Tell me about a chapter book for kids set in Mexico?
November 4, 2010 8:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good children's chapter book set in Mexico. I don't know if one exists, but I sure hope so.

I have a colleague who is reading books from different continents to her 1st grade students. For North America we've had no problem finding books set in the U.S., and even in Canada, but I can't find anything for her to read her kids that is in Mexico. I've got a large number of picture books about Mexican-Americans, set in the U.S., about migrant farm workers, Cesar Chavez. What I want here is something different, more like what life is like in general for people in Mexico, especially middle class or rich, just to contrast with the rest of the information these kids are getting.

The book needs to be in English, but whether it's been translated or written originally in English is not a big deal. If it's written by someone who lives in Mexico, that would be a bonus.

If you know of any place where I could search for books by country they're set in, I'd love that too (my colleague will be moving on to other continents later, some of which I have only one book to recommend for them).
posted by Margalo Epps to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a list of juvenile fiction that has something to do with Mexico and that's in English.

Some of these will be for older or younger kids, but a few that might work:

Erandi's Braids
Where Fireflies Dance
Today Is the Day
Tino Turtle Travels to Mexico City

Hope this helps!
posted by bluedaisy at 8:35 PM on November 4, 2010

This could be a good resource - the Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature - "The Américas Award is given in recognition of U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected non-fiction (from picture books to works for young adults) published in the previous year in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States."
posted by purlgurly at 8:49 PM on November 4, 2010

Ooh - this one sounds good - Esperanza Rising - "Twelve-year-old Esperanza leads a privileged life as the only child in a prominent family living in Mexico in the 1930s. But when her father dies, she experiences a drastic change of fortune, and she and her mother must eke out a living by going north to California as migrant workers. More than a mere riches-to-rags story, Pam Muñoz Ryan skillfully weaves history and social issues into a compelling story based on the author’s grandmother’s childhood."
posted by purlgurly at 8:54 PM on November 4, 2010

Oops...I missed the fact that this is for first-grade students...
posted by purlgurly at 8:55 PM on November 4, 2010

Yeah, Esperanza Rising is what first came to mind, along with the author (Pam Munoz Ryan)'s other masterpiece, Becoming Naomi Leon. Both books are fabulous but would be tough for 1st graders, even as readalouds.
posted by carterk at 9:20 PM on November 4, 2010

What a cool thing to do!

It's not chapter books, but check out the publisher Kane/Miller. They import picture books from around the world; you can browse by country of origin.

The Canadian publisher Groundwood Books is also good for this sort of thing, although it's hard to tell from their website which titles are imported.
posted by the_blizz at 9:26 PM on November 4, 2010

Esperanza Rising takes place almost exclusively in migrant labor camps in California.
posted by serazin at 9:47 PM on November 4, 2010

Response by poster: I'm really trying to avoid both picture books and books that are primarily set in the U.S. Thanks for the site suggestions, I think those will help.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:51 AM on November 5, 2010

Nacho and Lolita by Pam Munoz Ryan.

It is categorized as a picture book but it is 40 pages long and SLJ recommended it for grades 1-4.
posted by morganannie at 8:41 AM on November 5, 2010

Part of the reason this is hard is because chapter books aren't really categorized as such. I did some more searches in Amazon and WorldCat and came up with this one:

Mystery in Mexico

I also looked through the Magic Treehouse series, but I don't think any of them are set in Mexico either.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:13 AM on November 5, 2010

Not sure if they'd be totally politically incorrect or outdated but weren't there a couple Nancy Drew books set in Mexico?? I LOVED those when I was in grade 1!!
posted by custard heart at 5:15 PM on November 5, 2010

« Older Rudimentary bibliography suggestions from The Hive...   |   How do I find English as a Second Language Funding... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.