12 Picture Books for Hispanic Heritage Month in Chinese, English, Spanish

English and Chinese books with Hispanic protagonists

In our home library, we are gradually adding more English and Chinese children’s books about Hispanic and Latino heritage. Although my children are Chinese-Korean-American, we believe that reading stories with characters of all backgrounds is essential. Intentionally, our list features Hispanic and Latino authors (eg, “own voices”) to learn directly from their experiences which may or may not be similar to ours.

These picture books that celebrate Hispanic and Latino protagonists are geared for ages 3 to 8 years. However, as a parent, I enjoy reading many of these books for myself!

Listening to Luka Robot read books about Hispanic heritage

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Since few Chinese children’s books feature Hispanic protagonists, we are reading many of these stories in English. We are not currently reading other languages but have included Spanish versions in this list when available!

English and Chinese books with Hispanic protagonists

I’ll share the books we’ve read so far, and we’d love to hear your recommendations, too! A few of these are compatible with Luka Reading Robot, which narrates stories in fluent Mandarin.

I hope the photos and ISBN information can help you find some of these books in your library or favorite bookstore!

Picture books that celebrate diversity:

Chinese and English books that celebrate Hispanic and Latino heritage

妈妈的红沙发 / 媽媽的紅沙發 A Chair for my Mother

1. 妈妈的红沙发 / 媽媽的紅沙發 A Chair for my Mother

After a fire destroys Rosa’s home and possessions, the little girl, her mother, and her grandmother save their coins until they can afford to buy a large, comfortable chair for the 3 of them to share.

Love, love, love this story of overcoming hardship and teaching the value of saving money. I highly recommend 妈妈的红沙发 / 媽媽的紅沙發 A Chair for my Mother.

最重要的事 A Day's Work

2. 最重要的事 A Day’s Work

This beautiful, serious story about a little boy and his grandfather captured my son’s attention. Francisco, a young Mexican-American boy, tries to help his grandfather find work in California. Abuelo (grandfather) cannot speak English, so Francisco lies in desperation and gets his grandfather a gardening job.

The story emphasizes honesty and integrity; Abuelo teaches Francisco that we cannot lie for work and how to rectify mistakes.

  • Where to buy:
  • Audio narration: Luka Robot

3. Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a famous Mexican painter known for her many self-portraits and cultural art. The following books about Frida Kahlo have been translated into Chinese.

永远的弗里达 Viva Frida

(A) 永远的弗里达 Viva Frida

This is a gorgeously illustrated book, but beware that the bilingual text is sparse with short poetic phrases such as, “I dream” and “I understand.” If you’re looking for details about Frida Kahlo’s life, this is not the best option. However, the last page of the book has a summary.

  • Where to buy:
    • Simplified Chinese / ISBN: 9787550283343
    • English / ISBN: 9781596436039
  • Audio narration: Ximalaya
小弗里达 Little Frida: A Story of Frida Kahlo

(B) 小弗里达 Little Frida: A Story of Frida Kahlo

This is our preferred picture book about Frida Kahlo because of the realistic illustrations, plus her inspiring story of overcoming illness and discovering art.

弗里达·卡罗 Frida Kahlo (Little People, Big Dreams)

(C) 弗里达·卡罗 Frida Kahlo (Little People, Big Dreams)

This popular series gives an overview of Frida Kahlo’s life struggles and triumphs. For our family, abstract illustrations were not our favorite as we prefer realistic representations, especially of minorities.

Of note, one page featured Frida Kahlo lying in a pool of blood, which some families may not be comfortable with sharing.

Try this: 15 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read

English and Spanish books that celebrate Hispanic and Latino heritage

Mango, Abuela, and Me - Children's book about Hispanic Heritage

1. Mango, Abuela, and Me

I really love this story about a little girl who is learning to connect with her Abuela (grandmother). Abuela moves in with the family, but she mainly speaks Spanish, a language that the child doesn’t know at first.

Over time, they exchange words in Spanish and English and bond while they learn from each other. This relatable story triggers fond memories of trying to communicate with my own grandmother, who spoke Changsha dialect.

