Part of the fun of starting off a new year is checking out all the new releases in art and entertainment and that includes books especially in Latinx literature. Maybe reading more is on your list of resolutions and that’s an activity we also want to encourage our little ones to do more of. We want the next generation to love books and reading as much as we do, so we start them young on books that will teach them about the world, life lessons, important people, and their Latinx culture(s).
2021 has just started but it hasn’t disappointed with the announcement of several cool Latinx books coming out for kids. We found 10 such publications that are already getting positive buzz, and promising to deliver great narratives that Latinx children need–and want–to hear.
Shaking Up the House, Yamile Saied Méndez
We just witnessed history, as the first Black, Asian, and female Vice President was sworn in. That makes Yamile Saied Méndez’s story, Shaking Up the House, all the more relevant and special. The middle grade book, with cover art by Kat Fajardo, is about Latina first daughters Ingrid and Winnie Lopez, who continue the tradition of pranking the incoming first family, in this case African-American first daughters Skylar and Zora Williams. This prank, though, leads to funny chaos.
Shaking Up the House, harpercollins.com, $13.59
A Thousand White Butterflies, Jessica Betancourt-Perez and Karen Lynn Williams
Colombian writer Jessica Betancourt-Perez and Karen Lynn Wiliams are the authors of A Thousand White Butterflies, illustrated by Gina Maldonado. The picture book brings alive the tale of Colombian Isabella, who gets snowed in at her new home in the United States where she lives with her mom and grandma. She misses her dad in Colombia and can’t attend her first day of school because of the snow. Her homesickness, however, gets better when she makes a new friend, Katie.
A Thousand White Butterflies, barnesandnoble.com, $16.99
100 First Words for Little Californians, Ashley Mireles and Kyle Kershner
Reading to kids at an early age will help them develop, learn, and grow and there are so many cool books out there that are making the process fun for both children and their parents. Kiddos from California should definitely check out 100 First Words for Little Californians, brought to you from Ashley Mireles and Kyle Kershner. It will teach them words that hold special meaning because they describe home making it easier for them to comprehend and retain.
100 First Words for Little Californians, bookamillion.com, $9.99
Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers, Juliet Menendez
One of the best things about Latinx books is that it teaches children about the Latinx heroes that they normally aren’t often taught about in school. Juliet Menendez’s Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers is coming out in February, and will uplift kids with stories about Latinx trailblazers, like Dolores Huerta, Celia Cruz, Chavela Vargas, Selena, Berta Caceres, Laurie Hernandez, and Rigoberta Menchú Tum.
Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers, us.macmillian.com, $18.99
My Little Golden Book About Frida Kahlo, by Silvia Lopez and Elisa Chavarri
So many of us grew up reading Little Golden Books, learning about timeless stories and staring at beautifully-illustrated images. We are so happy that a new generation gets to read these gorgeous books, especially this one by Silvia Lopez, with illustration by Elisa Chavarri, on the life of legendary artist Frida Kahlo. It’s made for children ages 4-8 so it’ll be a great way to introduce your chiquito to one of the most iconic Latin American artists of all time.
My Little Golden Book About Frida Kahlo, target.com, $4.99
Stella’s Stellar Hair, Yesenia Moises
We love books that celebrate Black culture, beauty, and identity. Afro-Latina Yesenia Moises’ Stella’s Stellar Hair combines African culture, Black Girl Magic, and a futuristic trip across the solar system to learn how to style natural hair. It’s also about self-love and self-empowerment, things that kids are never too young to learn about.
Stella’s Stellar Hair, us.macmillan.com, $18.99
Merci Suarez Can’t Dance, Meg Medina
Merci Suárez is back (Merci Suarez Changes Gears), in a new middle grade book that finds the now seventh grader dealing with junior high drama, like a tough science teacher, an annoying classmate, young love, and not knowing how to dance. This is a cute book that chronicles the trials and tribulations of growing up from a Latinx point of view by Meg Medina who is of Cuban descent.
Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, penguinrandomhouse.com, $17.99
Zonia’s Rain Forest, Juana Martinez-Neal
Zonia’s Rain Forest takes us to Peru where we see the Indigenous Asháninka girl roam her home in the Amazon, saying hi to sloths, running with a jaguar, and more. The rain forest calls to her one day needing help and the story centers on this young girl’s adventure. Acclaimed author-illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal created the art on paper made from banana bark and the book includes information on the Asháninka community, as well as resources on the Amazon rain forest and its wildlife.
Zonia’s Rain Forest, powells.com, $17.99
A Sled for Gabo, Emma Otheguy and Ana Ramirez Gonzalez
It’s snowing in his new town, and little Gabo just wants to go sledding, like the other kids in the neighborhood. Alas, his hat is too small and he doesn’t have a sled or boots. Find out how his sweet neighbors come to the rescue and helps him to learn enjoy the snow in this adorable read. This is author Emma Otheguy’s first fiction picture book and it will be available in both English and Spanish.
A Sled for Gabo, harvard.com, $17.99
My Two Border Towns/Mis Dos Pueblos Fronterizos, David Bowles and Erika Meza
Books can teach kids about people and places that are very different from what they know and they also show how we are all alike and equal. My Two Border Towns, by David Bowles, with illustration by Erika Meza, gives us a glance into the life of a boy who travels over the Rio Grande, from the U.S. to Mexico, every weekend with his father. This trip involves picking up supplies to give to friends who are seeking asylum, as well as visiting family and partaking in Mexican culture. My Two Border Towns gives a voice to the many people who constantly lived between two countries and two cultures.
My Two Border Towns, $17.99 (prices may vary by store)