Annotated Bibliography of Children's Literature
focusing on Latino people, history, and culture

Fiction and Non-Fiction, with additional resources for teachers and librarians


In order for children to identify with the world around them, to appreciate and value the differences and similarities of other people to themselves, it is important for them to first discover their own identities*. Providing children with literature is one way to help them achieve this sense of identity. Books with characters of similar backgrounds, familial situations, of a close age, similar ethnicity, or living in familiar geographical settings can be useful tools in guiding children to discover who they are and where they fit into their communities, the greater society, and history. Enjoying books because children relate to characters, identify with situations, understand personalities or behavior will instill a motivation for more reading leading to greater educational development, in addition to a realization that there are others like themselves. Books that children relate to can help them to so lve problems by seeing how situations and circumstances are dealt with by others. Books can also inspire children to pursue goals because someone like them did the same thing. Family, home life and cultural backgrounds and lifestyles vary with different ethnic groups. Children must to be able to find books that focus on their ethnic identities and backgrounds to help develop the sense of self so important to growing up and to the appreciation of others and the world around them.

This bibliography focuses on books about Latinos. There are two main sections. The first section lists resources, in the form of bibliographies, for librarians, teachers, and parents. Many of these bibliographies are over ten years old, but they are included to provide a more thorough look at this body of literature. The second section lists actual literature for children. It is divided into Picture Books, Fiction, Poetry, and Non-Fiction. The Non-Fiction list includes biographies, reference books, and histories.

Some of the titles in the second section may be listed in the newer bibliographies from the previous section, but all, with few exceptions, have been published within the last ten years with the intention of providing a representation of the most current literature available. This bibliography is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive, but it is hoped the newer bibliographies in the first section will give more titles than could be located to include in the second.

*Zena Sutherland and May Hill Arbuthnot, "Children and Books Today," Chap. in Children and Books, 8th ed., New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991, 31.


Resources for Librarians, Teachers, and Parents

de Cortes, Oralia Garza, and Louise Yarian Zwick. "Hispanic Materials and Programs: Bibliography." Chap. in Venture into Cultures: A Resource Book of Multicultural Materials and Programs, ed. Carla D. Hayden. Chicago: American Library Association, 1992. 82-99.
ISBN: 0-8389-0579-X
The listings of both fiction and non-fiction are divided into English and Spanish titles. Appropriate grade levels are included with detailed annotations.

Duran, Daniel Flores. Latino Materials: a Multimedia Guide for Children and Young Adults. New York: Neal Schuman, Publishers, 1979.
ISBN: 0-87436-262-8
Books and films for elementary and secondary grades are divided within three bibliographies, those having a Mexican-American focus, those with a Puerto Rican focus, and general, referring to all Spanish speaking groups. See pages 41-51, 63-141, and 161- 194 for listings. The author and title index refers to entry number of items. English and Spanish titles included.

Rochman, Hazel. "Latinos." Chap. in Against Borders: Promoting Books for a Multicultural World. Chicago: American Library Association, 1993. 207-218.
ISBN: 0-8389-0601-X
One section of the chapter on Ethnic U.S.A. is devoted to Latinos. The majority of the books listed were published in the 1980's and 1990's. Divided into non-fiction, fiction, and videos, each entry includes appropriate grade level and a detailed annotation.

Schon, Isabel. A Bicultural Heritage: Themes for the Exploration of Mexican and Mexican-American Culture in Books for Children and Adolescents. Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1978.
ISBN: 0-8108-1128-6
The themes of customs, lifestyles, heroes, folklore, and history are covered with each area divided into three age levels from K-12. Each grade level is further divided into outcomes, books, discussions, and evaluation & follow-up activities. The lists of books include recommended as well as not recommended titles, with the stated idea that there are too many stereotypes and misconceptions about Mexican- Americans, and these books should not be allowed to perpetuate them. Author and title indexes.

"Recommended and Not Recommended Books About Latinas/os for Young Readers." Multicultural Review, 2 (December 1994): 30-34.
Ten recommended titles and thirteen not recommended. With all the positive and realistic books being published portraying Latina/o culture and people, seventeen years after the above bibliography was published, there are many books that continue to instill stereotypes and are inferior and awkward Spanish translations.

