This is a list of children’s and young adult books by just some of the Latina authors writing for young Latinas today. There are many more wonderful writers whom you can find by doing a search online. The web site, A Mighty Girl is particularly helpful.
You can borrow these books from your local library or buy them wherever you shop online.
This list is organized in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. Book descriptions courtesy of Amazon.com.
Books for young adults (ages 12-18)
- With the Fire on High
Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
- Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths
This is a collection of folkloric poems centered on the historical, mythological, gendered, and geographic experiences of a first generation American woman. From the border in the Dominican Republic, to the bustling streets of New York City, Acevedo considers how some bodies must walk through the world as beastly beings.
- Clap When You Land
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people… In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
- The Poet X
Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.
Alma Flor Ada
Books for a variety of ages
- Ten Little Puppies/Diez perritos (for ages 0-3)
Count along in Spanish and English as each one of the ten adorable puppies disappears from the pages—it’s a bilingual bonanza! And you can find more information at the back of the book about the puppy breeds featured. Puppies have never been so irresistible!
- The Lizard and the Sun/La Lagartija y el Sol (for ages 3-6)
A long, long time ago in ancient Mexico, the sun disappeared. Everything was dark, and the people were afraid. The animals decided to search for the sun through the fields and forests, rivers and lakes. But the sun was nowhere to be found. At last the animals stopped looking – all except the lizard. This is the story of a brave little lizard who would not give up until she had brought back light and warmth to everyone.
- The Gold Coin (for ages 5-8)
Juan has been a thief for many, many years. So many, in fact, that he can’t even remember what it’s like to be anything else. When he tries to steal Doña Josefa’s gold, something strange begins to happen to Juan. His skin becomes tan instead of pale, his body straight instead of bent, and his mouth smiles instead of scowls. Juan also begins to remember things. He remembers eating good, home-cooked food, being among friends, and laughing. Set against a Central American background, this is a story of love and faith in the human spirit.
- My Name is Maria Isabel (for ages 6-9)
For María Isabel Salazar López, the hardest thing about being the new girl in school is that the teacher doesn’t call her by her real name. “We already have two Marías in this class,” says her teacher. “Why don’t we call you Mary instead?”
But María Isabel has been named for her Papá’s mother and for Chabela, her beloved Puerto Rican grandmother. Can she find a way to make her teacher see that if she loses her name, she’s lost the most important part of herself?
- The Three Golden Oranges (for ages 6-9)
Far on the other side of the mountains, next to an enchanted castle, grows a tree with three golden oranges. It is there that the three brothers — Santiago, Tomás, and Matías — must journey if they wish to find a wife.
Once they reach their destination, the brothers must carefully pick the oranges and bring them back to the old woman who lives in a cave on the cliffs overlooking the sea. But, “In order to find your wives, you will need to work together,” the old woman has said. “Woe to you if you do not follow my advice!”
Will the brothers be able to avert misfortune by working together? Will they be strong enough to break the spell that a wicked sorcerer has placed on the castle?
- Under the Royal Palms (for ages 8-12)
We learn of a deep friendship with a beloved dance teacher that helped sustain young Alma Flor through a miserable year in school in Cuba. We meet relatives, like her mysterious Uncle Manolo, whose secret, she later learns, is that he dedicated his life to healing lepers. We share the tragedy of another uncle whose spirited personality leads to his love of flying…and the crash that takes his life.
Heartwarming, poignant, and often humorous, this collection encourages children to discover the stories in their our own lives — stories that can help inform their own values and celebrate the joys and struggles we all share no matter where or when we grew up.
For young adults
- Finding Miracles (ages 12-17)
Milly Kaufman is an ordinary American teenager living in Vermont—and then she meets Pablo, a new student at her high school. His exotic accent, strange fashion sense, and intense interest in Milly force her to confront her identity as an adopted child from Pablo’s native country. As their relationship grows, Milly decides to undertake a courageous journey to her homeland and, along the way, discovers the story of her birth is intertwined with the story of a country recovering from a brutal past.
