photo of young girl in dia del muertos makeup and sombrero - evocative of Mexican culture

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In our homeschool, we love reading aloud. In fact, every morning begins with read aloud time for at least thirty minutes during breakfast. The wiggly boys are somewhat of a captive audience while eating and their mouths are busy, so it’s quiet while I read! One thing I’m committed to is reading stories that reflect various cultural points of view. Mexico is our neighbor to the south, and so it seems reasonable to read stories that reflected the beauty of Mexican culture and the depth of Mexican traditions. Current events involving immigration also have me wanting my boys to see a more complete picture of the value of cultures different from our own.

image of Mexican folk art puppets and second image of a Mexican tradition celebration - suggestive of Mexican culture

I’m a researcher, through and through. It’s just what I do. I love combing the internet, bookstores, libraries, art festivals, whatever – for the best that I can find. So when we started homeschooling, I dove headlong into researching the best books, the best games, the best curricula, and homeschool room setup that I could find.

And now I share that with you. Finding these books started both with Cinco de Mayo and my research to find some awesome books for our summer reading.

Related Post You May Also Like: 12 Enchanting Read Aloud Books We’ve Chosen For Summer

Depending upon the age(s) of your children, there is something here in this list for you. I think it’s an interesting connection to help children make that just the the United States, Mexico’s culture is a combination of the traditions of indigenous people as well as European colonists.

If you choose any of these stories for reading aloud, I recommend that you choose books slightly above your child’s personal reading level. Remember, at any given point in time, a child’s listening level is higher than his reading level.

Early Elementary Kids Won’t Realize They Are Learning About Mexican Culture

My Diary From Here to There/Mi diario de aqui hasta alla

One night, Amada overhears her parents whisper about moving from Mexico to Los Angeles, where greater opportunity awaits. As she and her family make the journey north, Amada records her fears, hopes, and dreams for their new life in her diary. What if she can’t learn English? How can she leave her best friend? Along the way, Amada learns that with her family's love and her belief in herself, she can weather any change. With humor and insight, Pérez recounts the story of her family’s immigration to America. Maya Christina Gonzalez' vibrant artwork captures every detail of their journey.

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Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book

Yuyi Morales takes us on a new journey with Señor Calvera, the skeleton from Day of the Dead celebrations. Señor Calvera is worried. He can't figure out what to give Grandma Beetle for her birthday. Misunderstanding the advice of Zelmiro the Ghost, Señor Calvera decides not to get her one gift, but instead one gift for every letter of the alphabet, just in case.

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Calling the Doves/El canto de las palomas

Poet Juan Felipe Herrera’s bilingual memoir paints a vivid picture of his migrant farmworker childhood. His rich, evocative prose re-creates the joy of eating under the open sky, celebrating at a fiesta with other farm families, and listening to his mother singing Mexican songs and his father calling the doves.

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Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin

Meet Charlie and Carlitos.

Charlie lives in America.

Carlitos, his primo, lives in Mexico.

Charlie takes the subway to school, plays basketball with his friends, and loves pizza.

Carlitos rides his bicicleta to school and enjoys playing fútbol at recess, and his favorite meal is quesadillas.

Their lives appear different, but do Charlie and Carlitos have more in common than it seems?

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The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes (Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature. Commended)

Today two majestic volcanoes—Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl—stand overlooking Mexico City. They have been admired and revered for countless generations, and have formed the basis of many origin and creation myths. In The Princess and the Warrior, award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh retells one of Mexico’s cherished legends.

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Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

This original trickster tale, with its vivacious illustrations and dynamic read-aloud text, is at once a spirited tribute to the rich traditions of Mexican culture and a perfect introduction to counting in both English and Spanish.

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Undocumented: A Worker's Fight

Undocumented is the story of immigrant workers who have come to the United States without papers. Every day, these men and women join the work force and contribute positively to society. The story is told via the ancient Mixtec codex—accordion fold—format. Juan grew up in Mexico working in the fields to help provide for his family. Struggling for money, Juan crosses over into the United States and becomes an undocumented worker, living in a poor neighborhood, working hard to survive. 

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Viva Frida (Morales, Yuyi)

Frida Kahlo, one of the world's most famous and unusual artists is revered around the world. Her life was filled with laughter, love, and tragedy, all of which influenced what she painted on her canvases.

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photo of elderly woman preparing traditional Mexican food and sombrero and image of naturally dyed wool yarn - evocative of Mexican culture

Late Elementary 

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

Nine-year-old Maria Singh longs to play softball in the first-ever girls' team forming in Yuba City, California. It's the spring of 1945, and World War II is dragging on. Miss Newman, Maria's teacher, is inspired by Babe Ruth and the All-American Girls' League to start a girls' softball team at their school. Meanwhile, Maria's parents--Papi from India and Mama from Mexico--can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land. When the family is on the brink of losing their farm, Maria must decide if she has what it takes to step up and find her voice in an unfair world. In this fascinating middle grade novel, award-winning author Uma Krishnaswami sheds light on a little-known chapter of American history set in a community whose families made multicultural choices before the word had been invented.

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Until I Find Julian

At home in Mexico, Mateo knows where he belongs: with Mami, Abuelita, little brother Lucas, and big brother Julian. When Julian leaves to work in el Norte, the United States, Mateo misses him. And when the family stops hearing from Julian, Mateo knows he has to find his beloved brother.

   With only his old notebook and a backpack, Mateo heads for the border, where dangers await: robbers, and the border police, who will send him back home or perhaps even put him in prison. On his journey, Mateo meets Angel, a smart, mysterious girl who can guide his crossing.

