Between Two Worlds: Hispanic Heritage
While growing up between two (or more!) cultures can mean that you get the best of both worlds, it also can be a difficult experience for children. These books portray the joys and challenges of families who are living with one foot in the Latin world and the other foot somewhere else.
A Movie in My Pillow: Poems
Product Description: Young Jorgito lives in San Francisco's Mission District, but he hasn't forgotten his native El Salvador. He recalls the volcanoes, the tasty cornmeal pupusas, and his grandmother's stories. As he changes from timid newcomer to seasoned city dweller, Jorgito's memories and new adventures form a patchwork of dreams — the movie in his pillow — that is perfectly suited to his new bicultural identity.
Coquí in the City
Miguel's pet frog, Coquí, is always with him: as he greets his neighbors in San Juan, buys quesitos from the panadería, and listens to his abuelo's story about meeting baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Then Miguel learns that he and his parents are moving to the U.S. mainland, which means leaving his beloved grandparents, home in Puerto Rico, and even Coquí behind. Life in New York City is overwhelming, with unfamiliar buildings, foods, and people.
Get Set! Swim!
"Jessenia, her Mami, and her brother, Luis, are off to the suburbs to watch Jessenia swim at a meet. Jessenia is intimidated by the big new suburban pool and the fact that the other team is on a winning streak. Her team is behind, but she manages to win her last match…Jessenia's story is juxtaposed against the memories Mami has of her home in Puerto Rico; as Jessenia swims, the blue of the water reminds her of the expanse of ocean Mami has often described." — Booklist
I Love Saturdays y domingos
A girl visits both sets of grandparents on weekends. On Saturdays, she speaks English with Grandpa and Grandma, while on Sundays, los domingos, she speaks Spanish with Abeulito and Abeulita. The format provides a glimpse at the subtle differences between cultures and highlights their similarities, one of which is each set of grandparents' love for their granddaughter. Spanish words are interspersed in the fluid text.
"When Pablo must bring something to share for his school's International Day, he considers several items from his family's bakery. But his mother's Mexican pan dulce, empanadas, and chango bars don't do the trick. His father's bagels and challah bread are appealing, but not quite right either. Then the boy helps to make the family specialty, Jalapeño Bagels, joint creation from the cultures of both parents, and decides that it is the perfect contribution: '...a mixture of both of you. Just like me.'" — School Library Journal
Product Description: Liliana's grandmother Mima lives up the street, does yoga exercises, and likes crossword puzzles. Liliana's other grandmother, Mama Gabina, lives in South America, enjoys gardening, and likes to dance around the house. The meals they cook are very different, the stories they tell are different, but one thing about them is the same: they both love their granddaughter. And Liliana adores them. Leyla Torres's watercolors show all the warmth and homeyness that are intrinsic in special family relationships.
Mama and Papa Have a Store
Amelia Lau Carling's children loved her childhood stories about Guatemala so much that she wrote them down for others. In this story, a young girl goes through the day at her family's store in Guatemala City. While the girl's parents and their friends talk about their hometown in China from where they emigrated many years ago, she and her siblings play games on the rooftop terrace, float paper boats, and make shadow puppets under the glow of flashlights.
Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash
Product Description: Fans of Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina won't be surprised to see the girl of many styles struggling to decide on a theme for her eighth birthday party! As if that weren't hard enough, Marisol is faced with the prospect of not being able to see her abuelita, who lives in Peru, on her special day. Her friends are in for a huge surprise when they turn up for world's most eclectic clash bash while Marisol happily gets her wish granted to see her abuelita.
Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match
Meet Marisol McDonald, a spunky young girl with fiery red hair and brown skin who wears green polka dots with purple stripes, mixes English and Spanish, and eats peanut butter and jelly burritos. Everyone tells her she doesn't match, until one day she tries matching — and discovers that it makes her miserable. At the end of the day, however, her teacher shares a special secret with her and lets her know she likes Marisol for who she is: a creative, bilingual Peruvian-Scottish-American!
My Diary from Here to There
While the rest of the family proclaims excitement at their imminent move ("They have escalators to ride!" says one of her five brothers), Amada confides her fears to her journal: "Am I the only one who is scared of leaving our home, our beautiful country, and all the people we might never see again?" Amada Irma Pérez shares the story of her journey to the U.S. as a young girl and Maya Christina Gonzalez's fluid illustrations spill color across the page. Bilingual text.
Product Description: In Japan for the summer to practice the martial art of kempo, Lincoln Mendoza sometimes feels like little more than a brown boy in a white gi. Yet with the help of his Japanese brother, Mitsuo, Lincoln sees that people everywhere, whether friend or kempo opponent, share passions much like his own — for baseball, family traditions, and new friendships.
Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes
This visually stunning book showcases twenty Hispanic and Latino American men and women who have made outstanding contributions to the arts, politics, science, humanitarianism, and athletics. Gorgeous portraits by Raúl Colón complement sparkling biographies of Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, Ellen Ochoa, Roberto Clemente, and many more. Complete with timelines and famous quotes, this tome is a magnificent homage to those who have shaped our nation.
Product Description: The Lau family travels to Antigua, Guatemala to visit their cousins. Although the Laus are Chinese and Buddhist, they adore the pageantry of Easter, and Easter in Antigua is exciting. The best part is seeing the elaborate carpets made of colored sawdust, which the processions walk over and destroy. On the morning of the most important procession, the heroine is invited to make her very own sawdust carpet. But why, she wonders, make something so beautiful, only to have it be ruined?
The Upside Down Boy
Product Description: The Upside Down Boy is the sequel to Calling the Doves and award-winning poet Juan Felipe Herrera's engaging memoir of the year his migrant family settled down so that he could go to school for the first time. Juanito is bewildered by the new school, and he misses the warmth of country life. Everything he does feels upside down…But a sensitive teacher and loving family help him to find his voice and make a place for himself in this new world through poetry, art, and music.
Yes! We Are Latinos
Product Description: Juanita lives in New York and is Mexican. Felipe lives in Chicago and is Panamanian, Venezuelan, and black. Michiko lives in Los Angeles and is Peruvian and Japanese. Each of them is also Latino. Thirteen young Latinos and Latinas living in America are introduced in this book celebrating the rich diversity of the Latino and Latina experience in the United States through free-verse fictional narratives.
¡Mambo Mucho Mambo! The Dance That Crossed Color Lines
Millie danced to jazz in her Italian neighborhood. Pedro danced to Latin songs in his Puerto Rican neighborhood. It was the 1940s in New York City, and they were forbidden to dance together . . . until first a band and then a ballroom broke the rules. Illustrated with verve and told through real-life characters who feature in an afterword, ¡Mambo Mucho Mambo! portrays the power of music and dance to transcend racial, religious, and ethnic boundaries.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!