Hispanic American Heritage Month offers a chance to learn the history and stories of Latinx culture, and how its struggles and successes still resonate today. From gripping memoirs and thought-provoking poetry to contemporary young adult fiction, here are six of the best contemporary books by Hispanic and Latinx authors to add to your reading list.
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allenda
Chilean journalist and author Isabel Allenda is well-known for her realistic writing style that draws inspiration from her remarkable upbringing and first-hand experiences of Chile’s changing political climate in the 1970s. Her novel A Long Petal of the Sea, is set in the 1930s and follows a pregnant widow and an army doctor as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War by embarking on an ocean voyage to Chile. Unlikely partners, the pair embrace exile but face incredible challenges as they try to start over on a new continent.
Undocumented by Dan-el Padilla Peralta
Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Dan-El Padilla Peralta’s memoir Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League, charts his journey from a childhood of poverty in New York, to Princeton University. In this inspiring story, he shares details of how he came out as an undocumented student in a Wall Street Journal profile a few months before he gave the salutatorian's traditional address in Latin at his commencement.
Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza & Abby Sher
Filmmaker, human rights activist, and co-founder of the Women's March Paola Mendoza collaborates with writer and comedian Abby Sher on this near-future dystopian novel. Sanctuary follows undocumented immigrants 16-year-old Vali and her family as they flee a xenophobic government and travel to a safe-haven state that is being walled off from the rest of the county. A gripping read you won’t be able to put down.
All We Can Save by various authors
A must-read collection of illuminating essays from women at the forefront of the climate movement, All We Can Save offers a range of ideas and perspectives on the complexity of the climate crisis. A unified collective of essays, poetry, and art from a diverse mix of female authors, the works shine a light on the challenges we are all facing and aims to inspire its readers to never give up on each other or our collective future.
Finding Latinx by Paola Ramos
In this empowering cross-country travelogue, journalist and activist Paola Ramos questions why the narrative of Latino culture in the U.S. overlooks so many of the diverse voices that make up its population of almost sixty million, and tells the stories of inspiring young Latinos speaking their own truths to define the term, “Latinx.”
Fiebre Tropical by Juli Delgado Lopera
Colombian historian, speaker, and author Juli Delgado Lopera’s first multilingual, coming-of-age novel, Fiebre Tropical deals with questions of sexuality, heritage, and identity. Centered on young Francisca’s struggle to come to terms with her gender identity, the story follows her migration from Bogotá, Colombia to Miami and her ensuing infatuation with Carmen, a local youth group leader and pastor’s daughter.
Do you have a favorite Latinx book or writer? Share your thoughts and tag us at #LifeUnzipped