It’s currently Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, so I’d like to share some of my favorite books written by Latinas that I’ve read in the past couple years. This is in no way an extensive list of the books available but rather just a few of my favorites. I’m also now adding books I read and enjoy by Hispanic authors to my bookshop, so if you’re looking for more suggestions in the future, that’s a good place to look for new recommendations.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros [Buy on Bookshop]
This is one of the most poignant, touching books I’ve ever read. The story begins when the main character’s family moves to Mango Street. She shares that they frequently move and that she dreams of living in a house her family owns because they typically rent run-down apartments.. The chapters are vignettes where we get glimpses of what life on Mango Street is like for the main character as well as others who live on the street. Some chapters are heartbreaking or jarring.
Content notes: mentions of sexual assault/harassment, domestic violence
White Space by Jennifer De Leon [Buy on Bookshop]
This collection of essays explores identity as De Leon shares her experiences trying to fit in throughout her college years in mostly-white spaces and then trying to fit in when she goes to Guatemala to learn Spanish and try to understand her father’s love of that country.
Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez [Buy on Bookshop]
This book follows a teenage girl in Argentina who dreams of playing soccer professionally and is secretly part of a team. Her family and a large portion of the people around her don’t view soccer as an appropriate pastime for women. I loved seeing the main character’s friendship with her closest friend and the rest of her soccer team as well as with the boy she’s been crushing on since childhood.
Content notes: femicide, misogyny, domestic violence, colorism
Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon [Buy on Bookshop]
Yes, I included a second book by Jennifer De Leon on this list. I might be partial to her because we both come from Guatemalan parents. This is a YA novel about a teenage girl who gets into a program that allows her to attend a nicer (and predominantly white) high school, farther away from her neighborhood. Attending that school opens up possibilities for her, but she has to assimilate in order to fit in. Meanwhile, she’s also dealing with difficult situations at home, as her dad hasn’t been around in a while and her mom isn’t dealing well with that. The book showcases struggles with bigotry, racism, and trying to fit in and succeed despite those things. I appreciated the conversations and issues that were brought up throughout this story.
Content notes: racism, sexism, violence
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo [Buy on Bookshop]
This novel-in-verse follows a Dominican-American girl living in Harlem and trying to figure out who she is and what she believes in. She explores her own religious beliefs and how she views her world through the poetry she writes. The story is powerful, vulnerable, and heartbreaking. I felt for the main character, Xiomara, so much throughout the story, as she hid areas of herself she didn’t feel safe sharing with her mom and as she experienced sexual harassment, all while trying to figure out who she was or wanted to be.
Content notes: sexism/misogyny, homophobia, slut-shaming, body shaming, abuse, sexual assault/harassment
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