Hispanic & Latinx Language & Literacy Books-2020 Edition

We are now heading into week 3 of Hispanic Heritage month. Last week, I revealed my 2020 recommendations to celebrate the numerous positive contributions of Hispanic, Latinx, and other authors that show appreciate for these diverse cultures on my Instagram. This year, I have six new children’s literature selections to tell you about. Use the books purposefully during speech/language therapy sessions, in the classroom, and/or during family literacy time to build communication, language, and literacy skills.

Maybe Something Beautiful- Authors F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell; Illustrator- Rafael Lopez

This is a captivating story written by author and international scholar, F. Isabel Campoy, who is dedicated to the study of language acquisition and literacy. She is originally from the beautiful seaside port of Alicante, Spain and has resided in Michigan, California, and other places as well. Over the last 30 years, she has contributed extensively to the field of language and the intersection of culture. Theresa Howell started her career as a children’s book editor and publisher. She lives in Colorado with her husband and children.

The book is an artistic interpretation of real events in East Village in San Diego, California. The little girl, Mira, in this story loves to draw and paint pictures. She gives them to people in her community. She reminds me of my niece who is always drawing pictures. One day, Mira, meets a muralist who is transforming the neighborhood in many ways. She joins him in painting murals and others do too. The illustrations crafted by muralist, Rafael Lopez, in this book are amazing and so is the story. This is an ideal book to add to your diverse book collection for many reasons. It’s available in English and Spanish (Quizas Algo Hermoso). Click here for a read aloud. Click here for more book details and learn about the real Urban Art Trail.

Speech/Language Associated Activity Ideas: listening comprehension/wh & how questions, vocabulary, articulation drills


Dear Primo- Author & Illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh

Duncan Tonatiuh is a Mexican-American author and illustrator who writes cultural stories with vivid depictions. He is originally from Mexico City and currently resides in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He is an advocate for worker’s rights and enjoys incorporating illustrations of a particular indigenous people group of Mexico, the Mixtecs. He travels throughout the U.S. providing author visits and discussions of his literary works.

This is a relatable story about cousins. Carlito, lives in the United States and Charlie lives in Mexico. They write to each other to describe their communities and everyday experiences such as living in the city vs. country, going to school, and playing sports at recess like futbol and basketball. They talk about their favorite foods like quesadilla vs. pizza, what they play after school, and traditions in their countries. I like how the author uses Spanish words within the story and compares/contrasts the cousins’ lives. Click here for a read aloud by the author.

Speech/Language Associated Activity Ideas- listening comprehension/wh questions, similarities/differences, articulation drills, inferences


Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away- Author Meg Medina, Illustrator- Sonia Sanchez

This is a new book released in September of 2020, by Meg Medina, a talented Cuban-American author. She wrote this endearing story about two best friends, Evelyn and Daniela, who live in New York city. They live in apartment buildings across the street from each other and love spending time playing with each other. Daniela narrates this story about their last day together during the autumn season. Evelyn is moving to a new home in a warmer climate. She invites her mejor amiga, Daniela, her numero uno best friend to play as usual. There is a big difference about this day because her apartment is covered in boxes since it’s moving day. They recall memories they have shared from Evelyn’s sunny yellow room to Daniela’s cotton candy colored pink room. They find an empty box and Daniela pretends that she’s driving the bus in the city as they gaze at the skyscrappers. The girls twirl around in the empty space and make plans for summer visits. “But I know that tomorrow everything will be different. Evelyn will be in a new home that doesn’t match mine.” At the end of the book, Daniela places a sparkly heart sticker on Evelyn’s cheek and she does the same, to seal a promise. What a precious story of friendship that girls can relate to. This is a excellent multi-cultural story that can build skills too.

Speech/Language Associated Activities- oral language, picture description, WH questions, tier I /tier II vocabulary


Young Pele, Soccer’s First Star- Author Lisa Cline-Ransome, Illustrator James Ransome

This book is written and illustrated by award winning African-American husband and wife team, Lisa and James Ransome who reside in New York. They enjoy creating books with historical perspectives, researching main characters’ lives, culture, and sports. Young Pele, Soccer’s First Star, is about the childhood of Edson Arantes do Naciemento, known as Pele, from Brazil. Pele is one of the greatest professional soccer players who won three World Cups for Brazil and later played on a New York team. Pele was awarded the International Peace Award for his humanitarian work with UNICEF.

Lisa Ransome tells the childhood story about Edson and his love for soccer or futbol as it is called in Latin America. There were days that he would daydream at school about playing with his friends. Edson grew up very poor and his team did not have money for athletic shoes and even made their own ball initially. Eventually, their team’s coach raised money for used shoes. Edson or Pele worked hard and practiced his athletic skills. His father also was a good player, but had an injury in his youth. This book teaches kids the importance of following their dreams and perseverance as Pele was known throughout the world for his futbol talent. Her husband, James created vivid watercolor illustrations that depicts the story. Lisa is originally from Malden, Massachusetts (near Boston) and James is from a small rural town named, Rich Square, North Carolina. They have other great historical books too. You can learn about their backgrounds and the inspiration behind their creative works here and the research they do prior to writing and illustrating.

Speech/Language Associated Activities- story retell, sequence of events, oral language, picture description, WH questions, tier I /tier II vocabulary


We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands- Author & Illustrator Rafael Lopez

Have you discovered any of Rafael Lopez’s children’s books previously? I highly recommend his work. He is an internationally recognized author and illustrator who resides in California. This is another book that I recently added to my diverse book collection. It’s ideal for young learners in preschool and kindergarten-second grade. I like the multi-racial and multi-cultural children depicted in this story and the simple yet powerful message. My favorite books are ones with an excellent message and vibrant illustrations. This book introduces listeners and readers to children all around the world and how they all have something important to contribute. Additionally, it teaches the importance of multi-culturalism, unity, and diverse friendships. Learn more about the author and his other books here. I’ve mentioned others on my Instagram and Book Shop previously.

Speech/Language Associated Activities- tier I vocabulary, inferences, building receptive/expressive language, picture description


Islandborn – Author & Illustrator Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz is a Dominican American author and illustrator who skillfully wrote the book, Islandborn, that is reflective of the island, Dominican Republic. He was born and raised in Santo Domingo, DR. He treasures his memories growing up on this Caribbean island. This sweet story, is about Lola, an Afro-Latina young girl who lives in New York. One day at school, she is given the task of sharing and drawing about her first home, the country where she is from. Many of the kids in her class were from other places too and remembered details about their native countries. However, Lola immigrated to the U.S. as a baby so she didn’t remember much about her first home. She decides to interview different family members and people in her neighborhood. In gathering information, Lola begins to transport herself back home to the island of her birth. This a very relatable story for many children who have immigrated to this country with their family. Junot Diaz, recognizes the importance of celebrating his culture in his stories. As someone who was born in the Caribbean and who immigrated to Florida as a child, I love how this book celebrates the power of storytelling and the colorful illustrations. Listen to his read aloud of his story here. Here’s another read aloud video of this story.

Speech/Language Associated Activities- listening comprehension/WH & How Questions, story retell, tier I vocabulary, inferences, picture description

Thanks for reading the blog today. Let me know your favorite stories that celebrate the diversity of Hispanic & Latinx cultures. Here are last year’s recommendations and you’ll learn more about this cultural heritage month.

All the best,

Tamara Anderson, M.S., Ed.S., CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Education Specialist

Special Education Consultant

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