A roundup of books by Latinx writers in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Hispanic Heritage Month -- celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 -- is just one good way to learn about the Latinx community, their obstacles, successes, and the talented people who are forging their own paths.
Literature also gives great insight to diverse stories and perspectives. With more people having conversations about race, many are looking to books for ways to connect, learn and open their minds to the different ways of living. From non-fiction, coming-of-age stories, poetry, harrowing tales of immigrants, stories of hope and self-discovery, here is list of books by Latinx authors that you should add to your collection.
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (2021)
Set in Mexico City in the '70s, the story follows Maite, a secretary who lives for tales of passion and danger. When her beautiful art student next-door neighbor, Leonora, whom she envies, disappears, Maite goes searching for answers, digging deeper into Leonora's secret life. At the same time amid protests and political unrest, Elvis, an eccentric criminal who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists, also begins to search for Leonora and observe Maite from a distance.
Moreno-Garcia is also the author of the horror-gothic novel Mexican Gothic. The story follows a young woman who begins to investigate her cousin's claims that her husband is trying to murder her. Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos acquired the rights and will be turning the thriller into a series.
Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood by Danny Trejo and Donal Logue (2021)
Get to know Danny Trejo like never before. The iconic actor digs deeper into his past, touching on being raised in an abusive home, struggling with his heroin addiction, life of crime and multiple stints in the country’s most notorious state prisons. Trejo's memoir touches on how he eventually chose sobriety, a life of community service and all the blessings that came after. It also describes a chance meeting on a movie set that changed his life and kicked off his successful Hollywood and business career, all while continuing to deal with drugs and addiction with his own children. This is Danny Trejo real, raw, honest and comical at the same time.
What's Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
This multi-layered story follows the long-lasting consequences of crime and the effects of school integration on two different families. Outrage rises when a North Carolina community draws students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly white high schools in the west. For two students, Gee and Noelle, the merge kicks off a chain of events that will connect their families over the next 20 years in unexpected ways.
I Am Diosa by Christine Gutierrez (2020)
Psychotherapist Christine Gutierrez helps women heal their wounds from past trauma and hurt to reclaim their worth, confidence and their truth self. I Am Diosa (I Am a Goddess) features stories of resilience from Gutierrez and other Diosa Tribue members, as well as mantras, meditations and guided journaling prompts that give women the tools they need to honor their sacred feminine and become who they were always meant to be.
What Would Frida Do? A Guide to Living Boldly by Arianna Davis (2020)
Arianna Davis' guide to living boldly not only celebrates Frida Kahlo's feminist ways, daring creativity and spirit, but also shows others how they can do the same. With What Would Frida Do?, readers learn about the icon's life, signature style and career, while applying her fearlessness and way of life to their own. The book encourages women to stand by their own truths and be unapologetically themselves, just like Kahlo.
Water for Chocolate Trilogy by Laura Esquivel (2020)
Just in time for the holiday season, the famed author brings the next chapter of international best-seller Like Water for Chocolate to life with two books. Sequel Tita’s Diary takes an intimate look at the life of the first novel’s main character, who embodies love, passion, and the communication of emotions through food in early 20th Century México. The Colors of My Past, the third book, is an ode to female independence and centers around Maria, who reconnects with her roots and family traditions after discovering Tita’s diary.
How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez (1991)
The story follows four sisters -- Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia -- in 1960 as they transition from life in the Dominican Republic to New York. Once in the city, they grapple with their parents' culture and their new American way of living.
The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara (2018)
This captivating tale is set in New York's underground ballroom scene in the '80s and sees Angel, new to the drag world and ballroom, fall in love with Hector. The two then create House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latinx house in the Harlem ball circuit. After Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must continue to lead the house on her own.
Virgin by Analicia Sotelo (2018)
This book is a collection of semi-autobiographical coming-of-age poems that touch on a young Mexican American woman navigating femininity, naiveté, love and being abandoned by her father.
Undocumented by Dan-el Padilla Peralta (2015)
This autobiography retells Peralta's life as an undocumented immigrant who leaves Santo Domingo with his family to a New York City homeless shelter. Facing tremendous obstacles, his mother does everything to give him a better life as he becomes top of his Princeton class.
Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capo Crucet (2016)
This novel explores what happens when Lizet, a young woman and daughter of Cuban immigrants, is torn between generational, cultural and political forces. As she leaves Miami and begins her freshman year at a top-tier university, she struggles to navigate her academic and social lives as a Latina. When an unexpected event occurs back home, an immigration battle shines the spotlight on her family and the city she grew up in.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez (2017)
15-year-old Julia Reyes believes she's not the perfect Mexican daughter in her mother’s eyes — her older sister, Olga is. While Olga puts her family first and their traditions, Julia likes to break out of her family's expectations and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican American household. But when Olga dies suddenly, Julia must be the one that holds her family together and put her needs aside.
The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa (2016)
This page-turner chronicles the scandalous lives of the Peruvian privileged in the 1990s after the editor of the notorious tabloid Exposed, Rolando Garro, is found beaten and stabbed to death. Two men are suspected of killing Garro after their reputations were destroyed by the publication. Be ready for twists, turns, and not being able to put this book down.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (1967)
This critically acclaimed book follows seven generations of the Buendía family. From life to death, poverty, war, love and even the supernatural, this piece of literature touches on the repetition of history and family. It is considered García Márquez's magnum opus.
Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher (2020)
Set in 2023 in a near-future America, this dystopian novel follow a young girl and her brother after all citizens are chipped and tracked. Used to living as undocumented immigrants, they live a happy life in a small town of Vermont. But when their mother's counterfeit chip starts to malfunction, they are forced to flee after the Deportation Forces attempt to find them. Think The Handmaid's Tale meets Vox.
Historically Inaccurate by Shay Bravo (2020)
A new book on the market, this novel follows Soledad "Sol" Gutierrez a year after her mother's deportation. All Sol wants is her life to go back to normal and fit in, but everything has changed. When she joins her community college’s history club, it comes with an odd initiation process: break into Westray’s oldest house and steal . . . a fork? As she attempts to sneak into the home, something goes awry.
Find these and more at your local bookstore. For more Hispanic Heritage Month content, see below.