seven colors. What happens when he agrees to free the horse in exchange for magic wishes? (


Pitcher, C. (2000). Mariana and the Merchild: A folk tale from Chile. Illustrated by J. Morris. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. (1-4)


Old Mariana longs for friendship, but she is feared by the village children and fearful of the hungry sea-wolves that hide in the sea-caves near her hut. When one day Mariana finds a Merchild inside a crab shell her whole life changes --but she knows that one day, when the sea is calm again, the Merchild’s mother will come to take her daughter back... (


Ramirez, M. R. (1998). The legend of the hummingbird: A tale from Puerto Rico. Illustrated by M. Sanfilippo. New York: Mondo. (K-3)


In stories, people may be changed into plants or animals for protection or punishment. In this magical tale from Puerto Rico, children meet Alida and Taroo and find out why a beautiful flower and a tiny bird were created. (


Rohmer, H. (1993). Uncle Nacho’s hat. Illustrated by V. Reisberg. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (K-3)


A bilingual folk tale from Nicaragua about a well-meaning man who can’t figure out how to make changes in his life until his niece, Ambrosia, shows him how. (card catalog)


Ryan, P. N. (2005). Nacho and Lolita.  Illustrated by C. Rueda. New York: Scholastic.  (1-3)


Once, when the two Californias ran alta y baja, high and low, along the Pacific, there lived a rare and majestic bird named Nacho, the only pitacoche for thousands of miles. He was proud of his brilliant feathers and haunting songs, but what good were they with no one to share them? Then the swallows came to nest and Nacho met Lolita. His heart filled with affection. Was it possible for two such different birds to find happiness together? And what would happen to Nacho when Lolita and the other swallows migrated back to South America? (


San Souci, R. D. (2000). Little Gold Star: A Spanish American Cinderella tale. Illustrated by S. Martinez. New York: HarperCollins. (1-4)


Blessed Mary rewards Teresa’s good deeds with a shining gold star. Later she punishes Teresa’s unkind stepsisters, Isabel and Inez, with hideous horns and donkey’s ears that they try to hide under heavy veils! But will Teresa outshine her stepsisters at the festival? (


Sierra, J. (2000). The beautiful butterfly: A folktale from Spain. Illustrated by V. Chess. New York: Houghton Mifflin. (K-3)


A beautiful butterfly is courted by many suitors. She finally finds a husband who has a singing voice soft and sweet enough to please her, but no sooner does the honeymoon begin than he is swallowed by a giant fish! All of nature joins her in mourning, setting off a comical chain of events that results in a second chance for the beautiful butterfly and her devoted husband. Enchantingly original depictions of the beautiful butterfly and her friends and an inventive happy ending reveal the sweetness and humor of this enduring Spanish folktale. (


Simons, S. (2000). Trouble dolls: A Guatemalan legend. Illustrated by D. Mendez. New York: Scholastic Trade. (1-3))


Discover the legend of the magical trouble dolls - traditional Guatemalan good luck charms. Learn about the fascinating games, foods, crafts, and folktales of the Mayan civilization in Guatemala. Then, with your own set of six tiny trouble dolls, wish for good luck and happiness! (


Soto, G. (1998). The old man and the door. Illustrated by J. Cepeda. New York: Paper Star. (K-3)


Instead of bringing el puerco, a pig, to their neighbors’ barbecue as his wife asks, an old man puts the door, la puerta, over his back and heads to the house of la comadre. Along the way, the door becomes very useful to him, assisting him in good deeds. Thickly textured illustrations in rich colors place the amiable, rotund man at center stage, emphasizing the story’s humor. (






Andrews-Goebel, N. (2002). The pot that Juan built. Illustrated by D. Diaz. Lee and Low Books. (2-5)


