20 Latin And Hispanic Heritage Books Everyone Should Read
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20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.

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20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

In the past several years, my book-loving friends and I have been making a collective effort to read books written by minority authors. From Isabel Allende's magical realism to Juan Carlos Onetti's short stories, our hands have been reaching for the Latin authors on our bookshelves more than usual this Hispanic Heritage Month.

The books on this list aren't just fun reads by Latinx and Hispanic authors — they're educational resources on the unique struggles of immigration, oppression, and more we all need to be educated on in order to be the best allies of the community we can be.

"How The García Girls Lost Their Accents" by Julia Alvarez

Amazon

Four sisters growing up in two cultures flee the Dominican Republic to come to New York City in 1960 to navigate learning a new language, hairstyles, fashion, and more while telling stories of home to keep their culture alive amongst each other.

"Mexican Gothic" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Amazon

Soon to become a series on Hulu, Noemí Taboada heads to her cousin's cryptic house in the Mexican countryside where her life of chic gowns and cocktail parties turns into an amateur sleuthing operation when she meets someone who might be hiding disturbing secrets of her family's past.

"Drown" by Junot Díaz

Amazon

The coming-of-age story about Yunior tracking his family's ancestry from Santo Domingo's barrios to industrial New Jersey, this is the book that really put Junot Díaz on the map.

"Love In The Time Of Cholera" by Gabriel García Márquez

Amazon

The love story of Florentino and Fermina starts passionately in their youth, and when they grow apart with age, the two cross paths again nearly 50 years and several heartbreaks later to reignite the spark they once had.

"Twenty Love Poems And A Song Of Despair" by Pablo Neruda

Amazon

From the Nobel Prize-winning poet, Neruda's poems span the topics of love, culture, and history that are perfect for the person who likes something quick to read before bed.

"It Is Wood, It Is Stone" by Gabriella Burnham

Amazon

When American Linda moves to São Paulo with her husband for his year-long assignment as a professor, and finds herself forging a profound, tender bond to her skilled and complicated maid, Marta.

"The House On Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros

Amazon

This series of vignettes tells the heart-wrenching and tender story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago.

"Before Night Falls: A Memoir" by Reinaldo Arenas

Amazon

Arenas recounts his life from his poverty-stricken childhood in rural Cuba through being a rebel fighter for Castro and then being imprisoned for his homosexuality, all while being oppressed as a writer — and that's not even the most of it.

"One Hundred Years Of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez

Amazon

If this being part of Oprah's Book Club isn't enough for you, knowing this is the story of a mythical town of Macondo told through the history of the compassionate, eccentric, hilarious, and at times heartbreaking Buendiá family should be enough to sell you on what has been called by many a masterpiece of fiction.

"Almost A Woman" by Esmerelda Santiago

Amazon

Author Esmerelda Santiago herself recounts the story of her young adulthood in New York, striving for a balance between her American livelihood and Puerto Rican heritage through her passion for the arts and at times tumultuous relationship with her mother.

"A Long Petal Of The Sea" by Isabel Allende

Amazon

Allende's novel spans a decade of two young people as they cross continents in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in endless pursuit of a place to call home.

"Bird Of Paradise: How I Became Latina" by Raquel Cepeda

Amazon

In Cepeda's work of nonfiction, we follow her genealogical exploration after she takes a DNA test, uncovering the mix of races and ethnicities that came together in her ambiguous mix of physical features, all representative of a deeper understanding and love for her background and long-buried memories.

"Undocumented" by Dan-El Padilla Peralta

Amazon

After journeying from Santo Domingo to America as a small boy in pursuit of better healthcare for his mother, Dan-el's father had to retreat home alone while his mother and brothers stayed in New York City on their own in pursuit of a better life. Through homelessness to a full-ride scholarship to college and being profiled by the "Wall Street Journal," it's essential reading for anyone wanting to learn more about the debate on immigration in America.

"City Of Beasts" by Isabel Allende

Amazon

An unlikely and mismatched team, young 15-year-old Alex sets out with his grandmother Kate, the fearless reporter, into the Amazon rainforest in a magical and high-spirited search of a fabled headhunting tribe and legendary mystical creature known as "The Beast."

"Sanctuary" by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher

Amazon

Join 16-year-old Vali in the year of 2032 — she and her family live a simple life in small-town Vermont till Deportation Forces raid her town and her mother's counterfeit chip starts malfunctioning when their family is forced to flee. Before they can get to Vali's aunt's family in California, a sanctuary state cut off from the rest of the country, her mom is detained and Vali is forced to venture across the country with her brother to a Californian haven.

"In The Time Of Butterflies" by Julia Alvarez

Amazon

Three sisters are found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a cliff on the Dominican Republic coast — though reports say the deaths were accidental, there's no mention of the fourth living sister or the fact that those sisters were the lead opponents of the country's dictatorship.

"Little Eyes" by Samanta Schweblin

Amazon

A haunting novel about the eerily interconnected present digital age, this book is scary reality of what happens when horror and our raw humanity collide.

"Open Veins Of Latin America" by Eduardo Galeano

Amazon

A historical and scholarly retelling of Latin America, this narrative spans the political, social, and cultural state of this country from the Latin American perspective.

"The Grief Keeper" by Alexandra Villasante

Amazon

Teenage Marisol always dreamed of a life in America, vicariously living through the glamorous magazines she would read and lighthearted sitcoms she would watch. She never imagined she'd one day illegally flee El Salvador with her little sister to America after the murder of her brother and somehow find love along the way.

"Days And Nights Of Love And War" by Eduardo Galeano

Amazon

The personal story of one of Latin America's most well-known political writers, Galeano journals a history of the struggles of Latin American people through two decades of violence and repression via interviews, personal vignettes, and individual reports.

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