10 Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off September 15th and we’re celebrating with a variety of #ownvoices must-reads that honor Hispanic history, people and culture. From award-winning novels-in-verse to bold and lyrical picture books and conversation-starting memoirs, these books showcase the multifaceted lives of those that have enriched our nation and society. And to get things started, we’re also announcing our newest YA Book Club selection Cemetery Boys. Mystery, romance, ghosts—this bewitching debut that centers around an aspiring brujo checks all the boxes and we just know you’re going to love it.

Cemetery Boys
Aiden Thomas

When Yadriel’s traditional Latinx family is unwilling to accept his gender, he takes it upon himself to prove that he is a true brujo. What he doesn’t count on is summoning the ghost of his classmate who doesn’t even know he’s dead—or how he died. Part paranormal fantasy, part mystery, part slow-burn romance, Cemetery Boys is a must-read for lovers of all genres. “Cemetery Boys is necessary: for trans kids, for queer kids, for those in the Latinx community who need to see themselves on the page. Don’t miss this book.” —Mark Oshiro, author of Anger is a Gift

Mexican Gothic: A Novel 
Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Something sinister is brewing beneath an isolated mansion in the Mexican countryside, and an ancient evil is about to be exposed. With callbacks to classic literature like Rebecca, Jane Eyre and The Haunting of Hill House, Moreno-Garcia (author of Gods of Jade and Shadow) proves that she is just as consumed by stories of haunted houses as we are in this new gothic horror with a twist. “Masterful…a gloriously moody adventure, spooky, smart, and wry. Chic, no-nonsense Noemí Taboada is one hell of a tour guide through this world of mystery, scandal and spirits.”—Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

Julia Alvarez

Set in this political moment of tribalism and distrust, Afterlife is a sharp and witty read that can be devoured in one sitting. In her first adult novel in almost 15 years, Julia Alvarez, acclaimed author of In the Time of the Butterflies, weaves a contemporary story of familial relationships, tradition and self-discovery. “The queen is back with the exact novel we need in this fraught era. A powerful testament of witness and humanity written with audacity and authority.”—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The House of Broken Angels

Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman (Translator)

Featuring a main protagonist whose methods and motives may be seen as somewhat controversial by today’s standards, this is one of those beautifully written, classic stories that keeps us hopeful about the possibility of love finding us in whatever stage of life we’re in. First translated to English in 1988, Love in the Time of Cholera was written by the Nobel Prize-winning author of One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez and is a romance that Newsweek calls “[a] love story of astonishing power.”

The Devil’s Highway: A True Story
Luis Alberto Urrea

The path from the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona is the deadliest region of the continent—the “Devil’s Highway.” Based on a true story, Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea writes through artful yet uncomplicated prose about U.S.-Mexico border culture and what happened to a group of men who attempted to cross. “It makes what currently passes for our public debate over illegal immigration seem appallingly abstract and tin-eared. The Devil’s Highway isn’t just a great book, it’s a necessary one.”—Jeff Salamon, Austin American-Statesman 

Dominicana: A Novel 
Angie Cruz

Set in New York City and inspired by the story of her own mother, Angie Cruz paints a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and a timeless coming-of-age story. Shortlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, Dominicana is perfect for fans of Another Brooklyn and Americanah. “A tale from that island called girlhood. Cruz describes this shipwrecked age with giddy accuracy. A season of hope, vulnerability, and disaster. Especially for a girl of color. Gorgeous writing. Gorgeous story.”—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

Yamile Saied Méndez

It may be a man’s world, but girls will always run it. From rising star author and recipient of the Walter Dean Myers grant Yamile Mendez comes a powerful coming-of-age story drawn from everyday life experiences in her hometown of Rosario, Argentina. Sprinkle in a little budding romance and you’ve got yourself a powerful, contemporary YA novel about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line to make her life her own. Perfect for fans of The Poet X and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.

The Poet X
Elizabeth Acevedo

By award-winning slam poet and author of With the Fire on High and Clap When You Land is an astonishing novel-in-verse about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth. Focusing on struggles with faith, identity, relationships and sexuality, Acevedo pulls from her own experiences growing up Dominicana in Harlem. If you’re a fan of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina and Jason Reynolds, you need to read this book! “In The Poet X, Acevedo skillfully sculpts powerful, self-contained poems into a masterpiece of a story, and has amplified the voices of girls en el barrio who are equal parts goddess, saint, warrior, and hero.” -Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street

Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist 
Sylvia Acevedo

Whether they’re practicing good sportsmanship, learning how to program robots, or brushing up on their entrepreneurial skills by selling those cookies we love so much, there is no denying that Girl Scouts know no limits! An inspiring memoir for young readers about a Latina rocket scientist whose early life was transformed by joining and later becoming the CEO of Girl Scouts. Sylvia Acevedo’s Path to the Stars inspires kids to do the necessary work to achieve their dreams, especially encouraging an interest in STEM. “This appealing page-turner helps fill the void of biographies on Latina women. Girls, boys, scouts, non-scouts—all will be inspired by Acevedo’s story.”—Booklist

Queen of Tejano Music: Selena
Silvia López, Paola Escobar (Illustrator)

The illustrations. The inspirational story about the first Mexican American woman to infiltrate the male-dominated genre of Tejano and catapult it into the mainstream music scene. We really could go on and on—so we will! Illustrator Paola Escobar really outdid herself with the bold and beautiful art you will find in Silvia Lopez’s adorable and uplifting children’s book Queen of Tejano Music: Selena. This moving picture book about the iconic Selena Quintanilla will embolden young readers to find their passion and make the impossible possible! (Sure, this may be for kids, but there’s no rule that says adults can’t enjoy it too.) Bidi Bidi Bom Bom!

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