October 15 to September 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month! I’m proud to be Latin American and celebrate the Hispanic culture but it’s also important to remember that not all countries have the same celebrations or culture, which is why I also picked out books that focus on specific countries and their cultures.
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I'll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, but at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the full disclaimer for more information. Thanks!
Picture books are a great way to expose kids to new cultures and ideas in a positive and casual way. Personally, I’m super thankful to all the recently published picture books that showcase the Spanish language in an every day context. Even after many years of living in areas that are more culturally open and mixed, I still worry about speaking in Spanish in public areas so I’m always appreciative when speaking Spanish is presented in a positive manner.
Below are fiction and nonfiction picture books, including biographical picture books, for you and your family to enjoy. Feel free to borrow these from the library or you can use the links below to buy copies!
Fiction Picture Books for Hispanic Heritage Month
Pepe and the Parade: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage
Author: Tracey Kyle
Illustrator: Mirelle Ortega
I really enjoyed this picture book because it specifically called out different countries throughout the story instead of trying to lump everyone into a “Hispanic” category. The images are super colorful and interesting! The clothing that people wear in the parade reflect their cultures and traditions very well. This picture book also includes Spanish words throughout the story, with some back matter that provides English translations and additional educational info.
Maria Had a Little Llama (bilingual)
Author & Illustrator: Angela Dominguez
A gorgeously illustrated retelling of Mary had a Little Lamb using Peruvian-inspired illustrations. A new twist to a classic rhyme.
Round is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes
Author: Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Illustrator: John Parra
A super cute picture book to learn about and discover shapes in all kinds of fun situations! Whether it’s finding rectangles on ice-cream carts or triangles in slices of quesadillas, this picture book is perfect for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. The pictures and text work together to create a fun interactive picture book that’s almost a seek-and-find style.
Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors
Author: Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Illustrator: John Parra
Featuring beautiful and colorful food illustrations, kids will love to read the rhyming text found inside the picture book. There’s also a glossary for some of the items and Spanish words found inside. A fun follow-up to “Round is a Tortilla”.
A colorful book about one kid’s journey to get some paletas! The narrator is running through the neighborhood to catch-up to Paletero Man but, by the time he makes it to the truck, his pocket’s are all empty! It will take the whole neighborhood to get the tasty treat. Includes Spanish words and phrases throughout the picture book. Back matter includes an author’s note and a link to the live version of the song that inspired the book.
Author: Jen Arena
Illustrator: Erika Meza
A cute picture book perfect for reading to little ones during Hispanic Heritage Month! Mami and Papi will do anything to get the baby to fall asleep. With Spanish words sprinkled throughout, this picture has short, rhyming text that’s perfect for younger kids.
Where Are You From?
Author: Yamile Saied Méndez
Illustrator: Jaime Kim
A picture book that will resonate with many immigrants! A little girl is asked where she’s from – where she’s really from – and none of her responses seem to be the right one. A picture book that promotes self-acceptance, while touching on themes of identity of home.
Author: Junot Díaz
Illustrator: Leo Espinosa
Lola’s story is perfect for those who immigrated when they were younger. Lola left The Island when she was a baby unlike some of her classmates, who remember some of the places they left behind. In the end, Lola’s family helps her by sharing their memories and experiences from The Island.
She’s Got This
Author: Laurie Hernandez
Illustrator: Nina Mata
Laurie Hernandez wrote this inspiration picture about a little girl who dreams of becoming a gymnast. After going to her first class and falling off the balance beam, Zoe realizes that going after her dreams is going to be harder and scarier than she thought.
When she was 16, Laurie Hernandez became the first Latina to make it into the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team in 30 years. Check out this article from Today.
Author: Arthur Dorros
Illustrator: Elisa Kleven
Rosalba and her abuela go on a magical journey over New York City! Abuela points out some of the amazing places they’ve visited together while they fly above the city. The picture book includes phrases in Spanish.
Alma and How She Got Her Name
Author & Illustrator: Juana Martinez-Neal
Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela feels like she has way too many names. Alma asks Daddy for an explanation for her super long name and learns about all the people her name represent. From Sofia, the grandmother that loved flowers, to Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel, and many more, Alma learns that maybe her name fits her super well after all.
In the United States, sometimes having two last names, as is common in Latin American culture, can complicate things but this books helps to ease the burden of having long names.
Coquí in the City
Author & Illustrator: Nomar Perez
Miguel goes everywhere with his pet frog, Coquí. But when Miguel moves from Puerto Rico to New York City, and leaves behind Coquí, he is overwhelmed by the differences between the two places. Over time, Miguel learns that maybe there are more similarities between Puerto Rico and New York City than he thought.
A great picture to help kids work through the emotions of moving between different locations or countries.
Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away
Author: Meg Medina
Illustrator: Sonia Sanchez
Two girls have been each other’s número uno and have done everything together. But not anymore because Evelyn is moving away. The girls play among moving boxes until the time comes to say goodbye. They promise to stay in touch, even after the move.
