Selected by literacy experts and tested by kids, these books featuring Latino characters are bound to become favorites in your home.

By Karen Cicero
Updated November 14, 2019

Kids are more likely to engage in literature when they relate to what they read, and it gives them a sense of belonging, says Mariana Souto-Manning, Ph.D., a professor of early childhood education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Add these all-inclusive titles to your child's library:

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¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market

Written and illustrated by Raúl the Third

Set in the Mercado and around La Placita , this bilingual book reminded our reviewers of Richard Scarry tales because of its alluring depiction of everyday activities. “Each page allowed me to share bits of my childhood with my boys, and we pored over all the details and the Spanish words,” says Lucy Newhouse, of San Diego, who blogs at Lucy Lou & Co. Ages 4 to 8

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The Piñata That the Farm Maiden Hung

Written by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Sebastià Serra

In the style of The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, this delightful story details the creation of a colorful star-shaped piñata for a birthday party with the help of a boy, a horse, a goose, a cat, a sheep, and a farmer. It smartly weaves in Spanish words, bolding them in the text. “We’re a big fan of this one because it rhymes and it’s so funny!” says Wanda Martucci, a mom of two in Brooklyn, New York. After story time, expect your kid to want to make a piñata of his very own. Good thing that directions are in the book’s back matter. Ages 4 to 8

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Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas

Written and illustrated by Juana Medina

In this humorous and heartwarming chapter book, Juana worries that her relationship with her mami will change when she starts spending more time with her new “friend” Luis. “My sons and I loved Juana’s best amigo and dog, Lucas, and the fact that there’s Spanglish throughout,” Martucci says. Ages 6 to 10

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Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story From the Border

Written by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Sara Palacios

Our kid reviewers were immediately invested in this story of a family from San Diego that takes a bus to meet Abuela (whom they haven’t seen in five years) at the fence along the border. When they learn that no gifts are allowed to pass through the fence, the girl comes up with a genius idea to get her little brother’s drawing across. “I really felt like my 4-year-old daughter could relate, since she loves to draw pictures and gift them,” says Melissa Rojas, of Donna, Texas. Ages 4 to 10

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Think Big, Little One

Written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison

This inspiring board book introduces young kids to 18 diverse women who “made their dreams come true.” Each woman’s accomplishments are summed up in a sentence that kids will understand. For instance, Frida Kahlo “painted her feelings and opinions,” while Violeta Parra “preserved the songs of Chile for all to learn.” Ages 2 to 6

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Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

Written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

In this inspiring rhyming story, second-grader Sofia starts a petition to turn the city’s landfill into a park. Her persistence pays off: “Now every evening till long after dark, the town comes together at Citizens’ Park. They hold this truth to be self-evident. Sofia Valdez could grow up to be president! ”Ages 4 to 10

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Written by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Blanca Gómez

You’ll get a lot of use out of these “sister” dual-language board books. Toddlers will learn spatial concepts, and beginning readers can practice in English and Spanish. “I loved that the English translation is directly under the Spanish sentence,” says Brittany Hernandez, of Brandon, Florida, who blogs at Style Me Britt. Ages 1 to 6

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Holy Squawkamole!: Little Red Hen Makes Guacamole

Written by Susan Wood, illustrated by Laura González

A spicy twist on the classic Little Red Hen, this story is “too cute and stuck to our heritage,” says Hernandez. Spanish terms are integrated throughout, and kiddos will love making the recipes in the back of the book. Ages 4 to 8

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My Papi Has a Motorcycle

Written by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña

Depicted in vivid water color illustrations, a girl and her papi travel the neighborhood each night—a tradition that she cherishes. “When it’s so difficult for many to imagine the Latino children waiting for safe harbor as the children they are, this book is a powerful reminder of the wonders of childhood that all deserve,” says Kim Parker, Ph.D., a literacy expert in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ages 5 to 9

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¿De dónde eres?: Where Are You From? 

Written by Yamile Saied Méndez, illustrated by Jaime Kim

Available in English and Spanish editions, this book tells the story of a girl who is constantly asked the title question, and she doesn’t quite know how to answer. “This was amazing because it teaches us that people are from everywhere,” says Martucci. Ages 5 to 9

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