September is Hispanic Heritage Month and we like to celebrate with picture books. These picture books are the perfect addition to your library not only in September but year-round. The first three picture books highlight famous Hispanic Americans. The last two tell realistic stories about Hispanic culture.
Famous Hispanic Americans – Sonia Sotomayer
This book by Jonah Winter is a narrative biography of the amazing Sonia Sotomayer, who became the first Hispanic United States Supreme Court justice. Sonia went through many obstacles as a child including growing up in poverty in the Bronx and being diagnosed with diabetes. Being Hispanic added to her challenge when she was nominated for justice but nothing could stop her. It’s such an inspiring story and a MUST read in my opinion. Something special about the book is that the story is written in both English and Spanish on each page.
Famous Hispanic Americans – Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates is another amazing book by Jonah Winter. I am seriously going to stock up on all of his books! This book made me cry which I did not expect in the least. It reads like poetry as it tells the story of Roberto Clemente. Clemente was a black Latin American baseball player, who didn’t get respect for his talent simply because of his race. He didn’t let that stop him from working hard and it paid off. He became one of the best baseball players of all time. But what makes his story greater is the impact he made after he was gone.
Famous Hispanic Americans – Ellen Ochoa
The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars hasn’t come out yet but I had to include it. I’ve already preordered it! The Amazing Scientists series highlights famous women in Science. I love the message these true stories send girls about having careers in Science and Math. In their most current book about Ellen Ochoa, they highlight a woman who was told engineering wasn’t for girls. She had the odds stacked against her with being Hispanic and being a girl. But Ochoa didn’t give up and became a successful NASA astronaut.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month With Realistic Stories
Too Many Tamales is a fiction story about a Hispanic family at Christmas and one of their traditions: making tamales. In the story, Maria helps her mom make tamales with masa. (I love how there are Spanish words sprinkled throughout the book.) Her mom leaves her ring on the counter and that’s where the story takes a funny turn that leaves Maria desperate to find a way out of trouble. Although the setting is Christmas, that is not the main focus of the story. The focus is on how this family comes together in the end to make a great family celebration.
In Islandborn, Lola is frustrated because she can’t remember where she came from like the other kids in her class. She proceeds to ask family and neighbors about the island. Through her journey in finding out where she came from, she learns that it doesn’t matter if she can’t remember her first country. The island is still very much a part of who she is. Although it is not named in the story, the island is the Dominican Republic. Diaz does a wonderful job sharing the challenges and trauma people from that country faced in a child-friendly way.
Are there picture books I need to add to my collection that celebrates Hispanic heritage? Let me know in the comments!