Art and Artists: Hispanic Heritage

These books introduce readers to many traditional art forms from Latino and Latin American cultures, as well as to a number of artists (some of whom they will know and some of whom they won't) dedicated to expressing beauty through their work.

You may also be interested in our related booklist about Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

Colores de la Vida: Mexican Folk Art Colors in English and Spanish

Age Level: 0-3

Product Description: Little kids love colors, they love animals, and they love the sounds of words. Especially new words. Colores de la Vida, the third in the highly successful series First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art, combines all these elements to teach early learners about color. Leggy red giraffes, pink cows, purple rabbits — the Oaxacan folk artists who contributed to this book unleashed their imaginations and went wild with color. Young children will delight in the bright colors of the Oaxacan rainbow while folk art collectors will marvel at the whimsical handcrafts.

America: A Book of Opposites

Age Level: 6-9

Illustrated by ten talented children's book artists, this collection celebrates in words (both Spanish and English) and images what America is all about: diversity. Young children are led through a land of opposites, where they learn how to differentiate between high and low, wet and dry, and rough and smooth.

Dream Carver

Illustrated by: Amy Cordova
Age Level: 6-9

"Inspired by the life of renowned Oaxacan woodcarver Manuel Jimenez, newcomer Cohn and Cordova tell of Mateo, a young woodcarver who bravely breaks with a generations-old artistic tradition…Mateo dreams of carving life-size animals, with surfaces that tingle with vibrant, improbable colors and surreal patterns…When Mateo ultimately produces a glorious wooden menagerie including a quetzal with majestic feathers he wins over not only Papa, but the entire village, and a new way of carving is born." — Publishers Weekly

Elena's Serenade

Illustrated by: Ana Juan
Age Level: 6-9

Elena wants to be a glassblower like her father, but there is a problem: "Who ever heard of a girl glassblower?" Elena decides she must go to Monterrey where the great glassblowers are, and sets off on her journey with a pipe in hand — dressed as a boy. Elena soon discovers her own hidden talents and the power of believing in yourself. Ana Juan's lovely illustrations convey the magic of Elena's journey. Also available in Spanish and Chinese.

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras

Age Level: 6-9

Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. However, today he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival.

Josefina

Age Level: 3-6

"In simple words and charming pictures, Winter gives an outline of the life of Josefina Aguilar, a maker of pottery figures who lives in Ocotlan, Mexico. The author follows this narrative with a counting story describing Josefina's creation of a pottery world, beginning with one sun and going through increasing numbers of angels, houses, flower sellers, farmers, mamas and babies, mariachis, mourners, skeletons, and, finally, 10 stars." — School Library Journal

Just Like Me: Stories and Self-Portraits by Fourteen Artists

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: This remarkable collection highlights the art and inspirational paths of 14 outstanding artists who, over the course of 20 years, have shared their art and lives with children. Each spread comprises a self-portrait, as well as the artist's personal story and reflections on what their art means to them. Artists include George Littlechild, Maya Christina Gonzalez, Enrique Chagoya, Rodolfo Morales, Tomie Arai, and Hideo Yoshida.

Market Day: A Story Told with Folk Art

Age Level: 3-6

It's market day! Everyone's going to the town square for a farmers market like no other — and you're invited to come along. Lois Ehlert's Market Day takes you on a colorful journey around the world in a fun story told with folk art.

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood

Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 6-9

What good can a splash of color do in a town that is gray? As Mira and her neighbors discover, more than you might ever imagine! Based on the true story of the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California, Maybe Something Beautiful reveals how art can inspire transformation—and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big. Pick up a paintbrush and join the celebration! 

Me, Frida

Illustrated by: David Diaz
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Like a tiny bird in a big city, Frida Kahlo feels lost and lonely when she arrives in San Francisco with her husband, the famous artist Diego Rivera. It is the first time she has left her home in Mexico. And Frida wants to be a painter too. But as Frida begins to explore San Francisco on her own, she discovers more than the beauty, diversity, and exuberance of America. She finds the inspiration she needs to become one of the most celebrated artists of all time.

My Papa Diego and Me

Age Level: 9-12

"In this beautiful bilingual picture book, Diego Rivera's daughter has brought together 14 of her father's original works with a focus on those depicting children. Each well-reproduced painting is accompanied by a brief discussion describing the historical or cultural details of the time. The author also weaves in her own memories and those of her father, making the book personal yet accessible." — School Library Journal

Niño's Mask

Illustrated by: Jeanette Winter
Age Level: 3-6

"Nino aspires to play the role of the perro in the Fiesta of the Tigre in his small Mexican village. Despite being told that he must wait until he is older, he is determined to perform the part of the animal that ensures the success of the corn crop by chasing the tiger out of town.

The Piñata Maker

Age Level: 6-9

Fiestas often involve puppets, masks, and piñatas. Meet Tío Rico, the elderly piñata maker in a Mexican town, whose artful creations are shown from start to finish in this handsomely photographed book. The text is presented in both Spanish and English.

Viva Frida

Age Level: 6-9

In this visually stunning tribute to Frida Kahlo, artist Yuyi Morales offers a representation of Kahlo's creative process with stop-motion puppet and paintings, photographed by Tim O'Meara. The result is a work of art in and of itself lovingly created to honor Kahlo, and Morales shares her own process of creating the book in this video.  Since the text is limited, more biographical information can be found in the books featured on our Diego & Frida children's booklist.