6 Picture Books About Family Traditions

This time of year I like to reflect on my childhood and the many beautiful memories that will live with me for the rest of my life. I remember growing up and staying up oh so late to celebrate Christmas, from making and eating tamales, to noche de posada and piñatas, as well as spending time with family near and far. Here is a list of 6 Picture books about family tradition food, being together celebrating traditions not only during holidays but also in the day to day of life.

1. In My Family // En Mi Familia

In My Family // En Mi Familia is a picture book of bilingual short stories of events that would happen in the Mexican-American community of Kingsville, Texas. Carmen Lomas Garza wrote and illustrated the short stories in this book with intricate details. She writes stories about Horned Toads // Camaleones, Cactus // Nopales, Empanadas, and more. I really like how Carmen captures family togetherness. Watch the Read Aloud Youtube Video to listen to a few of the stories from this collection.  Get ready to be transported back to Kingsville through Carmen’s beautiful paintings which have been featured in museums all over the world. 

2. Family Pictures // Cuadros De Familia

Family Pictures // Cuadros De Familia is another book written and illustrated by Carmen Lomas Garza where she again shares bilingual short stories of events that happened in her family. My personal favorite is the Tamales story, it reminds me of my childhood. This book takes me back to the time when we would celebrate family traditions with some of my extended family here in the US which were different from the celebrations that we had with my family in Mexico. Watch this Read Aloud on Youtube. 

3. Gracias // Thanks

This book by Pat Mora, is a book of Gratitude. From the Brightness of the Sun, to the tiny ladybug, follow a little boy as he gives thanks for all the events that he goes through. The boy is grateful for people in his life as well like his friend, his grandma, his siblings and others. Enjoy a bilingual book with beautiful translation and bright images. There are so many lessons to teach through these pages. I would recommend discussing each event that the boy goes through and asking why he is grateful.

A way to help kids learn comprehension of what happens in the illustrations and story. At the end of the book you will find a letter from the Author, Pat Mora, where she asks her readers what they are thankful for? She encourages her readers to keep the circle of giving thanks, which to me is a wonderful positive message. 

4. The Heart of Mi Familia

The Heart of Mi Familia is a story about embracing being a part of a bicultural family. The little girl compares two cultures, her mother’s culture which is white and her father’s which is Central American. She points out the different times of the year that she visits each side of the family and what she enjoys and how she enjoys being a part of both. The main ingredient is Love. 

5. Too Many Tamales

Have you ever helped make tamales? Growing up my siblings and I would help mom and dad make them every year as a Christmas tradition. In Too Many Tamales, Maria and her family loved helping make tamales. There is one small problem, Maria lost her mom’s diamond ring in the Masa. Read as they try to solve a delicious problem. 

6. Growing Up with Tamales // Los Tamales de Ana

Growing Up with Tamales // Los Tamales de Ana is a story about a little girl named Ana. She explains how as she grows up to be 7, 8, 9, 10, and so on. Ana’s sister, Lidia, is two years older than her and has different responsibilities. Ana can’t wait to be as old as her sister so she can do the things her sister does. Along the way Ana explains what she will get to do in the tamale making process but also what milestones she will achieve as she reaches each age. Her goal is to own a Tamale making Factory. I like how the story takes you into Ana’s imagination and her future plans.

If you want to find more picture books about food, check out my previous post about Tacos & Tortillas Here.


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