Talbot, Jane Mitchell, and Gilbert R. Cruz. "Children's Literature." Chap. in A Comprehensive Chicano Bibliography, 1960-1972, 285-298. Austin, Texas: Jenkins Publishing Co., 1973.
Brief citations for one hundred titles.

Literature for Children


Altman, Linda Jacobs. Amelia's Road. Illustrated by Enrique Sanchez. New York: Lee and Low Books, 1993.
ISBN: 1-880000-04-0. 29 p. Grade K-2.
Amelia, the daughter of migrant farm workers, learns to cope with moving from harvest to harvest while dreaming of a stable home.

Anzaldua, Gloria. Friends From the Other Side=Amigos del Otro Lado. Illustrated by Consuelo Mendez. San Francisco: Children's Book Press, 1993.
ISBN: 0-89239-113-8. 30 p. Grade 2-3. Bilingual.
Vibrant colored-pencil illustrations accompany this story of Prietita, a brave young Mexican American girl who befriends and helps Joaquin after he crosses the Rio Grande into Texas with his mother in search of a new life.

Argueta, Manilo. Magic Dogs of the Volcanoes=Los Perros Magicos de Los Valcanes. Illustrated by Elly Simmons. English translation by Stacey Ross. San Francisco: Children's Book Press, 1990.
ISBN: 0-89239-064-6. 32 p. Grade 2-3. Bilingual.
Colorfully illustrated folk tale of the magic dogs who live in the volcanoes of El Salvador and protect the villagers from harm.

Brown, Tricia. Hello Amigos!. Photographs by Fran Ortiz. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1986.
ISBN: 0-80500-090-9. Grade 2-4
Black and white photographs and narration by a Mexican American child, describe a day in his life, going to school and celebrating his birthday, living with his family in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Hewett, Joan. Hector Lives in the United States Now: the Story of a Mexican American Child. Photographs by Richard Hewett. New York: Lippincott, 1990.
ISBN: 0-397-32295-X. 44 p. Grade 2-4.
Black and white photographs illustrate the day-to-day happenings and milestones in the life of a young Mexican boy whose family seeks amnesty in the United States under the Immigration Reform and Control Act.

Mora, Pat. A Birthday Basket for Tia. Illustrated by Cecily Lang. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992.
ISBN: 0-02-767400-2. 29 p. Grade K-2.
Colorful papercut illustrations accompany this story of Cecilia as she prepares a surprise gift for her great-aunt's ninetieth birthday with the help and interference of her cat, Chica.

Rohmer, Harriet & Anchondo, Mary, adapted by. How we Came to the Fifth World=Cómo Vinimos al Quinto Mundo. Illustrated by Graciela Carrillo. San Francisco: Children's Book Press, 1988 (c.1976).
ISBN: 0-89239-024-7. 24 p. Grade 2-3. Bilingual.
Brilliant illustrations based on the original Indian picture writings accompany this Aztec myth recounting the creation and destruction of the world by the deities of the four great elements - Water, Air, Fire, and Earth. A brief explanation of the Aztec belief is on the last page.


Soto, Gary. Baseball in April and Other Stories. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1990.
ISBN: 0-15-205720-X. 111 p. Grade 7-8.
Youth and age, love and friendship, success and failure are the themes of these eleven short stories focusing on the everyday adventures of Mexican-American young people growing up in Fresno, California. Glossary of Spanish words and phrases included.

Crazy Weekend. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1994.
ISBN: 0-590-47814-1. 144 p. Grade 5-6.
Funny and fast-paced story of Hector and Mando who find themselves pursued by two goofy thieves after their photograph of a robbery is published in the newspaper. Glossary of Spanish words and phrases included.

Local News. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1993.
ISBN: 0-15-248117-6. 148 p. Grade 6-7.
A collection of thirteen short stories about the everyday lives of Mexican-American youth in California's Central Valley. Glossary of Spanish words and phrases included.

