Latino Book Month is an annual celebration that takes place in May, dedicated to promoting and raising awareness about literature that showcases the vibrant and diverse Latino culture. It serves as an opportunity for parents, teachers, and librarians to engage children in reading books that provide insights into the Latino community and foster cultural understanding. In this article, we will explore the importance of Latino Book Month, discuss the benefits of reading books about the Latino culture, and provide recommendations for parents, teachers, and librarians on how to celebrate and embrace cultural diversity through literature.

Importance of Latino Book Month

Latino Book Month holds great significance in promoting cultural diversity and fostering empathy among individuals from all backgrounds. By dedicating a month to Latino literature, we acknowledge the rich heritage, traditions, and contributions of the Latino community. Here are a few reasons why celebrating Latino Book Month is essential:

  1. Cultural Understanding And Empathy

Reading books about the Latino culture helps to promote appreciation and respect for diversity. Through stories that reflect the experiences, traditions, and challenges faced by Latino individuals, readers gain insight into their lives, fostering empathy and understanding.

  • Challenging Stereotypes and Misconceptions

Literature can play a powerful role in breaking down stereotypes and challenging misconceptions. By reading books that portray diverse and authentic Latino characters, readers can confront and dispel stereotypes, leading to a more accurate understanding of the Latino community.

    4.  Bilingualism and Multiculturalism

Many books about the Latino culture are written in both English and Spanish, allowing readers to enhance their language skills while immersing themselves in a multicultural experience. Such exposure not only broadens linguistic abilities but also nurtures an appreciation for different languages and perspectives.

    5. Windows and Mirrors for Children

Books serve as windows that provide insight into cultures and experiences different from our own. For Latino children, seeing themselves represented in literature can instill a sense of pride and belonging. Similarly, non-Latino children can gain a deeper understanding of the Latino culture and develop cross-cultural awareness through books.

Why Read Books about the Latino Culture?

Reading books about the Latino culture offers numerous benefits for individuals of all ages, irrespective of their ethnic background. Here are some compelling reasons to explore literature that celebrates the Latino community:

  • Exposure to Diverse Perspectives: By reading books about the Latino culture, readers gain exposure to diverse perspectives, traditions, and experiences. This exposure fosters open-mindedness, broadens horizons, and cultivates a global perspective.
  • Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity: Reading books about the Latino culture promotes cultural awareness and sensitivity. It helps individuals develop an understanding of different customs, celebrations, and social issues faced by the Latino community, leading to greater respect and inclusivity.
  • Appreciation for Cultural Heritage: Literature serves as a vehicle for preserving and celebrating cultural heritage. Books about the Latino culture allow readers to appreciate the richness of traditions, folklore, and historical events that have shaped the Latino community.
  • Empowerment and Representation: For young Latino readers, seeing themselves represented in literature provides a sense of empowerment and validation. Representation in books helps to foster self-esteem, instills a sense of pride in cultural identity, and encourages diverse voices to be heard.

Recommendations for Parents, Teachers, and Librarians:

Parents, teachers, and librarians play a crucial role in nurturing a love for reading and promoting cultural diversity. Here are some recommendations on how to celebrate Latino Book Month and embrace the Latino culture through literature:

Create Culturally Inclusive Reading Lists:

Curate reading lists that include books by Latino authors and feature Latino characters. Include a variety of genres, age-appropriate options, and diverse representations of the Latino community. Ensure that the reading lists span different age groups and reading levels to cater to a wide range of readers.

Engage in Conversations about Cultural Diversity:

Encourage discussions about the themes, messages, and cultural aspects portrayed in the books. Create a safe and inclusive space for children to ask questions, share their thoughts, and learn from one another. These conversations can help deepen understanding and foster respect among children of all backgrounds.

Organize Author Visits and Book Clubs:

Invite Latino authors to visit schools, libraries, or virtual events to share their experiences, insights, and stories with children. Author visits provide a unique opportunity for students to engage directly with the creators of the literature they are reading. Additionally, consider starting book clubs centered around Latino literature to facilitate further exploration and dialogue.