Juan Quezada is one of the best-known potters in Mexico. Using only natural materials to form and paint his pots, he is responsible for creating a vibrant folk-art economy in his small town of Mata Ortiz. This unusual book is set up to allow for differing levels of reading expertise, presenting information about Quezada in such a way that it can be read as a story or as an informational book, part biography, part fine-arts discussion. One page contains a catchy cumulative rhyme modeled on "This Is the House That Jack Built,” which outlines the process of making a pot. The facing page offers a clearly written prose presentation, laying out the story of the potter’s life and his method of constructing pots in the classic style of the Casas Grandes Indians. Diaz’s arresting illustrations, rendered in Adobe Photoshop, use yellows, oranges, and reds in a layered effect that seems to glow with an inward light. The use of stylized forms-all of the people with a full-face front eye in the manner of ancient Egyptian art-adds a sense of gravitas and historical continuity to the artwork. An afterword gives a more in-depth treatment of Quezada’s life and work, and is illustrated with small inset color photographs. This is a must purchase for all collections, and could be used with Diana Cohn’s Dream Carver (Chronicle, 2002) for a look at how both art and economies of scale can work to enrich our lives and to build community.  (School Library Journal)


Benson, M. (2000). Gloria Estefan. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner. (4-6)


Gloria Estefan’s life was altered forever in 1990. A semitrailer truck crushed the singer-songwriter’s tour bus, and Gloria’s back was broken. Fans were amazed when she was back on stage, singing and dancing, less than a year later. But to those who knew her, Gloria’s courage and strength were a part of her even as a young girl growing up in Miami, Florida. The year she graduated from high school, Gloria began college, met her future husband, and started the journey to become the most popular Cuban-American entertainer in the world. Discover the woman behind the microphone in this fascinating look at Gloria Estefan - mother, humanitarian, wife, and pop music "diva.” (


Buckley, J. (2007). Pele. DK Children  (4-6)


This amply illustrated title in the DK Biographies series introduces Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known to the world as soccer legend Pelé. The chapters stretch from Pelé’s Brazilian youth, when he honed his soccer skills with homemade balls, through his astonishing career and his current retirement. Buckley’s awe for his subject results in heavy superlatives—Pelé’s legacy is "unmatched in sports,” for example—but his knowledge of the player and his sport creates thrilling play-by-play accounts of key matches and puts Pelé’s extraordinary career into context. Buckley grounds his enthusiasm with well-integrated facts and quotes, many of which are drawn from Pelé’s autobiography. Crisply reproduced photographs appear on every page, pulling readers into the inviting design, while fact boxes introduce other international soccer figures and define specific terms, such as bicycle kick. An illustrated time line and short bibliography close this well-rounded title for young researchers or soccer fans seeking a deeper understanding of their beloved sport. (Booklist)


Burch, J. J. (1994). Chico Mendes: Defender of the rain forest. Connecticut: The Millbrook Press.  (2-4)


Discusses the life and work of the Brazilian rubber tapper whose efforts to secure fair treatment for other tappers and to preserve the Amazon rain forests resulted in his murder in 1988. (card catalog)


Chambers, V. (2005).  Celia Cruz, Queen of salsa.  Illustrated by J. Maren. Dial.  (2-4)


Everyone knows the flamboyant, larger-than-life Celia, the extraordinary salsa singer who passed away in 2003, leaving millions of fans brokenhearted. Now accomplished children’s book author Veronica Chambers gives young readers a lyrical glimpse into Celia’s childhood and her inspiring rise to worldwide fame and recognition. First-time illustrator Julie Maren truly captures the movement and the vibrancy of the Latina legend and the sizzling sights and sounds of her legacy. (


Clive-Ransome, L. (2007). Young Pele: Soccer’s first star.  Illustrated by J. Ransome. Schwartz &Wade.  (K-4)


With handsome oil paintings and a stirring story, this picture-book biography will first grab children with its action. Just as exciting, though, is the account of Brazilian-born Pelé’s personal struggle—his amazing rise from poverty to international soccer stardom. The focus is on Pelé’s childhood in Bauru, Brazil, in the 1940s and early 1950s. The pictures show him in his multiracial community, especially on the soccer field. He is punished for not paying attention in class; then he gives up school altogether to play soccer. His team, the Shoeless Ones, play barefoot; the ball is a sock stuffed with rags. The kids shine shoes and sell peanuts, until they earn enough for uniforms and second-hand shoes. Inspired by his dad, Pelé plays hard and is chosen as the team captain, and in a triumphant climax, he scores the winning goal in a big youth tournament. An afterword fills in the facts about how Edson (Pelé was a nickname) went on to become the greatest soccer player ever known. The small painting of the team’s battered second-hand shoes is a moving testament to its struggle, particularly in contrast to the final triumphant pages when Pelé kicks the ball straight into the goal. (Booklist)


