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This month is Hispanic Heritage Month, a time dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the Latinx community. This period of time from Sept. to Oct. 15 is often used to tell their stories and uplift Latinx voices, so what could be a better way to celebrate than reading books written by Latinx authors?
To compile this list of must-read Latinx-authored books, we combed through posts made by Read With Jenna book club members on Goodreads and Facebook to find which books they've been recommending. Many of these novels have soared to popularity for not only being great stories crafted with beautiful writing but also for their tackling of issues affecting the Latinx community.
So, whether you like to read edge-of-your-seat horror or want to learn how to live your life like Frida Kahlo, read on to find your next page-turner.
The March 2021 Read With Jenna book club pick, "What's Mine and Yours" is written by Dominica American writer Naima Coster. Set in the Piedmont community of North Carolina, the story follows two families whose lives are tied together for the next 20 years after a county initiative draws students from the largely Black east side of town into the predominantly white high schools of the west, sparking outrage.
"The story is epic in scope. It is about understanding the demons and the hardships that come before us and how they affect our lives," Jenna said.
"Infinite Country" is the story of two countries, the United States and Columbia, and one mixed-status family who is in pursuit of a better life. Each member of this five-person family has a voice in the story, from Talia, who is in a race against time to make her flight to America, to her immigrant parents, who face many hardships, including the deportation of her father.
Through this book, award-winning author Patricia Engel, who is a dual citizen and the daughter of Colombian immigrants, draws readers into the tense reality of life as an undocumented individual in America.
When a traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel, a trans boy, sets out to summon the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. Instead, he summons Julian Diaz, a bad boy who refuses to leave until he finds out what led to his death. Romantic and heartfelt, this book takes a deep dive into topics such as sexual identity, racism and more.
Written by the Mexican Canadian author Silvia Moreno-Garcia, "Mexican Gothic" is a horror book perfect for those looking to embrace the spooky season. The story follows Noemi Taboada, a glamorous debutante who receives a letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from an unknown doom. To investigate, Noemi goes to High Place, a mysterious house in the Mexican countryside where her cousin lives with her Englishman husband. There, she discovers secrets of violence and madness. Will she be able to leave this terrifying house behind?
Written by Yamile Saied Mendez, an Argentine American who has a passion for fútbol, “Furia” follows the story of Camila Hassan, a young girl from Rosario, Argentina, who is known as La Furia on the soccer field for her skill. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila finally gets the chance to see how far her talents can take her, but will her father allow a girl to play fútbol? Between intense action scenes on the soccer field and a heartfelt romance, “Furia” is a story you don’t want to miss.
A Time 2021 Best YA Book of All Time winner, “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” is about an unlikely friendship between two loners. Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison while Dante is a know-it-all. After meeting at a swimming pool, they discover their friendship is "the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime," the official book description says. This book is a story about identity and the truths about family and friends.
Not only does “Dominicana” paint a picture of the immigrant experience, it is also a coming-of-age story about a young woman finding her voice in the world. The story follows Ana Cancion, a 15-year-old girl from the Dominican countryside who never dreamed of moving to America. However, when the opportunity arises in the form of a marriage proposal from a man twice her age, she has to say yes in the hopes that her family will eventually be able to immigrate.
Lonely and miserable, Ana lives confined to a six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights, until a chance arises in her husband's absence to live a different kind of life in America. Does she follow her heart or remain for the sake of her family?
Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, a member of Cuba's high society who was largely sheltered from the country's political turmoil, that is until she entered a love affair with a revolutionary. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in Cuba, where Marisol "unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution," according to the book description.
'What Would Frida Do?" is a celebration of Frida Kahlo and her signature style, outspoken politics and daring creativity. Despite hardships and heartbreak, Kahlo continued to create. Author Arianna Davis uses Kahlo as a way to encourage women to be bold, create and stand by what they believe in.
Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award, this book is about Xiomara Batista, an Afro-Latina student from Harlem who feels unheard. Unable to hide since she grew into her curves, Xiomara has learned to use her fists as a defense. Caught between her mom's strict rule centered around the laws of the church and her feelings for a boy in class, Xiomara finds her voice through performing her poems.
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For more book recommendations, check out:
- Need some fall reads? Here are 5 author-recommended picks
- Read With Jenna author Qian Julie Wang on worry, her mother's talisman of love
- All of Jenna Bush Hager's book club picks