The 30 Best Latinx Children's Books

Authentic characters and culturally meaningful settings liven up this year’s crop of winning books nominated by librarians and tested with families.

Best Books with child reading in window seat
Photo: Priscilla Gragg

Bookworms, rejoice! We rounded up a list of 32 children's books with Latin themes, authors, or illustrators. Some of them were recommended by favorite children's book authors. Others were nominated by librarians, book bloggers, and other kid-lit experts—and then approved by Latino families around the country. Whether your child is 2 years old or 12 years old, there's something in this round-up for them. Happy reading!

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1. Just Like Me

Just Like Me
An ode to girls!. Courtesy of Knopf Books for Young Readers

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

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2. Federico and the Wolf

Federico and the Wolf
Courtesy of Clarion Books

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

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3. The Dream Weaver

The Dream Weavers
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

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

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4. Pin Pon

Pin Pon
Courtesy of Encantos

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

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5. A Way With Wild Things

A Way with Wild Things
Courtesy of Bloomsbury Children's Books

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

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6. Manañaland

Courtesy of Scholastic Press

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

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7. Brown Baby Lullaby

Brown Baby Lullaby
Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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

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8. Federico and All His Families

Federico and All His Families
It’s sold in a Spanish version too. Courtesy of NubeOcho

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

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9. ¡Vamos! Let's Go Eat

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat
Courtesy of Versify

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

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10. Put Yourself in My Shoes

Put Yourself in My Shoes
Courtesy of NubeOcho

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

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11. Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away
Courtesy of Candlewick

Written by Meg Medina, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

"My 6-year-old daughter left behind her best amiga when we moved cross-country from New York to California. But this coming-of-age story, about a girl whose closest pal moves away, showed her that friendship can transcend distance." —Newbery Award winner Matt de la Peña, author of Milo Imagines the World

Ages 5 to 6

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12. A Song of Frutas

A Song of Frutas
Courtesy of Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Written by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Sara Palacios

"I challenge you to find a more charming book! A child visits her abuelo at his fruit stand in Cuba. It's told in rhyme with Spanish words sprinkled throughout—plátano, piña, toronja. You can almost hear them singing on the streets of Havana!" — Matt de la Peña

Ages 5 to 6

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13. Your Mama

Your Mama
Courtesy of Versify

Written by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara

"The author reimagines 'your mama' jokes for a new generation with lines like, 'Your mama so sweet, she could be a bakery.' My kids love coming up with their own 'your mama' sayings as we read." — Matt de la Peña

Ages 5 to 6

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14. Where Wonder Grows

Where Wonder Grows
Courtesy of Cinco Puntos Press

Written by Xelena González, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia

"An abuela explores the outdoors with her three granddaughters, connecting the rocks they find to their ancestors. I do a similar ritual with my children in the morning, and this book is such a lovely reminder of how nature links us all." — Matt de la Peña

Ages 5 to 6

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15. Stella Díaz Dreams Big

Stella Diaz Dreams Big
Courtesy of Roaring Brook Press

Written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez

"If you're shy—like I was as a child—you'll quickly bond with Stella, a fourth-grader from a single-parent home who gets in way over her head when she takes on too many school activities." —Celia C. Pérez, Cuban Mexican American mom and author of Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

Ages 7 to 8

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16. Twins vs. Triplets: Back-to-School Blitz

Twins vs. Triplets Back-to-School Blitz
Courtesy of HarperCollins

Written by Jennifer Torres, illustrated by Vanessa Flores

"Sometimes children just need to read about silly things and kids being kids! And this zany chapter book about classmates battling for control of a playground has pranks and jokes galore." —Celia C. Pérez

Ages 7 to 8

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17. Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello

Sharuko El Arqueologo Peruano Julio C. Tello
Courtesy of Lee and Low Books

Written by Monica Brown, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri

"Any kid who's into archaeology or ancient history will be fascinated by Monica Brown's biography about Julio 'Sharuko' Tello, an Indigenous boy in Peru who grew up to become a world-renowned archaeologist." —Celia C. Pérez

Ages 7 to 8

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18. The Cot in the Living Room

The Cot in the Living Room
Courtesy of Kokila

Written by Hilda Eunice Burgos, illustrated by Gaby D'Alessandro

"A Dominican American girl resents the children her mami babysits every evening, until she realizes her mother is watching them because their parents work overnight shifts. It reminded me of my own mom, who always looked out for the kids in our neighborhood." —Celia C. Pérez