Cole, M. (1997). Jimmy Smits (Real-life Reader Biography). Bear, DE: Mitchell Lane. (4-6)


Biography of award-winning actor, Jimmy Smits, best known for his televison roles in “L.A. Law” and “NYPD BLUE.”  (


Conord, B. W. (1994). Cesar Chavez: Union leader. New York: Chelsea House. (4-6)


A biography of the union activist who led the struggle of migrant farm workers for better working conditions. (card catalog)


Engel, T. (1999). We’ll never forget you, Roberto Clemente. New York: Bt. Bound. (3-4)


Chronicles the life and accomplishments of baseball star Roberto Clemente, from his youth in Puerto Rico, through his record-breaking career in Pittsburgh, to his tragic death during a mission of mercy. (


Furman, L. (2001). Jennifer Lopez (Latinos in the Limelight). Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House. (4-6)


No synopsis available.


Granados, C. (2000). Christina Aguilera (Real-life Reader Biography). Bear, DE: Mitchell Lane. (4-6)


Real-Life Reader Biographies present the lives of contemporary role models for young readers. These are the stories of real men and women who, despite many obstacles, followed their dreams. (


Herrera, J. F. (2001). Calling the doves. Illustrated by E. Simmons. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (3-6)


The Mexican-American poet tells the story of his childhood as a migrant farmhand in the fields of California, where his parents taught him a love for life outdoors and handed down the precious gift of poetry. (


Krull, K. (2003). Harvesting hope: The story of Cesar Chavez. Illustrated by Y. Morales. Harcourt Children’s Books. (2-5)


A biography of Cesar Chavez, from age ten when he and his family lived happily on their Arizona ranch, to age thirty-eight when he led a peaceful protest against California migrant workers’ miserable working conditions. (card catalog)


Korman, S. (2001). Christina Aguilera (Latinos in the Limelight). Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House. (4-6)


No synopsis available.


Marquez, H. (2001). Latin sensations. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner. (4-6)


Profiles five influential Latino entertainers of the 1990s, Ricky Martin, Selena, Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, and Marc Anthony, detailing their rise to stardom and their effects on the American music scene. (card catalog)


Marvis, B. J. (1997). Rafael Palmeiro (Real-life Reader Biography). Bear, DE: Mitchell Lane. (4-6)


Authorized biography of the Orioles first baseman, Rafael Palmeiro. (


Marvis, B. J. (1997). Selena (Real-life Reader Biography). Bear, DE: Mitchell Lane. (4-6)


A biography of the slain, Grammy Award-winning Tejano singer. (


Menard, V. (2000). Jennifer Lopez (Real-life Reader Biography). Bear, DE: Mitchell Lane. (4-6)


Real-Life Reader Biographies present the lives of contemporary role models for young readers. These are the stories of real men and women who, despite many obstacles, followed their dreams. (


Menard, V. (1998). Oscar De La Hoya (Real-life Reader Biography). Bear, DE: Mitchell Lane. (4-6)


Real-Life Reader Biographies present the lives of contemporary role models for young readers. These are the stories of real men and women who, despite many obstacles, followed their dreams. (


Menard, V. (1999). Ricky Martin (Real-life Reader Biography). Bear, DE: Mitchell Lane. (4-6)


Biography of popular Latino entertainer, Ricky Martin. (


Mora, P. (2002).  A library for Juana: The world of Sor Juana Ines. Illustrated by B. Vidal.  Alfred A. Knopf. (2-4)


Juana Ines de la Cruz died in 1695 in a convent in Mexico. Despite the passage of more than 300 years, she is still considered one of Mexico’s most brilliant scholars. An internationally known bibliophile and poet whose works are studied in university Spanish literature courses, she was a Renaissance woman in the most complete sense of the word. Mora’s beautifully crafted text does credit to its subject, following her from birth to death. Sor Juana Ines comes across as intelligent, headstrong, humorous, and kind, and her retreat to the convent as a place of learning seems natural. The use of one of her riddle poems, both in Spanish and in a witty English translation, gives young readers a taste of this eminent poet. The text is perfectly complemented by Vidal’s brilliant, detailed illustrations that have the look and exactitude of Renaissance miniatures. This is an exceptional introduction to an exceptional woman, and would enhance any collection. (School Library Journal)