- The Other Half of Happy (for ages 10-14)
One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana’s Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn’t know more about her family’s heritage.
One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she’s found true friends. But she can’t help the growing feelings she has for Jayden.
One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what’s going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother.
- The House on Mango Street (for ages 8-12)
Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.
Anika Aldamuy Denise
- Bunny in the Middle (for ages 3-6)
This joyful picture book celebrates middle children and sibling love. When you’re in the middle … you’re not the oldest, and you’re not the youngest. You are right in between. There’s someone bigger who helps you and someone smaller who needs you. From the middle, you can see both sides.
But being in the middle isn’t always easy – sometimes it’s hard to know what makes you special, or how to follow a path that’s just your own. Bunnyt in the Middle highlights the remarkable empathy of middes and the joys of self-acceptance.
- The Love Letter (for ages 4-8)
Fall in love with this endearing and adorable picture book that illustrates how a little bit of heart goes a long way to making the world a better place.
- Monster Trucks (for ages 4-8)
Ready, set, go! The monster truck race is on in this frightfully delightful picture book. On a spooky speedway, Monster Trucks moan! Monster Trucks grumble! Monster Trucks groan! Join Frankentruck, Zombie Truck, Ghost Truck, and more as they race to the finish line. But one of these trucks isn’t quite who you think.
- Starring Carmen (for ages 5-7)
Meet Carmen! She LOVES the spotlight and applause. She’s an actress, a singer, a dancer—a one-girl sensación! She exhausts her parents with her nightly performances and completely overshadows Eduardo, her adoring little brother. But when Eduardo shows his big sister how much he loves her in a way even Carmen can’t ignore, will Carmen realize that the stage is big enough for two?
- Lights, Camera, Carmen! (for ages 5-7)
Carmen is a little girl with a BIG personality. She loves the spotlight and fame that comes with being an actress, and she only grudgingly shares attention with her adoring little brother, Eduardo – especially when the prize is a starring role in a commercial.
- Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré (for ages 4-8)
An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.
Pam Muñoz Ryan
- Esperanza Rising (for ages 8 and up)
Esperanza thought she’d always live a privileged life on her family’s ranch in Mexico. She’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it
- Becoming Naomi León (for ages 9-12)
Naomi Soledad León Outlaw has had a lot to contend with in her young life, her name for one. Then there are her clothes (sewn in polyester by Gram), her difficulty speaking up, and her status at school as “nobody special.” But according to Gram’s self-prophecies, most problems can be overcome with positive thinking. Luckily, Naomi also has her carving to strengthen her spirit. And life with Gram and her little brother, Owen, is happy and peaceful. That is, until their mother reappears for the first time in seven years, stirring up all sorts of questions and challenging Naomi to discover who she really is.
- Paint the Wind (for ages 10-13)
A puzzling photograph, a box filled with faded toy horses, and a single fractured memory are all that Maya has left of her mother. In Grandmother’s house in California, she lives like a captive, tethered by Grandmother’s rules: no talk of her mother, no friends, no foolishness of any kind…until a shocking event changes everything.
A world away, in the rugged Wyoming wilderness, a wild mustang called Artemisia runs free, belonging only to the stars. In a land where mountain lions and wranglers pose an ever-present threat, she must vigilantly protect her new foal…until a devastating act separates them from their band.
Like a braided rein, Maya’s and Artemisia’s lives will ultimately intertwine. Together, they hold the key to each other’s survival.
- Tony Baloney (for ages 3-6)
Tony Baloney is a rambunctious macaroni penguin with a tremendous imagination. The middle child in his family, Tony always has to take orders from his big sister and watch out for his younger siblings. But with his trusty stuffed friend Dandelion around, Tony is sure that he won’t get ignored in his family – even if it means getting into a little bit of trouble first.