Art and Artists: Hispanic Heritage
These books introduce readers to many traditional art forms from Latino and Latin American cultures, as well as to a number of artists (some of whom they will know and some of whom they won't) dedicated to expressing beauty through their work.
You may also be interested in our related booklist about Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.
ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish
In this brightly colored book, the alphabet is presented in both Spanish and English, and includes the four additional letters — and whimsical animals — that make the Spanish alphabet so much fun. Two brothers who are famous folk artists from Oaxaca, Mexico carved the wonderful animal figures that illustrate each letter in ABeCedarios.
America: A Book of Opposites
Illustrated by ten talented children's book artists, this collection celebrates in words (both Spanish and English) and images what America is all about: diversity. Young children are led through a land of opposites, where they learn how to differentiate between high and low, wet and dry, and rough and smooth.
Animal Talk: Mexican Folk Art Animal Sounds in English and Spanish
Did you know that animals that live in one country don't always talk the same language as animals from somewhere else? Take a rooster, for instance. In English-speaking countries, he says cock-a-doodle-doo when he has a notion to announce himself or to greet the dawn. But in Spanish-speaking countries, he says ki-kiri-ki.
Boogie Boogie, Y’all
The city is alive with vibrant art in every corner of the parks, the shops, the trains. But most people are too busy to see it — or worse, choose to ignore it! When three children stop to marvel at the art around their community, they realize it’s up to them to show everyone else how truly special it is when art and reality dance together so seamlessly.
Colores de la Vida: Mexican Folk Art Colors in English and Spanish
Product Description: Little kids love colors, they love animals, and they love the sounds of words. Especially new words. Colores de la Vida, the third in the highly successful series First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art, combines all these elements to teach early learners about color. Leggy red giraffes, pink cows, purple rabbits — the Oaxacan folk artists who contributed to this book unleashed their imaginations and went wild with color. Young children will delight in the bright colors of the Oaxacan rainbow while folk art collectors will marvel at the whimsical handcrafts.
Count Me In! A Parade of Mexican Folk Art
Join the parade and count from one to ten in Spanish and in English. Numbers and a one-sentence description of the ceramic figures in regional dress from Oaxaca, Mexico are presented in both languages, punctuated by lively folk art figures.
"Inspired by the life of renowned Oaxacan woodcarver Manuel Jimenez, newcomer Cohn and Cordova tell of Mateo, a young woodcarver who bravely breaks with a generations-old artistic tradition…Mateo dreams of carving life-size animals, with surfaces that tingle with vibrant, improbable colors and surreal patterns…When Mateo ultimately produces a glorious wooden menagerie including a quetzal with majestic feathers he wins over not only Papa, but the entire village, and a new way of carving is born." — Publishers Weekly
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 Kahlo and Her Animalitos
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, her dramatic works featuring bold and vibrant colors. Brown's story recounts Frida's beloved pets — two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat, and a fawn — and playfully considers how Frida embodied many wonderful characteristics of each animal.
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. However, today he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival.
Growing An Artist: The Story of a Landscaper and His Son
Today is a big day — the first time Juanito gets to help his papi on the job as a landscape architect! Throughout the day, Juanito sketches anything that catches his eye: a nest full of baby birds, a nursery with row upon row of plants and flowers, and more. Father and son travel from house to house, pruning, weeding, mowing, and turning overgrown and chaotic yards into beautiful spaces. A few of the clients don’t appreciate Papi’s hard work, like Juanito’s classmate who pretends not to see him. But Papi always feels pride in owning his own business and in a job well done.
"In simple words and charming pictures, Winter gives an outline of the life of Josefina Aguilar, a maker of pottery figures who lives in Ocotlan, Mexico. The author follows this narrative with a counting story describing Josefina's creation of a pottery world, beginning with one sun and going through increasing numbers of angels, houses, flower sellers, farmers, mamas and babies, mariachis, mourners, skeletons, and, finally, 10 stars." — School Library Journal
Just Like Me: Stories and Self-Portraits by Fourteen Artists
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.
Let's Work: Mexican Folk Art Trabajos in English and Spanish
Cynthia Weill scores again with an early concept book that bring every kind of job to life, including the work of the dedicated palm weavers of Flavio Gallardo’s workshop, whose miniature palm weavings illustrate this playful book, teaching children words for work in two languages. The weavers live in the village of Chigmecatitlán in the Mixteca part of the Mexican state of Puebla. With tremendous skill and patience, the artisans of this region practice palm weaving, a craft with a long and rich history in Mexico.
Market Day: A Story Told with Folk Art
It's market day! Everyone's going to the town square for a farmers market like no other — and you're invited to come along. Lois Ehlert's Market Day takes you on a colorful journey around the world in a fun story told with folk art.
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood
What good can a splash of color do in a town that is gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine! Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation—and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big. Pick up a paintbrush and join the celebration!
Product Description: Like a tiny bird in a big city, Frida Kahlo feels lost and lonely when she arrives in San Francisco with her husband, the famous artist Diego Rivera. It is the first time she has left her home in Mexico. And Frida wants to be a painter too. But as Frida begins to explore San Francisco on her own, she discovers more than the beauty, diversity, and exuberance of America. She finds the inspiration she needs to become one of the most celebrated artists of all time.
My Papa Diego and Me
"In this beautiful bilingual picture book, Diego Rivera's daughter has brought together 14 of her father's original works with a focus on those depicting children. Each well-reproduced painting is accompanied by a brief discussion describing the historical or cultural details of the time. The author also weaves in her own memories and those of her father, making the book personal yet accessible." — School Library Journal
"Nino aspires to play the role of the perro in the Fiesta of the Tigre in his small Mexican village. Despite being told that he must wait until he is older, he is determined to perform the part of the animal that ensures the success of the corn crop by chasing the tiger out of town.
Nuestra América: 30 Inspiring Latinas/Latinos Who Have Shaped the United States
Nuestra América highlights the inspiring stories of thirty Latina/o/xs throughout history and their incredible contributions to the cultural, social, and political character of the United States.
The stories in this book cover each figure's cultural background, childhood, and the challenges and opportunities they met in pursuit of their goals. A glossary of terms and discussion question-filled reading guide, created by the Smithsonian Latino Center, encourage further research and exploration.
Opuestos: Mexican Folk Art Opposites in English and Spanish
Product Description: Cynthia Weill's book of Mexican folk art teaches kids about opposites in Spanish and English! These whimsical little animals from Oaxaca, carved and painted by hand, make learning about opposites fun. Up and down, tall and short, left and right — all inside a beautiful book.
The Piñata Maker
Fiestas often involve puppets, masks, and piñatas. Meet Tío Rico, the elderly piñata maker in a Mexican town, whose artful creations are shown from start to finish in this handsomely photographed book. The text is presented in both Spanish and English.
In this visually stunning tribute to Frida Kahlo, artist Yuyi Morales offers a representation of Kahlo's creative process with stop-motion puppet and paintings, photographed by Tim O'Meara. The result is a work of art in and of itself lovingly created to honor Kahlo, and Morales shares her own process of creating the book in this video. Since the text is limited, more biographical information can be found in the books featured on our Diego & Frida children's booklist.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!