Wednesday, September 15, 2021

5 Picture Books Featuring Legends and Folktales from Latin America

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! 

As I mentioned in my last post, this is one of my favorite times of year for finding new resources that I can use to explore our Hispanic heritage throughout the year. 

Today, I want to start with resources for little ones. So I'm sharing a list of five picture books that feature myths and folktales from five different countries in Latin America. What a great way to introduce culture to young minds! 


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Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns: A Mesoamerican Creation Myth

by Duncan Tonatiuh

Long ago, the gods of Mesoamerica set out to create humans. They tried many times during each sun, or age. When all their attempts failed and the gods grew tired, only one did not give up: Quetzalcóatl—the Feathered Serpent. To continue, he first had to retrieve the sacred bones of creation guarded by Mictlantecuhtli, lord of the underworld. Gathering his staff, shield, cloak, and shell ornament for good luck, Feathered Serpent embarked on the dangerous quest to create humankind.


Kutu the Tiny Inca Princess / La Ñusta Diminuta

by Mariana Llanos

In this bilingual book, written in English, Spanish, and bits of Quechua, we'll meet Ch'illik'utu (Kutu), a princess the size of a cob of maize. When a terrible drought devastate the city of Cusco, where she lives, Kutu sets out on a courageous quest to save her people.

Puerto Rico:

Taíno Tales: The Secret of the Hummingbird

by Vicky Weber 

Alida, the daughter of a Taíno chief, lives in paradise. One day, she is startled by a boy from the opposing tribe, the Carib. Meeting daily in a hidden place, Alida and the boy, Taroo, soon become friends ー and then their friendship blossoms into something more. What will happen if someone discovers their forbidden love? A retelling of the Taíno legend of how the hummingbird came to be, this story brings an ancient culture ー and a young love ー to colorful life.


Animal Poems of the Iguazú / Animalario del Iguazú

by Francisco Alarcón

In the magical rainforest of the Iguazú National Park, butterflies are the multicolored flowers of the air. Great dusky swifts watch over the park, and the untamed spirits of jaguars roam the jungle. Spanning three countries--Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay--the thundering waterfalls and lush green rainforests of the Iguazú have dazzled visitors for centuries, and are now in danger of being lost.


Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale

by Carmen Agra Deedy

The beautiful Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha doesn’t know coffee beans about love and marriage, so when suitors come calling, what is she to do? Luckily, she has her Cuban family to help!

While some of the Cucarachas offer Martina gifts to make her more attractive, only Abuela, her grandmother, gives her some useful advice: spill coffee on his shoes to see how he handles anger. At first, Martina is skeptical of her Abuela’s suggestion, but when suitor after suitor fails the Coffee Test, she wonders if a little green cockroach can ever find true love.

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