Monday, December 16, 2019

8 Picture Books for Jolabokaflod That Feature Latinos

For the rest of this week, I'll be focusing on books to give on Christmas Eve. The last few years, our family has adopted the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve. It's called Jolabokaflod ("Yule Book Flood"). Friends and family give books as gifts. As a result of this tradition, Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world.

Jolabokaflod started during World War II when so many items were being rationed. But in Iceland, paper was not restricted and so book giving was easier. As a result, Icelanders gave books to be opened on Christmas Eve. The tradition was so popular, it has continued to grow and is now spreading to other countries.

There are SO MANY wonderful books to gift your children, so I want to dedicate this week to sharing titles that are just fabulous in case you are looking for ideas. But seriously, just go to the bookstore and look around. It's hard not to find lots of titles your kids will love.

Since we have eight days until Christmas Eve, I'm starting with a list of eight picture books by or about Latinos that are perfect for Jolabokaflod. You can find many of them in your local bookstore, or you can order them from Amazon and get them in 1 or 2 days with Prime.

¡A leer!

This post contains affiliate links.

by Elizabeth Rusch
illustrated by Teresa Martinez

Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet is the biography of Dr. Mario José Molina, the researcher who discovered the horrifying effects of CFCs on our planet's protective ozone layer.

It is an inspiring book because not only does it talk about his discovery and successful activism, but it also shares how Dr. Molina has hope about our current climate issues because he's already lived through the first environmental crisis and seen how universal action can happen and make solutions work.

by Margarita Engle

Dancing Hands is the story of Teresa Carreño, the prodigy pianist from Venezuela who began playing the piano as a little girl and composing her own music by the time she was 6. Not only did she play for President Lincoln as noted in this lovely story, but apparently for the famous composers Rossini and Liszt, too!

¡Solo pregunta! (Spanish edition)
written by Sonia Sotomayor
illustrated by Rafael López

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges--and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we're not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

by Jacqueline Woodson
illustrated by Rafael López

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

We all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

Be Bold! Be Brave! 11 Latinas who made U.S. History
Sé Audaz! Sé Valiente! (Bilingual book)
by Naibe Reynoso
illustrated by Jone Leal

A bilingual book that highlights 11 Latinas who excelled in various fields including medicine, science, sports, art and politics. By presenting the true biographical stories of these outstanding Latinas in rhyming verses, young readers will easily follow their journey to success.

Under the Mambo Moon
by Julia Durango
illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck

On summer nights Marisol helps out in Papi's music store. As customers come and go, they share memories of the Latin music and dance of their various homelands, expressed in a dazzling array of poetry. The diversity of Latin American music is brought to life in poems that swivel, sway, and sizzle with the rhythms of merengue, vallenatos, salsa, and samba.

All Equal: A Ballad of Lemon Grove / Todos Iguales:Un Corrido De Lemon Grove
written and illustrated by Christy Hale

In the summer of 1930, the Lemon Grove School Board decided to segregate the Mexican American students. The board claimed the children had a "language handicap" and needed to be "Americanized." When the Mexican families learned of this plan, they refused to let their children enter the new, inferior school that had been erected. They formed a neighborhood committee and sought legal help. Roberto, a bright boy who spoke English well, became the plaintiff in a suit filed by the Mexican families. On March 12, 1931, the case of Roberto Álvarez v. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District was decided. The judge ruled in favor of the children's right to equal education, ordering that Roberto and all the other Mexican American students be immediately reinstated in the Lemon Grove School.

This nonfiction bilingual picture book, written in both English and Spanish, tells the empowering story of The Lemon Grove Incident--a major victory in the battle against school segregation, and a testament to the tenacity of an immigrant community and its fight for equal rights.

Soldier for Equality: José de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War
written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

José de la Luz Sáenz (1888–1953)—or Luz—believed in fighting for what was right. Although he was born in the United States, he and his family experienced prejudice because of their Mexican heritage. When World War I broke out, Luz volunteered to join the fight. Because of his ability to quickly learn languages, he became part of the Intelligence Office in Europe. However, despite his hard work and intellect, Luz often didn’t receive credit for his contributions. Upon his return to the US, he joined other Mexican-Americans whom he had met in the army to fight for equality. His contribution, along with others, ultimately led to the creation of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which is the oldest Latino civil rights organization. Soldier for Equality is based in part on Luz’s diary during the war. It includes a biography of Luz’s later years, an author’s note, a timeline, a bibliography, and an index.

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