Collaborate with Local Latino Community Organizations:

Partner with local Latino community organizations, cultural centers, or advocacy groups to organize joint events, workshops, or readings. By collaborating, you can gain valuable insights and resources while fostering connections between the community and educational institutions.

Celebrate Latino Holidays and Traditions:

Use books as a springboard to learn about and celebrate Latino holidays and traditions. Incorporate relevant activities, crafts, and celebrations into your classrooms or reading programs. This interactive approach allows children to immerse themselves in the culture, deepening their understanding and appreciation.

Incorporate Multicultural Literature Year-Round:

While Latino Book Month is a designated time to focus on the Latino culture, it’s important to incorporate multicultural literature year-round. Ensure that your reading selections represent a wide range of cultures, including Latino literature, throughout the year to maintain an inclusive and diverse reading environment.

Latino Book Month serves as a powerful platform to celebrate and promote the rich diversity of the Latino culture through literature. By engaging in reading books about the Latino culture, parents, teachers, and librarians can foster cultural understanding, challenge stereotypes, and encourage empathy among children. The importance of celebrating Latino Book Month goes beyond the month of May, as it lays the foundation for a lifelong appreciation of diverse cultures. By embracing multicultural literature year-round, we create opportunities for children to explore different perspectives, develop empathy, and become global citizens who celebrate and respect cultural diversity. Let us join together to celebrate Latino Book Month and make reading about the Latino culture an integral part of our educational journey.

9 Kilometers

Written by Claudio Aguilera
Illustrated by Gabriela Lyon
Translated by Lawrence Schimel

Ages 5-9

HARDCOVER; Releases: 2/28/2023

Order this book from: | IndieBound | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

A memorable, compelling story about the perseverance of a child and the human right to education.

The sky is still dark when a young boy leaves home for school. He has a long path ahead: nine kilometers—over five-and-a-half miles—through the mountains and rain forests of Chile. But the boy doesn’t mind. While he walks, he can count butterflies and lizards, and he can think about where the 15,000 steps he takes every morning could lead. Nine kilometers could bring the boy across ninety soccer fields, up the world’s ten largest buildings, or into a classroom at last…

Set against the lush backdrop of southern Chile, this book features one of the many children around the world who travel long distances in order to go to school. After the story, thoughtfully illustrated back matter explores the unique birds of Chile and the courage of similar students’ journeys in other countries. Striking and timely, 9 Kilometers will open lasting conversations about social inequalities, the value of learning, and the resilience of those who push past obstacles toward a better future.

“A brilliantly illustrated account of an arduous—yet deeply rewarding—journey.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

uilding an Orchestra of Hope

How Favio Chávez Taught Children to Make Music from Trash

Releases: 10/25/2022

Written by Carmen Oliver
Illustrated by Luisa Uribe

An exuberantly illustrated true story about innovation,
community, and the power of music.

In Cateura, Paraguay, a town built on a landfill, music teacher Favio Chávez longed to help the families living and working amid the hills of trash. How could he help them find hope for the future? Favio started giving music lessons to Cateura’s children, but soon he encountered a serious problem. He had more students than instruments!

But Favio had a strange and wonderful idea: what if this recyclers’ town had its own recycled orchestra? Favio and Colá, a brilliant local carpenter, began to experiment with transforming garbage into wonder. Old glue canisters became violins; paint cans became violas; drainpipes became flutes and saxophones. With repurposed instruments in their hands, the children of Cateura could fill their community—and the world—with the sounds of a better tomorrow.

Based on an incredible true story, Building an Orchestra of Hope offers an unforgettable picture of human dignity reclaimed from unexpected sources. Carmen Oliver’s inviting words and Luisa Uribe’s dynamic illustrations create a stirring tribute to creativity, resilience


A Story of the Spanish Civil War

Written by Mónica Montañés
Illustrated by Eva Sánchez Gómez
Translated by Lawrence Schimel

Releases: 11/1/2022

A resonant, captivating book about a brother and sister caught in a dark chapter of world history.

