FAMILY & PARENTING

14 Wonderful Children’s Books That Celebrate Latinx Heritage

by Angela Andaloro

Any Latinx person who grew up outside of Gen Z might recall a childhood that lacked representation. Even today, there aren’t many books that celebrate the many aspects of Latinx heritage and culture.

Despite the United States’ proximity to Latin America, there aren’t a lot of facets of that culture present in our society that aren’t rooted in stereotypes. It makes it difficult for parents who are trying to infuse that culture into their children’s lives.

Thankfully, children’s literature has made great strides in representation. From board books all the way through YA, there are more selections than ever before. Many authors have beautifully depicted Latinidad in their works.

Some celebrate important figures in Latinx history. And there is a growing body of books by authors from Latinx backgrounds, sharing own-voices narratives.

Today, there are books for kids of all ages that illustrate and celebrate Latinidad in all its beautiful forms. These inclusive selections make a wonderful addition to any child’s bookshelf.

'Green Is a Chile Pepper' by Roseanne Greenfield Thong

This board book teaches little ones about colors using items you might find in a Latinx household. The rhyming text and vibrant colors bring the story to life.

Shop Now: Green Is a Chile Pepper (Amazon, $7.99)

'Sweet Dreams/Dulces Sueños' by Pat Mora

Sweet Dreams/Dulces Suenos

This sweet book brings one family’s bedtime routine to yours. Grandma says goodnight to everyone as she shares some calming things to think about at bedtime. It’s in both English and Spanish.

Shop Now: Sweet Dreams/Dulces Sueños (Amazon, $9.19)

'Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music' by Margarita Engle

Drum Dream Girl is inspired by the story of barrier-breaking Afro-Chinese-Cuban drummer Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. On an island where only boys are allowed to drum, one girl dreams of bongos, timbales, and congas. She practices in secret, but when her dad finds out and forbids her, she finds herself fighting for her dreams.

Shop Now: Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music (Amazon, $13.49)

'Islandborn' by Junot Díaz

Lola’s teacher asks her class to draw the place from which their family came. Lola is upset because she can’t remember the island she left as a baby.

Just because you don’t remember a place doesn’t mean it’s not in you,” her grandmother wisely reminds her. Through conversations and discovery, Lola starts to remember her island home. This picture book is available in both English and Spanish.

Shop Now: Islandborn (Amazon, $12.89)

'Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale' by Carmen Agra Deedy

This classic Cuban folktale gets a spirited retelling. The beautiful Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha’s family helps her handle her many suitors. The hilarious tale offers wise insights.

Shop Now: Martina the Beautiful Cockroach (Amazon, $13.79)

'Bad Hair Does Not Exist!' by Sulma Arzu-Brown

Afro-Latinx kids don’t have pelo malo! This book reminds kids that there’s nothing wrong with hair that doesn’t want to be tamed into submission. It’s a wonderful celebration of one of the things that make growing up Afro-Latinx so special.

Shop Now: Bad Hair Does Not Exist! (Amazon, $9.95)

'Mango, Abuela, and Me' by Meg Medina

This cross-generational story captures the relationship between grandmother and grandchild. Mia is excited to share her favorite book with her abuela, but she doesn’t know the words in English. The two then start to teach each other their respective languages and come to form a closer bond.

Shop Now: Mango, Abuela, and Me (Amazon, $13.36)

'Esperanza Rising' by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza’s life on her family’s Mexican farm is turned upside down after her father dies. She and her mom travel to the United States as migrant farmworkers. As changes keep coming at her, Esperanza must find a way to center herself.

Shop Now: Esperanza Rising (Amazon, $6.99)

'Each Tiny Spark' by Pablo Cartaya

Emilia is a Cuban-American girl living with ADHD. She struggles to focus in school and gets help from her mom in staying organized. When her mom goes on a business trip, everything feels like it’s falling apart. Emilia has to get a grip while doing something totally outside of her comfort zone.

Shop Now: Each Tiny Spark (Amazon, $10.79)

'Max Loves Muñecas!' by Zetta Elliot

max loves munecas

Max isn’t too excited to visit a shop known for its handmade dolls. When he meets Señor Pepe, he learns the beautiful story behind the man’s lifelong joy for making the dolls. Through it, Max learns the beauty and pride of making something by yourself.

Shop Now: Max Loves Muñecas (Amazon, $7)

'Shadowshaper' by Daniel José Older

This first book in an urban fantasy trilogy tells the story of a teen girl learning about the ancestral magic her family has kept hidden from her. She discovers shadowshaping, a magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. She also discovers that shadowshapers are in grave danger.

Shop Now: Shadowshaper (Amazon, $4.99)

'The Poet X' by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara Batista finds her voice in poetry at a time where everything else seems so complicated. She’s struggling with her family, her faith, and even her body. The secret world she keeps in the pages of her notebook come to life when she joins her school’s slam poetry club.

Shop Now: The Poet X (Amazon, $14.97)

'Show and Prove' by Sofia Quintero

Show and Prove drops readers into the summer of 1983 in the Bronx. The ups and downs of the era, from hip-hop to the AIDS epidemic, touch the lives of everyone, including Raymond “Smiles” King and Guillermo “Nike” Vega. Coming of age in a time of chaos is something kids today can certainly understand.

Shop Now: Show and Prove (Amazon, $8.44)

'I Am Alfonso Jones' by Tony Medina

Alfonso Jones is in the midst of the most exciting time in his life when he’s shot and killed by a police officer. This graphic novel sees the young man guided through the spirit world by other victims of police shootings.

Shop Now: I Am Alfonso Jones (Amazon, $15.75)

Psst: If you choose to purchase an item on this list, LittleThings may receive a small cut. Each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.