Skip to content

Happy Latine/Hispanic Heritage Month!

According to the National Hispanic Heritage Month website, “Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America…

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.”

In celebration of this heritage month, the Youth Services Outreach Assistant, Jesús Santiago Narváez, wanted to highlight these three Latine women in literature:

Pura Belpre – She was instrumental in spreading the stories of Puerto Rico to a new audience. Her generation would be the generation of Puerto Ricans who would sprout the Nuyorican generation. After the US made Puerto Ricans American citizens, there was a wave of migration from the island to the mainland. Pura, seeing the growth of the Puerto Rican population in NYC, started telling the tales of Puerto Rico in both Spanish and English. Check out Planting Stories (JB Belpre). #goals

Yuyi Morales – author and illustrator from Mexico. Emigrated from Mexico barely knowing any English. Love her art style, her books are filled with Latine traditions of family and warm humor. She tells her story in Dreamers (Soñadores). Her books contain references to Mexican art, history, and culture.

Areli Morales – author, and DACA recipient. Her first book is a picture book, Areli Is a Dreamer, and is a semi-biographical account of her life. Moving from Mexico to the United States and being raised in NYC.

Please check out their books and the Latine Paint Night In-Person Program, as well as some other books the Youth Services department would like to spotlight in their collection:

Picture Books

Across the Bay by Carlos Aponte

Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his abuela, and Coco the cat. Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father.

Areli is a dreamer : a true story by Areli Morales

In the first picture book written by a DACA dreamer Areli Morales tells her own powerful and vibrant immigration story of moving from a quiet town in Mexico to the bustling and noisy metropolis of New York City.

Coquí in the city by Nomar Perez

When Miguel and his parents move from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland, Miguel misses their home, his grandparents, and his pet frog, Coquí, but he soon realizes that New York City has more in common with back home than he originally thought.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Caldecott Honor-book artist and five-time Pura Belpre Award winner YUYI MORALES tells her own immigration story in this picture-book tribute to the transformative power of hope . . . and reading.

My Papi Has A Motorcycle (English version) | Mi papi tiene una moto (Spanish version) by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña

When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her. But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there. With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl’s love letter to her hardworking dad and to memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change.

Un homenaje al amor entre un padre y su hija, y a un dinámico barrio de inmigrantes, del galardonado dúo de Isabel Quintero y Zeke Peña.

Cuando Daisy Ramona recorre su barrio en motocicleta con su papi, ve a la gente y los lugares que siempre ha conocido. También ve a una comunidad que está cambiando rápidamente a su alrededor.

Pero mientras el sol azul púrpura y dorado se va poniendo a sus espaldas, Daisy Ramona comprende que el amor que siente por su ciudad nunca cambiará.

Con brillantes ilustraciones y un texto lleno de sentimiento, Mi papi tiene una motocicleta es un mensaje lleno de amor de una niña a su padre, esforzado trabajador, y a los recuerdos que todos guardamos de nuestro hogar a pesar de los cambios o la distancia.

The cot in the living room by Hilda Eunice Burgos and Gaby D’Alessandro

A young Dominican American girl in New York City moves from jealousy to empathy as her parents babysit children whose families work overnight shifts in this honest and warm picture book debut.

Night after night, a young girl watches her mami set up a cot in the living room for guests in their Washington Heights apartment, like Raquel (who’s boring) and Edgardo (who gets crumbs everywhere). She resents that they get the entire living room with a view of the George Washington Bridge, while all she gets is a tiny bedroom with a view of her sister (who snores). Until one night when no one comes, and it’s finally her chance! But as it turns out, sleeping on the cot in the living room isn’t all she thought it would be.

Middle Grade

Lupe Wong Won’t Dance by Donna Barba Higuera

Lupe Wong is going to be the first female pitcher in the Major Leagues. She’s also championed causes her whole young life. Some worthy … like expanding the options for race on school tests beyond just a few bubbles. And some not so much … like complaining to the BBC about the length between Doctor Who seasons. Lupe needs an A in all her classes in order to meet her favorite pitcher, Fu Li Hernandez, who’s Chinacan/Mexinese just like her. So when the horror that is square dancing rears its head in gym? Obviously she’s not gonna let that slide.

Maximilian & the mystery of the Guardian Angel : a bilingual lucha libre thriller by Xavier Garza

Margarito acts like any other eleven-year-old aficionado of lucha libre. He worships all the players. But in the summer just before sixth grade, he tumbles over the railing at a match in San Antonio and makes a connection to the world of Mexican wrestling that will ultimately connect him—maybe by blood!—to the greatest hero of all time: the Guardian Angel.

A 2012 Pura Belpré Author Honor Award winner!

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. Pao has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila river at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths. Pao organises a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it’s the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mum was right…

The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas

A Cuban-American boy must use his ability to communicate with animals to save the inhabitants of his town when they are threatened by a witch that transforms into animals.