Mora, P. (2000). Tomas and the library lady. Illustrated by R. Colon. New York: Dragonfly. (K-3)


The son of migrant workers, Tomas loves the stories his grandfather tells, and then the library lady introduces him to the wonderful world of books and reading, in a story based on the life of Mexican-American author-educator Tomas Rivera. (


Palacios, A.  (1999).  Standing tall. New York: Bt. Bound. (4-6)


A collection of mini-biographies follows the achievements of U.S. Navy Admiral David Farragut, baseball player Roberto Clemente, singer Gloria Estefan, schoolteacher Jaime Escalente, and six other notable Hispanic Americans. (


Perez, A. I. (2009).  My diary from here to there/Mi diario de aqui hasta alla.  Illustrated by M. C. Gonzalez.  Children’s Book Press.  (2-4)


One night, Amada overhears her parents whisper about moving from Mexico to Los Angeles, where greater opportunity awaits. As she and her family make the journey north, Amada records her fears, hopes, and dreams for their new life in her diary. What if she can’t learn English? How can she leave her best friend? Along the way, Amada learns that with her family’s love and her belief in herself, she can weather any change. With humor and insight, Pérez recounts the story of her family’s immigration to America. Maya Christina Gonzalez’ vibrant artwork captures every detail of their journey.  (


Quinn, R. J. (2001). Oscar De La Hoya (Latinos in the Limelight). Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House. (4-6)


No synopsis available.


Savage, J. (2000). Sammy Sosa: Home run hero. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner. (4-6)


Emphasizing Sosa’s talent as a home run hitter, as well as his pleasant personality, this biography of the Chicago Cubs outfielder, originally from the Dominican Republic, will certainly appeal to his numerous fans. A glossary of baseball terms, candid color photos, and major and minor league statistics are included. (Book Links, December 2001/January 2002, p. 11)


Scott, K. (2001). Cameron Diaz (Latinos in the Limelight). Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House. (4-6)


No synopsis available.


Stefoff, R. (1992). Gloria Estefan (Hispanics of Achievement). New York: Chelsea House. (4-6)


Profiles the Cuban-American pop singer who is the lead singer of the popular Latin music group the Miami Sound Machine. (


Stewart, M. (2000). Pedro Martinez: Picture perfect. New York: Children’s Press. (4-6)


A biography of the Boston Red Sox pitcher who won the Cy Young Award in 1997 and 1999. (card catalog)


Strazzabosco, J. (1997). Learning about determination from the life of Gloria Estefan. New York: Powerkids Press. (4-6)


A biography of the Cuban-born rock singer with a focus on her determination to succeed and be happy in spite of serious obstacles. (card catalog)


Torres, J. A. (2001). Marc Anthony (Real-life Reader Biography). Bear, DE: Mitchell Lane. (4-6)


Real-Life Reader Biographies present the lives of contemporary models for young readers. These are the stories of real men and women who, dispite many obstacles, followed their dreams. (


Narrates the life of the Puerto Rican born actor whose versatility was evident throughout thirty years of performances in theater, movies, and television. (card catalog)


Walker, P. R. (1991). Pride of Puerto Rico: The life of Roberto Clemente. New York: Odyssey Classics. (4-6)


This is the story of the great right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Roberto Clemente. An outstanding athlete and a dedicated family man, whose love for his native land of Puerto Rico was unsurpassed. This book tells an inspiring story of this Baseball Hall of Famer. Great reading for young sports fans. (


Weil, A. & Perez, F. (1996).  Raul Julia. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn. (4-6)


Narrates the life of the Puerto Rican born actor whose versatility was evident throughout thirty years of performances in theater, movies, and television. (card catalog)


West, A. (1993). Roberto Clemente: Baseball legend. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press. (2-4)


Introduces the life of Pittsburgh Pirates rightfielder Roberto Clemente, the first Latino baseball player to gain wide recognition for his contributions on and off the playing field. (card catalog)


Winter, J. (1994). Diego. Illustrated by J. Winter. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. (1-4)