  • Where to buy:
    • English / ISBN: 9780763695132
    • Spanish / ISBN: 9780763680992

2. Just Ask

Written by Justice Sonya Sotomayor, this wonderful book is inclusive of children with various medical conditions and ethnicities. The author is the first character in the story; she often felt out of place due to Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.

She then introduces other children, such as Vijay, who is deaf but loves to read and write. A child with food allergies is also featured, which I appreciate since my son is allergic to several foods. Each spotlight concludes with a question, “Do you?” asking the reader to consider whether he or she can relate to the character.

Related: Living with Hearing Loss and Becoming a Bilingual Audiologist and Mom

This is my daughter’s current favorite story, and she loved learning about the strengths of each child. I highly recommend this fantastic book that would be a great resource for preventing bullying.

  • Where to buy:
    • English / ISBN: 9780525514121
    • Spanish / ISBN: 9780525515500

3. Separate is never equal

This history-based story draws attention to the 1947 California ruling against public school segregation. Sylvia Mendez was a young child when she experienced overt racism and discrimination. Told by the school administration to “go to the Mexican school”, her parents work hard for justice so that children like Sylvia can go to any school.

  • Where to buy:
    • English / ISBN: 9781419710544
The Day You Begin - Children's picture book about diversity and inclusion in school

4. The Day You Begin

This is a gentle, much-needed book to empower children with challenges that they or others may face at school. “There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin to share your stories.” Gorgeous, gorgeous illustrations. Highly recommend!

  • Where to buy:
    • English / ISBN: 9780399246531

Related: 20+ Chinese Books for Children About Going to School!

Dreamers - Children's picture book about Hispanic Heritage

5. Dreamers / Soñadores

Author Yuyi Morales shares her personal experience with immigrating to the United States. Though initially apprehensive of the new culture, she finds comfort, freedom, and hope in books. Very relevant story for any immigrant family.

  • Where to buy:
    • English / ISBN: 9780823440559
    • Spanish / ISBN: 9780823442584

6. My Papi has a motorcycle

Daisy Ramona explores the town with her papi (father) on his motorcycle. During the ride, she learns about her family and culture, such as the murals murals that reveal the history of immigrants working on citrus groves. I chose this book because my son loves books with vehicles, and this was a relatable way for him to learn about a story featuring a girl.

  • Where to buy:
    • English / ISBN: 9780525553410
    • Spanish / ISBN: 9780525554943

7. Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

Sofi is a brave little girl who works to lead her community to collaborate and create a park. By overcoming bureaucratic challenges, she becomes a role model for little girls to see that their voice is important. This award-winning fictional story was written by the authors of the Questioneers series: Iggy Peck, Architect; Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Ada Twist, Scientist.

  • Where to buy:
    • English / ISBN: 9781419737046
    • Spanish / ISBN: 9781644731079

8. Island Born

The story begins with a teacher asking Lola and her classmates to share about where they immigrated from. TRIGGER WARNING: This question may be difficult for children separated from birth parents and/or displaced from home. For Lola, she cannot remember the Dominican Republic because she left as a baby. Through her family, she learns about heritage – it’s always a part of her, even though she can’t remember.

  • Where to buy:
    • English / ISBN: 9780735229860
    • Spanish / ISBN: 9780525552819
Nine Months picture book by Jason Chin - pregnancy new sibling book with realistic illustrations

9. Nine Months

This gorgeous picture book by Jason Chin is perfect for expectant parents who are preparing for a new sibling. Captivating, realistic illustrations feature an Asian American husband and Mexican American wife, based on the author’s brother’s family.

  • Where to buy
    • English ISBN: 9780823441617
English and Chinese books that celebrate Hispanic heritage

What are your favorite children’s books about Hispanic and Latino heritage?

What other books on Hispanic and Latino heritage do you recommend?

If you read this book, let me know what you think in the comments below! We’d love to hear about your learning experience with the books you choose! What other books do you recommend we check out?

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