Skip to content

Latinx Representation in Picture Books: A Focus on Illustration

The Diverse BookFinder collection includes 308 titles with Latinx characters at the date of this post, which we have coded in these categories. The most obvious takeaway from our statistics is that Latinx characters are overwhelmingly represented (more than 60%) in books of cultural particularity, the category we call “Beautiful Life: A Focus on Culture.”

19 Latin American countries are referenced in 170 of these picture books, either as the setting of the story and/or as the ancestry of Latinx characters. Mexico and Mexicans are featured most prominently by far — in 86 titles! — followed by Brazil (15 titles), Puerto Rico (15), and Cuba (12). The Dominican Republic (8), Guatemala (5), and El Salvador (5) are somewhat represented. Twelve other countries are mentioned in 1-3 titles, and others don’t appear in picture books at all.

One thing that stands out in this collection of picture books is the power and beauty of work by Latinx artists. Here are examples of books by six prominent illustrators, showing the range of representation of Latinx characters.


Raul Colon

Set in Cuba and the U.S., this title tells an immigrant story with its sense of connection to two places.

Good-bye, Havana! Hola, New York!

2011

by Edie Colón and Raúl Colón

When five year old Gabriella hears talk of Castro and something called revolution in her home in Cuba, she doesn't understand. Then when her parents leave suddenly and she remains with her grandparents, life isn't the same. Soon the day comes when she goes to live with her parents in a new place called the Bronx. It isn't warm like Havana, and there is traffic, not the ocean, outside her window. Their life is different- it snows in the winter and the food at school is hot dogs and macaroni. What will it take for the Bronx to feel like home? ~from publisher

Beautiful Life

Set in Argentina, Colon’s illustrations in this book preserve the richness of rural traditions.


Rudy Gutierrez

This story, with an unspecified setting, explores the immigrant experience of a monolingual parent and a bilingual child.

Set in Brazil, this book focuses on soccer, as our Advisory Council member Marcela Peres finds that the majority of titles do, in this post on Brazilian books.


Rafael Lopez

This beautiful collection of poems is an important contribution to the 29 Latinx biographies in our collection.

Bravo!

2017

by Margarita Engle and Rafael López

Musician, botanist, baseball player, pilot—the Latinos featured in this collection come from many different countries and from many different backgrounds. Celebrate their accomplishments and their contributions to a collective history and a community that continues to evolve and thrive today! Bold, graphic portraits and beautiful poems present famous and lesser-known Latinos from varied backgrounds who have faced life's challenges in creative ways. -- Provided by publisher

Biography

Here’s an exuberant, bilingual presentation of a Mexican festival with universal appeal.

Book fiesta!

2009

by Pat Mora and Rafael López

Children read aloud in various settings to celebrate of El día de los niños, or Children's Day, in this bilingual story. Includes facts about Mexico's annual celebration of children and the book fiestas that are often included. Children’s Day/Book Day; El día de los niños/El día de los libros has been observed on April 30th for over twelve years. Founder Pat Mora’s jubilant celebration of this day features imaginative text and lively illustrations by award-winning illustrator Rafael López that will turn this bilingual fiesta into a hit for story time! Toon! Toon! The book includes a letter from the author and suggestions for celebrating Children’s Day /El día de los niños. ~Provided by publisher

Beautiful Life


Yuyi Morales

This lively book is a companion to Morales’ award-winning title, Nino Wrestles the World.

Rudas

2016

by Yuyi Morales

Señoras y señores, niños y niñas, the time has come to welcome the spectacular, two-of-a-kind . . . LAS HERMANITAS! No opponent is too big a challenge for the cunning skills of Las Hermanitas, Lucha Queens! Their Poopy Bomb Blowout will knock em' down! Their Tag-Team Teething will gnaw opponents down to a pulp! Their Pampered Plunder Diversion will fell even the most determined competitor! But what happens when Niño comes after them with a move of his own? Watch the tables turn in this wild, exciting wrestling adventure. ~Provided by publisher

Beautiful Life

This autobiographical award-winner brings to light the underestimated space of the public library to find and build community in new places.


Duncan Tonatiuh

Tonatiuh’s books are drawn from his Mexican ancestry.

Danza!

2017

by Duncan Tonatiuh

A celebration of the life of Amalia Hernandez, dancer and founder of El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, and of the rich history of dance in Mexico. As a child, Amalia always thought she would grow up to be a teacher, until she saw a performance of dancers in her town square. She was fascinated by the way the dancers twirled and swayed, and she knew that someday she would be a dancer, too. She began to study many different types of dance, including ballet and modern, under some of the best teachers in the world. Hernandez traveled throughout Mexico studying and learning regional dances. Soon she founded her own dance company where she integrated her knowledge of ballet and modern dance with folkloric dances. The group began to perform all over the world, becoming an international sensation that still tours today. Tonatiuh's distinctive Mixtec-inspired artwork and colorful drawings leap off the page. --Provided by publisher

Beautiful Life Biography

This biography is a rare example of a book that chronicles the Hispanic experience of Oppression.


Eric Velasquez

This title is one of several in which the Afro-Puerto Rican author-illustrator tells a story based on his own life.

Velasquez’s bilingual story could be about Any Child.


To find more books, search our collection by any of these illustrators; by authors Arthur Dorros, Monica Brown, Margarita Engle, and Pat Mora (to name a few notable Latinx writers); or by this list of all titles featuring Latinx characters.

Many of the cover images on this site are from Google Books.
Using Tiny Framework Log in

STAY UP-TO-DATE ABOUT TRENDS IN MULTICULTURAL PICTURE BOOKS!

Sign up for our newsletter and get a FREE printable poster of our unique picture book categories, as well as ongoing access to the latest trends in who is represented and how in children's picture books.