Hispanic/Latine/x Connections

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Latine/x Heritage Month (September 15–October 15), we offer a "Book Bundle" of three recent picture books to help readers acknowledge and honor the voices, history, culture, and boundless contributions of Hispanic and Latine/x communities all year round. Find related books, articles, interviews, and more from the Horn Book here

Belt, Gabriela Orozco Only for a Little While 

32 pp. | HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray | June, 2023 | Trade ISBN 978-0-06-320663-2 $19.99 

Illustrated by Richy Sánchez Ayala. Maribel, a young girl with Costa Rican and Mexican heritage, narrates the story of her family’s experience with housing insecurity due to parental job loss. Although grateful to be sojourning at an aunt’s house where there are scads of sportive cousins and exuberant family dinners, crowded quarters have their inconveniences, and Maribel and her older sister inevitably pine for their old life. Visions of a new home, and their papi’s reminders that their displacement is temporary, help them look to the future with optimism. The decision to leave the frequent Spanish words unglossed is a smart choice for a story that avoids "othering" people experiencing homelessness. Upbeat digital illustrations temper the poignancy. A bittersweet tale about the triumph of family and faith in the face of uncertainty. 

Fernández Nitsche, Melisa Cantora: Mercedes Sosa, the Voice of Latin America 

48 pp. | Knopf | September, 2023 | Trade ISBN 978-0-593-64597-0 $18.99 

Fernández Nitsche follows the life of iconic Argentinian folk singer and social activist Mercedes Sosa (1935–2009), from her humble working-class upbringing to her enduring posthumous legacy as a “voice of the voiceless.” Readers learn about Sosa’s off-the-cuff first public performance at the age of fifteen; her evolution from timorous greenhorn to world-renowned, powerhouse songstress; and her musical innovation. On spreads portraying age-appropriate scenes of protest and dictatorship, Sosa’s human rights advocacy is recognized, courageous work that led to her imprisonment, exile, and eventual status as a national and Latin American hero. Readers may be left wanting to know what enabled Sosa’s triumphant repatriation. Back matter includes a biographical timeline, a glossary of Spanish words used in the text, and a playlist of the author’s favorite Sosa songs. A fitting tribute to a cultural lodestar. 

Iverson, Christine Santiago Saw Things Differently: Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Artist, Doctor, Father of Neuroscience 

40 pp. | MIT Kids/Candlewick | November, 2023 | Trade ISBN 978-1-5362-2453-5 $18.99 

Illustrated by Luciano Lozano. This picture-book biography of Spain’s first scientific Nobel Prize winner, Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852–1934), moves from his imagination-filled childhood in the mountain village of Petilla to his groundbreaking discovery of the structure of the nervous system at the age of thirty-six. Readers will be delighted by the snapshots of a self-willed, precocious, inventive young boy who bucked his teachers’ attempts to clip his artist’s wings, and initially resisted following in his doctor-father’s footsteps, only to fall in love with the field of neuroanatomy on his own terms. Lozano’s stylized digital illustrations are interspersed with fascinating facsimiles of Ramón y Cajal’s photography, paintings, and medical drawings. Back matter delves into the anatomy of a neuron and expounds on Ramón y Cajal’s life and works. A compelling testament to the value of unconventional thinking. 


Summer Edward

Horn Book Consulting Editor Summer Edward is a Trinidadian American author, children’s book editor, educator, K-12 literacy specialist, Caribbean children’s and YA literature advocate, and commentator on books for young readers. She holds an M.S.Ed. degree in Reading, Writing, Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania and founded Anansesem, an online magazine that for 10 years covered Caribbean children’s and YA literature. She has written for Kirkus ReviewsSchool Library JournalThe Horn BookWOW Stories: Connections from the ClassroomLiteracy Dailysx salon, KidLit TV, the Commonwealth Education Trust, Social Justice Books, and more. Learn more about her work at www.summeredward.com.

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