In this post: Celebrate your Hispanic heritage with this round-up of inspirational, kid-friendly biographies about famous Latinos throughout history.

Whether you’re learning Spanish alongside your child or are looking for ways to keep your Hispanic heritage alive at home, learning about important Hispanic and Latino figures throughout history is a must.

kid friendly biographies latinos

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Especially for Latino kids, learning about famous Latinos throughout history has benefits like connecting with their heritage and feeling empowered. Representation is huge, too—it helps kids to identify with these influential men and women and see that they also can do great things.

From board books for toddlers to biography collections for older kids, there are many kid-friendly biographies about famous Latinos that are both inspiring and engaging for young readers.

Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it in this list of inspiring and empowering Hispanic heritage biographies your kids will love!

Kid-Friendly Biographies about Famous Latinos

Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People / Poeta del pueblo by Monica Brown

Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) began publishing his poems at the age of 16. With beautiful illustrations, this English-Spanish bilingual biography tells the inspiring story of this Nobel Prize-winning poet.

My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/la vida de Celia Cruz by Monica Brown

Celia Cruz (1925-2003) began her career as a singer in her home country of Cuba. Known for bringing salsa music to the United States, Cruz became known as the “Queen of Salsa.”

Tito Puente: Mambo King / Rey del Mambo by Monica Brown

The son of Puerto Rican parents, Tito Puente (1923-2000) was born in New York City and grew up in Spanish Harlem. He was a musician and record producer known as “The Mambo King” for helping to popularize mambo, a type of Cuban dance music, in the US.

The Story of Frida Kahlo: A Biography Book for New Readers by Susan B. Katz

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) was a Mexican painter who is now celebrated around the world for her artwork. Her biography also tells an inspiring story of Kahlo’s strength in overcoming life’s difficulties.

This book makes a great addition to our unit on Frida Kahlo for Hispanic Heritage Month in the Seasonal Bundle.

My Name is Gabito / Me llamo Gabito: The Life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Monica Brown

Nobel Prize-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014) was one of the most important authors of the last century. This biography incorporates the magical realism of Marquez’ novels to tell the story of his childhood, life, and career.

My Name Is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela by Monica Brown

Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) was a Chilean poet and teacher and the first Latina woman in the world to win the Nobel Prize. Her inspiring story is told poetically in this biography and will teach children about the power of words.

Pele, King of Soccer/Pele, El Rey del fútbol by Monica Brown

Brazilian soccer player Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also known as Pelé (1940-2022), is considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time. He set a world record by becoming the first person to score 1,000 goals.

A Picture Book of Cesar Chavez by David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler

Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) was a Mexican-American civil rights leader who fought for the rights of farm workers. This biography will inspire children to stand up for what they believe in.

Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren

Born in New Mexico, Dolores Huerta (born 1930) is a civil rights activist and leader who has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of migrant workers, immigrants, and women.

Side by Side/Lado a lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez/La historia de Dolores Huerta y Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown

This biography of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta shows how the childhood experiences of these important leaders led to them teaming up to help workers stand up for their rights. It’s an inspirational story of what we can accomplish together.

Pasando páginas: La historia de mi vida by Sonia Sotomayer

Sonia Sotomayer (born 1954) made history as the first Latina and Hispanic person to serve on the US Supreme Court. In this autobiographical picture book, she shares how reading helped her to connect to her Puerto Rican family and follow her dreams.

Also available in English: Turning Pages: My Life Story

Una Niña Un Tambor Un Sueño by Margarita Engle

When Millo Castro Zaldarriaga (born 1922) was growing up in Cuba, she was told that girls can’t be drummers. Breaking this taboo, she followed her dreams and opened up doors for future female drummers in Cuba.

Also available in English: Drum Dream Girl

Una niña llamada Rosita: La Historia de Rita Moreno: iActriz, Cantante, Bailarina, Pionera! by Anika Aldamuy Denise

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York, Rita Moreno (born 1931) is an actress, dancer, and singer. She overcame challenges to become one of only six women to be awarded the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards (EGOT).

Also available in English: A Girl Named Rosita

Queen of Tejano Music: Selena by Silvia López

Born in Texas and named the “Queen of Tejano Music,” Selena Quintanilla Pérez, known as Selena (1971-1995), helped to bring this fusion of US and Mexican musical styles to the mainstream.

