The Ultimate Reading Guide to Hispanic Heritage Month

This Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re celebrating our favorite authors of Latino descent, including Carmen Maria Machado (we’re so excited for her new memoir coming out next month!), lauded slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo, and former Border Patrol agent Francisco Cantú. These books have their pulse on current politics with their eyes toward a better future that fully recognizes the contributions of Hispanic Americans.

Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Set in the political turmoil of the 1960s, Dominican American author Angie Cruz’s vibrant coming-of-age novel explores the propulsive forces behind immigration. When 15-year-old Ana’s parents marry her off to a man twice her age, she leaves her home in the Dominican Republic countryside to start a new life in New York, determined to find a way to bring her family over to join her.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

This genre-bending debut is by turns horrifying and hilarious, yet perpetually exhilarating. Fantasy, sci-fi, mythology, horror, and even a reimagining of Law & Order: SVU blend in this critically acclaimed collection from Carmen Maria Machado, whose grandfather immigrated to the US from Cuba. Keep an eye out for Machado’s much-anticipated memoir, In the Dream House, which comes out this October.

Also available as an audiobook.

Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Colorado native Kali Fajardo-Anstine explores the lives of Latinas of indigenous descent in 11 captivating stories set in Denver and the American West. Fajardo-Anstine masterfully connects her haunting tales of injustice and heartache with a sense of hope and resistance. A fierce and beautiful debut.

If you want more contemporary fiction options for Hispanic Heritage Month, see an extended list here.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

First-generation Dominican American Xiomara Batista is trying to grapple with gender and race and religion and sexuality and parents who think of her as trouble. Every vignette packs a punch, every image painted is so vivid. An intense story in verse that won the Carnegie medal. It’s the first time a writer of color won the award in its 80-plus year history.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s stunning novel is a delicate and beautifully written portrayal of the intensity and unruly passion that comes with our formative teenage years. It lives up to the elegance of its cover and mouthful of a title. A visceral reminder of the life-altering effects that happen when you meet that one person: your first love.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sánchez

Everything seemed perfect until the day Olga — who helped her mother clean houses while going to community college and working at a doctor’s office — died. Now her sister, Julia, is left failing to follow in her sister’s footsteps. The book takes many twists and turns to reveal that not everything is as it seems.

If you’re looking for more children’s and young adult recommendations for Hispanic Heritage Month, here is a longer list.

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor is the first Justice on the Supreme Court of Hispanic descent, and this memoir details all the determination it took to make her dreams come true. A humorous and hopeful look back at Sotomayor’s life that’s sure to inspire you.

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú

An incredible memoir about the impacts of immigrant policy from a second-generation Mexican American and former Border Patrol officer. Cantú’s acclaimed book brings a unique — and deeply humane — perspective to the hot-button immigration issue. Walk in Cantú’s shoes along the border to clearly see how more walls won’t work.

For more nonfiction accounts of the Hispanic American experience, here is an extended list with more books to choose from.

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