We asked kid-lit experts to nominate more than 50 stellar children’s titles with Latin themes or creators, then handed them over to our crew of kid reviewers. These are the ten libros that captivated them the most.

By Karen Cicero
November 24, 2020
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Credit: PRISCILLA GRAGG

Bookworms, rejoice! Children’s librarians, book bloggers, and other kid-lit experts nominated their favorite 2020 children’s books with Latin themes, authors, or illustrators. We then sent the titles to Latino families around the country to get input from parents as well as kids. Some tweens even wrote their own reviews! The Parents Latina team then considered the families’ ratings when making this best-of-the-year list. Happy reading!

Credit: Courtesy of Knopf Books for Young Readers

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Written and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Families loved the vibrancy in this collection of 28 free-verse poems. The uplifting words alongside bright, textured portraits inspire girls of all colors to be changemakers.

Ages 5 to 10

Credit: Courtesy of Clarion Books

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Written by Rebecca J. Gomez, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri

This Mexican-American spin on “Little Red Riding Hood” entertained kid reviewers with fun rhymes, sweet cultural touches, and a sprinkle of Spanish words. “My daughter was so happy that Federico saved his grandpa,” says Stephanie Acosta, of Newark, New Jersey.

Ages 4 to 8

Credit: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

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Written by Reina Luz Alegre

When her Poppy’s beloved bowling alley is in danger of going bankrupt, Zoey, 12, hatches a plan to save it. “This book is so good because it shows the ups and downs in life,” says Mia, a 10-year-old reviewer.

Ages 8 to 12

Credit: Courtesy of Encantos

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Written and illustrated by Susie Jaramillo

Your bebito will be smitten with the adorable Canticos characters, especially the cutie elephant, in this bilingual nursery rhyme. Sold in two sizes, “the board book’s tabs allowed my 3-year-old to uncover more words and details,” says Denisse Montalvan, of Gardena, California.

Ages 1 to 3

Credit: Courtesy of Bloomsbury Children's Books

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Written by Larissa Theule, illustrated by Sara Palacios

If your kid is obsessed with bugs, they’ll find a kindred spirit in Poppy Ann Fields, a girl who feels more comfortable around insects than people. “My kids asked me to read the scientific bug names in the glossary over and over,” says Annette Malkin, a mom in Miami.

Ages 4 to 8

Credit: Courtesy of Scholastic Press

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Written by Pam Muñoz Ryan

In this novel that deftly blends fantasy with the refugee experience, 11-year-old Max, an aspiring soccer star, brings a young orphan to safety. “I love the connection with his best friend,” says 8-year-old Auggie. “This book made me feel so happy.”

Ages 8 to 12

Credit: Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Written by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by A. G. Ford

The words sing (“Look, mi hijo, at the sun, setting now that the day is done”) in this winner featuring an Afro-Latino couple caring for their son. The lifelike drawings (baby with spaghetti!) drew in reviewers.

Ages 2 to 5

Credit: Courtesy of NubeOcho

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Written by Mili Hernández, illustrated by Gómez

This board book normalizes many types of families—two dads, two moms, single parents—through the eyes of a stray cat.

Ages 1 to 3

Credit: Courtesy of Versify

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Written and illustrated by Raúl the Third

Fun details (the Taco Tuesday truck! the stretchy queso!) turn this story into a mouthwatering read. Says Wanda Martucci, of New York City: “It made my kids hungry for muchos nachos y tortas.”

Ages 3 to 8

Credit: Courtesy of NubeOcho

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Written by Susanna Isern, illustrated by Mylène Rigaudie

A lesson in empathy: Cricket doesn’t help Ladybug find a missing spot, but will he get help from friends when the tables are turned?

Ages 4 to 7

This article originally appeared in Parents Latina's December/January 2021 issue as “Read On!”

Parents Latina

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