26 Chapter Books, Middle Grade, and Graphic Novels for Latinx Heritage Month and Beyond

Share these 26 books celebrating Latinx heritage and ranging from fantasy to historical, with tween readers interested in everything from witches to soccer and ballet.

Share these 26 books celebrating Latinx heritage and ranging from fantasy to historical, with tween readers interested in everything from witches to soccer and ballet.


Chapter Books

Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai Gonzalez & Monica Brown. illus. by Christine Almeda. Scholastic. ISBN 9781338236682. 
Sarai Gonzlez is awesome. She has a sign that says so in case anyone forgets. When she encounters a problem, she tackles it with her usual can-do attitude. Of course, raising enough money to help save her grandparents' house will take more than just cupcake sales, so she concocts a plan that involves her whole family in lemonade sales and a dance competition. 

Rafi and Rosi Music! by Lulu Delacre. illus. by Lulu Delacre. Lee & Low. ISBN 9780892394296. 
Two anthropomorphic tree frog siblings, Rafi and Rosi, explore their surroundings and learn about the traditions of their culture. This easy reader set in Puerto Rico begins with a glossary of Spanish words, followed by three short stories in which the frogs learn about three musical styles: bomba, plena, and salsa. 

Esme’s Birthday Conga Line by Lourdes Heuer. illus. by Marissa Valdez. Tundra. ISBN 9780735269408.
It’s Esme’s birthday, and she is very excited to celebrate. Esme immediately puts together a plan and begins inviting all the residents of her apartment building to her celebration as well as assigning them party-related tasks to complete. The party that concludes this beginner chapter book is humorous and heartwarming.

Knight of the Cape by Terry Catasus Jennings. illus. by Fatima Anaya. Aladdin. ISBN 9781534465039.
Jennings introduces readers to an indomitable young heroine in this series debut. Dominguita “Dom’s” adventures are modeled after the classic tale Don Quixote, complete with a windmill encounter! A voracious reader, Dom wants to prove that girls can be knights and that bullies don’t stand a chance against her. With the help of a loyal steed (dog), new squire (friend), and a host of supportive community members, she manages to do just that. 

redstarJuana and Lucas by Juana Medina. illus. by Juana Medina. Candlewick. ISBN 9780763672089.
Juana lives in Bogotá, Colombia, with her dog Lucas. She loves brussels sprouts, drawing, and especially the comic book superhero Astroman. She most definitely does not like learning “the English.” When her teacher says learning English is going to be a “ton of fun,” Juana knows that it will really be “nada de fun.”

Catalina Incognito by Jennifer Torres. illus. by Gladys Jose. Aladdin. ISBN 9781534482784.
In this first installment in a new delightful series, Mexican American Catalina Castañeda turns eight, receives a magical sewing kit from Tía Abuela, learns to try new things, and solves a mystery. Torres successfully strikes a balance between the realistic family-oriented plot and the light infusion of magical elements.

The New Friend Fix by Jennifer Torres. illus. by Gladys Jose. Aladdin. ISBN 9781534483071. Today is Catalina’s all-time favorite: it is the first day of third grade. Her backpack is stuffed and ready, and she is determined to be the first one to meet the new girl, Esme, and introduce her to everybody. But her plan goes awry when Esme’s cousin Jazmín mysteriously blocks all of Catalina’s, and Catalina’s “frenemy” Pablo’s attempts at becoming friends with Esme.  


Middle Grade

 Shine On, Luz Véliz! by Rebecca Balcárcel. Chronicle. ISBN 9781797209678. 
Luz Véliz has been a star her entire life on the soccer field. She has excelled at the sport, and it earned her parents’ praise and the admiration of her classmates. When an injury keeps her from playing soccer, maybe for the rest of her potential career, Luz needs to figure out who she is off the field. Her dad is distant, and a life-altering revelation rocks her Guatemalan family when a big secret is revealed. How much change can one sixth grader take?