Discusses the childhood of Diego Rivera and how it influenced his art. (


Winter, J. (2002). Frida. Illustrated by A. Juan. New York: Arthur R. Levine Books. (1-4)


When her mother was worn out from caring for her five sisters, her father gave her lessons in brushwork and color. When polio kept her bedridden for nine months, drawing saved her from boredom. When a bus accident left her in unimaginable agony, her paintings expressed her pain and depression ­ and eventually, her joys and triumphs. Again and again, Frida Kahlo turned the challenges of her life into art. Now Jonah Winter and Ana Juan have drawn on both the art and the life to create an insightful, playful tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most influential artists. (


Zannos, S. (1998). Cesar Chavez (Real-life Reader Biography). Bear, DE: Mitchell Lane. (4-6)


Long after his death, this hard-working labor leader is still being heard. (


Zymet, C. A. (2001). Ricky Martin (Latinos in the Limelight). Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House. (4-6)


No synopsis available.




Historical fiction


Fine, E. H. & Josephson, J. P. (2007). Armando and the blue tarp school.  Illustrated by H. Sosa.  Lee & Low. (1-4)


This poignant picture book narrated by a young boy is based on a true story of a New York City teacher who set up a school on a blue tarp spread on the ground near a garbage dump in Tijuana, Mexico. Armando works all day with his father in the foul-smelling dump, picking through trash, “some to sell, some to use.” He begs his parents to let him go to the blue tarp school, and at last, his parents allow him to attend in the afternoons. Clear, unframed, double-page pictures in watercolor and ink with thick white outlines show the children on the tarp in the midst of the noisy colonia (neighborhood) and also the bond between the boy and his teacher. When a huge fire burns the neighborhood, Armando’s picture of the fiery night is printed alongside the story in the newspaper, and people send money to build a real schoolhouse. A lengthy final note fills in the facts and includes photos of the teacher and the pupils at the school now. Without melodrama, Armando’s story shows what poverty means and the hope that things can change. (Booklist)


Gonzalez, L. (2008).  The storyteller’s candle/La velita de los cuentos.  Illustrated by L. Delacre.  Children’s Book Press.  (K-3)


It is the winter of 1929, and cousins Hildamar and Santiago have just moved to enormous, chilly New York from their native Puerto Rico. As Three Kings’ Day approaches, Hildamar and Santiago mourn the loss of their sunny home and wonder about their future in their adopted city. But when a storyteller and librarian named Pura Belpré arrives in their classroom, the children begin to understand just what a library can mean to a community. In this fitting tribute to a remarkable woman, Lucía González and Lulu Delacre have captured the truly astounding effect that Belpré had on the city of New York.  (


Krumgold, J. (1984). And now Miguel. New York: HarperTrophy. (4-6)


A memorable and deeply moving story of a family of New Mexican sheepherders, in which Miguel, neither child nor man, tells of his great longing to accompany men and sheep to summer pasture, and expresses his need to be recognized as a maturing individual. (Booklist)


Pico, F. (1998). The red comb. Illustrated by M. A. Ordonez. New York: Troll Associates. (K-3)


Set in eighteenth-century Puerto Rico, the intriguing story, based on historical fact, tells about a young girl and an older woman who help a runaway slave and outwit the local slave-catcher, a wealthy and admired man. Though younger readers may need additional historical context to understand the story fully, it is well told and raises important issues about race, freedom, and courage. (Horn Book, 1995)


Ryan, P. M. (2002). Esperanza rising. New York: Scholastic Paperbacks. (5-6)


After a fire destroys their home and belongings, Esperanza (Hope) and her mother must flee their native Mexico to the United States with the help of their housekeeper and her family. The formerly wealthy Ortega women are now “peasants” and must work to survive. Despite the difficulties of life at the camp, Esperanza learns to work, to care for others, and to give rather than take. When her mother becomes ill and is hospitalized, Esperanza is alone except for the companionship of her friend and former servant, Miguel, and his family. After a year, on the eve of Esperanza’s fourteenth birthday, her beloved grandmother arrives from Mexico, Mama is released from the hospital, and the little family is reunited. Now Esperanza is rising above circumstances, filled with dreams and possibilities. (







