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Heritage Shelf

 Caribbean American Heritage Booklist

AGES 6–8

Down in the Subway coverDown in the Subway by Miriam Cohen

On a hot day on the subway, Oscar spies the "Island Lady," who proceeds to pull an island breeze, Caribbean foods, and even a steel drum band out of her bag to share with her fellow travelers.

My Name Is Celia cover

My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz by Monica Brown

Cuban-born salsa queen, Celia Cruz, leaps off the pages—singing, clapping, and dancing—in this wonderful story of her inspiring life.


Rafi and Rosi Carnival cover

Rafi and Rosi: Carnival! by Lulu Delacre

Two Latin American tree frogs, mischievous Rafi and his younger sister Rosi, enjoy the events of Puerto Rico’s Carnival season.


The Twins and the Bird of Darkness coverThe Twins and the Bird of Darkness by Robert D. San Souci

When the Bird of Darkness takes Princess Marie, twin brothers Soliday, who is brave and kind, and Salacota, who is cowardly, set off to fight the beast and rescue the princess.  


AGES 9–12

Duppy Talk coverDuppy Talk: West Indian Tales of Mystery and Magic by Gerald Hausman

Includes six ghost stories from Jamaica which are based on the country's legends and have their roots in African folklore; each story is accompanied by a section about the teller of the tale.


My Name is Maria Isabel coverMy Name Is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada

Third grader Maria Isabel, born in Puerto Rico and now living in the U.S., wants badly to fit in at school; and the teacher’s writing assignment, "My Greatest Wish," gives her that opportunity.


On This Beautiful Island coverOn This Beautiful Island by Edwin Fontanez

Guanin, a young Taino boy, embarks on a secret adventure with his parrot Tahite around his island home.


AGES 13+

The Cay coverThe Cay by Theodore Taylor

When the freighter on which they are traveling is torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II, an adolescent white boy, blinded by a blow on the head, and an old black man are stranded on a tiny Caribbean island where the boy acquires a new kind of vision, courage, and love from his old companion.


An Island Like You cover

An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio by Judith Ortiz Cofer

Twelve stories about young people caught between their Puerto Rican heritage and their American surroundings.


 South Beach Sizzle cover

South Beach Sizzle by Suzanne Weyn and Diana Gonzalez

Lula Cruz and Jeff go to South Beach, Florida where they enter a band contest. There, Lula falls in love with Enrique. Is Enrique trying to win her over—or just trying to win?


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

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