Latinx Picture Books! || Recent Reads

Latinx Picture Books! || Recent Reads

Hey y’all! My name is Priscilla and
welcome back to my channel. Today I am going to be talking
about the Latinx picture books that I recently read. 🎵 Intro Instrumental 🎵 I did a wrap-up of these-
of the books that I read last year and I feel like a lot of people
really enjoyed it/ wanted to see more. So I’m giving the people what
they want in this video. I’m really excited to share
them with you all because I feel like a lot of the diversity that is
happening in publishing and literature is happening actually
in kid’s lit right now. And I want to see more of it
on booktube so… I’m not gonna be discussing
these books in any particular order. Except that I read them in this order
so that’s kind of where and how my mind processes these things. So let’s just go
ahead and get started. The first picture book I want to
tell you about is called The Best Mariachi in the World. This picture book has both
English and Spanish in it. It has a couple of Spanish words
interspersed in. It’s written by J.D. Smith and it is
illustrated by Dani Jones. So this one is not
own voices but it’s a really charming story about this
main character here named Gustavo who comes from
a family of mariachi musicians. He tries to play instruments.
He tries to play the trumpet and the violin.
He’s not very good at anything so he feels like he doesn’t fit in. Until one day he discovers
that his talent is actually in his voice and his singing voice,
specifically. One night he’s out in the
desert singing to himself and he finds his talent
is actually in his voice. And there’s a really pretty
depiction of the Mexican landscape- what looks like the Mexican
desert I don’t think it’s explicitly stated- but I think that
that’s kind of what the art style was going for.
And I really love this. Uh I think that the art style in this,
in particular, does a very good job of demonstrating Gustavo’s emotions. It’s a very warm color
|palette that goes very well with the specific landscapes included,
with uh Gustavo’s frustrations, with not being a part of his
family but wanting to be. With his joy at finding his true
talent and people appreciating that talent.
And although there is some Spanish and interspersed in this,
I think that it’s in a way that is very easy to follow for novice
Spanish readers. So this was a really great
first book to jump into. The next picture book that
I want to tell you about is called
Planting Stories The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré. This is written to my Anika Denise
and it’s illustrated by Paola Escobar.
And Denise is Puerto Rican from New York so this is own
voices for that representation. And Escolar is a
Colombian artist out of Bogotá. And this is a picture book all
about Pura Belpré who immigrated to the United States,
to New York City, from Puerto Rico in the early 1920s.
Upon arriving, she became the first Puerto Rican Latinx
librarian in the New York Public Library. And she was a very influential
bilingual um librarian that was also a puppeteer and a storyteller. And she really curated the
Latinx, Spanish speaking um sec-section of that public library
which was really important to the then spanish-speaking community. So I knew of Pura Belpré
because of the award that was created in homage to her and her influence. That’s an award that is given annually to Latinx book writers in kids lit
and youth lit for having outstanding Latinx representation.
So last year, for example, the award went to The Poet X by
Elizabeth Acevedo for the literature
aspect of the award and for illustrations it went to
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales. Which are both books that I loved. So I really wanted to find out
more about the inspiration for this great award.
So this book is beautifully illustrated. I loved all the small details and
all the little ways that I got to learn more about Belpré. There’s also an author note at the
end that gives more details about the biography and the
research and resources that were used and other
additional notes and resources that you can look into more
if you want to find out more. And I’m also going to be linking
a video down below if you want to hear the book read by the author
and hear a little bit about some Q&A questions
that she gets from kids about this book. So I highly
recommend this book. I really loved it and enjoyed it. And then it wouldn’t
be a picture-book wrap-up if I didn’t mention Duncan Tonatiuh who I really enjoy and I read Danza! And this is the story of
Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México. And this is an author/illustrator
that I really enjoy because of his pre-colombian
very unique art style. Duncan Tonatiuh is an award-winning
Mexican artist and author. This book, in particular,
tells the story of Amalia Hernández who was a young girl in Mexico
that wanted to be a teacher but, through training in dance and
from traveling throughout Mexico and studying the other
regional dance styles, created the first folklórico
dance company in Mexico. So this is a biography picture book. Another nonfiction biography
picture book. You’re gonna be seeing a lot of
those cuz I love them. They’re really great accessible
histories into Latinx culture that’s I I think are really
important for kids and for adults like myself that don’t
have that exposure to that history. I was particularly excited
to see some of the indigenous influences to her dance style. She mentions the Yaqui
which my grandmother is descended from.
So that’s nice to see. So, again, I really like this art style. It’s inspired by traditional indigenous
glyphic art’s traditions and I think that Duncan Tonatiuh
also won – has been won? Um… Oh yea, look!
It says it was a Pura Belpré award winner so again
he won that award. And I think that’s really
highly deserved. And this also has an author’s
note at the end if you want to know more
about Amalia Hernández’s life and have some additional resources. So another great book! So the next book I have
to talk about actually marks the beginning of my Latinxathon reading and it is Tito Puente Mambo King/
El Rey del Mambo. This is from Monica Brown who
is a Peruvian-American author and Rafael López who is
a Mexican illustrator. Thisis another biography about
Tito Puente who is well renowned as a king of music.
He was very influential on Latin jazz music, worked with a lot of very
influential artists like Celia Cruz and Santana,
won a number of Latin Grammy Awards, and I really liked this book. This book has also been
awarded a Belpré award so that’s nice to know. Puente grew up banging on pots
and pans and this [book] really just follows him from childhood
all the way to being a Latin Grammy award-winning artist. It’s a story that’s very vibrant
in both language and art style with the colors that are included. The art was created
with acrylic paint and I think that that really shines through with how this
story comes to life. I really think that it just really
brilliantly, vibrantly and displays his talent as an artist. So this is another
great book that you could pick up. The next book that I have to
tell you about is called Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love. This is probably my
