Students of Latin heritage cannot be placed into a box, though they are often stereotyped.
While there are 20 countries in Central and South America, many teachers just assume that Hispanic students are of Mexican descent.
Trouble with the English language is often quite incorrectly associated with an intellectual deficit.
Many of our students have to live a dual life, longing to embrace the culture they are immersed in at school while being encouraged to hold on to their heritage at home.
It is common for Latinx students to feel torn between the norms of the American culture and those of their family’s cultural traditions.
Some speak Spanish at home and English at school. On rare occasions, you may even come across students who cannot speak the same language as one or both of their parents.
The children of undocumented parents sometimes leave for school in the mornings worried that their parents will not be there when they got home. While some have been stranded alone upon their parents' deportation.
Regardless of your political opinions, it is your responsibility to care for and offer an equitable education to all of your students. In order to make your classroom a place where all students feel valued and equal, it is essential that students see themselves reflected in the literature they read.
Here are some of our favorite titles for teaching literature that has prominent Latinx characters or address issues of social injustice or discrimination against Latinx individuals. Some of these titles are bilingual, and many are available in Spanish.
As with all content, you should make sure that you have properly vetted, studied, and received approval for any piece before teaching it or even adding it to your classroom library.
Please add your favorite titles in the comments!
Abuela, Arthur Dorros
Bad Hair Does Not Exist!, Selma Arzu-Brown
Callaloo: The Legend of the Golden Coqui, Marjuan Canady
Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin, Duncan Tonatiuh
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, Margarita Engle
Just a Minute, Yuyi Morales
Kitchen Dance, Maurie Mannie
Luis Paints the World, Terri Farish
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match, Monica Brown
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, Carmen Agra Deedy
Max Loves Munecas!, Zetta Elliott
My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz, Monica Brown
My Papi Has Motorcycle, Isabel Quintero
Nino Wrestles the World, Yuyi Morales
Octopus Stew, Eric Velasquez
Separate Is Never Equal, Duncan Tontiuh
Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx, Jonah Winter
The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes, Duncan Tonatiuh
The Secret Footprints, Julia Alvarez
What Can You Do with a Paleta, Carmen Tafolla
Call Me Maria, Judith Ortiz Cofer
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings, Margarita Engle
Esperanza Rising, Pam Munoz Ryan
Gaby, Lost and Found, Angela Cervantes
I Lived on Butterfly Hill, Marjorie Agosin
Lowriders in Space, Cathy Camper (part of a series)
My Name Is Maria Isabel, Alma Flor Ada
Red Glass, Laura Resau
Return to Sender, Julia Alvarez
Riding Low Through the Streets of Gold: Latino Literature for Young Adults, Judit Ortiz Cofer (Editor)
Stef Soto, Taco Queen, Jennifer Torres
The Firefly Letters, Margarita Engle
The First Rule of Punk, Celia Perez
The Lightning Dreamer, Margarita Engle
The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez, Robin Yardi
They Call Me Guero: A Border Kid’s Poem, David Bowles
Under the Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba, Alma Flor Ada
Yes! We Are Latinos, Alma Flor Ada & F. Isabel Campoy
Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth, Jeff Anderson
500 Years of Chicana Women’s History, Elizabeth Martinez
Across a Hundred Mountains, Reyna Grande
All the Stars Denied, Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Always Running La Vida Loca Gang Days in LA, Luis Rodriguez
An Uninterrupted View of the Sky, Melanie Crowder
Clap When You Land, Elizabeth Acevedo
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Erika L. Sanche
In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez
Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots, Margarita Engle
Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, Sonia Manzano
Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom, Margarita Engle
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
The Book of Unknown Americans, Cristina Henriquez
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
The Distance Between Us, Reyna Grande
The Radius of Us, Marie Marquardt
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, Meg Medina