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In Celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month: Award-Winning, Top Book Recommendations for Librarians

By: | October 01, 2021 |

In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage with Top Recommended Books

September is here, and that means that public libraries and school libraries around the country are celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month! The observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15th and goes through October 15th each year, paying tribute to the cultures and contributions of those with Central and South American, Mexican, Spanish, and Caribbean heritage.

As librarians, we realize you already spend an ample amount of time curating, so here is an introductory library book list that features Latinx and Hispanic award-winning authors and their contributions to the literary world, all of which can be conveniently found in our Junior Library Guild categories. These noteworthy book selections range from picture books to graphic novels and span elementary through high-school reading levels, so whether or not you are an elementary, middle school, or high school librarian, there is something here for everyone with titles that will make your library shine!

Ready for some good book recommendations to help you curate your library and pay tribute to National Hispanic Heritage Month? Let’s get to it.

Must-Have Book Selections for the Elementary School Librarian

Quizás algo Hermoso: Cómo el arte transformó un barrio (Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood) F. Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López

Looking for an inspiring picture book? As the book title suggests, this selection (recommended for K-3 readers) is all about how art can transform a neighborhood. It was nominated for the Prairie Bud Book Award in 2018—2019 and author Isabel Campoy is a highly decorated, award-winning author, including 9 Junior Library Guild Selections.

This title can be found in our Primary Spanish Collection and is a perfect choice for any children’s librarian who wants to grow their collection development with multicultural selections. You can also purchase the book individually here.

Pulpo guisado / Octopus Stew, Eric Velasquez

Pulpo guisado is a beautiful picture book authored and illustrated by Eric Velasquez who has won many awards, including the Coretta-Scott King/John Steptoe Award for new talent and the Pura Belpré Award for illustration.

Inspired by the author’s childhood memories, this book (recommended for grades K-3) is a tribute to family, Puerto Rican food, heroism, and creativity, it even has a recipe for Octopus Stew that young readers can make with their own families! This selection can be found in our Primary Spanish Category.

Juana y Lucas, Juana Medina

Juana y Lucas is part of a book series authored and illustrated by Juana Medina (recommended for grades 2-4) and can be found in our Independent Readers Category.

Juana y Lucas is a winner of the Pura Belpré Author Award and makes an excellent addition to any children’s library multicultural chapter books for reluctant readers and children who can read on their own. Juana y Lucas incorporates both English and Spanish words within the text, making this series also a great choice for Spanish and English language learners. This title is available in both hardcover and audiobook, learn more here.

Top Recommendations for the Middle School and High School Librarian

Cuando levantas la mirada (When You Look Up), Decur

Cuando levantas la mirada is a coming-of-age, graphic novel recommended for middle school readers and is authored and illustrated by Decur. This story touches on topics such as new experiences and encapsulates the genre of magical realism. It was also one of The New York Times’ Best Children’s Books of 2020.

If your middle school readers have a thirst for fantasy and magic, then you’ll definitely want to consider including this selection in your collection development. You can also order the book online in our Spanish Middle Category.

Merci Suárez se pone las pilas (Merci Suarez Changes Gears), Meg Medina

Merci Suárez se pone las pilas is the 2019 winner of the Newbery Award and another coming-of-age tale recommended for middle school readers. Written by NYTimes best-selling author Meg Medina, this book digs into the ups and downs of sixth-grade life for protagonist Merci Suárez, and can be found in our Spanish Middle Category.

The First Rule of Punk, Celia C. Pérez

The First Rule of Punk is written by author Celia C. Pérez, and is the winner of countless awards (including the 2018 Pura Belpré Honor Award) can be found in our PG Middle Plus category for grades 5-8, is well suited for reluctant readers, and perfect for librarians who are looking for clean chapter books/novels that have humor, diversity, and in the case of protagonist Malú, being true to one’s self, making this selection a must-have book for the middle school library (find the Spanish language version La primera regla del punk here).

Furia, Yamile Saied-Mendez

Furia is a realistic-fiction novel written by author Yamile Saied Méndez, a gold medal winner of the 2021 Belpre Award for Young Adult Text. Taking place in Argentina, this novel explores the struggles of a young Argentinian who is bound and determined in her goals, despite the uphill battles that she faces. This is a great read for teens who enjoy sports and can be found in our Sports High Category.

Improve Your School’s Library with Our Multicultural Categories

Don’t have these book titles in your library yet? Consider adding them to your monthly box subscription, which would be a great way to improve your school library's selection of award-winning, top-selling books for the 2021-2022 school year.

Looking for more titles by Latinx and Hispanic authors? While many of these books can be found throughout our entire catalog, beginning with our Multicultural Categories is a good place to start adding to your collection!

Finally, for more meaningful ways to pay tribute to National Hispanic Heritage Month in your library, you can find plenty of educational resources here.

Happy reading y que disfruten de los libros!

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