Books are a great way to learn about a country. They introduce you to new sights, new concepts, and new ideas. So why not learn about Mexico with your family by picking up a few kids books about Mexico?
There is a vast library of books about Mexico for kids available for you. You can find them at your local library, bookstore, or online shopping platform. It’s helpful to utilize these resources as you’re planning for your trip to Mexico. Plus, reading stories about Mexico can help your kids get excited about traveling to Mexico.
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It’s important to be intentional about which kids books about Mexico to read with your family. While authors like Tomie dePaola, Sarah Fabiny, and Silvia Lopez have written Mexican children’s stories set in Mexico or with Latinx characters, this list of Mexican children books specifically features kids books about Mexico either written by Mexican authors or illustrated by Mexican artists. This provides you with a distinctly Mexican perspective to the stories.
Additionally, this list of Mexican children’s books provides options for books across various reading levels, not just picture books. Kids as young as babies and as old as teenagers will have at least a couple choices for what to read about Mexico.
As you read through the list kids books about Mexico, think about what kinds of books about Mexico for kids might best suit your family, and then continue from there. Use this list as a starting point for exploring the breadth of books about Mexico available from Mexican authors and illustrators.
Going to Mexico soon? Check out our fun itinerary ideas.
It’s never too early to introduce your kids to the culture of Mexico with Mexican children’s stories. Even babies and toddlers can be exposed to the colors and imagery of Mexico and the sounds of the Spanish language with the use of Mexican baby books. Take a look at these board books about Mexico for kids.
As a new mom, Patty Rodriguez was frustrated by the lack of kids books about Mexico for babies. So she created her own! In Vámanos a Oaxaca, she and writer Ariana Stein introduce babies and toddlers to the colorful world of Mexico. This board book features colorful illustrations of the city, with words in both Spanish and English to describe what kids see in the pictures created by illustrator, Ana Godinez.
Young children will enjoy learning about shapes in this bilingual board book by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein called Cuauhtémoc. The book features color illustrations by Citlali Reyes of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, and its last Aztec emperor, Cuauhtémoc.
Like Rodriguez and Stein's other kids books about Mexico, kids have a chance to develop vocabulary. Children learn names of shapes in this Mexican read aloud while enjoying images of Aztec Mexico.
Introduce your toddlers to the colorful world of lucha libre with Lucha Libre, another one of the kids books about Mexico by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein. Lucha Libre uses this Mexican style of wrestling to teach words about various body parts, both in Spanish and English. This Mexican read aloud book is a great way to build Spanish vocabulary.
A fun way to celebrate Día de los Muertos and introduce the traditional Mexican holiday to your young child is with the board book, Día de los Muertos. Written by Hanna Eliot, Día de los Muertos is illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez, who co-wrote and directed the popular movie, The Book of Life. This book exposes children to the unique traditions surrounding Día de los Muertos.
At the early reader stage of elementary school (aged four to seven), books are about not only the images, but the story as well. These kids books about Mexico feature beautiful illustrations while also telling a compelling story.
In these Mexican children’s stories, kids can learn about Mexican history and explore Mexican culture. These picture books about Mexico will give your kids a chance to see the many aspects of Mexican life that make it unique and interesting.
Author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh has written many great kids books about Mexico. Danza, for example, is a story that focuses on the true story of Amalia Hernandez, a ballerina from Mexico who became the founder of El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico.
Duncan Tonatiuh incorporates Mixtec-inspired artwork into his story, which showcases the traditional dances of Mexico. Though most of his books have been written within the last decade, his stories have the feel of classic Mexican children's books.
Another one of the Mexican children books written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh is The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes. The story retells the myth of two volcanoes overlooking Mexico City: Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl.
Itza is a princess who falls in love with a warrior named Popoca. Her father allows her to marry Popoca if he defeats their enemy, Jaguar Claw. The combination of beautiful illustrations and appealing stories dives wonderfully into Aztec mythology for kids.
Another one of the beautiful books about Mexico for kids illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh is Child of the Flower Song People. Written by Gloria Amescua, this book tells the true story of a young Nahua girl named Luz Jimenez. In the early 1900’s, she became a model for artists like Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot, and Tina Modotti, who all wanted to highlight the indigenous face of Mexico in their art.
Kids are never too young to read biographies, and this book is the perfect balance of engaging story and beautiful artwork. Amescua describes the effects of colonization on indigenous culture in a way that’s relatable to children.
Mexican children's books should capture the vibrant culture of Mexico. Lucia the Luchadora, by Cynthia Leonora Garza introduces Mexico’s rich lucha libre tradition to young kids. Lucha libre is a form of wrestling in Mexico that involves masks, costumes, and boisterous matches.
