September is Hispanic Heritage Month, and there are a lot of books worth sharing with your child to learn more about Hispanic culture. The first three in our list are picture books for toddlers up to second grade. The last two are chapter books for children third grade and up.
Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina, which we offer in Spanish as well, is a 2016 Pura Belpré Award Honor Book for both author and illustrator. Mia’s grandmother has come to live with Mia and her family in the city. That night, Mia realizes her grandmother can’t understand the words in her favorite nighttime story. To solve this problem, Mia and her grandma work together to learn English and Spanish together. With a little help from a new parrot friend, Mia and Grandma are able to communicate and share stories together.
Monia Brown’s book, Waiting for the Biblioburro, tells the story of a man and his two burros, or donkeys, Alfa and Beto who share books with the children of the town. Ana is so inspired by the traveling library that she starts to create her own. This story is inspired by the real-life librarian Luis Soriano who CNN named their 2010 Heros of the Year in the “Championing Children” category. This book is offered in a duel Spanish/English copy and English copy.
In our next book, Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Thong, children will learn about colors in Spanish and English through fun rhyming text and vibrant illustrations. This is a good book for parents and children to learn simple Spanish words together through storytime. If parents aren’t knowledgeable about Spanish terms, I recommend looking up the Spanish words together; this way parents and child are learning and reading together.
The Dreamer, by Pam Muñoz Ryan, is a chapter book that follows Neftali who becomes Nobel prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Nerudo later in life. Neftali is a shy child who has a father who is cruel and not supportive. Through perseverance, Neftali is able to overcome his hardships and overbearing father to become a creative and well-loved poet.
In our last chapter book, Julia Alvarez shares the story of eleven-year-old Tyler and Mari in Return to Sender. Tyler lives in Vermont with his family, and his father was recently injured in a tractor accident. Because of this, they are forced to hire help in Mari’s family who are migrant Mexican workers. Mari is living in constant fear of her family being deported, but is still proud of her Mexican heritage, while also learning to be an American. This book tells the story of how friendship can blossom with those are different. This is a book that can be related to current events, and is a great conversation starter with your child. It’s a great story for parents to children to read together as well.