latino books month

9 Books for Latino Book Month

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.


Monday Pep Talk No. 36

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

3 FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

Celebrate National Transportation Week by exploring some of the ways people got around before the Industrial Revolution.

Hit your library for Biographers Day (Monday). We published some of our favorite women’s history biographies in March and will pretty much never stop raving about Lerner’s STEM Trailblazer biographies, but you can find a biography on almost anyone.

May 18 is International Museum Day. Take a field trip to a museum in your neighborhood that you’ve never visited.

 

3 IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK’S DINNERS

Upgrade taco night with double pork carnitas.

Easy, endlessly adaptable simple California style omelets are a perfect vehicle for a great farmers market haul or for cleaning out the veggie bin.

Kick off official grilling season with honey grilled chicken with citrus salad.

 

ONE GREAT READALOUD

I Lived on Butterfly Hill
By Marjorie Agosin
 

I Lived on Butterfly Hill, a story about a girl who’s sent to live with her aunt in Maine when a coup destabilizes her family’s life in an imagined version of Chile, makes a great conversation starter for Latino Books Month. Older kids may enjoy comparing the events in the story to the history of Chile.

 

ONE THOUGHT TO PONDER

Have faith that your child’s brain is an evolving planet that rotates at its own speed. It will naturally be attracted to or repel certain subjects. Be patient. Just as there are ugly ducklings that turn into beautiful swans, there are rebellious kids and slow learners that turn into serious innovators and hardcore intellectuals.
— Suzy Kassem

 

 

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU NEED SOMETHING STRONGER THAN INSPIRATION)

peanut butter choco tacos