Nonfiction Picture Books & Biographies for Hispanic Heritage Month
There are so many amazing Latin American and Hispanic icons and leaders, so I included some nonfiction pictures books as well as biographies to read for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Be Bold! Be Brave! 11 Latinas who made U.S. History (bilingual)
Author: Naibe Reynoso
Illustrator: Jone Leal
I love flipping through picture books like this one, which presents a few short biographies of leaders and important people with fun illustrations. In this picture book, eleven Latinas who made U.S. history are highlighted, such as Ellen Ochoa, Antonia Novello, Rita Moreno, Pura Belpre, and many more!
A lyrical picture book memoir that looks at the many gifts that migrants bring with them when they leave their home. This picture book is a memoir of the author’s own story.
Nuestra América: 30 Inspiring Latinas/Latinos Who Have Shaped the United States
Author: Sabrina Vourvoulias
Illustrator: Gloria Félix
When I heard that the Smithsonian Latino Center was coming out with a new book, I was so excited! As soon as this book arrived at my library, I grabbed it and immediately started flipping through it. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous and beautifully done.
The biographies are a little longer than other similar books, pushing towards two to three full pages of text. This is definitely a book for older children, or younger kids with longer attention spans but still enjoyable for many ages.
Queen of Tejano Music: Selena
Author: Silvia López
Illustrator: Paola Escobar
Anything por Salinas, right?! This picture book covers a major Latin American and Hispanic icon: Selena! Covering her journey as a musician, from singing as a little kid to learning to sing in Spanish as she got older, the picture book covers quite a bit of history. An inspirational picture book for Latina girls and a perfect biography to read for Hispanic Heritage Month!
Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics
Author: Margarita Engle
Illustrator: Rafael López
There’s a variety of Hispanics covered in this picture book, some that are popularly covered but many of the names were new to me (and maybe to you too). I own the board book version and it’s got just absolutely gorgeous artwork with touching short poems about their lives.
Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln
Author: Margarita Engle
Illustrator: Rafael López
Teresa Carreño loved playing the piano! She was soon writing her own songs and performing them for others. The she and her family had to flee to the United States from a revolution in Venezuela, but the United States was in the middle of the Civil War. Teresa became known as the talented Piano Girl, and she was soon playing even for President Lincoln! Could her music help bring comfort to those suffering?
Sharuko: Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello (bilingual)
Author: Monica Brown
Illustrator: Elisa Chavarri
I was so excited when I came across this biography picture book because I am from Peru but I had never heard about this amazing person! Julio C. Tello is a Peruvian archaeologist who unearthed many of Peru’s ancient cultures and helped to foster pride in the country’s Indigenous history.
The text is provided in both English and Spanish. There’s also back matter providing additional information about Julio C. Tello. This picture book biography has lots of text so it can be read with older children or be read over a period of days with younger kids.
Martí’s Song for Freedom (bilingual)
Author: Emma Otheguy
Illustrator: Beatriz Vidal
A biography about José Martí, a man who dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty and political independence for Cuba. Features excerpts from Versos sencillos.
This picture book biography has lots of text so it can be read with older children or be read over a period of days with younger kids.
A board book that’s perfect for introducing little ones to the one and only Celia Cruz! A cultural icon, Celia Cruz is known for her powerful voice and wild style. She is also known as the “Queen of Salsa”.
This board book is another great addition to a list of biographies for Hispanic Heritage Month. Check out the many more bilingual board books that cover other Hispanic and Latin American icons in the link above.
Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México
Author & Illustrator: Duncan Tonatiuh
Buy on Amazon
A biography about Amalia Hernández, a dancer and founder of El Ballet Folklórico de México. Though Amalia studied ballet and modern dance under the eye of many skilled teachers, she always remembered the folk dance she’d seen in her country. She used her knowledge of modern dance to adapt folklore dances for the stage.
As someone who worked in the children’s department of a public library, I had to include this picture book about Pura Belpré! She opened many doors for representation in libraries.
Pura Belpré championed bilingual literature at a time when it was unheard of. Her puppet shows, retellings, and outreach efforts for and to Spanish-speaking communities set a new standard for public libraries.
Hispanic Heritage Month happens every year from October 15 until September 15 to celebrate the culture and contributions of Hispanic and Latin Americans.
I hope you were able to find some fiction picture books, nonfiction picture books, or biographies from this list for you and your family to enjoy. While I hope you are reading and learning about their achievements all year-long, Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time to learn about new Latin American or Hispanic leaders and their achievements that you can then explore all year-round!
If you liked this list of picture books for Hispanic Heritage Month, check out this post for picture books for Black History Month or this post for picture books for Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
This is a picture books post about
17+ Amazing Picture Books for Hispanic Heritage Month.