Spanish and Portuguese Speaking Peoples
These selected titles also include those who have made the United States their home.
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music: by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael Lopez; Cuban; A biographical poem about Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, the girl who broke the Cuban taboo on boy-only drummers. Author’s note at the end of the story. Elementary and older.
Islandborn: by Junot Díaz, illustrated by Leo Espinoza; Dominican Republic; a bright and engaging story of a young girl who was given a class assignment to draw a picture of her memories of the country of her birth. She was born in the DR (although it does not explicitly state this in the story, there are clues that, if researched, give that answer) but does not remember her home country, so she interviews those who do remember. Elementary and older.
The Magic Bean Tree: A Legend from Argentina: by Nancy Van Laan, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal; Argentina; a legend about a great drought, a young boy, a carob tree, faith and determination. Forward and author’s note give background and history. Elementary and older.
The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes: written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh; Aztec Mexican legend; the origin story of the two volcanoes located outside of Mexico City: Iztzccíhuatl and Popocatépetl. A princess falls in love with a soldier, which displeases her father so he gives him a challenge to prove his worthiness. Author’s note at the end of the book gives historical background. Elementary and older.
Separate is Never Equal: written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh; Mexican American; the real-life fight of Sylvia Mendez and her family to end school segregation in California schools in 1947. Elementary and older.
Available on MelCat:
Along the Tapajós: by Fernando Vilela, illustrated by Daniel Hahn; Brazilian. A story of life on the Tapajós River in the Amazon as told by two siblings who risk the winter rains and river flooding to go back to their summer living spot to rescue their giant tortoise. Author’s Note at the end of the book. Elementary and older.
Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Cindy Trumbore, illustrated by Susan Roth; Puerto Rican. Parrots have lived in Puerto Rico for millions of years, but almost became extinct. This is the story of how scientists are bringing them back from the brink. Middle to late elementary due to length.
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belapré: by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paola Escobar; Puerto Rican-American. The biography of Pura Belapré, a Puerto Rican storyteller who came to American, took a position as a bilingual librarian assistant, became a librarian, and helped champion bilingual literature, especially children’s literature. Preschool and older.