Just recently in the past few years, I have leaned into learning about how Black History is intertwined with our Latinx History. Black History runs deep in our roots and from the information I have found, I have learned about historical figures that have contributed to our Latinx Culture. From the first Afro-Mexican President Vicente Guerrero who was Half-African and Half-Indigenous to Cuban Afro-Latina Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa.

My goal is to continue learning about Black History and finding more resources and Picture Books that will help bring awareness about People in Black History that have enhanced society in both North and South America. It is important to teach and learn about Black History as a Bilingual person because it helps both older and newer generations learn to feel proud about the diversity in our History. Something important to know is that Afro-Latino History is also a part of Black History

I was able to find a few Bilingual and Spanish Picture books that Celebrate Black History Personalities as well as Spanish Books with Black Characters. You can always check out Teachers Pay Teachers Resources for more supplemental activities for your class or home. If you know of any more Bilingual Black History Books that you have come across, please add a comment at the bottom of this post to share them with us. 

Historical Influential People

1. The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano

Type: Kindle Edition

The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano is a collection of poems that bring awareness to the “daily terror and hypocrisy of the slave system.” This is the biography of a Cuban Slave named Juan Francisco Manzano that escapes becoming a celebrated poet. This book has illustrations with a focus on the poetry that takes you on the daily life experiences that Juan lived. You can watch a snippet of what the book contains by clicking on the icon below.

2. My Name is Celia // Me Llamo Celia

Type: Hardcover

If you didn’t grow up with Celia Cruz’s Music, you missed out! But it’s not too late to start listening to her music. Do yourself a favor and create a Playlist of her hits, you won’t regret it. This Colorful Bilingual Picture Book depicts the life of the Salsa Queen herself, Celia Cruz. This Cuban-born Legend goes from singing in Cuba to venturing off to New York and Miami where she contributed to the birth of Salsa Music. Check out the read-aloud on Youtube.com

3. Schomburg: El Hombre Que Creó una Biblioteca

Type: Paperback

This is the Spanish Version of Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library. This picture book is about a Puerto Rican Afro-Latino who worked as a Law Clerk and started a collection that celebrated black culture. He had a passion for collecting books, letters, music, and art from Africa. His collection became so big that he created a Library. You can watch an English Read Aloud by clicking on the Youtube Icon below: 

Spanish Books with Black Characters

4. La Princesa Del Agua

Type: Paperback

Princess Gie Gie has a beautiful kingdom where clean water is scarce. She has a dream that one day her village will have “cool, crystal-clear water of its own.” Princess Gie Gie wears her water pot as if it were a crown on her way to the well on a daily basis to gather water. It’s a very long journey back home where she then has to boil the water to be able to clean with and drink. I really like how this book takes us to a small village in Africa. It brings awareness to the fact that people around the world have different life experiences.

5. ¡Gracias Omu!

Type: Paperback

Omu is an abuelita that is making a delicious guiso that is irresistible to many that are nearby in the neighborhood. Everyone (taxi driver, ballerina, artist, baker, athlete, bus driver, hotdog stand owner)that walks by smells the aroma and they knock on Omu’s door because they can’t help themselves, so Omu explains what she is cooking and invites each person that stops by to taste the delicious dinner. I love this book because it speaks on how grandmas, like Omu, are always willing to share their food with others. By the end of the day, at dinner time, the Pot of guiso was gone. So Omu became very sad because she had none left. The community that she fed came to her rescue and offered her food that they brought back with them to share with Omu. Enjoy this Spanish Picture book full of the best love language, FOOD! 

6. Ada Magnífica, Científica // Ada Twist, Scientist

Type: Hardcover

Ada has been a curious little girl since she was a baby. She wanted to look and observe everything, she even inspected the house. This Spanish version of Ada Twist, Scientist, has a rhyming rhythm with many colorful illustrations. Ada was a very gifted child and her family was there to show their support every step of the way, even though it was exhausting at times. She could not help herself, she had a natural gift. Her passion was science and everyone around her learned to embrace little Ada. Watch the read-aloud here: 

7. El Elefante

Type: Hardcover

El Elefante is about a boy that takes a book from a bookstand and learns about … Elephants. This book is in Spanish and it takes you through all of the facts there are about the mighty Giants. El Elefante is a perfect book to help your littles learn vocabulary words as well as interesting facts about these majestic animals. 

8. Cuando Tu Abuela Te Regala Un Limonero

Type: Paperback

When I saw this book at the local bookstore, I was drawn to it by it’s bright colors. This is the Spanish Edition of “When Grandma Gives You A Lemon Tree”. It starts out with a little girl that makes a list of presents that she wants for her birthday. Her grandma gives her a Lemon Tree instead. At first the little girl does not like the present but pretends to like it, so she doesn’t hurt her grandma’s feelings. In the end, she gives the Lemon Tree a chance and nurtures it until it grows lemons and she makes lemonade. I really enjoyed the end of the book where the whole neighborhood gets to enjoy the beauty of a garden.

Picture Books by Afro-Latino Authors

9. Down by the River

Type: Hardcover

A collection of poems, rhymes, and games that take you into the Afro-Caribbean experience. This book is beautifully illustrated and also has a vocabulary that is Special to the Caribbean. I love that we can travel the world through books and I invite you to travel to the Caribbean through this beautiful book. Listen to a short clip where you can listen to a couple of poems from the book by clicking the Youtube icon below.

10. Islandborn

Type: Paperback

Lola is a little girl that lives in the City but comes from the Island. Her teacher asks her class to draw a picture of the place they came from. Lola has a tiny problem, she doesn’t remember much because she left the Island when she was a baby. Lola has a plan though, she is going to ask the neighbors that are from the Island to tell her all about it so she can complete her assignment.

Islandborn is a book that helps those that have come to a country that they have immigrated to but that they may not remember their roots. I can’t help but make the connection to my cousin’s experience that came from Mexico at a very young age. Lola makes sure to ask questions and keep a positive mindset. Listen to the read-aloud linked below and enjoy how Abuela and other family members help Lola complete her assignment.

11. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o

Type: Paperback

Actress Lupita Nyong’o wrote this book about a girl named Sulwe. In this Picture Book, Sulwe is a little girl that is ashamed of her skin tone and prays for her skin to be lighter just like her parents. Such an important book to introduce how our skin color is beautiful no matter what shade. Sulwe learns a lesson from her mother, she learns to love herself for who she is and not for what she looks like. What a beautiful story and the detailed illustrations are colorful. You can watch a video down below where the author herself reads the story.

Spotlight: Afro-Latina Writers

Please go check out @Electricliterature on Instagram, where they share a list of the following authors:

  • Ivelisse Rodriguez
  • Jasminne Mendez
  • Mayra Santos-Febres
  • Yesenia Montilla
  • Amina Gautier
  • Raina J. León
  • Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Ariana Brown
  • Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
  • Jaquira Díaz

Thank you to The Connected Reader, I appreciate what you share with me! Everyone please go check out the Blog to connect with a like-minded community of mothers (parents) that Love to Read.