Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month With These Beloved Books
Celebrate with one of these incredible novels!
Books For Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is a month-long yearly celebration of people in the United States from or with ancestors from Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South American, and Spain. This also includes Latinx and Hispanic cultures, histories, and contributions.
During Hispanic Heritage Month--along with the rest of the year--it's important for not only Latinx and Hispanic folks to celebrate their heritage, but for everyone else to celebrate too. Reading books by Hispanic and Latinx writers is a small way for everyone to help celebrate and honor Latinx and Hispanic people.
September 15 was chosen because it's the anniversary of five Latin American countries declaring their independence, while two more declared their on September 16, 18, and 21. Many celebrations are held across the United States during this month, including exhibitions and events at the Smithsonian. Make sure to check your local libraries, universities, and museums for events near you!
These nine books are only a fraction of the wonderful books by Latinx and Hispanic authors out there for us to enjoy.
1. Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
Influenced by gothic literature, sci fi, horror, and fairy tales, Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties is a fabulous fabulist collection of stories. Each tale in the book is a new experience in the fantastical, the otherwordly, and the darkest parts of the human psyche that fill the minds of up us all.
2. The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
Marisol is a seventeen-year-old who has always dreamed of life in the U.S., but what she experiences when she crosses the border is a far cry from the U.S. TV shows she used to watch. Her family is destroyed and Marisol and her sister are captured. Knowing their asylum request will be denied and wanting to protect her sister, Marisol signs up to become a grief keeper, someone who takes another person's grief as their own. However, she never could have imagined the tole carrying another's grief would take on herself.
3. In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero and Michelle Burford
You probably know her from shows like Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, but prior to her acting career, Diane Guerrero went through what far too many Lantinx families experience in the U.S. At fourteen, she came home from school to find her home empty, her parents deported. Born in the U.S., Diane was able to stay and eventually began advocating for the rights of immigrants and refugees.
4. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
The night before Bronx-born Juliet Milagros Palante leaved for a Portland-based internship, she comes out to her family. Her coming out doesn't go according to plan and now she's unsure if her mom will talk to her again. Her plan is to find herself with the help of Harlowe Brisbane, the author she's interning for, but Juliet soon learns Harlowe is unable to help her. Juliet's summer is filled with adventure and, along the way, she may just find out who she truly is.
5. Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
The women of Nomeolvides have cared for the garden of La Pradera for the last century. They hide the fact they carry a curse that will cause their lovers to vanish they their love becomes too deep. Then a boy called appears in the garden and Estrella finds him, trying to help him piece together his murky past which in turn allows them to uncover a few of La Pradera's truths.
6. Daughters of the Stone by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
Spanning five generations, the story begins with Fela who, before she was stolen from her home in Africa, poured the love she and her husband shared into a stone to create the essence of their future child. She gets impregnated by a slaver, beginning a line of daughters all "connected by their intense love for one another, and the stories of a lost land." From Puerto Rico to New York City, the stone keeps Fela's descendants safe and connected to their past.
7. Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa by Rigoberto González
Rigoberto González grew up in a family of poor migrant Mexican farmworkers, losing his mother and abandoned by his father. Growing up in a culture that favors machismo is difficult as he comes of a age as a gay man and begins to feel a pull between his adopted home in the U.S. and the place of his birth. After entering a relationship with a violent older man, Rigoberto will finally find a piece of himself in writing and a trip back to his home.
8. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
When she was a freshman, Emoni Santiago got pregnant. Now a senior, she finds cooking to be the only time she's able to relax. She hears about a culinary arts course than includes a trip to Spain and wants to go more than anything. However, she's barely holding it together to care for her daughter, attend school, and work, and that's with the help of her abuela and best friend. How will she manage to fit this class, and a potential culinary career, into her schedule?
9. Woman Hollering Creek: And Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros
She's probably better known for her novel The House on Mango Street, but my favorite Sandra Cisneros' work is her short story collection Woman Hollering Creek. Through her stories, Cisneros presents a vivid portrait of life on the border between Texas and Mexico, complete with growing pains, family, romance, and humor.
Let's Keep the Conversation Going
Which books do you plan to read for Hispanic Heritage Month?