Dear Future Teachers,
Tomorrow is the first of of Latinx Heritage Month (Hispanic Heritage Month)! LHM is recognized from September 15-October 15, and the month is spent celebrating the histories and cultures of people in the U.S. who come from Latinx descent. In one of my current classes, we've gotten into discussions about learning Latinx history in U.S. public schools, and many of my classmates, including myself, revealed that we hardly, if ever, discussed Latinx history in our history classes! Overall there is a lot of erasure of Latinx contributions and history in U.S. classrooms. To kick off LHM, I created a list of books written by Latinx authors/discussing Latinx culture for the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Utilize this month to decolonize your classroom library and create a space for Latinx visibility in your classroom!
Books for the Elementary School Level
"Bad Hair Does Not Exist!" by Sulma Arzu-Brown
A bilingual book celebrating and embracing the beautiful hair of Afro-Latinxs. Check out the book here.
"Alma and How She Got Her Name" by Juana Martinez-Neal
This book is about is about a young girl named Alma, who learns about the family history that is tied to her name. Check out the book here.
"Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You" by Sonia Sotomayor
Written by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, this book is about how all children are unique, and provides positive language around students with disabilities. Check out the book here.
"La Frontera: El viaje con papá/My Journey with Papa" by Deborah Mills and Alfredo Alva
This book is based off of the true story of Alfredo Alva and his migration from Mexico to the United States. Check out the book here.
"I Am Latino: The Beauty in Me" by Myles Pinkney and Sandra Pinkney
This book explores Latinx culture through the 5 senses. Check out the book here.
Books for the Middle School Level
"Rooting for Rafael Rosales" by Kurits Scaletta
This book follows Rafael, who dreams of baseball; and Maya, who is concerned with the declining bee population. As the story goes on, they learn to see the world differently. Check out the book here.
"The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora" by Pablo Cartaya
This book is about a 13-year old boy named Arturo who lives a pretty relaxed life. One summer he is introduced to the world of poetry, which he also uses to learn more about his family history. Check out the book here.
"US in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos by Lulu Delacre
This book contains 12 short stories about Latinxs living in the U.S.. It contains a diverse perspective of the various experiences Latinxs experience in the U.S.. Check out the book here.
"BRAVO! Poems About Amazing Hispanics" by Margarita Engle
Engle writes poems about notable Latinxs that have made great contributions to Latinx history (and history in the U.S.) Check out the book here.
"The Storm Runner" by J.C. Cervantes
Similar to books like Percy Jackson, "The Storm Runner" tells a captivating story in the context of Mayan mythology. Check out the book here.
Books for the High School Level
"I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter" by Erika L. Sanchez
Several of my friends have read this book and enjoyed it immensely! "I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter" tackles subjects such as mental health and immigration. Check out the book here.
"In the Country We Love" by Dianne Guerrero
Actress Dianne Guerrero writes about her experience as a daughter of immigrants, and describes the difficulty of having both of her parents deported when she was 14 years old. Check out the book here.
"500 Words Or Less" by Juleah del Rosario
This book follows Nic Chen as she writes her college essay and struggles building a reputation for herself around her Ivy League-obsessed peers. Juleah del Rosario captures the struggle of finding one's identity that many high schoolers can relate to. Check out the book here.
"The Education of Margot Sanchez" by Lilliam Rivera
This book addresses the concept of gentrification, and what struggles teenage Margot Sanchez faces as she forges an identity for herself in school and at home. Check out the book here.
"Make Your Home Among Strangers" by Jennine Capó Crucet
Daughter of immigrants, Lizet decides to secretly apply for an elite college... and she's accepted! The months surrounding her acceptance are filled with turmoil, and the book narrates Lizet's struggle with her identity as an American. Check out the book here.
I hope you all enjoy the suggestions, and that some of these titles end up in your classroom! There are many ways to recognize and celebrate ones' culture, but literature is a pretty great way to begin to incorporate different identities into your classroom! If you have any more suggestions in this category, feel free to send them in through the Contact Form on my Home Page or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org! Happy Latinx Heritage Month!