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Heritage Shelf

Hispanic American Heritage Booklist

AGES 6–8

A Gift from Papa DiegoA Gift from Papa Diego / Un regalo de Papa Diego by Benjamin Alire Saenz

When Little Diego gets a Superman outfit for his birthday, he hopes to fly across the border to Mexico to be with his grandfather whom he loves.

 

Moon RopeMoon Rope / Un lazo a la luna by Lois Ehlert

In this Peruvian folktale, Fox wants to go to the moon. Mole does not—at least not until he hears about the huge worms waiting up there for him to eat. So the two of them set off on their adventure, with a little help from a rope of grass and their friends the birds.
 

The Squeaky DoorThe Squeaky Door by Margaret Read MacDonald

It's time for bed! Grandma tucks Little Boy in tight. She kisses him good night. She turns out the light. And he's not scared! No, not him!But when Grandma shuts that door . . .  Squeeeak! How can Grandma keep that spooky, squeaky door from scaring her little boy awake at night?  (An adaptation of a Puerto Rican folksong.)
 

The Woman Who Outshone the Sun

The Woman Who Outshone the Sun / La mujer que brillaba aun mas que el sol by Alejandro Cruz Martinex

Retells the Zapotec legend of Lucia Zenteno, a beautiful woman with magical powers who is exiled from a mountain village and takes its water away to teach the villagers a lesson.

 

AGES 9–12

Alicia's TreasureAlicia's Treasure by Diane Gonzales Bertrand

Alicia Inez Ramos tags along with her brother and his girlfriend for a weekend at the beach. She learns that reality is often different from expectations as she experiences sand in everything she eats and drinks, sticky tar on a new bathing suit, and sand castles that don't look like those in books and magazines. But in the end, Alicia discovers that the greatest treasures often are found in the most surprising ways.

El Cucuy! A Bogeyman Cuento (Story) in English and Spanish El Cucuy! A Bogeyman Cuento (Story) in English and Spanish by Joe Hayes

A retelling of the story of two sisters who do not obey their father and are carried off into the mountains by El Cucuy, a bogeymand with a humped back and a big, red ear.  

Esperanza Rising Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

 

The Upside Down Boy / El niño de cabeza

The Upside Down Boy / El niño de cabeza by Julian Felipe Herrera

Juanito is bewildered by his new school. Everything he does feels upside down: he eats lunch when it's recess and goes out to play when it's time for lunch, and his tongue feels like a rock when he tries to speak English. But a sensitive teacher and his loving family help Juanito find his voice through poetry, art, and music.

 

AGES 13+

Buried OnionsBuried Onions by Gary Soto

Eddie's father, two uncles, and best friend are all dead, and it's a struggle for him not to end up the same way. Violence makes Fresno wallow in tears, as if a huge onion were buried beneath the city. Making an effort to walk a straight line despite constant temptations and frustrations, Eddie searches for answers—and discovers that his closest friends may actually be his worst enemies.

Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa by Micol Ostow

Emily is a Jewish girl from the suburbs of New York, end of story. Her mother has family in Puerto Rico, but Emily has never had any contact with them—not until she's forced to go to the Caribbean for her grandmother's funeral. Pampered Emily wants nothing to do with her Puerto Rican heritage-- until a very special person shows her that that uncovering her roots is like discovering a secret part of her own heart.

Finding Miracles Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez

Milly Kaufman is an ordinary American teenager living in Vermont—until she meets Pablo, a new student at her high school. His exotic accent, strange fashion sense, and intense interest in Milly force her to confront her identity as an adopted child from Pablo's native country. As their relationship grows, Milly decides to undertake a courageous journey to her homeland and along the way discovers the story of her birth is intertwined with the story of a country recovering from a brutal history.

KeeperKeeper by Mal Peet

The legendary El Gato—the phenomenal goalkeeper who single-handedly brought his team the World Cup—narrates a spellbinding tale that begins in the South American rainforest, where a ghostly but very real mentor, the Keeper, emerges to teach a poor, gawky boy the most thrilling secrets of the game of soccer.

 

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Source for book descriptions: Library of Congress Online Catalog or publisher.

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