30 Inspiring Latina/Latinos Who Have Shaped The United States
By: Sabrina Vourvoulias
Illustrated by: Gloria Felix
Published: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Running Press Kids
In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m super excited to share this wonderful book with you. I love these types of compilation books that feature people that kids can look up to and learn about history at the same time. There were so many people featured in this book that I didn’t know anything about, while others were at the forefront of my mind when I am thinking of influential Latino/Latinas.
An obvious Latina that came to my mind was Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice. She was born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents. Her grandmother inspired her to stand up for her beliefs and that determination spurred her on to the Supreme Court. She grew up with type 1 diabetes, learning early in life to manage her insulin. She pursued her dream of becoming an attorney, creating an extensive history of court cases. Her time as a federal judge and now a Supreme Court justice has left a paper trail of ground-breaking cases and decisions to her credit. Justice Sotomayor is also a children’s author and has appeared several times on Sesame Street.
Each bio features a full-page illustrated photo of the person with two to three pages of history and their current influence in America. Those featured include physicist Luis Walter Alvarez, baseball player Roberto Clemente, and educator Jaime Escalante whose past influence has left a legacy. Other living Latina/Latinos include Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez, actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, and astronaut Ellen Ochoa just to name a few. There are features from various careers and interests to offer inspiration to kids with all kinds of dreams.
This book is top-notch with heavy paper and bright, vivid colors reminiscent of the Latino culture. Every school should have a copy and is a must for teachers in elementary and middle schools, especially those that teach history or Latino culture. With thirty biographies, they could share one a day for a month. I’ll be sharing my copy with our Spanish teachers to use in the classroom.
The Smithsonian Institution’s Latino Center has supported ongoing research, education, and publications that interpret the Latino experience in the United States. They were thrilled to partner with Running Press in sharing these inspiring stories.
Sabrina Vourvoulias is an award-winning Latina news editor, writer, and digital storyteller. An American citizen from birth, she grew up in Guatemala during the armed internal conflict and moved to the United States when she was fifteen. Her journalism and editing have garnered many awards. In addition to publishing short fiction and poetry, she is also the author of INK, which was named to Latinidad’s Best Books of 2012. She lives in Pennsylvania.
Gloria Felix was born and raised in Uruapan, a beautiful small city in Michoacan, Mexico, one of her biggest inspirations when it comes to art. Her favorite things to do growing up were drawing, watching cartoons, and eating, which are still some of her favorite things to do. Currently, she lives and paints in Los Angeles.
To purchase a copy of NUESTRA AMERICA, click the photo below: