If you are a parent of a middle school kid looking for stories to connect him/her to the Hispanic culture, check out these Kids Spanish Books options. These books are ideal for kids that speak Spanish as a first language between the grades of 6th to 8th. These titles are also available in English for those who don’t feel comfortable with Spanish, but still want to read about Latin American culture.
Readings for Middle School Kids: Spanish Books About Hispanic Cultures
|Cajas de cartón: Relatos de la vida peregrina de un niño campesino|
by Francisco Jimenez
Francisco Jiménez emigrated from Tlaquepaque, Mexico, to California, where he worked for many years in the fields with his family. He received both his master’s degree and his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is now chairman of the Modern Languages and Literature Department at Santa Clara University, the setting of much of Reaching Out. He is the award-winning author of The Circuit, Breaking Through, La Mariposa, and his newest novel, Reaching Out. He lives in Santa Clara, California, with his family.
|Also available in English: The Circuit: Stories From the Life of a Migrant Child
by Francisco Jiménez
At the age of fourteen, Francisco Jimenez, together with his older brother Roberto and his mother, are caught by la migra. Forced to leave their home, the entire family travels all night for twenty hours by bus, arriving at the U.S. and Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona. In the months and years that follow, Francisco, his mother and father, and his seven brothers and sister not only struggle to keep their family together, but also face crushing poverty, long hours of labor, and blatant prejudice. How they sustain their hope, their goodheartedness, and tenacity is revealed in this moving sequel to The Circuit. Without bitterness or sentimentality, Francisco Jimnez finishes telling the story of his youth.
|Also available in English: Breaking Through
|El color de mis palabras|
by Lynn Joseph
Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa is a blossoming writer growing up in the Dominican Republic, a country where words are feared. Yet there is so much inspiration all around her -- watching her brother search for a future, learning to dance and to love, and finding out what it means to be part of a community -- that Ana Rosa must write it all down. As she struggles to find her own voice and a way to make it heard, Ana Rosa realizes the power of her words to transform the world around her -- and to transcend the most unthinkable of tragedies.
|Also available in English: The Color of My Words
|Béisbol en abril y otros cuentos|
by Gary Soto
In this unique collection of short stories, the small events of daily life reveal big themes love and friendship, youth and growing up, success and failure. Calling on his own experiences of growing up in California's Central Valley, poet Gary Soto brings to life the joys and pains of young people everywhere. The smart, tough, vulnerable kids in these stories are Latino, but their dreams and desires belong to all of us.
|Also available in English: Baseball in April and Other Stories
|Vuelo a la libertad: Relatos en primera persona|
by Ana Veciana-Suarez
First Person Fiction is dedicated to the immigrant experience in modern America.
"Vuelo a la libertad" is closely based on Suarez's own story of leaving Cuba during the Freedom Flights of the 1960s. Yara Garcia and her family live a middle-class life in Havana, Cuba. But in 1967, as Communist ruler Fidel Castro tightens his hold on Cuba, the Garcias, who do not share the political beliefs of the Communist Party, are forced to flee to Miami, Florida. There, Yara encounters a strange land with foreign customs. She knows very little English, and she finds that the other students in her new school have much more freedom than she and her sisters.
|Also available in English: Flight to Freedom: First Person Fiction
by Pam Munoz Ryan
Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico--she'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances--Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.
|Also available in English: Esperanza Rising
by Pam Munoz Ryan
Winner of the 2011 Pure Belpre Award for fiction.
From the time he is a young boy, Neftali hears the call of a mysterious voice. He knows he must follow it--even when the neighborhood children taunt him, and when his harsh, authoritarian father ridicules him, and when he doubts himself. It leads him under the canopy of the lush rain forest, into the fearsome sea, and through the persistent Chilean rain, until finally, he discovers its source.
Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, literary fiction, and sensorial, transporting illustrations, Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sís take readers on a rare journey of the heart and imagination.
|Also available in English: The Dreamer
by Alma Flor Ada
A year of discoveries culminates in a performance full of surprises, as two girls find their own way to belong.
Mexico may be her parents’ home, but it’s certainly not Margie’s. She has finally convinced the other kids at school she is one-hundred percent American—just like them. But when her Mexican cousin Lupe visits, the image she’s created for herself crumbles.
Things aren’t easy for Lupe, either. Mexico hadn’t felt like home since her father went North to find work. Lupe’s hope of seeing him in the United States comforts her some, but learning a new language in a new school is tough. Lupe, as much as Margie, is in need of a friend.
Little by little, the girls’ individual steps find the rhythm of one shared dance, and they learn what “home” really means.
|Also available in English: Dancing Home
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