Lucia the Luchadora centers around Lucia, who comes from a family of luchadores. It’s a fun story of empowerment and fighting for justice. And also a great example of entertaining books about Mexico for kids.
May Your Life Be Deliciosa is picture book written by Michael Genhart and illustrated by Loris Lora. It introduces children to Mexican cuisine. In particular, the book focuses on the tradition of making corn tamales for the holidays.
The story focuses on Rosie and her Abuela (grandmother), as they prepare tamales together. At the same time, Abuela also shares family stories with Rosie. It's one of the more touching kids books about Mexico in this list.
Paletas, traditional fruit popsicles, are a popular treat for children in Mexico. What Can You Do With A Paleta, written by Carmen Tafolla and illustrated by Magaly Morales, explores all the creative things children can do with a paleta. What a whimsical choice for kids books about Mexico!
As children read this story, they’re also introduced to the vibrant colors and the lively sites of a Mexican barrio (neighborhood). It’s a fun way for kids to learn about the culture of Mexico. Tafolla has written many books about Mexican culture, and this one captures the communal aspect of Mexico so well.
If you’re looking for bilingual Mexican fiction books to introduce your kids to Mexico, Chicano Jr.'s Mexican Adventure is a perfect fit. Written by Raul Jimenez and illustrated by Felipe Vasconcelos, this book follows the story of Chicano Jr., a Mexican-American boy who is traveling to Mexico for the first time.
The book is filled with fun illustrations. And the story is written in both English and Spanish, so kids can be exposed to the sounds of the Spanish language, and maybe even learn some basic Spanish phrases too!
Chicano Jr.’s Mexican Adventure is part of a two-part series of books about Mexico for kids. The second book in these kids books about Mexico series is Chicano Jr.’s Day of the Dead Adventure, when Chicano Jr. returns to Mexico to celebrate Day of the Dead.
Another great language learning option for kids books about Mexico is Todos A Comer: A Mexican Food Alphabet Book, by Dr. Ma. Alma Gonzalez Perez. This bilingual alphabet book introduces children to the different dishes of Mexico. Each letter highlights one type of food, with colorful photos and descriptive information in both English and Spanish.
Author and illustrator, Yuyi Morales has written several great books about Mexico for kids. In Viva Frida, Morales describes the life of famous Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, in this colorful biography for kids. The book is bilingual, giving kids an opportunity to learn simple Spanish words while reading about an icon of Mexican art.
Another one of the fun Mexican kids books by Yuyi Morales is Just a Minute. This story tells the tale of a grandmother who charms Death. Kids will enjoy practicing their numbers in Spanish as they read this book. Morales has a unique way of creating Mexican story books that are visually appealing.
For middle grade readers who range from late elementary school and into middle school (aged eight to thirteen), the kids books about Mexico featured in this list are all about building worlds and taking the reader on an adventure.
These Mexican children’s stories tend to be more complex and delve into heavier themes. The chapter books about Mexico for kids featured in this list present various aspects of Mexican culture that kids can explore.
Mexican culture is full of magic and the supernatural. In Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls, Mexican-American author Kaela Rivera dives into the magical side of Mexican culture to tell the story of Cecilia Rios.
On a quest to rescue her sister, Cecilia must tap into the magical forces within herself to succeed. Kids will enjoy reading about Mexican folklore in this engaging book. It's a great example of middle grade kids books about Mexico.
Children who love mysteries will enjoy reading Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring by Angela Cervantes, an engaging option for middle grade books set in Mexico. Paloma Márquez is visiting Mexico City for the first time and meets Lizzie and Gael, siblings who offer her a mystery: find a ring that once belonged to Frida Khalo!
Mystery lovers will enjoy the suspense and adventure, interwoven amidst the facts about Mexico and Frida Khalo. For kids who are more familiar with the Spanish language and want more challenge in their kids books about Mexico, they can also pick up the Spanish edition of this book.
Rick Riordan fans will enjoy this Rick Riordan Presents book, The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes. The story centers around Zane, a boy who loves exploring a dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico. When a new girl at school named Brooks tells Zane that he’s destined to release an evil ancient Maya god from the volcano, he and Brooks work together to save the world.
Like many Rick Riordan Presents books, The Storm Runner is based on ancient mythology. This book focuses on Maya mythology. It’s a great way to introduce kids to Mayan culture and history, amidst a thrilling and exciting story.
The Storm Runner is the first book in a series of three books about Mexico for kids written by Cervantes. The other two books in the series are The Fire Keeper and Shadow Crosser. Both of these kids books about Mexico also feature Mayan mythology.
