Cultural Exploration: Mexico

The country of Mexico has a rich and extensive cultural history. Learn about its traditions and customs with fiction and non-fiction titles featuring Mexican and Mexican-American characters.

Picture Books

Just in case by Yuyi Morales

As Senor Calavera prepares for Grandma Beetle's birthday he finds an alphabetical assortment of unusual presents, but with the help of Zelmiro the Ghost, he finds the best gift of all.

Mango, Abuela, and me by Meg Medina

When Mia's Abuela comes to live with Mia and her family, she helps her learn English while Mia learns Spanish, both with the help of a parrot named Mango.

My abuelita by Tony Johnston

With great gusto, a child's grandmother performs deep knee bends, consumes a breakfast of "huevos estrellados," and practices vocal exercises before going to work as a storyteller.

Niño wrestles the world by Yuyi Morales

Lucha Libre champion Niño has no trouble fending off monstrous opponents, but when his little sisters awaken from their naps, he is in for a no-holds-barred wrestling match that will truly test his skills.

The quiet place by Sarah Stewart

A little girl moves to the United States from Mexico with her family and writes letters to her aunt in Mexico about her new life.

Too many tamales by Gary Soto

Maria tries on her mother's wedding ring while helping make tamales for a Christmas family get together, but panic ensues when hours later, she realizes the ring is missing.

A spunky, young Mexican American girl explains the many uses of her mother's red rebozo, or long scarf.

Chapter Books

A collection of short stories focusing on the everyday adventures of Hispanic young people growing up in Fresno, California..

Dancing home by Alma Flor Ada

When Margie's cousin Lupe comes from Mexico to live in California with Margie's family, Lupe must adapt to America, while Margie, who thought it would be fun to have her cousin there, finds that she is embarrassed by her in school and jealous of her at home.

Esperanza rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

Return to sender by Julia Alvarez

After his family hires migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure, eleven-year-old Tyler befriends the oldest daughter, but when he discovers they may not be in the country legally, he realizes that real friendship knows no borders.

Stef Soto, taco queen by Jennifer Torres

"Mexican-American Stef Soto is hoping to break free from her overprotective parents and embarrassing reputation from her family's taco truck business, but she soon learns that family, friendship, and the taco truck are important and wonderful parts of her life"--.

Summer of the mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

In an adventure reminiscent of Homer's Odyssey, fifteen-year-old Odilia and her four younger sisters embark on a journey to return a dead man to his family in Mexico, aided by La Llorona, but impeded by a witch, a warlock, chupacabras, and more.


Breaking through by Francisco Jiménez

Having come from Mexico to California ten years ago, fourteen-year-old Francisco is still working in the fields but fighting to improve his life and complete his education.

Describes how the blending of native Mexican and Spanish traditions, beliefs, and rituals has resulted in many of the lively and colorful festivals celebrated in Mexico today.

Día de los muertos by Roseanne Thong

"It's Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and children throughout the pueblo, or town, are getting ready to celebrate! They decorate with colored streamers, calaveras, or sugar skulls, and pan de muertos, or bread of the dead. There are altars draped in cloth and covered in marigolds and twinkling candles. Music fills the streets. Join the fun and festivities, learn about a different cultural tradition, and brush up on your Spanish vocabulary, as the town honors their dearly departed in a traditional, time-honored style."

"Using the alphabet, Mexico is introduced in this picture book using poetry and detailed expository text. A through Z topics include: adobe, Diego Rivera, Lady of Guadalupe, lava, prickly pear, and skeleton"--Provided by publisher.

"A photo-illustrated book about the Aztec Eagles, Mexico's World War II Air Force squadron interwoven with the story of Sergeant Angel Bocanegra, whose service was rewarded with the building of a school in his village. Includes glossary, author's note, and author's sources"--Provided by publisher.

"Years before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez, an eight-year-old girl of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, played an instrumental role in Mendez v. Westminster, the landmark desegregation case of 1946 in California"--.


Offers insight into the life and artwork of the famous Mexican painter and muralist and follows his career, looking at his influences, and tracing the evolution of his style.

Fueled by her own contact with migrant farm workers, most of them Mexican immigrants, Dolores became an outspoken activist and organizer. At the time, these workers had virtually no access to the system of labor laws and conditions under which they lived and worked. When she founded the United Farm Workers in 1962 with legendary Mexican American labor leader Cesar Chavez, it became a seminal moment in U.S. labor history. This brave and resourceful leader in the struggle for human rights also worked toward improving the lives of workers, voters, immigrants, and women.

In my family = en me familia by Carmen Lomas Garza

The author describes, in bilingual text and illustrations, her experiences growing up in an Hispanic community in Texas..

Bilingual text, accompanied by colorful photographs, explores the famous artist's life, and illuminates the laughter, love, and tragedy that influenced her work.

Who was Cesar Chavez? by Dana Meachen Rau

Presents an account of the life of the Mexican American labor activist who helped organize the migrant farm workers and establish a union to fight for their rights.

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