Here are a few Latino themed children’s books that reflect the beauty and strength of our unique voices, ideal to gift or share during the Holidays.
Part of the richness of Latino culture lies in the diversity that exists among our people. Though we are united by language, we are a rich and diverse blend of customs, religions, and backgrounds. From food to ‘dichos’, each Latin American country has its own spirit, identity, and sabor. Latin American culture owes its richness to the diversity of people who have influenced it. Spain, Africa, Asia, and a variety of indigenous groups together have helped to form each country’s distinctive cultural heritage.
Napí funda un pueblo, Napí Makes a Village
This is the story of a young Mazateca girl, who remembers when her family and friends were made to leave their village and settle in a new land. Forced by the government to leave their precious homeland so that a dam could be built, Napí’s family travels far into the jungle to begin a new life. Once there, they face challenges and difficulty as they settle into their new home—clearing the land, wild animals (including a jaguar), and the dangers of harvesting are faced with determination. Based on the illustrator’s own life story, the message is strong and powerful, but gently delivered.
El Zipitio is older than the rocks, even older than the river. He wears a tall black hat and has a round shiny stomach and long pointy nails. He hides down by the river, only appearing when he falls in love. Rufina Perez is a young Nahua girl of the Pipil people in El Salvador. Her mother wants her to be prepared for El Zipitio, in case he should fall in love with her. When he does appear to court Rufina, her mother shows her how to deal with him in this most enchanting of Latino children’s books based on a legendary character from Pipil folklore.
A Gift of Gracias: The Legend of Altagracia
From the Dominican Republic comes this beautiful story based on the legend of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia. After their olive crop fails, Maria fears that her family will have to abandon their farm on the new island colony. Then, one night, she dreams of a mysterious and beautiful lady shrouded by trees with branches hung with hundreds of little suns. The little suns are oranges like the ones Maria’s parents once ate in their homeland of Valencia, Spain. That very day, Maria and her family plant the seeds that soon yield a magnificent orange grove and save the farm.
On the Pampas
The exciting tale of young Maria, who leaves Buenos Aires to spend the summer with her grandparents on their estancia. Thus, she begins an adventure filled with horses and gauchos, danger and excitement. With a clear, captivating text and distinctive watercolors, the author creates an authentic picture of life on a ranch in Argentina.
Los Zapaticos de Rosa
One of the classic Latino children’s books from Cuban poet and historian, José Martí, Los Zapaticos de Rosa is the poetic story of Pilar, a wealthy, well-dressed girl, who one day meets a sickly and poor girl on the beach. Before long, Pilar has not only given away her beautiful, pink zapaticos, but a bit of herself, too. A story of compassion, selflessness, and love.