Sayings, Folktales & Art in Latin America

These books at the library explore Latin American sayings and proverbs, folktales, arts and crafts.

For adults | For kids

For adults

Mexican Sayings: The Treasure of a People = Dichos mexicanos: el tesoro de una gente
Compiled by Octavio A. Ballesteros and María del Carmen Ballesteros
This collection contains more than 400 Mexican dichos about love, religion, and advice.

It's All in the Frijoles: 100 Famous Latinos Share Real-Life Stories, Time-Tested Dichos, Favorite Folktales, and Inspiring Words of Wisdom
Edited by Yolanda Nava
This collection of Latino wisdom features inspiring recollections and anecdotes by well-known figures, both past and present, including Edward James Olmos, Isabel Allende, Octavio Paz, and Saint Teresa de Avila.

101 Spanish Proverbs: Understanding Spanish Language and Culture through Common Sayings 
By Eduardo Aparicio
An English equivalent is provided with each Spanish proverb in this book. Also contains illustrated cartoons.

A Dictionary of Proverbs, Sayings, Maxims, Adages, English and Spanish = Dictionario de refranes, proverbios, dichos, adagios, castellano e inglés
By Delfín Carbonell Basset
Ideal for students, translators, and interpreters, this dictionary shows how English and Spanish proverbs are different yet deal with similar subjects – love, hate, money, poverty, men, and women. Nearly 2,500 famous English and Spanish proverbs are featured with translations and approximate equivalents in the opposite language. It includes cross-references and origin information.

Latin American Folktales: Stories from Hispanic and Indian Traditions
Edited by John Bierhorst
An extensive anthology of Latin American folk narratives, most of the presented tales were not translated into English before this publication. It includes a useful register of tale types and selected motifs, glossary of native cultures, and a bibliography.

Arts and Crafts of Mexico
By Chloë Sayer; special photography by David Lavender
This book combines text and color photographs to explore the rich tradition of Mexican people and their art. Textiles, ceramics, and jewelry making are among the subjects covered in the publication. It includes a glossary, bibliography, and “People of Mexico” chart.

Art on the road: popular art and culture reflected in colourfully decorated trucks and buses” by Moira F. Harris
This article was published in UNESCO Courier (October 1990).

For kids

My First Book of Proverbs Sayings book jacket

My First Book of Proverbs = Mi primer libro de dichos 
By Ralfka Gonzalez and Ana Ruiz
In this collection of popular Mexican dichos, or proverbs, artists Ralka Gonzalez and Ana Ruiz vividly illustrate their favorite sayings acquired in their travels throughout Mexico and the United States.

Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection
By F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada
Ada and Campoy retell a mixture of twelve popular tales and literary lore celebrating Hispanic culture and it many roots – Indigenous, African, Arab, Hebrew, and Spanish. Each tale is accompanied by an explanation and illustrations.

Mexico & Central America
By Sharon Franklin, Mary Tull and Cynthia A. Black
Part of the Artisans Around the World Series, this book explores folk art traditions of Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Guatemala. It contains maps and other geographical information, projects, and a glossary.

The Rooster Who Went to His Uncle's Wedding: A Latin American Folktale
Retold by Alma Flor Ada; illustrated by Kathleen Kuchera
Ada retells this light-hearted Latin American story of a rooster’s ordeal on the way to a wedding.

Book descriptions provided by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.