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Sylvia & Aki

Young Sylvia Mendez never expected to be at the center of a landmark legal battle. Young Aki Munemitsu never expected to be sent away from her home and her life as she knew it. The two girls definitely never expected to know each other, until their lives intersected on a Southern California farm in a way that changed the country forever. Who are Sylvia and Aki? And why did their family stories matter then and still matter today? This book reveals the remarkable, never-before-told story—based on true events—of Mendez vs. Westminster School District, the California court case that desegregated schools for Latino children and set the stage for Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education at the national level.

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Return to Sender

After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected to her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

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Eagle and the Rainbow: Timeless Tales from Mexico

This wonderful collection of Mexican folktales recaptures the legends of the great tribes of México. With robust illustrations by Caldecott award–winning Tomie DePaola, The Eagle and the Rainbow shares the stories of brave Aztec warriors, artistic Tarascans, fleet endurance runners of the Tarahumaras, and other exciting tales.

Rejoice when Atzimba saves the tribe from the wrath of the volcano. Discover how Fast as Deer brings a rainbow to his people, saving them from drought and famine. Run with Tahui as he overcomes a devastating illness to enter the Great Race. Filled with insight and wisdom, each tale brings ancient Mexico to life. Includes a glossary of terms.

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Whiskers, Tails & Wings: Animal Folktales from Mexico

Judy Goldman retells animal folktales from five indigenous groups in Mexico--the Tarahumara, Seri, Huichol, Triqui, and Tseltal. Each story is followed by information about the featured culture, enriching readers' understanding of the diverse peoples who make up Mexico.


Fabricio VandenBroeck's lush art portrays the richness of the many peoples, animals, and places that make up Mexico.


Includes a map of Mexico, showing the location of each indigenous group. Back matter includes a glossary and tale sources, as well as an index and a bibliography.

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photo of young girl in dia del muertos makeup and sombrero - also images of various book covers that reflect Mexican culture

Tales Of Mexican Culture For The Middle & High School Set

Mexican WhiteBoy

Danny is tall and skinny. Even though he’s not built, his arms are long enough to give his pitch a power so fierce any college scout would sign him on the spot. Ninety-five mile an hour fastball, but the boy’s not even on a team. Every time he gets up on the mound, he loses it.


But at his private school, they don’t expect much else from him. Danny is brown. Half-Mexican brown. And growing up in San Diego that close to the border means everyone else knows exactly who he is before he even opens his mouth. Before they find out he can’t speak Spanish, and before they realize his mom has blond hair and blue eyes, they’ve got him pegged. But it works the other way too. And Danny’s convinced it’s his whiteness that sent his father back to Mexico.


That’s why he’s spending the summer with his dad’s family. But to find himself, he may just have to face the demons he refuses to see--the demons that are right in front of his face. And open up to a friendship he never saw coming.

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents' house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga's role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it's not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. 

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The House on Mango Street

Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero.


Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.

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Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask (English and Spanish Edition)

Do you know what lucha libre is? Have you ever been to a lucha libre match and seen los technicos and los rudos―the good guys and the bad guys―dressed up in their wild costumes and crazy masks? How would you feel if the most famous luchador of all time actually stopped and smiled at you? Find out what happens to Carlitos when The Man in the Silver Mask―a man he’s never seen before in his whole life―turns and does that very thing to him.

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The Tequila Worm

Sofia comes from a family of storytellers. Here are her tales of growing up in the barrio, full of the magic and mystery of family traditions: making Easter cascarones, celebrating el Dia de los Muertos, preparing for quincea–era, rejoicing in the Christmas nacimiento, and curing homesickness by eating the tequila worm. When Sofia is singled out to receive a scholarship to an elite boarding school, she longs to explore life beyond the barrio, even though it means leaving her family to navigate a strange world of rich, privileged kids. It's a different mundo, but one where Sofia's traditions take on new meaning and illuminate her path.

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The Last Cuentista

I haven't read this one yet - but it has all the buzz and sooooo many awards - it's brand new on my to read list!

There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.


Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet – and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth.

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More Resources for Learning About Mexican Traditions & Culture

This is a terrific resource choc full of fun information about Mexican culture and Mexican traditions. You’ll find resources for movies, activities, art projects, learning about the natural landscape of Mexico, the mysterious Mexican hat dance, Mexican cuisine, Mexican society, Mexican arts, traditional music, games, and the history of Cinco de Mayo.  

Would you love for your child to learn another language, but you have no idea where to start? With an original storybook, accompanying audiobook, activity pack, flashcards and games One Third Story Boxes are the perfect introduction for little language learners. All stories start in English and end in Spanish, introducing vocabulary using the unique Clockwork Methodology™. (They are also available in French!)   Share the gift of binlingual reading with your kids! The Sol Book Box brings one beautifully illustrated hardcover book into your home each month. “Sol Book Box makes reading en español easy by bringing you a carefully curated Spanish or bilingual children’s book each month, sending you stories that celebrate bilingual/bicultural familias.”   If you’re looking for another option for bilingual children’s books, check out Booklandia. What I specifically love about Booklandia is that the service has subscriptions available for books from board books through young adult. It’s wonderful if you have children across a larger age span. Booklandia hand selects their books from Latin America, Spain and independent US publishers. Mexicrate features snacks

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photo of young girl in dia del muertos makeup and sombrero and image of naturally dyed wool yarn - evocative of Mexican culture