Books by Theme

Latino and Spanish-language Favorites

This recommended list of books for kids ages 0-9 includes favorites for Hispanic students and for those interested in learning a bit of Spanish. The books are written by today's most notable Hispanic and Latin American children's authors. The diverse sampling includes traditional songs, bilingual poetry, and much more. Some of the books are bilingual while others come in Spanish or in English editions peppered with Spanish words.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss


By: Arthur Dorros
Illustrated by: Arthur Dorros
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Rosalba imagines flying over New York City with her much loved abuela. The young girl uses a lovely mix of English and Spanish to describe their journey, moving from the busy streets of Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty. Brightly colored illustrations detail what Rosalba and her grandmother glimpse as they fly, and the rich tales of Abuela's memories. (Available in both English and Spanish).

Arroz con Leche

By: Lulu Delacre
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

These traditional rhymes and songs from Latin America are presented in both English and Spanish. Gentle illustrations accompany the short verses, and show both cities and the countryside. Children and adults from Spanish-speaking backgrounds will recognize many of these fun songs and rhymes.

Barrio: Jose's Neighborhood/Barrio: El barrio de Jose

By: George Ancona
Illustrated by: George Ancona
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

José lives in a diverse neighborhood where he's just as likely to hear Spanish, English, or Chinese. The appealing photographs in this book document José's life at home, at school, and on the streets of his colorful barrio in San Francisco, a city that is a dynamic mosaic of different cultures. Available in a Spanish.

Chato's Kitchen

By: Gary Soto, Susan Guevara
Illustrated by: Susan Guevara, Gary Soto
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Chato and Novio Boy are the coolest cats in their East Los Angeles barrio. When a family of mice moves next door to Chato, he invites them to dinner. He's going to eat them for dinner, but the mice bring a friend along to surprise Chato and foil his plans. The text and pictures show the funny situation and the satisfying solution. In English sprinkled with Spanish.

De Colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children

By: Jose-Luis Orozco, Elisa Kleven
Illustrated by: Elisa Kleven
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Product Description: Bursting with color and spirit, this collection of Latin-American songs is a tribute to Latino culture. From traditional tunes to rhymes and hand games, De Colores has songs for all occasions and moods. Each song is accompanied by simple musical arrangements, with lyrics in both English and Spanish.

From the Bellybutton of the Moon and other Summer Poems

By: Francisco Alarcón, Maya Christina Gonzalez
Illustrated by: Maya Christina Gonzalez, Francisco Alarcón
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The poet remembers summers growing up in Mexico in poems presented in both English and Spanish. Readers meet his family and join them in the everyday joys of the sunny season. Illustrations are as colorful and evocative as the words.

In My Family

By: Carmen Garza
Illustrated by: Carmen Garza
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Kingsville, on the border of Mexico and Texas, comes to life in words and pictures in this book. Readers will share the simple joys of eating, dancing, and celebrating as the artist remembers her own childhood. Her stories, presented in both English and Spanish, are accompanied by her bright paintings.

Roadrunner's Dance

By: Rudolfo Anaya, David Diaz
Illustrated by: David Diaz
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Snake terrifies children and their parents. He claims to be the "king of the road." But with gifts from the animals, Desert Woman fashions Roadrunner to defeat Snake. In the tradition of a folktale, this original story explains why rattlesnakes have their rattle and how cooperation can save the day.

The Most Beautiful Place in the World

By: Ann Cameron, Thomas Allen
Illustrated by: Thomas Allen
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Now that Juan's mother has left him with his grandmother, he shines shoes to earn a living. More than anything else, though, 7-year old Juan wants to learn to read and go to school. Guatemala comes alive through the daily lives of Juan and his grandmother and the detailed black/white illustrations.

The Rainbow Tulip

By: Pat Mora, Elizabeth Sayles
Illustrated by: Elizabeth Sayles
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stella and her brothers speak Spanish at home but English at school. Being different is both scary and exciting. Stella learns this when she prepares for the school's celebration of May Day. She finds a way to honor her Mexican background by wearing a special skirt that is both alike yet different from the other girls'. Stella, like many children, can take pride in being part of two cultures. (In English sprinkled with Spanish).

Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba

By: Alma Flor Ada
Illustrated by: Alma Flor Ada
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In writing about her childhood growing up in Camaguey, Cuba, Alma Flor Ada evokes all the senses. Readers will smell jasmine, coffee, and grandmother's perfume. They will see the bats flying overhead and hear adults share stories. Companion volume to Where the Flame Trees Bloom.

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