Hispanic Heritage Month: Reading Lists

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, the only heritage month that is not contiguous with a calendar month! (It runs from September 15-October 15, because September 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and Mexico, Chile, and Belize also have independence days following September 15). That means it’s a great time to talk about favorite books featuring Hispanic/Latino characters!

Let’s see, picture books. I grew up on Tomie DePaula, so it’s no surprise that Adelita, his Mexican Cinderella, shows up on my list. And of our Latino books, I’m rather partial to Say Hola to Spanish, Under the Lemon Moon, and The Birthday Swap.

As for novels for kids and teens, I like the graphic novel To Dance and How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents . . . and here at the office we’re pretty excited about Under the Mesquite, coming this spring.

I can’t let the adult books go neglected, not when they include One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, two of my absolute favorites.

And then, of course, there’s the to-read list. Hispanic-populated titles near the top are 2666 by Robert Bolaño, for the adult side, and Esperanza Rising and Los Gatos Black on Halloween for my inner child.

What are your favorite books with Hispanic characters? What’s on your to-read list, and what do you recommend?

6 thoughts on “Hispanic Heritage Month: Reading Lists”

  1. The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar wao is one of my favorite books of all time! So much love for that book <3

    I really liked Adelita too :) I liked How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents too. Haven't heard of To Dance.

    I adored In the Time of the Butterflies and I'm currently reading (and very much liking) The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan.

    I wish my parents had known about Lee and Low when I was little, you guys have some really great titles!

    1. Thanks, Ari!

      To Dance
      is a graphic novel memoir about a Puerto Rican ballet dancer. It’s short, but has beautiful art and really shows what she experienced trying to succeed as a dancer.

  2. There are so many good ones! I love any and all Isabel Allende, especially her Stories of Eva Luna and House of the Spirits. Jorge Luis Borges and Juan Rulfo also both write tremendous short stories that will knock your socks off.

    In the younger category I’ve got more of a long (and getting longer every day) to-read list:
    Gringolandia by Lynn Miller-Lachmann
    The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engel
    The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan
    and of course, the picture books Me Llamo Gabito and Me Llamo Gabriela, since Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Gabriela Mistral are two of my all-time favorite writers.

  3. Don’t forget the wonderful works of Gary Soto–California novelist, dramatist, poet. From YA to picture books, he writes with humor and the most poignant love. Just one of my favorites is Baseball in April.
    And speaking of diversity, the earliest translator of Gabriela Mistral into English was Langston Hughes :)

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