Nacho's Nachos: The Story Behind the World's Favorite Snack

by Sandra Nickel (Author) Oliver Dominguez (Illustrator)

Nacho's Nachos: The Story Behind the World's Favorite Snack
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

NYPL Best Books of 2020

CSMCL's Best Books of 2020

The delicious true story of an inventive chef and the serendipitous events that led to the creation of the world's favorite snack--nachos!

Ignacio Anaya was born in Mexico in 1895, and like a lot of Ignacios, he was nicknamed Nacho. Young Nacho loved to eat and cook, and when he grew up, he found a job in a restaurant. Eventually he became head waiter at the Victory Club, a popular restaurant in Piedras Negras, Mexico, right across the Rio Grande river from Eagle Pass, Texas.

One afternoon in 1940, during the Victory Club's quiet hours between lunch and dinner, Mamie Finan, a regular customer from the US, walked in with three friends. They wanted a snack--something new, something different. Nacho rushed to the kitchen and improvised with what was on hand: corn tortillas, cheddar cheese, and jalapeño peppers. In that moment, Nacho's Special, the dish that later became known simply as nachos, was born! Word of this delicious new snack spread quickly. Soon restaurants all over Mexico, the United States, and later the world, were serving nachos. Little did Nacho know that his name would one day be a household word around the globe!

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 4--Ignacio Anaya (1895-1975) was a skilled home cook and a professional chef, but it was his invention of one of the world's favorite snacks that made him a household name. Born in northern Mexico, Anaya was given the nickname "Nacho." At the age of 23, he found work in a restaurant. When restaurateur Rodolfo de los Santos planned to open a new eatery, the Victory Club, in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, he recruited Nacho. It was there in 1940 that Nacho came up with the idea for his signature dish. Once his crunchy, cheesy, spicy creation took off, actors and presidents flocked to Victory Club. The simple but engaging text is well suited to this appealing story and makes this biography a perfect read-aloud for classrooms. Illustrations convey movement and familiarity while depicting a time period that might be unfamiliar to younger readers. Back matter includes a thorough list of sources cited, an afterword, and--best of all--a recipe for the original Nacho's Special. VERDICT A unique biography read-aloud title for younger kids. Recommended for elementary school libraries and classrooms.--Savannah Kitchens, Parnell Memorial Lib., Montevallo, AL

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Sandra Nickel

Sandra Nickelmakes her children's book debut with Nacho's Nachos. She says that story ideas are everywhere; you just have to reach out and grab them. She is a two-time winner of the Hunger Mountain Katherine Patterson Prize for YA and Children's Writing. A native of Kansas, Nickel now lives in Chexbres, Switzerland, where she blogs about children's book writers and illustrators at You can also find her online at and @senickel.

Oliver Dominguezis a freelance illustrator in the summer and during the rest of the year he works as a professor of illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design. Dominguez's inspirations for his illustrations come from contemporary artists, photography, history books--just about everything and anything. He has a special fondness for historical fashion, knowing the story behind what people used to wear and why. Dominguez and his family live in Cape Coral, Florida. You can visit him online at and @oliverdominguezart.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
August 20, 2020
Age Range
6 - 11 years
NYPL Best Books
None None
CSMCL's Best Books
None None

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