Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. The following books for middle readers are an excellent choice for celebrating Hispanic voices. Synopses are provided by the publishers.
FAREWELL CUBA, MI ISLA, by Alexandra Diaz, Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Sept. 5, 2023, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
Victoria loves everything about her home in Cuba. The beautiful land, the delicious food, her best friend and cousin, Jackie, and her big, loving family.
But it’s 1960 in Cuba, and as the political situation grows more and more dangerous, Victoria, her parents, and her two younger siblings are forced to seek refuge in America with nothing more than two changes of clothes and five dollars. Worse, they’re forced to leave the rest of their family, including Jackie, behind.
In Miami, everything is different. And it’s up to Victoria to step up and help her family settle into this new world—even though she hopes they won’t be there for long. Back in Cuba, everything feels different, too. Jackie watches as friends and family flee, or worse, disappear. So, when she’s given a chance to escape to America, she takes it—even though she has to go alone. Reunited in Miami, can Victoria and Jackie find a way to bring the rest of their family to safety?
Based on Alexandra Diaz’s mother’s real experiences as a Cuban refugee in America, this is a moving and timely story about family, friendship, and fighting for your future.
ONCE I WAS YOU — ADAPTED FOR YOUNG READERS: FINDING MY VOICE AND PASSING THE MIC, by Maria Hinojosa, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition, Aug. 29, 2023, Paperback, $8.99 (ages 8-12)
“There is no such thing as an illegal human being.”
Maria Hinojosa is an Emmy Award–winning journalist, a bestselling author, and was the first Latina to found a national independent nonprofit newsroom in the United States. But before all that, she was a girl with big hair and even bigger dreams. Born in Mexico and raised in the vibrant neighborhood of Hyde Park, Chicago, Maria was always looking for ways to better understand the world around her—and where she fit into it.
Here, she combines stories from her life, beginning with her family’s harrowing experience of immigration, with truths about the United States’s long and complicated relationship with the people who cross its borders, by choice or by force. Funny, frank, and thought-provoking, Maria’s voice is one you will want to listen to again and again.
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