Short Stories: Hispanic Heritage

These short stories pack a punch! From traditional tales written for an older audience to the comings and goings of kids growing up on the U.S.-Mexico border, these stories create a world unto themselves in an accessible — and short! — format. Recommended for grades 7-12.

An Island Like You

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Judith Ortiz Cofer's award-winning collection of short stories focuses on life in the barrio. Rita is exiled to Puerto Rico for a summer with her grandparents after her parents catch her with a boy. Luis sits atop a six-foot mountain of hubcaps in his father's junkyard, working off a sentence for breaking and entering. Sandra tries to reconcile her looks to the conventional Latino notion of beauty. And Arturo, different from his macho classmates, fantasizes about escaping his community.

Crazy Loco

Age Level: 12-14

Product Description: Meet Loco, a dog with a passion for firecrackers. And Pedro, an altar boy forced to learn a hard lesson from two of the toughest, oldest men ever to serve the Lord. Jordan and Todd are two boys from California who don't know what they're in for when they push their Texas cousins a little too far. Loosely based on the author's own childhood in south Texas, this story collection is a moving whirlwind of humor and insight-brash, tender, and full of the unexpected.

El Bronx Remembered

Age Level: 14-16

Product Description: In the South Bronx — or El Bronx, as it's known to the people who live there — anything can happen. A migrant "fresh off the boat" from Puerto Rico can be somebody on the mainland, pursue the American Dream…and maybe even make it come true. Here are stories that capture the flavor and beat of El Bronx in its heyday, from 1946-1956.

Finding Our Way

Age Level: 12-14

"Saldaña's collection of short stories and one brief novella offers snapshots of teens' lives. The outsider, or an unusual character, appears in a number of ways — as the new kid, as a drama teacher trying to instill in his students his own love of the theater, and as a boy making his way into the adult world. With a deft touch, the author creates a clear, concise picture of time and place (along the Texas border or Georgia) with characters who sound and think like today's teens." — School Library Journal

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants

Age Level: 12-14

Product Description: Fleeing from political violence in Venezuela, Amina and her family have settled in the United States. Sarah, adopted, is desperate to know her Korean birth parents. Adrian's friends have some spooky — and hilarious — misconceptions about his Romanian origins. Whether their transition is from Mexico to the United States or from Palestine to New Mexico, the characters in this anthology have all ventured far and have faced countless challenges.

Magic Moments

By: Olga Loya
Age Level: 9-12

"A bilingual collection of 15 traditional tales from Latin America, arranged into four sections: Scary Stories, Trickster Tales, Strong Women, and Myths. Extensive notes about sources and variants make this a particularly useful resource in classrooms." — School Library Journal

My Land Sings: Stories from the Río Grande

Illustrated by: Amy Cordova
Age Level: 9-12

"This collection of stories has elements of both Mexican and Native American folklore. Anaya has included five of his own stories and retold and enhanced five traditional tales. Filled with ghosts, devils, and tricksters, these cuentos are suffused with the beliefs of the peoples in the Río Grande region…Anaya champions the reading of a good book or listening to a folktale as an opportunity to insert one's own experiences into the story and, hence, to nurture the imagination. " — School Library Journal

Rio Grande Stories

Age Level: 12-14

"When the principal at a school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, announces that she wants to buy a sculpture for the front lawn 'that will symbolize how the Rio Grande — both the school and the river it's named for — brings us together,' she challenges the students to discover creative ways to contribute. The seventh-grade Heritage Project participants decide that each of them will write a chapter for a book, which they will then sell to relatives and to the community.

The Day It Snowed Tortillas

By: Joe Hayes
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Joe Hayes is one of America's premier storytellers. He grew up in a small town in southern Arizona where he learned Spanish from his classmates. As he got older, Joe began gathering old stories from the Southwest, which he shares in this bilingual collection.

The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans

Age Level: 16-18

"Readers will be rewarded by the wisdom, wit, and hope in these 16 short stories. The selections range from the mystical appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 'The Holy Tortilla' to the haunting yet empowering story of a victim in 'The Stuff to Scream With.' …What all of these stories have in common is the optimism that comes from taking emotional risks and forming relationships with family, friends, and community.

The Jumping Tree

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: These lively stories follow Rey Castaneda from sixth through eighth grade in Nuevo Penitas, Texas. As Rey begins to cross the border from childhood into manhood, he turns from jokes and games to sense the meaning of work, love, poverty, and grief, and what it means to be a proud Chicano — moments that sometimes propel him to show feelings un hombre should never express. It's a new territory where Rey longs to follow the example his hardworking, loving father has set for him.