Caribbean book recommendations

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)

Summer Edward

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

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.