Tales of Courage: Hispanic Heritage

Courage takes many forms. It might be found in a librarian who travels through dangerous territory to bring books to children in the mountains, or in a child who refuses to abandon her dream, even when others have said it wasn't possible. These stories celebrate courageous children and adults who haven't let fear get in their way of doing the right thing.

...And Now Miguel

Illustrated by: Jean Charlot
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: This is the story of a twelve-year-old Miguel Chavez, who yearns in his heart to go with the men of his family on a long and hard sheep drive to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains — until his prayer is finally answered, with a disturbing and dangerous exchange.

90 Miles to Havana

Age Level: 9-12

"Drawing on his own experience as a child refugee from Cuba, Flores-Galbis offers a gripping historical novel about children who were evacuated from Cuba to the U.S. during Operation Pedro Pan in 1961. Julian, a young Cuban boy, experiences the violent revolution and watches mobs throw out his family's furniture and move into their home. For his safety, his parents send him to a refugee camp in Miami, but life there is no sweet haven…(T)his is a seldom-told refugee story that will move readers." — Booklist

A Bear for Miguel

Illustrated by: Joan Sandin
Age Level: 6-9

"Growing up in El Salvador, Maria understands that her father can work for neither the government nor the guerrillas without reprisals from the other side. Now they must barter their handiwork and their furniture for food. Going to market with her father, she takes along her stuffed bear Paco. When Papa leaves Maria in charge, she finds the courage to make good trades, even letting her beloved Paco go in exchange for the food her family needs." — Booklist

Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Luis loves to read, but soon his house in Colombia is so full of books there's barely room for the family. What to do? Then he comes up with the perfect solution — a traveling library! He buys two donkeys — Alfa and Beto — and travels with them throughout the land, bringing books and reading to the children in faraway villages.

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music

Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 6-9

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule — until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.

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.

Erandi's Braids

Illustrated by: Tomie dePaola
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: The yellow dress Erandi wants for her birthday will look beautiful with her long, thick braids. But Mama's fishing net is full of holes, and there isn't enough money to buy both a new net and a birthday dress. The only solution lies with the hair buyers from the city. But Mama's hair isn't nearly as beautiful as Erandi's. Will Erandi have to choose between her birthday present and her braids? This touching tale of love and sacrifice is sprinkled throughout with Spanish words and expressions.

Good Night Captain Mama

Illustrated by: Linda Lens
Age Level: 6-9

A little boy is walking to his bedroom when he notices his mother in an olive-green military flight suit. His curiosity about the colorful patches on her uniform evolves into a bedtime conversation between a military mother and her child about why she serves and what she does in the unusual KC-135R aerial refueling airplane. He drifts off to sleep with thoughts of his mommy in the airplane and the special surprise she gives him. This unique book was written by a Latina military officer and former aviator. Bilingual text.

I Lived on Butterfly Hill

Illustrated by: Lee White
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Celeste Marconi is a dreamer. She lives peacefully among friends and neighbors and family in the idyllic town of Valparaiso, Chile — until the time comes when even Celeste, with her head in the clouds, can't deny the political unrest that is sweeping through the country and is eventually sent by her parents to Maine. Accented with interior artwork, steeped in the history of Pinochet's catastrophic takeover of Chile, and based on many true events, this multicultural ode to the power of revolution, words, and love is both indelibly brave and heartwrenchingly graceful.

In the Shade of the Nispero Tree

Age Level: 9-12

"Set in Puerto Rico in 1961, this story features Teresa Giraux and her best friend, Ana, who are looking forward to their fourth-grade teacher's wedding and the Ponce junior queen competition — until Teresa's pride and temper fracture their friendship. A socially ambitious seamstress, Teresa's mother has never invited Ana on family outings because Ana is not only poorer, she's also darker. Aided by one of her wealthy clients, Teresa's mother enrolls Teresa in an exclusive academy. Then it is she and Teresa who feel the sting of discrimination." — Booklist

My Shoes and I

Age Level: 9-12

Mario is leaving El Salvador with a new pair of shoes — and a good thing, too, because he has a long and difficult journey ahead of him to reach a new country. His shoes carry him through rain and across mountains, all the way to the river where his mother is waiting on the other side. Young readers may need some information explaining the context of the story, which is based on the author's journey from El Salvador in 1985. Painted illustrations on grainy wood backgrounds match the gritty but hopeful tone of the story.

