Books to Celebrate National Literacy Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month


To celebrate National Literacy Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked our team to share some of their favorite books by talented Latina/o/x authors. Check out some of these recommended reads for various age ranges and spanning various genres that entertain, inspire and educate through their storytelling. Thank you to our SEAL team members for sharing your treasured books!

Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña

Summary: “When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true–she’s finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish.”

Reading level: 3 – 6 years old 

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

Summary: “Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valparaíso, Chile, by the well-intentioned Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her more rigid brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquín Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of Northern California. By 1849, Chileans of every stripe have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaquín takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune, and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him.”

Reading level: Adult

De Colores and other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children by José-Luis Orozco

Summary: “Bursting with color and spirit, this collection of Latin-American songs is a tribute to Latino culture. From traditional tunes to rhymes and hand games, De Colores has songs for all occasions and moods. Each song is accompanied by simple musical arrangements, with lyrics in both English and Spanish. Slightly abridged from the original edition, this is ideal for classroom use, multicultural studies, or just plain fun.”

Reading level: 4 – 8 years old

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Summary: “This lovingly-illustrated picture book memoir looks at the myriad gifts migrantes bring with them when they leave their homes. It’s a story about family. And it’s a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own strengths wherever we roam. Beautiful and powerful at any time but given particular urgency as the status of our own Dreamers becomes uncertain, this is a story that is both topical and timeless.”

Reading level: 3 – 8 years old 

I am René, the Boy by René ColatoLaínez

Summary: “Complimented by playful illustrations, this bilingual picture book follows Colato Laínez’s own experiences, when he was faced with a challenge to his own name as a child. This witty story about a young boy’s odyssey to find out the meaning of his name will challenge readers aged 3 to 7 to chart cross-cultural differences by gaining an understanding about themselves and the people around them.”

Reading level: 5 – 8 years old

Rain of Gold by Victor Villaseñor

Summary: “This is the Hispanic Roots, an all-American story of poverty, immigration, struggle and success. It focuses on three generations of Villaseñor’s kin, their spiritual and cultural roots in Mexico, their immigration to California and their overcoming the poverty, prejudice and economic exploitation. It is the warm-hearted, humorous and tragic, true story of the wily, wary, persevering forebears of Villaseñor.”

Reading level: Adult

René has Two Last Names by René Colato Laínez

Summary: “This charming bilingual picture book for children ages 4 – 8 combines the winning team of author René Colato Laínez and illustrator Fabiola Graullera Ramirez, and follows their award-winning collaboration, I Am René, the Boy / Soy René, el nino. With whimsical illustrations and entertaining text, this sequel is sure to please fans and gain many new ones while explaining an important Hispanic cultural tradition.”

Reading level: 5 – 6 years old 

Saturday Sancocho by Leyla Torres

Summary: “Every Saturday, Maria Lili looks forward to making chicken sancocho with her grandparents Mama Ana and Papa Angelino. But one Saturday they discover that there is nothing in the house except eggs, and Maria Lili wonders how they will ever be able to have their sancocho.”

Reading level: 4 – 8 years old

Books to Celebrate National Literacy Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month2023-09-14T17:52:47-07:00

Blog: Starting Early: Building Strong Partnerships with Multilingual Families in Kindergarten


In the dynamic landscape of modern education, the significance of fostering inclusivity and embracing linguistic diversity cannot be overstated. Sahira Larios, a dedicated kindergarten teacher and SEAL partner in the bilingual Spanish-English program at Oak Grove School District, has become a beacon of inspiration in this regard.

Learn more about how she builds strong partnerships with multilingual families in this enlightening New America blog post authored by SEAL’s Research & Evaluation Manager, Camille R. Whitney.


We delve into Sahira’s remarkable approach to teaching, as she shares her insights on supporting multilingual learners and nurturing collaborative relationships with families to amplify student engagement and language development. Join us as we explore Sahira’s unique perspective and glean wisdom from her experience, illuminating a path for educators and policymakers to enrich the educational journey of every multilingual student.

“I became a bilingual teacher because of my own positive experiences as a student in a bilingual program from kindergarten to third grade. My parents, who immigrated from Mexico, always encouraged me and my three sisters to speak Spanish at home because they wanted us to keep our connection to our roots in Mexico while also learning new things in the U.S. When I became a teacher I really wanted to reinforce in my students that they come with a lot of assets from their hometowns and countries, and help them integrate that part of themselves in the classroom.”

Blog: Starting Early: Building Strong Partnerships with Multilingual Families in Kindergarten2023-08-23T15:52:43-07:00

Podcast: Promoting Bilingual Education and Supporting English Learners


At SEAL, we work to uplift the needs of English Learners and Dual Language Learners. Our program manager Patricia recently discussed SEAL’s approach and the importance of bilingual education in the “More Than A Test” podcast hosted by Laura Glaab, VP of Customer Engagement and Strategic Initiatives at Amira Learning.

>>Listen to the full podcast to learn more about SEAL’s work and how we can all do our part to better support English language learners.

During the podcast, Patricia explained how SEAL provides professional development, resources and coaching to help teachers implement strategies that support English Learners and Dual Language Learners. This includes focusing on oral language development, providing scaffolds and visual supports, and incorporating students’ home languages.

While bilingual programs have been shown to benefit students the most, Patricia stressed that even in English-only settings, teachers can nurture students’ home languages and partner with families. She also highlighted the need for multilingual resources and authentic texts in students’ native languages.

The conversation also touched on advocacy efforts to ensure that the science of reading movement considers the needs of English Learners. Patricia emphasized the importance of having educators who believe in the potential of multilingual students and the value they bring to the classroom.

Podcast: Promoting Bilingual Education and Supporting English Learners2023-07-28T13:56:20-07:00
Go to Top