Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with these must-read books, according to our staff

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By Sam Cohen

September 26, 2023

We asked our colleagues across Courier Newsroom, The Nevadan’s parent company, to share recommendations for books by Hispanic and Latino authors. Here’s what they said.

One of the things I love about my job is that I often get to cover the topics I’m most interested in. During a meeting with Kimberly Lawson, VP of Community Content here at Courier, I mentioned that I planned to ask our colleagues if they had any recommendations for books by Hispanic and Latino authors. Kim loved the idea, and we decided to turn it into a story.

These incredible works by Hispanic and Latino authors—from short stories and poems to in-depth novels and nonfiction tomes—encompass our team’s wide range of interests. We hope you enjoy discovering them as much as we enjoyed talking about them.

And, to celebrate even further, Bookshop.org is offering a 20% discount for Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month (from now until Oct. 15), so be sure to check out the sale here and pick up some of these titles for yourself.

Before we get to everyone’s recs, here’s my own: “The House on Mango Street,” by Sandra Cisneros. I read the book for the first time when I was in middle school, and even though I read many, many books during my teenage years (for school assignments and recreational reading alike), the experience of reading “The House on Mango Street” stuck with me more than others. Even now, some 18+ years later, I can still remember the exact classroom I was sitting in when I first opened Cisneros’ semi-autobiographical series of vignettes. I remember thinking at the time, Oh my God, I can’t believe writing can be this good. And I still think that every time I revisit Cisneros’ work. Her prose will always make me feel like an energetic 13-year-old discovering what it means to truly love reading for the first time—“The House on Mango Street” is that tied into my memories.

Tell Me How It Ends” by Valeria Luiselli
This is a truly incredible (and incredibly difficult), perspective-shifting book.
— Lucy Ritzmann, Editorial & Content Manager (Courier National)

Las Madres” (The Mothers) by Esmeralda Santiago
Esmeralda Santiago, the most internationally recognized contemporary Puerto Rican writer has just published a book that talks about Puerto Ricans’ resilience during Hurricane Maria, which today marks precisely 6 years after destroying the island. I still remember the sound of the fierce wind.
— Mivett Vega, Reporter (Floricua)

One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez
This is the first time I was introduced to magical realism, and I loved how Márquez explored that through the lineage of the Buendía family.

Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez
This is the first romance novel I ever read!

Barrio Boy” by Ernesto Galarza
This book is incredibly close to my heart because the writer (who happened to be the first Mexican American to graduate from an Ivy League school) is from the small village town where my mom and dad were born.

Lotería” by Mario Alberto Zambrano
While the story is heartbreaking, Zambrano wrote this novel with such sensitivity, and each character felt like a member of my own family.

For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color” by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez
This book is so incredibly special because it acknowledges the doubts we have as Latinas but also our power. We also interviewed the author at Copper!
— Araceli Cruz, Content Producer (The Copper Courier)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
I read this book in 24 hours in high school—just couldn’t put it down. The prose is gorgeous, the characters are interesting and some of the themes were ideas I hadn’t really encountered before
— Nikoel Hytrek, Reporter (Iowa Starting Line)

In the Name of Salomé” by Julia Alvarez (2000)
Written as fiction but about the real Dominican poet (Salomé Ureña), what I got from the novel were lessons on what we get from, and owe, to our mothers, as well as the things we can and cannot give back to them, and to the world.
— Amie Rivers, Community Editor (Iowa Starting Line)

El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes
It’s a (if not the) masterpiece of Spanish literature. It’s also considered the first modern novel. And it may be over 400 years old, but it’s still absolutely hilarious.

Poeta en Nueva York” by Federico García Lorca
This is a beautiful collection of surreal poems by the Spanish poet from his time spent in NYC in the early 20th century. It really captures the gritty side of the city and the struggles faced by impoverished and marginalized people.

Pedro Páramo” by Juan Rulfo
Probably my all-time favorite—It’s a magical realism book written in the 1950s that takes place in a tiny Mexican town. The narrative is nonlinear, and it’s not clear if the characters are currently alive or ghosts.
Crystal Harlan, Senior Community Editor (Floricua)

Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
If you’re a fan of haunted houses and big plot twists, you’ll love this one.
— Jessica Swarner, Community Editor (The Copper Courier)

Check out Carmen Maria Machado’s fiction (here’s a short story people can read for free, and it’s wondrous). If you like the story, here’s a great commentary on it by Jane Dykema (which I read first—it’s what led me to the story).
— Lisa Hayes, Editorial Director (Courier Community Department)

The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo
This is one of my favorite books. She tells the story with poetry rather than prose and it is soooo beautiful. It’s a coming of age story that wrestles with entering womanhood, being loyal to who you are and the impact that can have on family dynamics.
— Leah Sherrell, Multimedia Reporter (Cardinal & Pine)

  • Sam Cohen

    Sam is the Editorial Product Manager in the Community Department at COURIER Newsroom. Prior to joining the organization, Sam worked as a writer and editor covering topics ranging from literature, health & wellness, and astrology to the British royal family and profiles of notable actors and musicians.

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