Pacific Crossing. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1992.
ISBN: 0-15-259187-7. 134 p. Grade 4-6.
A fourteen year old Mexican-American boy spends a summer with a host family in Japan, encountering new experiences and making new friends. Glossary of Japanese words and phrases included.

The Skirt. Illustrated by Eric Velasquez. New York: Delacorte Press, 1992.
ISBN: 0-385-30665-2. 74 p. Grade 2-4.
When Miata leaves the special skirt that she planned to wear in a dance performance on the school bus, she needs all her wits to get it back without her parents finding out.

Taking Sides. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1991.
ISBN: 0-15-284076-1. 138 p.
Fourteen year old, Lincoln Mendoza, an aspiring basketball player, must come to terms with his divided loyalties when he moves from the Hispanic inner city to a white suburban neighborhood. Glossary of Spanish words and phrases included.

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.
ISBN: 0-679-73477-5. 110 p. Grade 9-12.
A series of vingnettes captures the thoughts and emotions in poems and stories, of Esperanza Cordero, a young girl growing up in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago.


Carlson, Lori M., ed. Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States. Introduction by Oscar Hijuelos. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1994.
ISBN: o-805-03135-9. Bilingual.
Thirty-seven poems in English and Spanish by contemporary Latino/a writers.

Soto, Gary. A Fire in My Hands: A Book of Poems. Illustrated by James M. Cardillo. New York: Scholastic, 1990.
ISBN: 0-590-45021-2.
Happy, sad, funny, touching, and thoughtful poems about growing up, family, friendships, and first love drawn from a background of growing up Mexican-American in the San Joaquin Valley in Central California. Detailed black and white drawings. Author's anecdotes precede each poem. Foreword and a question and answer section about poetry is included.

Neighborhood Odes. Illustrated by David Diaz. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1992.
ISBN: 0-15-256879-4.
Black and white illustrations accompany twenty-one poems about growing up in a Mexican-American neighborhood, finding delight in everyday places and items, such as the library, tennis shoes, sprinklers, and tortillas.


Aliotta, Jerome J. The Puerto Ricans. Introductory essay by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The Peoples of North America. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1991.
ISBN: 0-87754-897-8. 110 p. Grade 5-7.
Discusses the history, culture, and relgion of Puerto Ricans, their place in American society, and the problems they face as an ethnic group in North America. Photographs, bibliography, and index included.

Arnold, Sandra Martin. Alicia Alonso: First Lady of the Ballet. New York: Walker and Company, 1993.
ISBN: 0-8027-8242-6. 100 p. Grade 4-6
The story of the Cuban ballerina who founded her own ballet school and company, performed with the Ballet Russe, and continued to dance after she lost her sight. Includes photographs, bibliography, and index.

Bandon, Alexandra. Mexican Americans. Footsteps to America. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1993.
ISBN: 0-02-768142-4. 110 p. Grade 4-6.
An account of immigration to the United States by Mexicans, focusing on recent history, with first person narratives. Photographs, bibliography, and index included.

Catalano, Julie. The Mexican Americans. Introductory essay by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The Peoples of North America. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.
ISBN: 0-87754-857-9. 95 p. Grade 5-7.
Discusses the history, culture, and religion of Mexican Americans, factors enouraging their emigration and their acceptance as an ethnic group in North America. Photographs, bibliography, and index included.

Cedeno, Maria E. Cesar Chavez: Labor Leader. Brookfield, CT: Hispanic Heritage, The Millbrook Press, 1993.
ISBN: 1-56294-280-8. 32 p. Grade 3-4.
Traces the accomplishments of the labor leader who fought to improve the lives of Mexican-American farm workers in California.

de Ruiz, Dana Catharine, and Richard Larios. La Causa: The Migrant Farmworkers' Story. Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez. Stories of America, Alex Haley, general editor. Austin: Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 1993.
ISBN: 0-8114-7231-0. 92 p. Grade 3-5.
Describes the efforts of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to organize migrant workers during the 1960's in California into a union which became the United Farm Workers.

