8 Bicultural Latino Children’s Books for National Reading Month
March is National Reading Month. It’s a time to celebrate reading and an opportunity to nurture childrens’ love of reading. Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, I’m sure you can remember back to you childhood and the first books that you shared with someone special. The sound of the crisp pages turning, the smoothness of their voice, the rich, colorful illustrations.
Reading can be an absolutely magical experience, especially for young children, who are still developing their reading skills. I remember being about seven or eight and sitting down for reading time at school. The teachers voice was so soothing and I remember sitting up with excitement as she paused to turn each page.
I never knew that reading could be such an immersive experience. It was something I looked forward to every week and it made a huge impression on me.
So today, in honor of National Reading Month, we’re sharing 8 gorgeous bicultural Latino children’s books that have inspired us. We hope that they will help you to create many wonderful memories with your little ones and pass along the incredible lifelong gift of reading.
Below, we’ve added our personal thoughts on each of these wonderful books and provided more details about the book and where you can purchase it. Please note that affiliate links are included in this post and help to offset expenses for our blog. All opinions are our own.
#1 — Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match
by Monica Brown (Author), Rafael López (Illustrator)
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match is a wonderful book about embracing what’s different. Marisol is a little girl growing up with two distinct cultures in her home that she learns to mix and match in her own unique way. In the book, Marisol is questioned about being different from the other kids. At first she wonders about whether being different is ok, but ultimately, she discovers that her own mix of cultures, foods and fashion are what make her unique and wonderful. Themes: biculturalism, mixed heritage and personal identity.
#2 — Estela’s Swap
by Alexis O’Neill (Author), Enrique O. Sanchez (Illustrator)
Estela’s Swap is a great book about a little girl who makes her first swap at the local pulga (flea market). Estela travels to the pulga with her father and brother and is encourage to try selling her music box on her own. She’s a little nervous, but sure she can do it. As she wanders through the marketplace, she takes in all of the wonderful sights and sounds. While browsing, she helps an older woman in need and ends up receiving a wonderful surprise. Themes: community, kindness, cultural heritage, entrepreneurship.
#3 — The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
by Samantha R. Vamos (Author), Rafael López (Illustrator)
The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred is the story of how a community works together to make arroz con leche (rice pudding) for their fiesta. Based on The House That Jack Built, this story includes several animals that help the farm maiden to stir and prepare the arroz con leche. Everyone provides an ingredient and they all help to create a single dish that they can share together. Themes: community, giving, celebration.
#4 — My Colors, My World / Mis Colores, Mi Mundo
by Maya Christina Gonzalez (Author, Illustrator)
My Colors, My World follows the story of a girl, Maya, who loves to explore her home and neighborhood and look for bold, bright colors in everything. She discovers vibrant colors in the sky, plants and people in her life. In Maya’s search for all the colors of the rainbow, little readers will be inspired to look around and ask themselves, where can I find the colors in my world? Themes: exploration, colors.
#5 — What Can You Do with a Paleta? / ¿Qué Puedes Hacer con una Paleta?
by Carmen Tafolla (Author), Magaly Morales (Illustrator)
What Can You Do with a Paleta is a wonderful story that follows a girl as she explores her neighborhood and the tastes, sights, smells, sounds and people that surround her. In the story, the little girl shares all of the ways that she can help others with paletas and highlights all of the delicious foods available in her barrio. Themes: exploration, community, food culture, colors.
#6 — Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day / Book Day
by Pat Mora (Author), Rafael Lopez (Illustrator)
Book Fiesta: Celebrate Children’s Day / Book Day invites children to celebrate the wonder of books and reading. Author Pat Mora’s jubilant celebration of this Children’s Day / Book Day features imaginative text and lively illustrations by award-winning illustrator Rafael López that will turn this bilingual fiesta into a hit for story time. Themes: imagination, play, fun.
#7 — My Diary from Here to There: Mi diario de aqui hasta allá
by Amada Irma Perez (Author), Maya Christina Gonzalez (Illustrator)
My Diary From Here to There follows the story of a young girl, Amada, who overhears her parents talking about moving from Mexico to Los Angeles. During their travels, Amada writes down her fears, hopes, and dreams for their lives in her diary. Amada learns that with her family’s love and her belief in herself, she can make any journey and weather any change here, there, anywhere. Themes: family, embracing change, cultural heritage.
#8 — The Book of Life Movie Novelization
by Stacia Deutsch
The Book of Life is an incredible film about the importance of family, kindness and love. The movie novelization tells the story in with added detail and descriptions. The story follows Manolo and Maria, two people who are in love, who become separated. Manolo must travel through the afterlife to reconnect with Maria, a strong, spirited young woman who is both fierce and kind. Themes: love, family, community, cultural heritage, pride.