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Ten Books by Latina/Hispanic Authors to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Frances Diaz Evans

The United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. An event that recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. Many Hispanic countries celebrate their independence during this period, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico gained its independence on September 16. Followed by Chile on September 18.

During this month I’m delighted to highlight the works of Latina and Hispanic authors who have been recognized with Honorable Mentions by the International Latino Book Awards.

Picture Books
¡I Have a Secret!/¡Tengo un Secreto!: Yunito's Adventures-Las Aventuras de Yunito by Author Maritere Rodríguez Bellas and Illustraror Jayri Gómez

Honorable Mention from the International Latino Book Awards 2022 under the Best Bilingual Children’s Fiction Picture Book category.

Mari's book is a true treasure of embracing and being proud of your culture. It is a sweet story of Yunito who has a secret and he refuses to respond in español. For those of us parents raising bilingual kids, does that sound familiar? You need to get this book for your kids to find out what the secret is. I love the diverse characters and the illustrations and the glimpse of their Puerto Rican culture.

Valentina Valente: She is my Dad (Ella en mi papá) by Author Adriana Devers and Illustrations by Adámico

Honorable Mention from the International Latino Book Awards 2022 under the Most Inspirational Bilingual Children’s Picture Book category.

Adriana has written the most beautiful story of 8-year-old Valentina who has two moms! This bilingual book is a story of love, acceptance, and being brave enough to speak up. Her book celebrates family diversity, the LGBTQ+ community, and single mothers who consider themselves the father figure for their children.

Courageous History Makers: 11 Women from Latin America Who Changed the World (English and Spanish Edition) by Author Naibe Reynoso Illustrator Jone Leal.

Honorable Mention from the International Latino Book Awards 2022 under the Best Educational English Children’s Picture Book category.

Naibe focuses on 11 Latin American women who changed the world. A celebration of Mexican painter Frida Khalo, Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, Grammy-winning music icon Celia Cruz, and renowned pilot Hermelinda Urvina. True biographical stories for young and old.

The Mean Flower: A story about: The Power of Empathy by Authors Ariatna G. Claudio, Almaris Alonso-Claudio, and Illustrator QBN Studios

Honorable Mention from the International Latino Book Awards 2022 under the Best Educational English Children’s Picture Book category.

This is a sweet book for children about the power of empathy, friendship, and forgiveness. This is the story of a mean flower who realizes that her actions were wrong and of a group of friends who give her some grace. What did she do? You'll have to get the book to find out! This book is a must-have in your home or school library. This book will teach your little one to be understanding, stick together and be empathetic to others.

Written by mother-daughter duo authors Almaris Alonso-Claudio and Ariatna G. Claudio is a book that your children will love.

¡Corre, pequeño Chaski! Una aventura en el camino Inka by Author Mariana Llanos and Illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson.

Mariana will take you to the ancient Inka empire where Little Chaski has a big job. He’s the Inka King’s newest royal messenger. This is a sweet book about kindness and helping others. Sprinkled with Quechua words throughout the book and a glossary that will help your children expand their vocabulary.

Awarded The Alma Flor Ada Best Latino Focused Spanish Children’s Picture Book Award from the International Latino Book Awards 2022.

Coco la cotorra puertorriqueña illustrated by Alejandra López is my new children’s book.

Honorable Mention from the International Latino Book Awards 2022 under The Mariposa Awards for Best First Book - Children & Youth category and under The Best-Illustrated Fiction Children’s Book category.

Coco is a parrot in captivity that will soon be released. Once free will the wild parrots accept him? Follow Coco as he goes on an adventure to El Yunque tropical rainforest. With Coco, children will learn about Puerto Rico’s conservation efforts of the endangered species the Puerto Rican and efforts to preserve and care for them. With an illustrated glossary kids will learn about Puerto Rico’s tropical rainforest’s flora and fauna. They will also learn that being bilingual is a superpower.

Zonia's Rain Forest by Author and Illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal.

Honorable Mention from the International Latino Book Awards 2022 under the Best English Children’s Fiction Picture Book category.

Is the story of Zonia and her home in the Amazon rainforest. One morning though, the rainforest calls to her in a troubled voice. What will Zonia do? A beautifully illustrated book where we can see the bond she has with the animals and the rainforest. The book includes a translation of the story in Asháninka, information on the Asháninka community, and resources on the Amazon rainforest and its wildlife.

Chapter Books
Lotería by Author Karla Arenas Valenti and Illustrator Dana SanMar.

Honorable Mention from the International Latino Book Awards 2022 under the Best Youth Latino Focused Chapter Book category.

Lotería is a fun chapter book for middle-grade readers about a young girl tangled in a game of Loteria. A young girl gets swept into a mythical kingdom while searching for her missing cousin, becoming entangled in a game of chance.

Bob del Mar descubre su propósito by Author Brooks Olbrys and Illustrator Kevin Keele.

Honorable Mention from the International Latino Book Awards 2022 under the Most Inspirational Spanish Children’s Picture Book category.

Is the story of a young Bob who longs for a deeper sense of fulfillment. Upon discovering his passion and discovering his purpose to protect the sea and all life within it, Bob's quest leads him first to Al, a playful and spirited dolphin, and then to Doc, an old turtle who guides him on his journey.

Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos by author Lulu Delacre

A Pura Belpré Award honoree Lulu Delacre’s beautifully illustrated collection of twelve short stories is a groundbreaking look at the diverse Latinos who live in the United States.

In this book, you will meet many young Latinos living in the United States, from a young girl whose day at her father’s burrito truck surprises her to two sisters working together to change the older sister’s immigration status, and more.

While the book is only available in English, the title alone captivated my attention when I was looking for a book for my son. As a teacher, I bought this book with the intention of showing him how Latino children across the country live: the struggles, the fears, and the hopes they express in the short stories.

Puerto Rico’s Tropical Rainforest Resources:

Looking to continue celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month? In this post, you’ll find Hispanic inspired crafts for kids from Hispanic and Latin American countries.

Frances Díaz Evans is a Latina Educator, Multicultural and Language Advocate, and author of Coco la cotorra puertorriqueña. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of the East in Puerto Rico and a master's degree in Spanish education from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.

She is the founder and writer of the multicultural, bilingual parenting website, Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes and Discovering Español (Discovering Spanish), a business dedicated to teaching Spanish online.

She can be found musing on her blog, Facebook, and her favorite social media platform Instagram.


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