Parrots Over Puerto Rico

Age Level: 6-9

Puerto Rican parrots, once abundant, came perilously close to extinction in the 1960s due to centuries of foreign exploration and occupation, development, and habitat destruction. In this compelling book, Roth and Trumbore use collage illustrations and a unique format to recount the efforts of the scientists of the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program to save the parrots and ensure their future.

Secret of the Andes

Age Level: 9-12

"Cusi, a modern-day Native American boy, and his guardian, Chuto, tend a herd of prized llamas in Hidden Valley, an isolated valley high in the Andes Mountains. Cusi is unaware that he is a direct descendant of the ruler of the ancient Incas. During the course of the story he is instructed by his guardian in the religion and history of his ancient people, and goes in search of his true identity." — BookRags Newbery Winner.

Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx

Illustrated by: Christina Rodriguez
Age Level: 6-9

This bilingual picture book tells the story of Sotomayor's childhood in the Bronx, her time at Princeton, and her confirmation on the Supreme Court, with a special focus on her mother's unwavering support throughout her life. Lovely illustrations capture the warmth and joy of Sotomayor's family and story. Note: The biography includes a discussion of the racial undertones of her nomination and confirmation hearing.

Sylvia & Aki

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Sylvia Mendez never expected to be at the center of a landmark legal battle; all she wanted was to enroll in school. Aki Munemitsu never expected to be relocated to a Japanese internment camp in the Arizona desert; all she wanted was to stay on her family farm and finish the school year. The two girls certainly never expected to know each other, until their lives intersected in Southern California during a time when their country changed forever. Based on a true story.

The Color of My Words

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa is a blossoming writer growing up in the Dominican Republic, a country where words are feared. Yet there is so much inspiration all around her — watching her brother search for a future, learning to dance and to love, and finding out what it means to be part of a community — that Ana Rosa must write it all down. As she struggles to find her own voice and a way to make it heard, Ana Rosa realizes the power of her words to transform the world around her — and to transcend the most unthinkable of tragedies.

The Composition

Illustrated by: Alfonso Ruano
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Pedro and Daniel are two typical nine-year-old boys. Up until Daniel's father gets arrested, their biggest worry had been how to improve their soccer skills. Now, they are thrust into a situation where they must grapple with the incomprehensible: dictatorship and its inherent abuses. Winner of the Americas Award for Children's Literature and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award.

The Corn Grows Ripe

Illustrated by: Jean Charlot
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: When his father is badly injured in an accident, a young Mayan boy called Tigre wonders who will plant and harvest the corn that they need to survive — and to please the Mayan gods. Twelve-year-old Tigre has never done a man's work before. Now he will have to take his father's place. A Newbery Honor Book.

The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough

Illustrated by: Sylvie Daigneault
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Eleven-year-old María Luz and her family live on a small farm in Honduras. When María's father must leave home to find work, she is left in charge of their garden. When a new teacher introduces her to sustainable farming practices, the farms — and the hopes — of María and her neighbors begin to grow. The story is based on real farming movements taking place in Honduras and around the world.

The Maldonado Miracle

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: After Jose's mother died, his father left to work in the United States, leaving Jose on his own in Mexico. Jose's attempt to cross the border is harrowing, and his stay at a migrant worker camp turns into a nightmare, forcing him to flee for his life. Hiding out in a church seems a wise thing to do — until the blood dripping from his wounded shoulder lands on a statue of Christ. Now everyone thinks the statue itself is bleeding. Jose's accidental "miracle" kick-starts a media frenzy — and threatens the future of an entire town.

The Road to Santiago

Illustrated by: Pablo Torecilla
Age Level: 9-12

It's Christmas Eve as Alfredito and his parents head for the train station to visit their relatives in Santiago. But this year, the trains are not running because the government is fighting a war against the rebels, and Alfredito worries that they'll miss the family's traditional Christmas celebration. When Alfredito's father enlists the help of a farmer, the family embarks on a great adventure that the young boy will never forget. Brighly-colored illustrations depict scenes and styles from 1950s-era Cuba.

The Upside Down Boy

Illustrated by: Elizabeth Gomez
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: The Upside Down Boy is the sequel to Calling the Doves and award-winning poet Juan Felipe Herrera's engaging memoir of the year his migrant family settled down so that he could go to school for the first time. Juanito is bewildered by the new school, and he misses the warmth of country life. Everything he does feels upside down…But a sensitive teacher and loving family help him to find his voice and make a place for himself in this new world through poetry, art, and music.