A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
These biographical entries about various famous Hispanic figures will teach readers about many important Latinos throughout history from all walks of life. There are plenty of historical facts for young readers to memorize, and the essays will convey the significant contribution Hispanic Americans have made to all sorts of fields.
The book emphasizes the accomplishments of Hispanic Americans and stresses that even though Latinos are often marginalized and discriminated against, they still have risen to play a powerful role in all aspects of American history and culture.
Positive Role Models
All 19 Hispanic Americans included in the book are positive role models for children (and adults). They all are pioneers, leaders, and historically significant figures in their fields, which include the hard sciences, entertainment, sports, politics, the military, arts and letters, and so on.
Violence & Scariness
No violence in the story, but there are references to wars some of the featured Hispanic heroes lived through, protested, or were involved in. There also is a mention of how Roberto Clemente's plane disappeared (but no explicit talk of a plane crash or the specifics of his death).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes, by Juan Felipe Herrera, California's poet laureate, is a celebration of pioneering Latinos who've helped shape their various fields from the arts and sciences to athletics and public service. A full-page portrait by illustrator Raúl Colón accompanies a three-page biography of each subject, from Spanish explorer Bernardo de Gálvez and poet Julia De Burgos to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and baseball legend Roberto Clemente -- and 15 other famous Latinos. The entries provide an easy-to-read sketch of each person's life, while sparking curiosity in readers interested in the fields in which each figure excelled, whether it was physics or the big screen. Herrera won the American Library Association's 2015 Pura Bulpre Honor for authors whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience.
Is It Any Good?
Mainstream America may not have known these pioneers’ names, but now young kids can celebrate them in this lovely picture book that's full of 19 mini-biographies and portraits of Hispanic heroes. There was a time before Dora the Explorer and Ugly Betty and the rise of multicultural casts on television when Hispanic American kids didn't see many Latinos on the stage or screen, but as Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes proves, there have always been prominent Hispanic Americans in the arts, sciences, letters, politics, and sports.
Some of the entries are obvious (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony winner Moreno, Pittsburgh Pirate legend Clemente, and labor union pioneer Chavez), but others are unexpected. Did you know a Hispanic American won the Nobel Prize for Physics (Alvarez) or that a Latina astronaut rose through the NASA ranks to be the director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston? It's refreshing and inspiring to read about such accomplished Latinos, who had to overcome considerable discrimination to reach their goals.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Our Editors Recommend
Graphic Novels That Teach History
Books with Latino Characters
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