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9 Books for Latino Book Month

Bespoke Book Lists, Reading Listamy sharonyComment

Fill your May reading list with books that celebrate Latino culture. Lean ustedes, y disfruten!

Everyone knows about Brown vs. the Board of Education, but not many people know that almost ten years before the Supreme Court struck down the separate but equal standard for school, a Mexican-Puerto Rican-American fought against the same kind of segregation in California. Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation (EG) tells her story.

The allegory is obvious but still effective in Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote (EG)—a tale about a young bunny who strikes out north in search of his father, who left to work in the carrot and lettuce fields there and hasn’t returned home.

 

The Dreamer
By Pam Munoz Ryan, Pam Muñoz Ryan

In the graphic novel Luz Sees the Light (EG), Luz’s community is struggling with high gas prices and power outages, and Luz thinks turning a deserted lot into a community garden will make her barrio a better place.

The Dreamer (MG) is fictional biography of Pablo Neruda, recounting the childhood of a shy boy who finds beauty and mystery all around him with a dazzling combination of poetry, prose, and artwork.

 

Return to Sender
By Julia Alvarez
The Tequila Worm
By Viola Canales

Julia Alvarez tackles tough questions about ethics, morality, and migrant workers in Return to Sender (MG), a simple, sensitive story about two families whose lives intersect on a Vermont dairy farm.

In The Tequila Worm (YA), Sophia experiences culture shock when she wins a scholarship to a posh boarding school, where she must find ways to stay connected to her Mexican-American family and its traditions while finding her place in a different world.

 

Under the Mesquite
By Guadalupe Garcia Mccall
The Book of Unknown Americans
By Cristina Henríquez

While Lupita’s Mami battles cancer at a faraway hospital, teenage Lupita takes care of her seven younger brothers and sisters in Under the Mesquite (YA), a novel in verse about growing up in a Mexican-American family.

A motley collection of immigrants, brought together in a Delaware apartment complex, tell their stories in chapters that alternate with a love story between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl in The Book of Unknown Americans (YA).

 

The House on Mango Street
By Sandra Cisneros
 

The House on Mango Street (YA) isn’t so much a novel as a collection of vivid, lyrical, almost impressionist vignettes, telling the story of a Mexican-American girl growing up in Chicago. 

 

We use the abbreviations EG (elementary), MG (middle school), and YA (high school) to give you a general idea of reading level, but obviously you’re the best judge of what your child is ready to read.