Messi: A Boy Who Became A Star by Steve Herman

Lionel Messi (born 1987) is an Argentine soccer player who overcame health struggles as a child but is now known as one of the best soccer players in history. This biography is an inspiring story for kids who love sports.

Hispanic Star en español: Roberto Clemente by Claudia Romo Edelman and Sara E. Echenique

Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Celemente (1934-1972) made history as the first Latin American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Baseball fans will be inspired to learn about his upbringing and how he opened doors for future Latin American athletes.

Also available in English: Hispanic Star: Roberto Clemente

Sembrando historias: Pura Belpré: bibliotecaria y narradora de cuentos by Anika Aldamuy Denise

Pura Belpré (1899-1982) was a writer, storyteller, and the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City. She helped to preserve Puerto Rican folktales and championed the idea of bilingual literature by telling stories in English and Spanish.

Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories

Learn more about Pura Belpré in this biography, with beautiful illustrations and bits of Spanish to tell her story. This is a great option for those who are new to learning Spanish!

Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown

Julio C. Tello (1880-1947) was a Peruvian archaeologist and the first Indigenous archaeologist in South America. Nicknamed Sharuko, meaning “brave,” Tello turned his childhood interest into a career, helping to discover and preserve Peru’s history and culture.

Related post: Top 25 Famous Hispanic and Latino Artists You Should Know

Related post: Hispanic Heritage Month Children’s Books

Latino Biography Collections for Kids

Fearless Trailblazers: 11 Latinos who made U.S. History by Naibe Reynoso

Your kids will be inspired by these eleven Latinos who made history in the US, from activist Cesar Chavez to astronaut Jose Hernandez. This collection engages young readers with short, rhyming biographies written in both English and Spanish!

Latin Americans in History: 15 Inspiring Latinas and Latinos You Should Know by Monica Olivera

This collection is perfect for older elementary schoolers and middle schoolers who want to learn about the lives of important Latina and Latino figures. Read inspiring stories of politicians, artists, soldiers, pop stars, and more!

Be Bold! Be Brave! 11 Latinas who made U.S History by Naibe Reynoso

Learn about Latina women who made history in the US in this bilingual biography collection for younger readers. Short rhyming verses and illustrations make this a great choice for younger kids.

Courageous History Makers: 11 Women from Latin America Who Changed the World by Naibe Reynoso

With simple rhyming verses, this biography collection tells the stories of influential Latina women like Frida Kahlo and Rigoberta Menchu.

Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers by Juliet Menéndez

There’s no shortage of inspiration in this collection about Latina women who made history! These stories show the small steps that can lead to big things, and are great for younger readers and big kids alike.

Grandes Dreamers: Twelve Fierce Latina Trailblazers Who Paved The Way in the United States by Argelia Atilano

A celebration of diversity and biculturalism, this bilingual English-Spanish biography collection tells the stories of Latin-American women who made history and shaped Latinx and US communities.

Related post: 15 Famous Latinas in History

Popular Children’s Latino Biography Series

Who was / Who is / ¿Quién fue? / ¿Quién es?

For kids who love the Who Was? and Who Is? books, you can find English and Spanish editions of biographies of famous Latinos. Here are just a few titles available in Spanish:

Hispanic Star Series

The Hispanic Star series is another great option if your kids want to learn about famous Latinos throughout history and present day, from Celia Cruz and Roberto Clemente to Selena Gomez.

Lil Libros Series

These bilingual board books are the perfect way to introduce toddlers to English and Spanish vocabulary while learning about Latin American figures and culture.

Related post: 20 Classic Folk Songs in Spanish

Llamitas Spanish Curriculum

Llamitas Spanish curriculum box

If you’re looking for more ways to teach your children about Hispanic culture, our Llamitas Spanish Curriculum has you covered! This authentic Spanish curriculum for the early years includes poetry, songs, literature, and art that is rooted in Hispanic culture.

This is a full-year, done-for-you Spanish curriculum for the early years. It’s perfect for bilingual families as well as those with no prior Spanish skills. You can even learn alongside your child!

If you need support in keeping your native language and heritage alive, our open and go program does all of the work for you.

Llamitas Spanish curriculum mockup including the textbook and curriculum box