Music and Rhyme: Hispanic Heritage

These books celebrate the many wonderful forms of music that Latinos and Latin Americans call their own, as well as the songs and rhymes that one generation passes down to the next.

For musical CDs and songbooks, see our related Hispanic Heritage Music for Kids booklist!

Arroz con Leche

Age Level: 3-6

These traditional rhymes and songs from Latin America are presented in both English and Spanish. Gentle illustrations accompany the short verses, and show both cities and the countryside. Children and adults from Spanish-speaking backgrounds will recognize many of these fun songs and rhymes.

De Colores: Sing Along in English and Spanish!

Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: This traditional Spanish folk song is brought to life by the striking artwork of a bestselling illustrator. Musical notation is included, as well as a page that introduces readers to the Spanish and English words for the colors featured in the book. Full color.

Diez Deditos and Other Play Rhymes and Action Songs from Latin America

Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Singer-songwriter José-Luis Orozco has assembled a collection of finger rhymes and other action songs from Latin America. Including favorites such as "The Wheels on the Bus" as well as folk songs from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries, Diez Deditos is a treat for the eyes, ears, and fingers. Lyrics are presented in both English and Spanish, and easy-to-follow musical accompaniment and diagrams for the corresponding actions are also provided. Bright collage illustrations by Elisa Kleven complete the appeal of this fun-filled book.

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music

Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 6-9

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule — until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.

Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist

Illustrated by: Duncan Tonatiuh
Age Level: 9-12

Juan Garcia Esquivel was born in Mexico and grew up to the sounds of mariachi bands. He loved music and became a musical explorer. Defying convention, he created music that made people laugh and planted images in their minds. Juan's space-age lounge music – popular in the fifties and sixties – has found a new generation of listeners. And Duncan Tonatiuh's fresh and quirky illustrations bring Esquivel's spirit to life.

Grandma's Records

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Every summer, Eric goes to live with his grandmother in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) while his parents work. Through the long hot days, Grandma fills her apartment with the blaring horns and conga drums of Bomba y Plena, salsa, and merengüe — the music she grew up with in Puerto Rico — sharing her memories and passions with Eric. Join Eric Velasquez on a magical journey through time and across cultures, as a young boy's passion for music and art is forged by a powerful bond between generations.

Mamá Goose: A Latino Nursery Treasury

Age Level: 0-3

This book is a collection of Spanish-language lullabies, finger games, nursery rhymes, jump-rope songs, riddles, birthday songs, and more. It compiles songs from different Spanish-speaking countries. The English translations keep the essence of the native language, and grab the reader using captivating terminology.

My Tata's Guitar

When a little boy explores his grandfather's garage, he finds a treasure — his grandfather's old guitar. He learns that the guitar has provided the music for Christmas posadas, love songs, and campfires. Nothing is more exciting for the boy, however, than the moment that his grandfather offers to teach him how to play his guitar. The story and illustrations offer a lovely tribute to Latino families and traditions. Bilingual text.

Rin, Rin, Rin/Do, Re, Mi

Illustrated by: David Diaz
Age Level: 6-9

Rin, Rin, Rin, Do, Re, Mi is a book that allows children to practice basic literacy skills in Spanish as well as in English. José-Luis Orozco is able to gracefully describe daily routines while making rhymes for children to read or sing along to. This book is based on a song written by Orozco, who is an award-winning Hispanic songwriter. The book has an accompanying CD.

The Best Mariachi in the World

Illustrated by: Dani Jones
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Everyone in Gustavo's family is in a mariachi band…Everyone except Gustavo, that is. They all play violines, trompetas and guitarrones. They all make wonderful music in restaurants and at wedding parties. Gustavo would love to join the band, but he can't play any of the instruments. What's a wannabe mariachi to do? Follow Gustavo as he finds his place in the family mariachi band.

The Frog Was Singing

Age Level: 0-3

Latin Grammy nominee Rita Rosa Ruesga presents a collection of nursery rhymes and songs from Latin America in this bilingual songbook. Each song includes lyrics, music, and a brief explanation about the song's background.

Tito Puente, Mambo King

Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 3-6

Tito Puente was born to be a musician. He grew up to become the Mamba King to whose music people danced the mambo, rumba and cha-cha. Rhythmic language and animated illustrations briefly present Tito's life and the impact of music throughout.

When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana

Illustrated by: José Ramírez
Age Level: 9-12

When Carlos Santana picked up la guitarra, he took the soul of the Blues, the brains of Jazz, and the energy of Rock and Roll, and added the slow heat of Afro-Cuban drums and the cilantro-scented sway of the music he’d grown up with in Mexico. There were a lot of bands in San Francisco but none of them sounded like this. Had Carlos finally found the music that would make his angels real? Winner of the 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Award and the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal.