NHHM Blog

16 Books to Read During Hispanic Heritage Month

September 29, 2022 / by Samantha Hall

National Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15-October 15!

While cultural diversity is something we should celebrate year-round, this month is an excellent opportunity for you and your students to honor the history, culture, and contributions of Americans with heritage rooted in Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and South and Central America.

To help you celebrate in the classroom, we've gathered some great titles from Latinx authors. Whether you're reading as a class, or making recommendations for your middle and high school students, these Latin voices will help your students develop a new appreciation for Hispanic history and culture. 

Early Elementary (K-2) | Elementary (3-6) | Middle School | High School

Books for Early Elementary (Grades K-2)

Alma and How She Got Her Name Juana Martinez-Neal

If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names. How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to her father and as she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all.

palateroman

Palatero Man — Lucky Diaz

What’s the best way to cool off on a hot summer day? Run quick! And find Paletero José!
Ring! Ring! Ring!
Can you hear his call?
Paletas for one! Paletas for all!

pepe parade

Pepe and the Parade — Tracey Kyle, Mirelle Ortega

Join Pepe as he celebrates his Mexican-American heritage by participating in a Hispanic Day parade. With Spanish words effortlessly included throughout, this title is a great introduction to the Spanish language.

Abuela

Abuela — Arthur Dorros

Flying around Manhattan Island, somersaulting in midair, resting in the sky on a chair-shaped cloud... Rosalba and her grandmother, her abuela, are having an extraordinary adventure. How do they manage this exhilarating travel that started in the park? The story is narrated in English and sprinkled with Spanish phrases.

 

Books for Elementary (Grades 3-6)

golden talkes

Golden Tales — Lulu Delacre

These 12 tales are a collection of legends, myths and folktales from 4 native Latin American cultures, spanning 13 different countries. Complete with vibrant illustrations, these tales bring the culture, literature, oral traditions, and the history of Latin America to life for young readers.

esperanza rising

Esperanza Rising — Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico - she'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. 

Lucky Luna

Lucky Luna — Diana López

Luna Ramos has more cousins than she can count, and even though her mom says that makes her lucky, Luna knows that every time she gets in trouble (and she gets in trouble a lot), one of her primas is responsible. But when mischievous Luna locks her know-it-all cousin Claudia in the bathroom at her cousin's quinceañera, Luna has no one to blame but herself. Her punishment? She's not allowed to wear hats for a whole month, which is a big deal because Luna's always been embarrassed by her hair, and hats make her feel more comfortable.

 

Books for Middle School (Grades 6-9)

storm runner

Storm Runner — J. C. Cervantes

A lonely boy in New Mexico has a physical disability that makes middle school feel even more like everyone is watching him. But as he soon learns, his physical differences are merely the first clue to a family history that connects him to the Maya gods—and puts him in mortal danger. A great read for fans of the Percy Jackson series!

The first rule of punk

The First Rule of Punk — Cecilia C. Peréz

There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school--you can't fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (Maria Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School's queen bee, violates the school's dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

efren divided

Efrén Divided — Ernesto Cisneros

Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman - or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved. But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México.

Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.

barefootdreams of petraluna

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna — Alda P. Dobbs

It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna's mama has died while the Revolution rages in Mexico. Before her papa is dragged away by soldiers, Petra vows to him that she will care for the family she has left―her abuelita, little sister Amelia, and baby brother Luisito―until they can be reunited. Through battlefields and deserts, hunger and fear, Petra will stop at nothing to keep her family safe and lead them to a better life across the U.S. border―a life where her barefoot dreams could finally become reality.

theotherhalfofhappy

The Other Half of Happy — Rebecca Balcárcel

Poet Rebecca Balcárcel's novel about a biracial girl who's navigating between the Anglo and Guatemalan sides of her family, a burgeoning crush and a cool new friend, and trying to figure out what's going on with her little brother, who is becoming remote and hard to reach, all while trying to determine just who she is.

 

Books for High School (Grades 9-12)

90 Miles to Havana

90 Miles to Havana — Enrique Flores-Galbis

When Julian's parents make the heartbreaking decision to send him and his two brothers away from Cuba to Miami via the Pedro Pan Operation, the boys are thrust into a new world where bullies run rampant and it's not always clear how to best protect themselves.

clapwhenyouland

Clap When You Land — Elizabeth Acevedo

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people. In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Cemetery Boys

Cemetery Boys — Aiden Thomas

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves.

garciagirlslosttheiraccent

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents — Julia Alvarez

Uprooted from their family home in the Dominican Republic, the four Garcia sisters - Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia - arrive in New York City in 1960 to find a life far different from the genteel existence of maids, manicures, and extended family they left behind. What they have lost - and what they find - is revealed in the fifteen interconnected stories that make up this exquisite novel from one of the premier novelists of our time.

 

Topics: Class Culture, LGBTQ, Literacy, History, Resources, Holidays

Samantha Hall

Written by Samantha Hall

Samantha Hall is a member of the Learners Edge and Teaching Channel creative team.

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