 They Call Her Fregona: A Border Kid's Poems by David Bowles. Kokila. ISBN 9780593462577.
Joanna “Fregona” Padilla and Güero begin a tender romance at the start of this novel in verse. When Joanna’s dad gets taken away by ICE, partly because of Joanna’s bully’s desire for revenge, Güero believes he needs to come to the rescue. He organizes a protest that has terrible repercussions. This book packs several heavy themes with nuance and respect for the age group. 

 The Last Beekeeper by Pablo Cartaya. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780063006553. 
Set in the future after climate disasters and constant virtual connectivity have altered the way of life, the plot centers Yoly Cicerón, who wants to go to school to become a surgeon—not a farmer in the Valley like her exiled parents. An action-packed adventure that reflects our own mistakes and predicts our fears for the future. Highly recommended for middle school readers who enjoy dystopian adventures and science.

 Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros. HarperCollins/Quill Tree. ISBN 9780062881724. 
Marco Honeyman and Isaac Castillo are next-door neighbors and best friends, despite their apparent differences: Jewish-Mexican Marco is small and book-smart, while Isaac, who is also Latinx, is a gifted and hard-working basketball player who struggles to manage his homework. At every turn, Isaac and Marco support each other in this affirming story of basketball, middle school, friendship, and family, and choosing kindness and determination over easy cowardice or cruelty.

The Other Side of the River by Alda P. Dobbs. Sourcebooks. ISBN 9781728238449.
Review pending: From the award-winning author of Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna, Alda P. Dobbs, comes a compelling new novel about building a new life in America. 

Singing with Elephants by Margarita Engle. Viking. ISBN 9780593206690. 
Both engaging and heartrending, this is a beautifully told story of fifth grader Oriol who lives with her older sister, Cat, and her parents, who are veterinarians. Written in poetic verse, this is a book that readers won’t want to put down until the last page.

Join the Club, Maggie Diaz by Nina Moreno. illus. by Courtney Lovett. Scholastic. ISBN 9781338740615. 
After a boring summer wishing she was at camp like her two best friends, Zoey and Julian, and having to share her bedroom with her abuela, Maggie knows the start of the seventh grade signals big changes for her. Fun and quirky, Maggie Diaz is a character many readers will relate to as she begins to juggle more responsibilities while struggling with insecurity and forgetfulness.

[See also: Five Must-Have 2022 Middle Grade Latinx Novels]

The Supern atural Society by Rex Ogle. Inkyard. ISBN 9781335424877. 
Nothing is as it seems in East Emerson, MA. The story begins with Will, a Latinx middle schooler, who is moving after a tumultuous breakup between his mom and dad. He is leaving everything behind: Brooklyn, his best friend, and hardest of all, his father. Instead of settling into this new life, Will finds himself face-to-face with monsters, and they are monsters no one else seems to see. 

Witchlings by Claribel A Ortega. Scholastic. ISBN 9781338745528. 
Twelve-year-old Seven Salazar is excited to finally participate in the Black Moon Ceremony and be placed into a coven. When the time comes, however, Seven isn’t assigned a coven—she is assigned as a Spare—and even worse, the sealing she performs with the two other Spares fails, marking them as Witchlings who might never grow into their powers. The three decided to complete an impossible task in order to gain their powers. But will they be able to accomplish it?

Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene by Emma Otheguy. Knopf. ISBN 9780593372630. 
Fifth grader Sofîa has grown up in a “ballet” family that lives and breathes dance. Sofîa worries she won’t have a place in her family without dance, and it seems she doesn’t possess the family talent. She starts noticing discrimination and racism within her neighborhood, and even in her friend circle. An important and honest look at immigration, racial inequities, and understanding how one person can make a difference.

Pilar Ramirez and the ­Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall. Holt. ISBN 9781250774101.
Twelve-year-old Domincana Pilar “Purp” Ramirez is going to be an award-winning director some day. So when her older sister lines up the perfect interview for the documentary Pilar’s working on, she jumps at the opportunity. But when a file sucks Pilar into the mythical world of Zafa, she’s faced with a terrifying answer to the mystery she’s been investigating. Set partially in a modern, rapidly gentrifying Chicago and partially in a world of Dominican legend, this first title in a new fantasy duology seamlessly intertwines the magic of Spirited Away and the danger of Jumanji with Dominican history and myth. 

