While books are extremely beneficial to everyone, they are particularly important for children who are learning to speak, read but also understand the world around them. Unfortunately, there is still a gap in books about communities of color written by authors of color. But as we see more diverse subject matter covered in books, we have also seen several that help children accept themselves and others just the way they are.
Below, check out five books written by Latino authors that show children that who they are is enough.
Bad Hair Does Not Exist! by Sulma Arzu-Brown
From a young age, girls with Afro-textured hair receive negative messages about their hair. Sulma Arzu-Brown – who is Garifuna – realized how damaging this was when her babysitter told Sulma that her 3-year-old daughter had pelo malo. Instead of getting upset, Arzu-Brown channeled her energy into writing Bad Hair Does Not Exist! for all the little girls who “are Black, Afro-descendent, Afro-Latinas and Garifuna.”
The bilingual (Spanish and English) book is aimed at those 3 years old and older.
Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor
As a child, Sotomayor was diagnosed with diabetes, so she understands how children can feel like they stand out. In this picture book, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates all the differences that make people unique.
They Call Me Mix by Lourdes Rivas
For years, Lourdes Rivas’ elementary school students asked them why they went by the word “maestre.” Rivas – who uses they/them pronouns – would then explain what non-binary meant, but not in an in-depth manner. This inspired them to write They Call Me Mix/Me Llaman Maestre, a bilingual book based on Rivas’ life that teaches young children about gender pronouns and how the gender binary doesn’t encapsulate everyone.
PCD Has Nothing on Me! by Chloe Fernandez
At age 6, Chloe Fernandez was diagnosed with Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia, a genetic disorder where mucus isn’t cleared from the lungs, paranasal sinuses and ears. This book is aimed at children who deal with any kind of illness and know what it means to miss going to school or other activities because of it.
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela believes she has too many names, so when she asks her dad why she got so many names, she learns the history that she carries with her. Everyone of her names is purposeful and pays honor to a member of her family.