For kids who enjoy a little magic in their kids books about Mexico, Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano is a perfect combination of wonder, humor, and tenderness. Leonora Logroño finds out that the women in her family descend from a long line of witches, who imbue magic into everything they bake at their family’s bakery. Leo longs to join them in their magic, and enlists the help of her best friend to try out a spell, but things don’t turn out quite as she expects.
Love Sugar Magic is a charming book about growing up, mixed with cultural vignettes into the life of a Mexican-American family. Though the story doesn’t take place in Mexico, there is so much information about Mexican culture that kids can learn while enjoying this story. You can also check out the other two books in the series, Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits and Love Sugar Magic: A Mixture of Mischief.
Award-winning author Pam Muños Ryan has written several kids books about Mexico to honor her Mexican heritage. In Esperanza Rising, kids get a glimpse into what life was like as a Mexican immigrant in California during the Great Depression. Esperanza comes from a wealthy ranch family in Mexico, who always had everything available to her. But when tragedy forces her family to leave Mexico to work on a farm labor camp in California, her life changes dramatically.
Esperanza Rising tells the story of immigration and assimilation in a relatable way for kids, and provides a glimpse into what life was like in Mexico and southern United States during the early 1920’s. This book is also available in Spanish edition and has received an Amazon review of five stars.
Another one of the kids books about Mexico by Pam Muños Ryan that kids can enjoy is Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs. This fantasy book tells the story of Solimar, a young princess who is tasked with protecting the monarch butterflies of Mexico and her kingdom.
Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs is one of the new releases by Pam Muños Ryan available in hardback in February 2022. The Kindle version is already available on Amazon.
Lovers of magic-based kids books about Mexico will enjoy The Wild Book by Mexican author, Juan Villoro and translated into English by Lawrence Schimel. It's a story about books that magically come to life. Thirteen-year-old Juan is sent to live with his bizarre Uncle Tito for the summer. But Juan soon discovers that Uncle Tito has a special gift with books, and needs Juan’s help to get the elusive Wild Book.
Lovers of mythology will enjoy The Sea-Ringed World, an anthology of indigenous mythology from North and South America by Maria Garcia Esperin and illustrated by Amanda Mijangos. Of all the kids books about Mexico featured in this list, The Sea-Ringed World offers a window into traditional Mexican children's stories and other indigenous stories from around the Americas.
The stories span beyond indigenous Aztec myths. But at the same time, kids will find common themes across the many stories. This book on indigenous and Mexican culture for kids is also available in Spanish edition (https://amzn.to/3HPqk9t).
For kids interested in non-fiction kids books about Mexico, Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide is a great choice. This graphic biography written by Isabel Quintero and illustrated by Zeke Peña follows the life of Mexican photographer, Graciela Iturbide.
Graciela Iturbide’s story of using photography to overcome tragedy will certainly inspire budding photographers. But the images of contemporary Mexican culture will also give kids a glimpse into what life is like in Mexico.
By the time kids reach high school age (age fourteen to eighteen), the books they read tend to be the same books that adults read. The two books featured in this part of the list aren't technically kids books about Mexico, but they do focus on providing high school and young adult readers historical context into Mexico.
History is often written by academics interpreting artifacts from the lens of their own cultural paradigms. However, in The Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs, author Camilla Townsend, translates and presents the history of the Aztecs, as it was written by Aztecs themselves.
For high school students and young adults who want to gain an indigenous perspective of Mexican history, The Fifth Sun is a great introductory book. Townsend’s writing is straightforward and direct, making Mexico history book easy and engaging to read.
The Hummingbird’s Daughter is a historical novel by Luis Alberto Urrea. It tells the story of Teresita, the 16-year-old illegitimate daughter of a wealthy and powerful Mexican rancher.
Teresita eventually becomes the Saint of Cabora. The Hummingbird’s Daughter follows her journey through sainthood, and the trials she must endure.
Delve deeper into the rich culture of Mexico here.
Mexican culture is complex and deep. It’s impossible to understand it all just from these kids books about Mexico. But it’s a good starting point!
One of the many beautiful things about travel is that it opens you up to so many new experiences and opportunities. But if you come into travel without doing a little bit of prep and research, you might risk missing out on a world of opportunities.
Use these kids books about Mexico as a means to cultivate an appreciation for Mexican culture. As you read the books on this list, take some time to discuss with your kids what aspects of Mexican culture they liked and disliked in the book. This can eventually open up to more cultural discussions in the future.
If you're interested in challenging yourself more, the Mexican government has a list of Mexican school textbooks that are available online for free. You can use these kids books about Mexico to teach yourself and your kids Spanish before coming to Mexico.
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