National Caribbean American Heritage Month

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.” There are many ways to participate -- see the calendar of (virtual) events.

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 emerita of online Caribbean children’s literature magazine Anansesem. Here's Anansesem's 2020 list of "#ownvoices books by Caribbean-based and Caribbean self-identified authors," including Elizabeth Acevedo's 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction honoree Clap When You Land (read our recent five questions with the author here). Last year, Anansesem and guest editor Sujei Lugo Vázquez, local librarian extraordinaire and 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award judge and Horn Book reviewer, collaborated on the May 2019 Special Issue: Puerto Rico.

Last year's Newbery Medal went to Meg Medina; read her acceptance speech for Merci Suárez Changes Gears and her Horn Book article “On Writing the American Familia.”

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 pivotal article "A Fine Bookshelf"), whose YA novel American Street won the 2018 Américas Award, has a recent middle-grade novel — the deliciously titled My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich — and a compiled anthology Black Enough.

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, from 2019:


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)


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