Colorin Colorado: Helping children read... and succeed!

Teachers who work with English as a Second Language learners will find ESL/ESOL/ELL/EFL reading/writing skill-building children's books, stories, activities, ideas, strategies to help PreK-3, 4-8, and 9-12 students learn to read.

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Books for Kids

Latinas Who Made a Difference

Did you know that the first Latin American author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature was Gabriela Mistral? Many of the recommended titles on this booklist imagine the childhoods of notable women such as Mistral, Celia Cruz, and Sor Juana Inés. Others tell the stories of both historic and imaginary heroines who refuse to abandon their dreams simply because of their gender.

For more great titles, see this related Women's History Booklist from Reading Rockets!

A Library for Juana A Library for Juana By: Pat Mora Illustrated by: Beatriz Vidal Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

This picture book biography introduces Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, one of Mexico's most beloved scholars and poets. At the age of three, Juana promised her sister's teacher that she was "quiet like a turtle" so that she could stay at the school and learn to read. Later, Juana would become a nun and produce poetry that is still learned by children in Mexico today. Handsome, detailed paintings evoke Mexican folk art and tell the story of Juana's life.

Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina By: Carmen T. Bernier-Grand Illustrated by: Raúl Colón Age Level: 9-12 Reading Level: Independent Reader

"Similar in form and concept to many of Bernier-Grand's previous books, this beautiful volume offers a biographical account of ballerina Alicia Alonso through a sequence of free-verse poems, extensive background notes, and large-scale illustrations. Beginning with Alonso's childhood in Cuba, the book relates how she moved to New York in 1937 and overcame partial blindness to dance again, winning worldwide renown." — Booklist

Amelia to Zora Amelia to Zora By: Cynthia Chin-Lee Illustrated by: Megan Halsey Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

"An introduction to 26 diverse, 20th-century women who have made a difference in such varied fields as the arts, sports, journalism, science, and entertainment. The entries include Dolores Huerta and Frida Kahlo." — School Library Journal

Elena's Serenade Elena's Serenade By: Campbell Geeslin Illustrated by: Ana Juan Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Elena wants to be a glassblower like her father, but there is a problem: "Who ever heard of a girl glassblower?" Elena decides she must go to Monterrey where the great glassblowers are, and sets off on her journey with a pipe in hand — dressed as a boy. Elena soon discovers her own hidden talents and the power of believing in yourself. Ana Juan's lovely illustrations convey the magic of Elena's journey. Also available in Spanish and Chinese.

Frida Frida By: Jonah Winter Illustrated by: Ana Juan Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

In this refreshing tribute to Frida Kahlo and her imagination, Jonah Winter writes, "Frida doesn't cry or complain. Instead of crying, she paints pictures of herself crying." Winter gently explores how her suffering shapes her artwork in a way that children will be able to understand. Ana Juan's colorful fantasies evoke Frida's unique style and paintings.

Isabel Allende: Memories for a Story Isabel Allende: Memories for a Story By: Raquel Benatar Illustrated by: Fernando Molina Age Level: 9-12 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Product Description: Isabel Allende: Memories for a Story gives readers a glimpse of Isabel Allende's childhood influences. Benatar offers a vivid picture of a unique childhood: bewitched by the séances of her grandmother, enlivened by her own adventurous spirit, and haunted by the silence that descended upon the house after the death of a loved one. With the passage of time, Isabel became the keeper of the family memories, memories that come alive in her writing.

Just Like Me: Stories and Self-Portraits by Fourteen Artists Just Like Me: Stories and Self-Portraits by Fourteen Artists By: Invalid article ID Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Product Description: This remarkable collection highlights the art and inspirational paths of 14 outstanding artists who, over the course of 20 years, have shared their art and lives with children. Each spread comprises a self-portrait, as well as the artist's personal story and reflections on what their art means to them. Artists include George Littlechild, Maya Christina Gonzalez, Enrique Chagoya, Rodolfo Morales, Tomie Arai, and Hideo Yoshida.

My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz By: Monica Brown Illustrated by: Rafael López Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The beautiful artwork of this award-winning picture book about salsa queen Celia Cruz practically jumps off the page, and conveys the spirit and rhythmic energy of her music. Learn about Cruz's childhood in Havana and her entry into the world of salsa music from vibrant illustrations and text presented in English and Spanish.

My Name Is Gabriela: The Life of Gabriela Mistral My Name Is Gabriela: The Life of Gabriela Mistral By: Monica Brown Illustrated by: John Parra Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

"My name is Gabriela Mistral. It is a name I chose myself because I like the sound of it." With these words, Monica Brown introduces us to the Chilean poet and author who, in 1945, became the first Latin American writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The lyrical text and exquisite illustrations bring Gabriela's childhood and talent to life for young readers.

Remember the Ladies: 100 Great American Women Remember the Ladies: 100 Great American Women By: Cheryl Harness Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

They have come in all colors and sizes and times throughout American history and their impact is still felt. Meet 100 interesting, diverse women whose contributions range from helping people escape injustice to creating fashion. Portraits accompany each engaging biographical essay.

Side by Side: The Story of Dolores Huerta and César Chávez Side by Side: The Story of Dolores Huerta and César Chávez By: Monica Brown Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Many years ago in California, an energetic young Girl Scout named Dolores worked to raise money for soldiers fighting in World War II. A thoughtful young boy named Cesar worked in the fields to help his family put food on the table. As young adults, these two extraordinary individuals would meet and spend the rest of their lives working tirelessly on behalf of migrant workers and children through nonviolent struggle — side by side. Monica Brown and Joe Cepeda bring the story of Dolores and Cesar to life through this vibrant book, which will make an excellent addition to units on migrant farmworkers, civil rights, or women's history.

Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx By: Jonah Winter Illustrated by: Christina Rodriguez Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

This bilingual picture book tells the story of Sotomayor's childhood in the Bronx, her time at Princeton, and her confirmation on the Supreme Court, with a special focus on her mother's unwavering support throughout her life. Lovely illustrations capture the warmth and joy of Sotomayor's family and story. Note: The biography includes a discussion of the racial undertones of her nomination and confirmation hearing.

The Storyteller's Candle The Storyteller's Candle By: Lucía González Illustrated by: Lulu Delacre Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

This is the story of librarian Pura Belpré, told through the eyes of two young children who are introduced to the library and its treasures just before Christmas. Lulu Delacre's lovely illustrations evoke New York City at the time of the Great Depression, as well as the close-knit and vibrant Puerto Rican community that was thriving in El Barrio during this time. Bilingual Spanish-English text.

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