Celebrating Hispanic Heritage: A Legacy in Children’s Literature
Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month! Come check out the Reinberger Children’s Library Center’s new exhibit “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage: A Legacy in Children’s Literature” on the third floor of Kent State University Libraries.
Curated by Graduate Assistants Brittany Hujar and Julia Stone, this exhibit showcases notable books and artwork by Hispanic authors and illustrators.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) celebrates the contributions, cultures, and histories of Hispanic Americans. Hispanic Heritage Month has been celebrated since 1988.
September 15 is the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile, and Belize also celebrate their independence during Hispanic Heritage Month.
Photos of the Display
The Authors & Illustrators
The works in our display were selected from the Reinberger Children’s Library and the Marantz Picturebook Collection. Learn about some of the talented Hispanic authors and illustrators whose works are included in the exhibit.
David Díaz, Illustrator
David Díaz is a children’s book illustrator and graphic designer. In 1995, Díaz won the Caldecott Medal for Smoky Night, a children’s book based on Los Angeles street riots written by Eve Bunting. In total, he has illustrated more than 50 children’s books. Díaz is known for his gouache paintings framed by bold borders and intricate photographic collages, but he has expanded his artistic horizon through experimenting with a variety of media during his career.
In Shadow Story by Nancy Willard, Díaz combined renderings in vegetable dyes, gouache, and pencil with illustrations he made with Adobe Photoshop. He also created computer art in The Pot that Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Goebel and soft pastel images in Angel Face by Sarah Weeks. Other notable books illustrated by Díaz include Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull and Going Home by Eve Bunting.
Lulu Delacre, Author & Illustrator
Lulu Delacre, who was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, has written and illustrated many award-winning bilingual children’s books that celebrate the traditions and folklore of her childhood. Arrorró, mi Niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games is bilingual collection of traditional Latino lullabies and baby games from Spanish-speaking countries. This book, which won the Pura Belpré medal in 2006, includes musical compositions and watercolor illustrations.
Other award-winning works by Delacre include Vejigantes Masquerader, The Bossy Gallito, and The Storyteller’s Candle: La velita de los cuentos. In addition to writing and illustrating children’s books, Delacre visits schools across the United States and abroad, reading and sharing her books with children.
Pam Muñoz Ryan, Author
Pam Muñoz Ryan is an award-winning author for children and young adults. Muñoz Ryan is half-Mexican, and many of her works reflect her Mexican heritage. Before becoming an author, she worked as a bilingual teacher in Escondido. Her first children’s book, One Hundred is a Family, was published in 1994. Muñoz Ryan is the author of Echo, a Newbery Honor book and the recipient of the Kirkus Prize.
Muñoz Ryan has written more than 40 children’s and YA books, including Becoming Naomi León and The Dreamer. Her novel, Esperanza Rising, was commissioned as a play by the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre, and has been performed in many theaters across the United States. Muñoz Ryan was the author recipient of the National Education Association’s Civil and Human Rights Award. In addition, she has won the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for Multicultural Literature and two Pura Belpré Medals.
Rafael López, Illustrator
Rafael López is an award-winning illustrator who was born and raised in Mexico City. In 2017, López was awarded the Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators, New York Original Art show for his work on Bravo! Poems about Amazing Hispanics. López also won the 2016 Pura Belpré medal for his illustrations for Drum Dream Girl and the 2010 Pura Belpré medal for Book Fiesta.
He illustrated the American Library Association Latino Heritage Festival poster in 2019, and in 2012, he was selected by the Library of Congress to create the National Book Festival poster. His impactful community work with large-scale murals is the subject of the children’s book Maybe Something Beautiful by Isabel Campoy.
Xavier Garza, Author & Illustrator
Xavier Garza is a prolific author, artist, and lucha libre aficionado. He is also a professor of art at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio. Garza’s second bilingual lucha libre story, Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel, was chosen as a 2012 Pura Belpré Author Honor book by the American Library Association. The story focuses on an 11-year-old named Max whose summer vacation becomes as action-packed as his favorite lucha libre movies.
The sequel, Maximilian and the Bingo Rematch, was awarded the 2014 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Young Adult Book Award and the 2014 Texas Institute of Letters Children’s Book Award. Garza’s stories have also been featured in several periodicals, including El Mañana, The Monitor, Mesquite Review, and the Milwaukee Spanish Journal.