You may not have known that Latinos have two months of the year that celebrate their achievements. The first is in September with Hispanic Heritage Month and the second one focuses on Latinos in Literature. May is known as Latino Book Month and all month long Latino authors are recognized for their works in various types of genres such as non-fiction, science fiction/fantasy, mystery, and poetry.
Here are some of my recommendations for books written by Latino authors that you should read.
With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Emoni is a seventeen-year-old single mom trying to achieve her dream of becoming a chef, on top of raising a toddler and finishing her last year of high school. Everyone around her tells her it’s impossible. Through many trials and tribulations she doesn’t give up, she keeps going. Elizabeth Acevedo shares the realities of teenage hardships, motherhood at a young age, and still being able to go after your dreams in this coming-of-age story.
The Latina Trailblazer: Inspiring Stories From Latinas Who Overcame Adversity and Forged a New Path by Janet Escobar
Janet Escobar documents her experience as a first-generation Latina living in America to pursue a higher education. She mentions the adversities she faced such as dealing with imposter syndrome and overcoming fear. However, she also shares what helped her to overcome these fears by embracing her heritage and using those fears to build her confidence. She also advises her readers to be proud of themselves and their cultures and tells them to still celebrate who they are even if they’re in a place that doesn’t.
Aquí estuvimos / We Were Here by Matt de la Peña
Although it was an accident Miguel still feels responsible for the death of his brother, he decides to run away from his group home to Mexico with his two friends Mong and Rondell. While traveling through Stockton and Venice and along the way Miguel learns to forgive himself in a world that is not always as forgiving.
Orgullo prieto / Brown Pride by Tenoch Huerta
Actor Tenoch Huerta has been working as an anti-racism spokesperson in Mexico. He has spoken in interviews about how this struggle affects the individuals in the film and television industry during an interview with The New York Times in November 2022 saying, “‘The productions mostly feature white Mexican or Latin American stars, while brown-skinned performers like him are relegated to subservient, criminal or generally disparaging parts.” This book is meant to encourage readers to be proud of who they are and how to enact real change against racism in Mexico.
I’ve always loved reading ever since I was a kid. When I was younger I wish that there were more stories focused on the struggles of the people in the Latino community because it shows others that we are a strong group of people and that we can overcome any challenge we are faced with. Although we don’t always win, we don’t back down.
To the young readers out there who feel underrepresented in literature, I hope that you know your stories matter and they deserve to be told. As for the authors who are currently writing their own stories, I want to thank you for bringing these stories to life and sharing them with the world. I look forward to more to come.