Latino Children's Book Resource

Painting by Elizabeth Gomez Freer
Painting by Elizabeth Gómez Freer, from the book A Movie in My Pillow

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Welcome to the Latino Children's Book Resource!

  "[Multicultural] books…parallel the need of each individual not only to belong with pride to his or her own group, but to identify warmly and sympathetically with ever-widening circles of people. A good and honest book can strengthen the pride of the minority member and enrich all who read it." –Zena Sutherland, Choosing Books for Children, Vol. 9

  The goal of this web page is to provide an evaluative resource for public and school librarians. As the Latino population in the U.S. grows (the Census Bureau estimates Hispanics will make up one-fourth of the population by 2050), so too does the number of libraries and librarians that will serve Latino patrons.  It is important for children of any background to see themselves and their culture reflected in the images they see and the books they read. Latino children in the U.S. are often "the other," outsiders in a foreign land. Literature that reflects Latino culture is one way to give them a sense of belonging to a community of many others who share their experiences, beliefs, and culture. In addition, these books are valuable for children of other backgrounds, who learn that the world is larger than their own experiences, and can begin to accept other cultures.

This web site is intended as a starting point for those librarians and is not a comprehensive list of Latino literature for children but a list of "must haves," the most important and highest quality offerings in my opinion. The focus in this database is English-language fiction published in the U.S., but titles and links to information about nonfiction, folktales, Spanish-language books, and more have also been included. As every literature exists within a context, I have attempted to include some of that context as well by providing information on a few major authors of Latino literature for children, as well as links to culture and flags denoting the country of origin for each book.

  My hope is that this resource will provide a basis for librarians to begin making judgments of what quality literature is for Latinos, what authors exist in the field, how literature can be tied into culture, and its importance for readers of all backgrounds. I also hope to make this an ongoing project, where additional books, cultural links, and authors continue to be added as my research continues and the Latino book genre continues to grow and expand.

--Maggie Hommel, graduate student
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign