New Latinx Books for Hispanic Heritage Month


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions are my own.

September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. September 15th is also Mexico's Independence Day. This year I am seeing the word Latinx being used a lot and wanted to see how it was different from Hispanic and Latino/a. Latinx is a nongender word to use instead of Latino or Latina. It is a word that is mostly used by young women according to this article I found. The article says one in four Latinos have heard the word but only 3% use it. Have you seen it around this year?

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month I am sharing three new books with you. The books are for ages ranging from 5 to 12 and representing different Latinx ethnicities. We will start with the picture book. It is Already a Butterfly by Julia Alvarez and illustrated by Raúl Colón. 

This beautiful picture book is about a busy butterfly who learns to rest and meditate. The butterfly is young and always busy gathering and spreading nectar. She wants to have fun fluttering around but feels the pressure to get work done. Then a small bud tells her to stop and breathe. 

The book shares some important messages. We all need a balance between work and rest/play. Plus it teaches a bit about meditating. Young kids need to be taught how to control their feelings but also need to find a way to rest and relax in order to control. Our world moves too fast and everyone needs to take a break and slow down. Such a great lesson!!

At the end of the book Julia shares that she was inspired by her volunteer work in the Dominican Republic with the Mariposa DR Foundation. She worked with impoverished girls to educate them and empower them. Since meditation has always helped her focus in her own life she suggested it to the founder of Mariposa. Julia shares that her own grandkids in the United States also have fears and stress and wrote this book for all the children in the world to learn to find their inner peace and safe place. I hope you will check it out, but first take a deep breath in. Hold it. Let it out slowly. Ok, onto our next book.

Our next book is a novel for emerging readers. It is suggested for ages 6 to 9. The book is Stella Diaz Never Gives Up by Angela Dominguez. There is another Stella Diaz book, but you do not need to have read it to enjoy this one. I am in the middle of it so far and it is excellent. The story is about a shy Mexican-American who wants to save the ocean and be a marine biologist. She begins to do some activism work. The pages have illustrations throughout them. 

There are so many parts to Stella's story. She is a shy Mexican-American who doesn't speak Spanish very well or at least confidently. She has a love for sea creatures and the ocean even though she has never seen it. She was born in Mexico but doesn't remember anything about it. She struggles to appear confident and not shy when meeting new people. This summer two exciting things happen to her. Her mother takes her and her brother to Mexico to visit their aunt. While there they go to the beach! After their trip she begins summer camp that is at the aquarium. Here she learns even more about conservation and saving the ocean and sea life. 

I love this book because it is a fun story about a regular girl. She shares her fears as well as her successes. She struggles with being from Mexico when America is the only home she remembers. Plus it has the entire activism side of saving the ocean (and STEM) built into the story. It is fun and the illustrations are great. 

Our final book is for middle grades or middle school. It is The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas. Nestor is a Cuban American with a father in the Army. Nestor also has a special power: he can talk to animals and hear what they say. He and his mother have moved many times in his life as the Army keeps relocating them. This time they are living with his paternal grandmother. And animals keep disappearing in the town and the kids are told not to go into the woods. Nestor is at yet another new school. This time he makes some friends and even joins the trivia team. The friends each have pets that have disappeared and many people in town are talking about Nestor's grandmother. She is in the woods a lot. Then there is the class bully. They keep seeing him in the woods and laying traps. The kids need to solve the mystery. All the while Nestor wonders how long they will get to stay at this home. 

This book has a bit of fantasy, the life of a military kid as well as the middle school worries. Then there is the culture lessons. The witch who is terrorizing the town is a tule vieja. The legend of the tule vieja originates in Panama and Costa Rica. There is a bit about the legend at the end of the book. I love that it is the kids with the help of the animals who are able to save the town. I also liked reading the struggles of being a military kid and what to tell and what not to tell his deployed father. Plus of course not having his father with him. The cultures are mixed into the story in small ways but they are there. It is a very interesting read and fun story. There is a lot there about friendship, adjusting and finding one's way in the world. 

So as we celebrate the Hispanic members of our society, please check out these books and learn a bit more about their cultures.