National Caribbean American Heritage Month 2019



June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month, which celebrates “the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States.” This past Monday, the City of Cambridge held a reception at City Hall; see the graphic above for additional events and celebrations around Massachusetts.

Don’t miss the November/December 2017 Horn Book Magazine article “Beyond the “Four Fs”: Caribbean Own Voices” by Summer Edward, founder and editor in chief of Caribbean children’s literature magazine Anansesem. We were thrilled to hear about the collaboration between Anansesem and guest editor Sujei Lugo Vázquez, local librarian extraordinaire and Horn Book reviewer, on the May 2019 Special Issue: Puerto Rico.

Here's Anansesem's 2019 list of "#ownvoices books by Caribbean-based and Caribbean self-identified authors" — including Horn Book–reviewed Soaring Earth by Margarita Engle; With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo; Planting Stories by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illus. by Paola Escobar; and Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera.

We were so happy that Friend of The Horn Book Francie Latour (co-founder of Wee the People) and illustrator Ken Daley won a 2019 Américas Award Honorable Mention for their picture book Auntie Luce’s Talking Paintings. Ibi Zoboi (read her article "A Fine Bookshelf"), whose YA novel American Street won the 2018 Américas Award, has a new middle-grade novel — the deliciously titled My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich — which will be reviewed in the upcoming July/August Horn Book Magazine. Meg Medina's 2019 Newbery Medal speech for Merci Suárez Changes Gears also appears in that issue; in the meantime, read her Horn Book article “On Writing the American Familia.”

Follow these links for more recommended titles, in collaboration with Summer Edward; and we thank Summer for her additional book suggestions (biographies and autobiographies of influential Caribbean figures) below:

Picture Books


Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illus. by Raúl Colón (Cavendish, 2011)

Olympic Hero: Lennox Kilgour’s Story by Joanne Kilgour Dowdy, illus. by Dillon Sedar (Caribbean Studies Press, 2014)

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle, illus. by Rafael López (Houghton, 2015)

Marcus Garvey by Suzanne Francis-Brown, illus. by Jean-Jacques Vayssières (Ian Randall, 2007)

The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos by Lucía González, illus. by Lulu Delacre (Children’s, 2008)

José Martí [Cuando los grandes eran pequeños] by Georgina Lazaro, illus. by María Sánchez (Lectorum, 2007)

Julia de Burgos [Cuando los grandes eran pequeños] by Georgina Lazaro, illus. by Poli Marichal (Lectorum, 2006)

The Boy from Nine Miles: The Early Life of Bob Marley by Cedella Marley and Gerald Hausman, illus. by Mariah Fox (Hampton, 2002)

A Man Called Garvey: The Life and Times of the Great Leader Marcus Garvey [Wisdom for Children] by Paloma Mohamed, illus. by Barrington Braithwaite (Majority Press, 2003)

Martí’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy, translated by Adriana Domínguez, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal (Children’s/Lee & Low, 2017)

Clemente! by Willie Perdomo, illus. by Bryan Collier (Holt, 2010)

Conoce a José Martí / Get to Know José Martí [Personajes del Mundo Hispanico] by Antonio Orlando Rodríguez, illus. by Pablo de Bella (Santillana, 2015)

El rey de las octavas / The King of Octaves by Emma Romeu, illus. by Enrique S. Moreiro (Lectorum, 2007)

Turning Pages: My Life Story by Sonia Sotomayor, illus. by Lulu Delacre (Philomel, 2018)

Early Readers


Hoorah for Mary Seacole [Hopscotch Histories] by Trish Cooke, illus. by Anni Axworthy (Franklin Watts, 2008)

Middle Grade to Young Adult


Anacaona: Golden Flower [Royal Diaries] by Edwidge Danticat (Scholastic, 2005)

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle, illus. by Edel Rodriguez (Atheneum, 2015)

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle (Harcourt, 2013)

Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words by Margarita Engle (Atheneum, 2016)

The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano by Margarita Engle (Holt, 2006)

All for the Better: A Story of el Barrio [Stories of America] by Nicholasa Mohr, illus. by Rudy Gutierrez (Raintree, 1993)
Horn Book
Horn Book

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