favorite of the whole bunch. It’s just so beautifully illustrated
and it’s just such a very heartwarming story of
acceptance and a relationship between an Afro-Latinx boy
and his abuela. This is a story that is much
less about mermaids and much more about tolerance
and acceptance and love. The illustrations in this,
in particular, really are lush and jumped from the page.
They are drawn on brown paper which I read was a decision
that Love made after writing it on white paper.
She completely redrew the whole book on brown paper which
I think was an excellent choice. It really goes well with the
pastel colors and the water imagery and of course the mermaids.
And it’s the kind of book that doesn’t need a lot of text-
that really lets the images speak for themselves.
And I love that! Love is an artist from New York
City so this is not own voices but she was inspired to write
this story from an interview that I read about um when one of
her family members came out as trans and after watching
a lot of RuPaul’s Drag Race. So I really love this
and I recommend you pick it up! Next up I read All the way To
Havana by Margarita Engle and it is illustrated by Mike Curato. This is a picture book from a
Cuban-American author and it’s about this family
that is traveling from their rural city town to Havana, to the city
for a birthday party. And it’s about the car that
they drive in, which is at times, failing them but is also
their beloved car. So they have to innovate
to make it work with some of the parts that they have
and some of the mechanics and fixings that this little boy
has to do with his parents. Along the way traveling to Havana,
they see the vibrant uh culture there- the vibrant people,
all the cars on the highway. And I really enjoyed the
illustrations in this book which were done after Curato visited Cuba
and he used uh photos and pencils and it’s a mixture of pencil-
color pencils and textures and these vibrant photos. And I think to me this story is
most about the Cuban people’s resilience and ability to
innovate although they are in this situation that is a
bit unfair because of the US embargo that was
placed on Cuba for so long that wouldn’t allow the trade of goods. They had to make the cars
that they had their work and had to make them work
for them and still live their lives. And I think that this story really
captures that sort of sentiment. Next upI have Just Ask!
Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor and it’s
illustrated by Rafael López. This is a book from a Puerto Rican
uh Justice Court- Supreme Court justice.
The 1st Latinx Supreme Court justice who’s currently sitting on the bench. And from a Mexican artist –
again Rafael López. This is the second time
being featured in this video. This is a book that was
inspired by Sotomayor herself who was diagnosed as a
child with type 1 diabetes. It’s a very rare form of diabetes
and she is insulin dependent. She has to inject herself daily and
that has been something that she’s been
struggling with her whole life. I know that because I’m currently
reading her uh memoir called My Beloved World and she
talks a lot about it in that book. And I knew when I heard
about this book, which is a new release actually-
just came out this September, and I wanted to read that! And it’s a story that follows these
children that are building this plant community garden. And like the garden
with all its unique plants and vegetation, all the children
are also unique. The message here, I think, is
to just ask someone if they are doing something differently
or if they are different. Then listen to what they have
to say and accept them for being different.
So this book really uh highlights each of those children
that is telling their story or how they are doing something
differently than someone else. So there’s a child in here that’s deaf. There are two children in here
that are blind- one with a guide dog
and one with the walking stick. Um there’s a child that has Tourette’s and a child that has a wheelchair. And a child that has ADHD. So a number of different uh perspectives. I think it’s a really cute picture book
I really like the message and I recommend that you read it. Oh and also speaking of the art,
I really love Lopez’s art style just like the Tito Puente book. I think that this one is a little bit different. His art style is obviously evolving
and changing from book to book but I really enjoys art style
so I’m definitely looking out for more picture books with his art. And the last picture book that
I have to talk about today is called Grandma’s Chocolate/
El Chocolate de Abuelita and this is written by Mara Price and
it’s illustrated by Lisa Fields. So Mara Price is a Mexican
author so this is own voices and this is a bilingual picture book-
it has both the english and spanish paragraphs on each page. This is a story about this little
girl – her name is Sabrina. Her grandmother has visited her
from Mexico and every time she comes from Mexico she comes
with all these little trinkets and artifacts.
And one day she makes her hot chocolate and she’s really curious
about this hot chocolate and her ancestors.
And her grandmother starts to tell her the story about the origins
of the cacao beans and how the Aztecs and the Mayans
used to use it as a currency. And this little girl asks if she
can be a Mayan princess and her grandmother says yes as
long as you wear this traditional garment.
And she pulls it out of her suitcase and I love this
a whole hell of a lot. It speaks about the indigenous
origins to something like chocolate that’s we
all enjoy but maybe don’t know about- that children may
first be introduced to in a book like this. It’s also a picture
book that is utterly enchanting and that shows the relationship
between a granddaughter and her abuela.
That’s always gonna be a soft spot for me. That’s always gonna be
something that I enjoy. And I also think that it explores
the importance of oral tradition and on passing on this
history from generation to generation. That may not be told any other way. That you may not find in history books. That’s,I think, something
that I really enjoyed seeing. This may be the hardest book
for you to find, if you’re interested in
reading because it is published, originally at least, by a very small press. It was originally published by
Arte Público Press and specifically by their children’s
imprint called Piñata Books. And I wanted to mention that
specifically because that could be a good resource if you are looking
for more Latinx books. It’s a small press out
of Houston, Texas that’s prints and celebrates Latinx/Hispanic
culture and representation in their books.
So really excited to find more of their work and I’m glad that I read this. Okay so that is my wrap-up
of some recent Latinx picture books. I really love all these stories, actually. I think that I had a really great –
group of books to pick from this year. Excited to read more and I hope
that you saw something in this video that you might want to pick
up or maybe gift to a little one in your life. If you like this video, I
can do more as I read more. And yeah, that’s all that
I have for you today. So thank you so much
for watching and I hope to catch you
in the next video. Bye! 🎵 Outtro Instrumental 🎵