From 1936 to 1939, a civil war raged across Spain. When fascist dictator Francisco Franco declared victory, his forces began to persecute anyone who had once opposed him.

Different follows siblings Paco and Socorro as they come
of age in this time of secrets and danger. When the siblings’ father flees the country because of his political beliefs, their family must hide the truth in order to survive. At last a letter arrives, with a chance for them to reunite in Venezuela…

With extensive back matter on the period, this middle grade story is a stirring depiction of the Spanish Civil War, its tragic aftermath, and the timeless struggle for freedom from political violence.

Facing Fear: An Immigration Story

Written by Karen Lynn Williams
Illustrated by Sara Palacios

Enrique can’t believe his father won’t let him travel to his team’s big soccer tournament. Papi says going across the checkpoint is too risky. Even though Enrique is a U.S. citizen, the rest of the family isn’t—and if the border police stop them, the family might be split up. The next morning Enrique decides he’s going to his big game, no matter what. But the day ahead will change how he sees his dad and how he defines courage… 

This book is a powerful depiction of the everyday struggles faced by undocumented immigrants and their families. Sensitively told with expressive illustrations, Facing Fear explores the meaning of bravery and the strength of a community.


A Refugee Story from the Spanish Civil War

Written by María José Ferrada
Illustrated by Ana Penyas

Ages 7-10


jlg gold standard best children's books

On May 27, 1937, over four hundred children sailed for Morelia, Mexico, fleeing the violence of the Spanish Civil War. Home was no longer safe, and Mexico was welcoming refugees by the thousands. Each child packed a suitcase and boarded the Mexique, expecting to return home in a few months. This was just a short trip, an extra-long summer vacation, they thought. But the war did not end in a few months, and the children stayed, waiting and wondering, in Mexico. When the war finally ended, a dictator—the Fascist Francisco Franco—ruled Spain. Home was even more dangerous than before.

Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile

Written by María José Ferrada
Illustrated by María Elena Valdez
Translated by Lawrence Schimel

“Birds pray, trees pray, flowers pray, mountains pray, the winds and rain pray, rivers and the little insects pray as well. The whole earth is in constant prayer, and we can join with its great prayer,” says award-winning author and illustrator Paul Goble.

Every element of creation — from the magpie to the minnow — glorifies God in its own way in this bold and brightly illustrated work, adapted from The Book of Common Prayer. Goble invites readers to join with the land and the animals in singing praise to God.

The Book that Kibo Wrote

Ages 4-8

Releases April 26

Written and illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson

Translated by Lawrence Schimel

One night under the acacia trees, Kibo writes a story about home. His neighbor Naki reads his words, binds them into a book, and brings it to the city. There Camilo devours Kibo’s story, remembering his childhood in the savannah. The next day he shares the book and his memories with his friend Simon. Soon Simon starts writing new songs about distant lands. Where will Kibo’s book go next, and what will it spark for its next reader? 

Featuring a charming cast of animal characters, The Book that Kibo Wrote showcases the power of stories to connect readers across the globe.

Madani’s Best Game

Written by Fran Pintadera
Illustrated by Raquel Catalina
Translated by Lawrence Schimel

Releases: 10/11/2022

A heartfelt book featuring a neighborhood soccer team and its determined young star, who has a secret plan even more impressive than his bicycle kicks.
No one plays soccer like Madani. When the ball lands on his bare feet, the whole town stops to watch. Even Madani’s mother—still sewing the day’s work at home—can hear the crowds cheer when he scores. His teammates wonder what their best player could do, if he only had a proper pair of cleats. As Madani saves up money, bit by bit, his team’s rivalry match approaches. Maybe he’ll have new cleats in time for the big day! Or maybe Madani has a different goal in mind…
Told with gentle humor and lively illustrations, Madani’s Best Game is a refreshing story about the joys of sports, teamwork, and family.