Latinitas : celebrating 40 big dreamers by Juliet Menéndez

Discover how 40 influential Latinas became the women we celebrate today! In this collection of short biographies from all over Latin America and across the United States, Juliet Menéndez explores the first small steps that set the Latinitas off on their journeys. With gorgeous, hand-painted illustrations, Menéndez shines a spotlight on the power of childhood dreams.

From Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to singer Selena Quintanilla to NASA’s first virtual reality engineer, Evelyn Miralles, this is a book for aspiring artists, scientists, activists, and more. These women followed their dreams–and just might encourage you to follow yours!

Planting stories : the life of librarian and storyteller Pura Belpre (English version) | Sembrando historias : Pura Belpré : bibliotecaria y narradora de cuentos (Spanish version) by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar

An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.

When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.

Sigue la vida y el legado de Pura Belpré, la primera bibliotecaria puertorriqueña de la ciudad de Nueva York.

Cuando llegó a Estados Unidos en el año 1921, Pura trajo consigo los cuentos folklóricos de su tierra natal, Puerto Rico. Encontró su nuevo hogar en la Biblioteca Pública de Nueva York como ayudante bilingüe. Logró que sus relatos se convirtieran en libros y esparció las semillas de sus historias por todo el país. Hoy día, esas semillasse han transformado en exuberantes paisajes gracias a que las nuevas generaciones de niños y cuentacuentos han seguido contando sus historias y celebrando el legado de Pura.

Este magnífico retrato de la bibliotecaria, autora y marionetista nos recuerda el poder de la narración de cuentos, y a la mujer extraordinaria que abrió las puertas y defendió la idea de la literatura bilingüe.

Graphic Novels

Hicotea : a Nightlights story by Lorena Alvarez

Raina Telgemeier meets Miyazaki with a Latin American twist in this mesmerizing follow-up to the best-selling children’s graphic novel Nightlights . Lorena Alvarez’s spunky heroine Sandy returns to explore a magical new dimension.

On a school field trip to the river, Sandy wanders away from her classmates and discovers an empty turtle shell. Peeking through the dark hole, she suddenly finds herself within a magical realm. Filled with sculptures, paintings and books, the turtle’s shell is a museum of the natural world. But one painting is incomplete, and the turtle needs Sandy’s help to finish it.

Image credit to Cowhouse Press

Lemonade Summer by Gabi Mendez

Coming-of-age short comics about LGBTQ and non-binary youth going on grand adventures.

A plucky band of pirates gets entangles in royal affairs when a runaway royalty joins their crew in STRAY. The new girl in town struggling to make new friends in RO & ELLA, while old friends meet under a falling star in WITCHING HOUR. Blink and you might miss the SK8ER GRRLS stealing your heart at the derby!

Join this charming cast of characters as they go TREASURE HUNTING, take road trips in AVENTURERA, and thrive in the endless summer of DAWNING youth.

Each story is a monochromatic color scheme mirroring the sun from noon to dusk, reflecting the characters’ growth in the book. The stories feature young, queer characters who grapple with the conflicts of their own worlds.

The dragon slayer : folktales from Latin America (English version) | La matadragones : cuentos de Latinoamérica (Spanish version) by Jaime Hernandez

How would a kitchen maid fare against a seven-headed dragon? What happens when a woman marries a mouse? And what can a young man learn from a thousand leaf cutter ants? Famed Love and Rockets creator Jaime Hernandez asks these questions and more as he transforms beloved myths into bold, stunning, and utterly contemporary comics. Guided by the classic works of F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada, Hernandez’s first book for young readers brings the sights and stories of Latin America toa new generation of graphic-novel fans around the world.

¿Cómo se enfrentaría una sirvienta a un dragón de siete cabezas? ¿Qué pasa cuando una mujer se casa con un ratón? ¿Y qué puede aprender un joven de un millar de hormigas cortadoras de hojas? jaime hernandez, el afamado creador de Amor y Cohetes, se hace estas y otras muchas preguntas al convertir famosos mitos en cómics frescos, sorprendentes y plenamente contemporáneos. Guiado por las obras clásicas de F. Isabel Campoy y Alma Flor Ada, el primer libro para jóvenes lectoresde Hernandez acerca las historias y estampas de Latinoamérica a una nueva generación de aficionados a la novela gráfica de todo el mundo.

Latine Paint Night (Middle Grade) In-Person Program

We celebrate Latine and Hispanic Heritage Month with a special guest artist!  Paint along with us. Materials will be provided. Spaces are very limited for this in-person event in keeping with our safety guidelines. Register to guarantee a space. We will have a waiting list. We will be recording the program and will have a limited amount of canvas kits available for those who would prefer to participate at home. Please notify us at if you are interested in remote accommodation. Designed for ages 10-13.

Register here.

COVID Safety Notes:

In-person participants are expected to fully mask and distance inside the program for safety as some of this age group are currently ineligible for vaccination.  To allow as much space for our kids as possible, we ask that adults only accompany children in the room if absolutely necessary and mask inside the program room out of an abundance of caution since we will be meeting in an enclosed space.  A recording (or remote option) will be available for this program for those interested.

Skip to content