Summer Stories: Hispanic Heritage

For the characters in these Latino-themed stories, the summer's magic can be found in small (but mysterious) objects, such as a baseball, an old song, and a lucha libra mask. Where will their summertime adventures lead next?

Alicia's Fruity Drinks

Illustrated by: Laura Lacamara
Age Level: 6-9

"The fruit- blended juice drinks known as aguas frescas offered at a fair inspire a little girl and her mother to serve their own version after a soccer practice. The dual English/ Spanish text is augmented by summery scenes in opaque, rich colors. The simplicity of the suggested idea that homemade fruit juice will always be fun to make and delicious to drink is appealing." — KIRKUS Reviews

An Island Like You

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Judith Ortiz Cofer's award-winning collection of short stories focuses on life in the barrio. Rita is exiled to Puerto Rico for a summer with her grandparents after her parents catch her with a boy. Luis sits atop a six-foot mountain of hubcaps in his father's junkyard, working off a sentence for breaking and entering. Sandra tries to reconcile her looks to the conventional Latino notion of beauty. And Arturo, different from his macho classmates, fantasizes about escaping his community.

Firefly Summer

Age Level: 9-12

"In this turn-of-the-century novel, seventh-grader Teresa attends school in San Juan and travels home in time to celebrate the Feast of the Cross with her extended family, friends, and plantation workers on her parents' finca…Belpré submitted Firefly Summer for publication during World War II, but it was rejected because of a paper shortage; it is available now because of a national project whose aim is to locate, identify, preserve, and make accessible the literary heritage of U.S. Hispanics." — School Library Journal

Follow That Map! (Confetti Kids)

FIve kids on a bus looking at a map.
By: Sheri Tan
Illustrated by: Shirley Ng-Benitez
Age Level: 6-9

Five friends from diverse backgrounds learn how to navigate common childhood challenges, new experiences, and the world around them in the realistic and kid-friendly Confetti Kids early chapter books.Pablo and his friends want to spend the last day of summer at Coney Island. They can ride bumper cars or play ring toss--there's so much to do! But first, they need to figure out how to get to Coney Island from their neighborhood.

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.

Harvesting Friends / Cosechando Amigos

Illustrated by: Gary Undercuffler
Age Level: 6-9

Young Lupe loves helping her mother with their salsa garden full of tomatoes, chile peppers, onions, garlic and cilantro. But one summer day, she sees that the biggest, juiciest tomatoes have disappeared! Who could have taken them?  Including easy-to-make recipes, this bilingual picture book for children ages 4-8 will have them clamoring for a garden of their own to plant and harvest. Along the way, young readers and the adults in their lives too will learn that coming together as a community will enable them to harvest more than just vegetables.

Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller (Max's Lucha Libre Adventures)

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Maximilian acts like any other eleven-year-old aficionado of lucha libre: he worships all the players. But in the summer just before sixth grade, he tumbles over the railing at a match in San Antonio and makes a connection to the world of Mexican wrestling that will ultimately connect him — maybe by blood! — to the greatest hero of all time: the Guardian Angel. A 2012 Pura Belpré Author Honor Award winner.

Pacific Crossing

By: Gary Soto
Age Level: 9-12
Language: English

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.

Silver Meadows Summer

Illustration of girl sitting next to pond showing fish and the reflection of a house.
Age Level: 9-12

Eleven-year-old Carolina's summer--and life as she knows it--is upended when Papi loses his job, and she and her family must move from Puerto Rico to her Tía Cuca and Uncle Porter's house in upstate New York. Now Carolina must attend Silver Meadows camp, where her bossy older cousin Gabriela rules the social scene.

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

Illustrations that look like scout badges, the center one showing a group of girls.
Age Level: 9-12

When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up. Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the kid behind the invite, Lane DiSanti, and it isn't love at first sight. But they soon bond over a shared mission to get the Floras, their local Scouts, to ditch an outdated tradition.

Tortilla Sun

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: When twelve-year-old Izzy discovers a beat-up baseball marked with the words "Becausemagic" while unpacking in yet another new apartment, she is determined to figure out what it means. What secrets does this old ball have to tell? Her mom certainly isn't sharing anyespecially when it comes to Izzy's father, who died before Izzy was born. But when she spends the summer in her Nana's remote New Mexico village, Izzy discovers long-buried secrets that come alive in an enchanted landscape of watermelon mountains, whispering winds, and tortilla suns.

Ugly Cat and Pablo

Illustrated by: Tom Knight
Age Level: 6-9
Language: English

Ugly Cat is dying for a paleta, or ice pop, and his impeccably dressed mouse friend Pablo is determined to help him get one by scaring a little girl who is enjoying a coconut paleta in the park. Things go horribly wrong when, instead of being scared, the little girl picks Pablo up and declares that he would make a great snack for her pet snake.

Under the Mambo Moon

Illustrated by: Fabricio Vanden Broeck
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: On summer nights Marisol helps out in Papi's music store. As customers come and go, they share memories of the Latin music and dance of their various homelands, expressed in a dazzling array of poetry. The diversity of Latin American music is brought to life in poems that swivel, sway, and sizzle with the rhythms of merengüe, vallenatos, salsa, and samba. Back matter includes a map, author's note, and further information about the musical heritage of Latin America.

What Can You Do With a Paleta?

Illustrated by: Magaly Morales
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: As she strolls through her barrio, a young girl introduces readers to the frozen, fruit-flavored treat that thrills Mexican and Mexican-American children. Create a masterpiece, make tough choices (strawberry or coconut?), or cool off on a warm summer's day — there's so much to do with a paleta!

Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Makes a Splash (Book 4)

Illustrated by: Miguel Benitez
Age Level: 6-9

Freddie Ramos' super running and jumping powers and his confidence disappear after the loss of his zapatos. When his special-soled shoes are found, Freddie is able to successfully confront a bully as well as his own swimming fears. Easy but lively language and line drawings present an engaging story for new readers in the fourth book in this series.