Alarcon, F. X. (1999). Angels ride bikes and other fall poems. Illustrated by M. C. Gonzalez. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (K-4)


In Angels Ride Bikes, Francisco Alarcon invites readers to experience autumn in Los Angeles, where dreams can come true. In the poet’s imagination, mariachis play like angels, angels ride bikes, and the earth dances the cha-cha. In this bilingual edition, the images and the poems bring to life the people and places from Alarcon’s childhood. (


Alarcon, F. X. (1998). From the bellybutton of the moon and other summer poems. Illustrated by M. C. Gonzalez. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (K-4)


Inspired by his poignant recollections of magical childhood summers in Mexico, the author of “Laughing Tomatoes” presents a new collection of poems that celebrate family and the joys of summer. 15 color illustrations. (


Alarcon, F. X. (2001). Iguanas in the snow and other winter poems. Illustrated by M. C. Gonzalez. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (K-4)


This collection invites us to celebrate winter -- by the seashore, in the city of San Francisco, and in the ancient redwood forests of the Sierras. We see a city where people have become bridges to each other and children sing in two languages. A family frolic in the snow reminds the poet of the iguanas playing by his grandmother’s house in Mexico. The seedling redwoods promise tomorrow. Maya Christina Gonzalez creates a spirited family of children and adults making their way through lively settings. (


Alarcon, F. X. (1997). Laughing tomatoes and other spring poems. Illustrated by M. C. Gonzalez. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. (K-4)


A bilingual collection of humorous and serious poems about family, nature, and celebrations by a renowned Mexican American poet. (


Anaya, R. (2000). An elegy on the death of Cesar Chavez. Illustrated by G. Enriques. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos. (4-6)


The heroic life of labor and civil rights activist César Chávez greatly influenced the political and creative thinking of famed Chicano novelist Rudolfo Anaya. After Chávez’ death in 1993, Anaya wrote this elegy eulogizing the man and his life’s work. Echoing Shelley’s elegy on the death of John Keats, the poem expresses the grief of la gente, but closes by calling all peoples together to continue his non-violent struggle for freedom and justice. The book--endorsed by the César Chávez Foundation--includes an essay by Anaya detailing the effect that Chávez had on his own vision and a chronology of Chávez’ life. Powerful illustrations by Gaspar Enriquez bring home the significance of César Chávez to the American cultural landscape. (


Carlson, L. M. (1998). Sol a sol: Bilingual poems. New York: Henry Holt. (K-3)


A collection of poems by various Hispanic American writers that celebrate a full day of family activities. (


Delacre, L. (1999). Arroz con leche: Popular songs and rhymes from Latin America.

New York: Bt. Bound. (K-3)


A wonderful collection of beloved Latin American songs, games, and rhymes, with text in both Spanish and English, complemented by beautiful watercolor illustrations of Latin American land-and-city-scapes. (


Griego, M. C. (1987). Tortillitas para Mama and other Spanish rhymes. Illustrated by B. Cooney. New York: Henry Holt. (K-2)


Young children will treasure this collection of Latin-American nursery rhymes. Preserved through oral tradition, these rhymes have been passed on from generation to generation. They have been lovingly gathered for this book and many are accompanied by instructions for finger play. (


Hall, N. A. & Syverson-Stork, J. (1999). Los pollitos dicen/the baby chicks sing. Toronto, ON: Little, Brown and Company. (K-1)


An acclaimed bilingual songbook now in paperback! This collection of children’s songs and rhymes celebrates playtime while offering a glimpse into the culture and traditions of Spanish-speaking countries. The selections are by turns playful, joyful, and thoughtful, with exquisite watercolors that make this a book the entire family will treasure. (


Haskins, J.  (1990). Counting your way through Mexico. Illustrated by H. Byers. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books. (K-3)


Presents the numbers one to ten in Spanish, using each number to introduce concepts about Mexico and its culture. (card catalog)


Johnston, T.  (1999). My Mexico - Mexico mio. Illustrated by J. Sierra. New York: Paper Star. (K-5)


Ranging in subject from the music of Nahuatl to pet iguanas sold at the Taxco Road, a collection of poems about Mexico introduces readers to many different facets of the nation's history and customs. (