Ages 7 to 8

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19. Lupe Wong Won't Dance

Lupe Wong Wont Dance
Courtesy of Levine Querido

Written by Donna Barba Higuera

"Lupe Wong is a spunky Mexican Chinese athlete who dreams of being the first female pitcher in the major leagues. Like so many Latinas, myself and my daughters included, when she sets her mind to something, she makes it happen!" —Yamile Saied Méndez, Argentine American mom of five and author of Where Are You From? and On These Magic Shores

Ages 9+

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20. Silver Meadows Summer

Silver Meadows Summer
Courtesy of Yearling

Written by Emma Otheguy

"My husband is from Puerto Rico, and I know how hard it is for Boricuas to balance two identities—Puerto Rican and American. That's the struggle of 11-year-old Carolina, who moves to the mainland from Puerto Rico and comes to learn she doesn't have to choose one culture over the other." —Yamile Saied Méndez

Ages 9+

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21. Love Sugar Magic: A Mixture of Mischief

Love Sugar Magic A Mixture of Mischief
Courtesy of Walden Pond Press

Written by Anna Meriano, illustrated by Mirelle Ortega

"My family loves visiting the panadería. We couldn't get enough of this spellbinding tale, which centers around a family of Latina witches who run a bakery in Texas. The characters even switch back and forth between Spanish and English like we do!" —Yamile Saied Méndez

Ages 9+

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22. What If a Fish

What If a Fish
Courtesy of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Written by Anika Fajardo

"When Eddie, a sixth-grader from Minnesota, travels to Colombia to visit his half-brother for the summer, he's nervous about fitting in. But, as he discovers, there are many ways to connect to a country where you have roots." —Yamile Saied Méndez

Ages 9+

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23. Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls book
Courtesy of HarperCollins

Written by Kaela Rivera

Our kid reviewers admired the adventurous spirit of Cece, a Mexican American tween who learns forbidden magic to save her sister. No matter what happens, "Cece is still herself and follows her heart," said Auggie, 9.

Ages 8 to 12

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24. El Toro and Friends: Tag Team

El Toro and Friends: Tag Team book
Courtesy of Versify

Written and illustrated by Raúl the Third, colors by Elaine Bay

Two wrestling pals join forces to clean up the stadium in this vibrantly illustrated beginning reader. Parents appreciated the cultural details and message of teamwork.

Ages 4 to 7

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25. Definitely Dominguita: Knight of the Cape

Definitely Dominguita: Knight of the Cape book
Courtesy of Aladdin

Written by Terry Catasús Jennings, illustrated by Fátima Anaya

In the first book of this fast-paced new series, the Cuban American title character "goes on a roller coaster of adventures, some big, some small, to prove that girls can be knights," 10-year-old Nina said.

Ages 6 to 10

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26. The Caiman

The Caiman book
Courtesy of Amazon Crossing Kids

Written by María Eugenia Manrique, illustrated by Ramón París

This tender, true story of a caiman who bonds with a man wowed families with its tropical artwork and unique horizontal format. "It made us feel like we were in Venezuela," said Wanda Martucci, of New York City.

Ages 5 to 8

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27. May Your Life Be Deliciosa

May Your Life Be Deliciosa book
Courtesy of Harry N. Abrams

Written by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Loris Lora

Reviewers instantly connected to this story about a family making tamales together, calling it "a feast for the eyes that blends family, tradition, and culture without feeling pushy."

Ages 4 to 8

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28. Starting Over in Sunset Park

Starting Over in Sunset Park book
Courtesy of Tilbury House Publishers

Written by José Palaez and Lynn McGee, illustrated by Bianca Diaz

Told from the perspective of a girl who moves from the Dominican Republic to New York City, the story captivated kid reviewers with its artwork, especially the mango tree and snowy scenes.

Ages 4 to 8

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29. Mi Casa Is My Home

Mi Casa Is My Home book
Courtesy of Candlewick

Written by Laurenne Sala, illustrated by Zara González Hoang

With sprinkles of Spanish, young Lucia takes readers on a tour of her home, and our kid reviewers totally related. "My son pinpointed similar things we do as a family, like build forts and play cards," said Sugey Palomares, of New York City.

Ages 3 to 7

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30. A Sled for Gabo

A Sled for Gabo book
Courtesy of Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Written by Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Ana Ramírez González

In this story about making do with what you have, Gabo learns that he doesn't need a regular sled to slide into all the winter fun.

Ages 4 to 8

This article originally appeared in Parents Latina's December/January 2021 issue as "Read On!", in June/July 2021 issue as "Relax and Read", and in December/January 2022 issue as "Turn the Pages"

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