Books are among the most powerful tools for teaching children about different cultures, values and traditions. In the case of Puerto Rican children’s books, they offer a unique opportunity to introduce children to the culture and history of the island.
The Island of Enchantment is rich in history and culture, with many books offering an opportunity for kids to learn about cultural heritage and discover new stories and characters that reflect their own experiences on the location.
The Importance of Reading Books
In today’s world, new technologies have drifted children’s attention into phones, consoles and computers, leaving books behind. While these new electronic products provide a good amount of readable content, like social media, they cannot be compared to the quality content of book stories.
Reading is fundamental for development. It is a vital aspect of education and has been shown to have numerous benefits for kids, including improving their cognitive abilities, language skills, and social-emotional development.
Youngsters can also exercise their brains and develop essential problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making abilities. In addition, reading helps children develop their imagination and creativity, exposing them to new worlds and ideas.
By reading regularly, children can strengthen their brain connections and improve their overall cognitive capabilities, which can help them succeed in school and beyond.
Social-emotional development is also influenced by it. Studying exposes them to new ideas and perspectives, which can help them develop empathy and understanding for others. Self-awareness and emotional regulation are also confirmed to impact managing their emotions when reading.
How Children’s Representation Can Affect Literature
Representation is critical when talking about kids and literature. Younglings need to see characters that look like them, and that can reflect their own experiences and similar situations to feel represented and validated.
Caribbean stories are a great opportunity for children to see themselves reflected in magical stories and for kids from other cultures to learn about their experiences. In addition, this genre of literature also presents an opportunity for them to learn about art and history, helping to develop respect for traditions.
Amazing Puerto Rican Books for Children
These are some of the best Puerto Rican children’s books tourists can find on the island of enchantment for their kids:
“There’s a Coqui in My Shoe” by Maria Paolicelli
In this story, a young boy named Armando surprisingly discovers a coquí in his red shoe. His name is Carlito the Coquí. Armando befriends Carlito and anxiously waits to accompany his mother, Lola, to sell their pushcart of piraguas to Puerto Rican children the following day.
The book represents many tastes, bright colours and breathtaking illustrations of Puerto Rico, capturing the island’s vibrant colour, culture, flora, and fauna. Also, it works for educational and entertaining lessons on the beloved amphibian, the Eleutherodactylus coqui.
Readers can also find many references, fun facts, and a complete list of the 17 known species of coquís, making it perfect for kids to learn.
“Puerto Rico Coloring Book” by Mark Drenth
A coloring book can be a great gift for any kid or student learning about the island of Puerto Rico. With plenty of pages and color stickers, it goes through all the history, culture, cities, offshore islands, points of interest and people of interest of the Caribbean Island.
“The Sofia Martinez Book Series” by Jacqueline Jules
This series of books follows the adventures of a Puerto Rican-American girl and her family. The novels are a great introduction to Caribbean culture and its history, and it’s fun and entertaining for children to discover new horizons.
“Islandborn” by Junot Diaz
It tells the story of a girl living in New York but never visiting her home country, Puerto Rico. Instead, the girl interviews members of her community to learn about the history and culture of its roots, which helps the kid connect with her heritage.
“The Coquí and the Iguana” by Alidis Vicente
Known as “El Coquí y la Iguana” in Spanish, it is a children’s book that tells the story of an iguana who wants to sing like a coquí, a small frog endemic to Puerto Rico. The story celebrates diversity and the importance of accepting others as they are.
“The Lost Flip-Flop and Other Secret Cases” by Alidis Vicente
Translated as “La Chancleta Perdida y Otros Casos Secretos”, this collection features interesting short stories for children that tell the adventures of a girl detective named Carmina. Each tale is full of humour and a great introduction to the culture and history of the Caribbean island.
“My Tata’s Remedies” by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford
“Los Remedios de Mi Tata,” tells the story of a small girl who learns about the medicinal herbs her grandmother uses to cure people in her community. This story can be a nice introduction to how traditional medicine and its related culture work in Puerto Rico.
“Mango, Abuela, and Me” by Meg Medina
This picture book is a heartwarming story about the relationship between a young girl named Mia and her grandmother, who has come to live with Mia’s family from Puerto Rico. Mia speaks little Spanish, and her grandmother speaks little English, making it difficult for them to communicate.
However, they find a common bond in their love for a pet parrot named Mango, and they work together to teach Mango to speak both English and Spanish. The book emphasizes the importance of family, communication, and the power of love to overcome language barriers.
“Parrots Over Puerto Rico” by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth
This non-fiction picture book tells the inspiring story of how the Puerto Rican parrot, one of the most endangered birds in the world, was saved from extinction.
The story highlights the efforts of scientists, conservationists, and local communities who worked together to protect the parrots and restore their habitat. Also, it is beautifully illustrated with collages that incorporate photographs, maps, and other materials, making it a visually stunning and informative read.
“When Julia Danced Bomba” by Raquel M. Ortiz
A picture book that tells the story of a young girl named Julia who learns to dance Bomba, a traditional Puerto Rican dance, from her grandmother.
The story’s main focus celebrates cultural heritage and the artistic expression of the dance style, which combines African, Taíno, and Spanish influences. Also, it includes a glossary of Bomba terms and features vibrant illustrations by Robert Liu-Trujillo that capture the rhythm and energy of the dance.
Puerto Rican children’s books are a powerful tool for teaching youngsters about the rich Caribbean culture and its amazing history. Stories are also vital for representation and inclusion in children’s literature.
Many artists on the island have created amazing stories for children and adults alike. It’s vital to allow youngsters to read them to learn about many historical things surrounding the Island of Enchantment.