Medina, J. (1999). My name is Jorge: On both sides of the river. Illustrated by F. V. Broeck. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills. (4-6)


These truly bilingual poems are packed with poignant, tender moments in the life of a Mexican immigrant child trying to fit in without losing his identity. Jorge tells of his defeats and victories in school, of prejudice and making friends. The black-and-white drawings punctuate the poems in a spare manner that lets the poetry speak for itself. Finally--bilingual poems that aren’t overflowing with happy colors and tortilla chips. (Horn Book, 1999)


Mora, P. (1999). Confetti: Poems for children. Illustrated by E. O. Sanchez. New York: Lee and Low Books. (1-5)


From the dawn of a beautiful morning to the cool dusk of the desert night, the sights and sounds of the Southwest are joyfully conveyed through the perspective of a young Mexican-American girl who lives there. (


Mora, P. (1994). Listen to the desert. Illustrated by F. X. Mora. New York: Clarion Books. (K-3)


The many different voices of the desert at nightfall, including the owl, snake, and even rain, are described in a simple poetic text, in both English and Spanish. (


Mora, P., editor. (2001). Love to Mama: A tribute to mothers. Illustrated by P. S. Barragan. New York: Lee and Low. (K-3)


Thirteen Latino poets celebrate their bonds with their mothers and grandmothers. (


Mora, P. (2007). Yum!; Mmmm!; Que rico! America’s sproutings. Illustrated by R. Lopez.  Lee & Low. (K-3)


This concept book serves as a delicious introduction to 14 types of food, all of which have their origins in the Americas. Snippets of information and a haiku poem accompany each one, ranging from blueberry and chili pepper through papaya, prickly pear, and vanilla. Using English and a smattering of Spanish words, Mora crafts a playful introduction to each one, as in "Pumpkin”: "Under round luna,/scattered tumblings down the rows,/autumn’s orange face.” The sense of whimsy is further underscored in López’s colorful acrylic on wood-panel illustrations. Artful compositions and brilliant complementary colors bear out the book’s multicultural themes. The art conveys an infectious sense of fun, as smiling suns and moons beam down upon happy children and animals, along with a trumpet-wielding peanut-butter sandwich and a dancing pineapple. Teachers will find this a welcome addition to their social-studies units, but it should also win a broad general audience for its inventive, fun-filled approach to an ever-popular topic: food. (School Library Journal)


Orozco, J.  (2002). Diez deditos: 10 little fingers and other play rhymes and action songs from Latin America. Illustrated by E. Kleven. New York: Puffin. (K-2)


In this, his second bilingual collection of musical material from the Spanish-speaking countries, Jose-Luis Orozco brings together over 30 finger rhymes, play rhymes, and action songs and games for children of various ages to enjoy in Spanish and English. (


Soto, G. (1995). Canto familiar. Illustrated by A. Nelson. New York: Harcourt Brace. (4-6)


A collection of sympathetic poems offers insight into the dreams and problems shared by children of Mexican-American heritage and follows such themes as enjoying a watermelon or visiting the supermarket. (


Soto, G. (1992). Neighborhood odes. Illustrated by D. Diaz. New York: Harcourt Brace. (4-6)


Twenty-one poems, all odes, celebrate life in a Hispanic neighborhood. With humor, sensitivity, and insight, Soto explores the lives of children. Diaz’s contemporary black-and-white illustrations, which often resemble cut paper, effortlessly capture the varied moods of this remarkable collection. With a glossary of thirty Spanish words and phrases. (Horn Book, 1992)







Dorros, A. (1997). Abuela. Illustrated by E. Kleven. New York: Puffin Books. (K-3)


While riding on a bus with her grandmother, a little girl imagines that they are carried up into the sky and fly over the sights of New York City. (card catalog)


Dorros, A. (1995). Isla. Illustrated by E. Kleven. New York: Dutton Books. (K-3)


When Rosalba and Abuela get together, adventure is in the air. Together they fly to la isla, the island where Abuela grew up, on the magic of Abuela’s storytelling. The story celebrates the importance of family and of family place as naturally and unobtrusively as it incorporates the Spanish words and phrases of Abuela. (


Mohr, N. (1995). The magic shell. Illustrated by R. Gutierrez. New York: Scholastic. (2-4)


