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325 West Gaines Street, Suite 514  ·  Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400  ·  Phone: 850-245-0503  ·  Fax: 850-245-9530

Hispanic Heritage Month Recommended Reading List

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated nationwide and begins on September 15, 2009, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico achieved independence on September 16th and Chile on September 18th. Hispanic Heritage Month has been celebrated in the United States since 1974, when President Gerald Ford issued a Presidential Proclamation extending Hispanic Heritage Week into a month-long observation.

This recommended reading list provides a variety of suggested books by grade level for children of all ages, as well as a selection of suggested books for adult reading. Just Read, Florida! makes reading a priority in Florida’s public schools and among the community groups and volunteer organizations that support them. This recommended reading list serves that goal while increasing students’ interest in the many aspects and contributions of Hispanic culture to the state of Florida.

Elementary (K – Grade 2)

  • Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, Carmen Agra Deedy
  • Doña Flor, Pat Mora
  • Juan Bobo Goes to Work, Marisa Montes
  • From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems, Francisco X. Alarcón
  • Pablo's Tree, Pat Mora
  • Chato and the Party Animals, Gary Soto
  • Mama & Papa Have a Store, Amelia Lau Carling
  • Snapshots from the Wedding, Gary Soto
  • In My Family, Lomas Garza, Carmen
  • Rainbow Tulip, Pat Mora
  • Xochtil and the Flowers, Jorge Argueta
  • The Spirit of Tío Fernando, Janice Levy
  • Hispanic Scientists: Ellen Ochoa, Carlos A. Ramirez, Eloy Rodriguez, Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Maria Elena Zavala, Jetty St. John
  • Angels Ride Bikes: And Other Fall Poems, Francisco X. Alarcon

Elementary (Grades 3 – 5)

  • Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba, Alma Flor Ada
  • My Diary from Here to There, Amada Irma Pérez
  • Magic Windows, Carmen Lomas Garza
  • Hands-on Latin America: Art Activities For All Ages, Yvonne Y. Merrill
  • Where the Flame Trees Bloom, Alma Flor Ada
  • Amazing Hispanic American History, George Ochoa
  • Charro: The Mexican Cowboy, George Ancona
  • Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, Kathleen Krull
  • Family Pictures, Carmen Lomas Garza
  • The Bossy Gallito, Lucia Gonzalez
  • Calling the Doves/El Encanto De Las Palomas, Juan Felipe Herrera
  • Under the Royal Palms: a Childhood in Cuba, Alma Flor Ada
  • Learning About Determination From the Life of Gloria Estefan, Meanne Stazzabosco
  • Ivan Rodriguez, Tony DeMarco
  • Alicia Alonso: First Lady of the Ballet, Sandra Martin Arnold
  • The Biographical Dictionary of Hispanic Americans, Nicholas E. Meyer
  • Famous Hispanic Americans, Janet Morey
  • Ellen Ochoa: The First Hispanic Woman Astronaut, Romero Maritza

Middle School (6 – 8)

  • César Chávez : Crusader for Social Change, Brenda Haugen
  • When I was a Boy Neruda Called Me Policarpo, Poli Délano
  • Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States, Lori Carlson, Editor
  • Crossing the Wire, Will Hobbs
  • Breaking Through, Francisco Jimenez
  • Under the Same Sky, Cynthia DeFelico
  • Struggling to Become an American, Robin Santos Doak
  • The Color of My Words, Lynn Joseph
  • Wachale! Poetry and Prose About Growing Up Latino in America, Ilan Stavans, Editor
  • Extraordinary Hispanic Americans, Susan Sinnott
  • Baseball in April and other Stories, Gary Soto
  • Call Me Maria: a Novel, Judith Ortiz Cofer
  • Hispanic, Female and Young: An Anthology, Edited by Phyllis Tashlik
  • My Daughter, My Son, the Eagle, the Dove: An Aztec Chant, Ana Castillo
  • Cuba 15, Nancy Osa
  • Becoming Naomi León, Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • The Tree Is Older Than You Are, Edited by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Facts of Life, Gary Soto
  • Flight to Freedom, Ana Veciana–Suarez
  • Among the Volcanoes, Omar S. Castañeda
  • Toussaint L’Ouverture: The Fight for Haiti’s Freedom, Walter Dean Myers
  • The Smell of Old Lady Perfume, Claudia Guadalupe Martínez
  • Delores Huerta: Labor Leader and Civil Rights Activist, Robin S. Doak
  • Esperanza Rising, Pam Munoz Ryan
  • The Circuit: Stories From the Life of a Migrant Child, Francisco Jimenez

High School (Grades 9 – 12)

  • Journey of the Sparrows, Fran Leeper Buss
  • Jesse, Gary Soto
  • Yo!, Julia Alvarez
  • El Bronx Remembered, Nicholasa Mohr
  • Famous Hispanic Americans, Wendy Dunn, Janet Nomura Morey, and Carlos E. Cortes
  • Laughing Out Loud, I Fly: Poems in English and Spanish, Juan Felipe Herrera
  • How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, Julia Alvarez
  • Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya
  • When I Was Puerto Rican, Esmeralda Santiago
  • Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States, Lori Marie Carlson
  • The Shadow of the Wind: A Novel, Carlos Ruiz Zafón and Lucia Graves
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
  • American Chica, Maria Arana
  • Taking Sides, Gary Soto
  • Before We Were Free, Julia Alvarez
  • Riding Low on the Streets of Gold: Latino Literature for Young Adults, Edited with an Introduction by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  • Growing Up Inside the Sanctuary of My Imagination, Nicholasa Mohr
  • Curse of the Chupa Cabra, Rudolfo Anaya
  • Accidental Love, Gary Soto
  • The Importance of a Piece of Paper: Stories, Jimmy Santiago Baca
  • Crazy Loco, David Talbot Rice
  • Reaching Out, Francisco Jiménez
  • Voices in First Person: Reflections on Latino Identity, edited by Lori Marie Carlson
  • I, Juan De Pareja, Elizabeth Borton de Trevino

Adult Selections

  • Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez, Richard Rodriguez
  • The Line of the Sun, Judith Ortiz Cofer
  • Empress of the Splendid Season, Oscar Hijuelos
  • In the Time of the Butterflies: A Novel, Julia Alvarez
  • Never through Miami, Roberto Quesada and Patricia J. Duncan
  • Down These Mean Streets, Piri Thomas
  • Our House in the Last World, Oscar Hijuelos
  • The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Oscar Hijuelos
  • Collected Fictions, Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley
  • Shadow without a Name, Ignacio Padilla, translated by Peter R. Bush & Anne McCleane
  • By the Lake of Sleeping Children: The Secret Life of the Mexican Border, Luis Alberto Urrea
  • The Latino Holiday Book: From Cinco de Mayo to Dia de los Muertos--the Celebrations and Traditions of Hispanic-Americans, Valerie Menard