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  1. Yes, Kid Lit and picture books are getting a big diverse boom, I'm so excited 🤩 I haven't read any of these yet, and I'm requesting these at my library 💜💜💜

    EDIT: I did actually read Julian is a Mermaid. I love the choice of brown paper, too. So gorgeous 🤩

  2. YES I was hoping for another of these from you!!! <3
    oh my gosh I feel spoiled for choice with these! So many gorgeous stories to choose from. About to blow up my library requests!
    –oooh just checked and my library system actually has Grandma's Chocolate! definitely going to be picking that one up! (along with a bunch of others :D)

  3. Yay so glad to see this! We got the Sonia Sotomayor book in the store when it released and it really is just great. I loved Planting Stories as well, I used to read it when I did story time

  4. Thank you for making this video! I’m taking my toddler to the library later and going to see if they have any of these.

  5. This is a great video! I recently bought a few of these as gifts but I might have to get that last one on grandma's chocolate for myself ☺

  6. I cannot love this enough. I think I've said this before, but I don't see a whole lot of picture book content on booktube (although maybe I'm just following the wrong people), and this is doubly awesome considering that statistic on how few of these books exist in the first place! I love how you showed us the illustrations inside and overall this just really warmed my heart 💓

  7. Woo! I was waiting for this video. ^_^ So many amazing sounding books – I can't wait to pick them up. I'd love to see more of these recommendation videos, plus I'd love to see middle grade recommendation videos too if you end up reading more of those.

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