Solimar by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Disney-Hyperion. ISBN 9781484728352. 
Solimar spends time visiting the monarch butterflies in the oyamel forest near her home. After one special visit, Solimar finds she is able to predict the future, and she is destined to protect the butterflies that make their home in the forest. When her village is attacked and only Solimar remains, she must act to save her village and the butterflies from those who would threaten them.


Graphic Novels

Lowriders to the Rescue by Cathy Camper. illus. by Raúl the Third. Chronicle. ISBN 9781452179483. 
When a forest fire endangers a family of anthropomorphic Arabic monarch butterflies, daughter Sokar escapes to the nearby city to find help. She encounters the Latinx lowriders—an impala, a mosquito, and an octopus who all adore cars—and they take her in. This bursting medley of community and planetary mindfulness is as colorful as it is inventive. Third in a series, this is best experienced after the earlier two.

 Isla to Island by Alexis Castellanos. ­illus. by Alexis Castellanos. S. & S./Atheneum. ISBN 9781534469235. 
In 1961 Cuba, revolution and violence convince Marisol’s parents to make the difficult decision to send their daughter to safety in the United States. This historical graphic novel is an inspiring, empathy-building story, accessible to all readers.

 Miss Quinces by Kat Fajardo. illus. by Kat Fajardo. Scholastic/Graphix. ISBN 9781338535594. 
In her graphic novel debut, Fajardo adeptly captures the angst of young people who are caught between two cultures—too Latinx to be accepted as American and too American to be accepted as Latinx. With all of the charm of Raina Telgemeier and Lucy Knisley’s works, this title will be enjoyed by voracious fans of coming-of-age graphic novels. But the specificity of having to stride two cultures and feeling like an outcast in both will especially resonate with readers from bicultural communities.

[See also: Latinx Graphic Novels to the Fore | Stellar Panels]

 Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez. illus. by Gabriela Epstein. Scholastic/Graphix. ISBN 9781338194555. 
When George, who is Puerto Rican, is assigned community service hours working in his middle school cafeteria with “other students like you,” he expects to be with the gifted kids, but instead, he finds out that the only thing he has in common with the volunteer group is that they are all Latinx students being unfairly stereotyped by their educators. A welcome addition to any graphic novel collection, Invisible skillfully explores the negative impact of stereotyping while also offering an entertaining and spirited reading experience.

 Frizzy by Claribel Ortega. illus by Rose Bousamra. First Second. ISBN 9781250259622. 
Sheer unmitigated torture. That’s how Marlene feels about going to the salon with her mother every Sunday to have her naturally curly hair straightened and styled. It’s a battle she can never win, no matter how much she begs. After her cousin’s quinceanera, this rebellion is matched only by her mother’s determination to control her daughter’s hair. An incident at school where Marlene releases her hair from braids and kids start sticking things in her frizz causes the girl to reach her boiling point. 

 Team Up: El Toro and Friends by Raúl the Third. illus by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay.   Versify. ISBN 9780358394716.
Take a walk down memory lane as Toro and Friends reminisce about how they met and became such a great team. Readers will dive right into the vibrant comic book–style world of Toro and friends, taking in even the smallest details. Clear outlines, lively pastel colors and easy-to-read text—which identifies Spanish sentences in purple font—provide an atmosphere full of action. A dynamic story for fans of “Toro and Friends,” the Vamos world, and lucha libre, this is an excellent addition to early reader collections for children.

The Curse of the Evil Eye by Jarod Roselló. illus. by Jarod Roselló. Top Shelf. ISBN 9781603095013. 
With their round heads, long arms, and curious minds, Red Panda and Moon Bear can solve anything. The titular siblings defend their neighborhood of Martí from strange threats, including a rampaging pastelito and a puddle that eats shoes. This is the second in a series, and focusing on protagonists who combine childlike imagination with developing maturity, these thoughtful, bilingual adventures will appeal to returning readers.

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