Fernandez-Shaw, Carlos M. The Hispanic Presence in North America From 1492 to Today. Translated by Alfonso Bertodano Stourton and others. New York: Facts on File, 1991.
ISBN: 0-8160-2133-3. 375 p. Grade 6-10.
A general historical overview beginning with colonization and a discussion of Hispanic culture is followed by a state-by-state study of the history and influence of Hispanics in the United States. Photographs, listings of media, associations, selected readings, and index are included. A valuable reference tool.

Garver, Susan, and Paula McGuire. Coming to North America: From Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. New York: Delacorte Press, 1981.
ISBN: 0-440-01459-X. 161 p. Grade 5-6.
Explores the immigrant experiences of Mexicans, Cubans, and Puerto Ricans in the United States through personal accounts, histories, and photographs. Includes bibliography, a history of U.S. Immigration Laws, and an index.

Gilbert, Thomas W. Roberto Clemente. New York: Chelsea House, 1991.
ISBN: 0-7910-1240-9. 111 p. Grade 5-7.
Biography of the baseball hero who was born in Puerto Rico and played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Includes photographs, index, bibliography, chronology, and career statistics.

Kanellos, Nicolas. The Hispanic-American Almanac: A Reference Work on Hispanics in the United States. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1993.
ISBN: 0-8103-7944-9. 780 p. Grade 7-12.
Discusses a broad range of important aspects of Hispanic life and culture in the United States. It covers such topics as population, the family, education, law and politics, religion, literature, art, and business. A chronology, a historical overview, significant documents, and historical landmarks are also included. Photographs, glossary, general bibliography, and index. A very useful reference tool.

Lankerford, Mary D. Quinceañera: A Latina's Journey to Womanhood. Photographs by Jesse Herrera. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 1994.
ISBN: 1-56294-363-4. 47 p. Grade 2-4.
Photographs and narration describe the preparation and ceremony of a young girl's quinceañera, a rite of passage at age fifteen for Latinas, celebrating their journey from childhood to womenhood.

Lannert, Paula. Mexican Americans. American Voices. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Corporation, Inc., 1991.
ISBN: 0-86593-139-9 103 p. Grade 4-6.
Discusses the motivations and contributions of Mexicans who have immigrated to the United States. Photographs, short biographies of famous Mexican Americans, a time line, glossary, list of resources, bibliographies, and index are included.

Morey, Janet, and Wendy Dunn. Famous Mexican-Americans. New York: Cobblehill Books, 1989.
ISBN: 0-525-65012-1. 176 p. Grade 5-6.
Discusses the accomplishments and contributions to society of fourteen Mexican-Americans, representing a variety of professions. Includes photographs, index, and selected bibliography.

Rudeen, Kenneth. Roberto Clemente. Illustrated by Frank Mullins. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1974.
ISBN: 0-690-00315-3. 33 p. Grade 2-4.
Biography of the baseball hero from Puerto Rico who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Sinnott, Susan. Extraordinary Hispanic Americans. Chicago: Children's Press, 1991.
ISBN: 0-516-00582-1. 277 p. Grade 6-8.
Organized chronologically, profiles the lives of Hispanics who helped shape the history of the United States, from fifteenth century explorers to twentieth century writers, entertainers, and politicans.

Telgen, Diane, ed. Notable Hispanic American Women. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc. 1993.
ISBN: 0-81-037578-8. 448 p. Grade 9-12.
Short biographies of famous Hispanic American women, some with photographs. Occupational index and Ethnicity index included.

Walker, Paul Robert. Pride of Puerto Rico: the Life of Roberto Clemente. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1988.
ISBN: 0-15-200562-5. 135 p. Grade 5-7.
Biography of the baseball hero from Puerto Rico who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Includes career record.

This bibliography was compiled by Amy Goldenberg, as a first year Graduate student at UCLA in the Department of Library and Information Science, in March 1995. She is the author of PAPERCUTTING: Reviving a Jewish Folk Art published by Jason Aron son, Inc., Spring 1994. Feedback, comments, questions, and suggestions for furture compilations are welcome. Amy can be reached at or by snail mail at P.O. Box 48142, Los Angeles, CA 90048.