Struggling to live in the middle of two cultures, a young Dominican immigrant is torn between the values he finds in his new home in New York City and those he remembers from his family birthplace in Santo Domingo. (


Montes, M. (2006). Los Gatos black on Halloween.  Illustrated by Y. Morales. Holt.  (1-3)


A cat’s green eyes stare out from the book’s cover. Inside, there are more of los gatos--as well as las brujas (witches), los fantasmas (ghosts), and los esqueletos (skeletons looking like they have come from a Dia de los Muertos celebration. The pithy, rhyming text tells a frightening, if familiar, story. The ghosts and ghoulies are off to a Monsters’ Ball at Haunted Hall, and though there’s plenty of scary stuff around, the guests are most frightened by the children who come knocking at the door for trick-or-treat. Montes’ evocative poem deserves exceptional artwork, and Morales obliges. Her soft-edged paintings glow with the luminosity of jewels, and her witches, werewolves, and corpses are frighteningly executed. Therein lies what may be a problem for preschoolers. These fiends aren’t particularly kid-friendly; they are dead-eyed, Day of the Dead folk who scare. For slightly older children, however, this spookiness is what Halloween is all about. The Spanish is neatly integrated into the text, but for those who need clarification, a glossary is appended.  (Booklist)


Ryan, P. M. (2001). Mice and beans. Illustrated by J. Cepeda. New York: Scholastic Trade. (K-3)


Rosa Maria loves to cook big meals for her big family, and she’s determined to make her youngest grandchild’s birthday party a special occasion. But when important items start to disappear from her kitchen, she doesn’t know what to think. You will delight in uncovering the clues that lead to a very funny surprise. Vibrant paintings with brilliant comic touches, a winsome main character, jaunty rhythms, and playful refrains make Mice and beans a feast for the eyes and ears. (


Soto, G. (2000). Chato and the party animals. Illustrated by S. Guevara. New York: Putnam. (K-3)


Chato, the coolest cat in el barrio, loves to party - but not his best buddy, Novio Boy. Birthday parties always make him blue. "I'm from the pound," he tells Chato. "I don't know when I was born. I never knew my mami. I never even had a birthday party, or nothing." So Chato plans the coolest surprise party for Novio Boy, inviting all of el barrio, and cooking up a storm. But he forgets the most important thing - inviting Novio Boy! Luckily, just as everyone starts remembering all the things they used to love about their long-lost friend, the birthday boy arrives with his own surprise - himself! (


Soto, G. (2005). Chato goes cruisin’. Illustrated by S. Guevara. Putnam Juvenile. (1-4)


Chihuahua! What are two low-riding cats to do when they sign up for a cruise and end up on a ship full of dogs? Chato and Novio Boy try to have fun, but they’re miserable watching endless games of Bark at the Moon. Plus, the dogs get sick from all their running around and excessive consumption of milk bones.
When the two cool cats go for help, they see the cruise they were meant to be on—a catamaran full of cats—and they have to decide whether to join the fun or be cats of their word. With extra storytelling in comic strips on each page, this ocean adventure is sure to garner the laughs and acclaim of Chato’s Kitchen and Chato and the Party Animals (both ALA Notable Books).


Soto, G. (1997) Chato’s kitchen. Illustrated by J. Cepeda. New York. Paper Star. (K-3)


Chato, the coolest cat in East L.A., and his buddy, Novio Boy, prepare to serve up a special housewarming party for their new neighbors, a family of mice, in which their guests are also the main course, but the mice bring along their own guest, Chorizo, the toughest dog in the barrio. (


Soto, G. (1997). The cat’s meow.  Illustrated by J. Cepeda & C. Soto. New York: Little Apple. (2-4)


Unconventional in more ways than one, this chapter book gives primary-grade readers their first taste of magic realism when Graciela’s cat, Pip, begins speaking in Spanish. Pip plays a cagey game for a while, alternating Spanish words with "meow," until Graciela becomes thoroughly frustrated, by the cat and by the uncomprehending humans in whom she confides. (Booklist)


Wisniewski, D.  (1995).  Rain player. New York: Clarion Books. (K-3)


To bring rain to his thirsty village, Pik challenges the rain god to a game of pok-a-tok. (card catalog)