Celebrating your cultura should be something that is year-round, and these Latinx authors do just that with their honest and purposeful stories of what it means to be a Latino, Latina, Latinx, or Latine. From the trials and tribulations of Dominicans during the era of prolific dictator “El Jefe” Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina (In the Time of Butterflies + The Feast of the Goat) to wrestling with the decisions your ancestors made in the present-time (Of Women And Salt), Latinx authors have cornered the market in truly showing what representation looks like. Latinx authors not only capture the mind, but also the soul and heart of the Latinx experience whether in the United States or abroad. Below are 10 Latinx authors who have written books you can totally lose yourself in.
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“For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter To Women of Color” by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez
With For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts, Mojica Rodriguez pens an ode to brown girls everywhere who have struggled with the feelings of isolation that comes with the mighty and ofuscante forces of sexism, racism, and classism. The Managua, Nicaragua-born author seeks to remind Latinx women and non-binary people everywhere that they are not alone and shares tips on how they can tap into the inner strength and power they thought they lost (but never really did).
“Corazón” by Yesika Salgado
True to Salgado’s personality, Corazón is an unequivocally honest story of how love can help us grow. From heartache to healing, the book is a deep reminder of how love can be found anywhere — from something as simple as your favorite dish to your abuela’s hug to a conversation with a friend. In this novel, love is equal parts restorative and bittersweet.
“The Feast of the Goat” by Mario Vargas Llosa (translated by Edith Grossman)
The Feast of the Goat gives readers a harrowing juxtaposition of the effect that living in the Trujillo-era Dominican Republic can have on the psyche of a person. El libro follows the story of Urania Cabral as she travels back to her home country after being in a self-imposed exile from the D.R. and how her formative years dictated her relationships with those around her from her father to her aunts and cousins to her lovers.
“Of Women and Salt” by Gabriela Garcia
At its core, Of Women And Salt is an ode to the mother-daughter relationship and how one decision can reverberate throughout time. The book depicts how betrayal, whether direct or indirect, can have a profound effect on those around us. From the shores of Cuba to that of Mexico, Of Women And Salt dives into the power that women hold within their heart and soul.
“I am not your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika L Sánchez
In I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Sánchez taps into the ideal of how daughters (regardless of background) are held to a different standard within the Latinx filial unit. The book follows the story of Julia and how she navigates the impossible ideal of the perfectionism required of young girls after tragedy strikes her family.
“When We Make it” by Elisabet Velasquez
With her debut novel, Velasquez beautifully articulates the story of first-generation Puerto Rican eighth grader Sarai through prose much like Elizabeth Acevedo did with Clap Before You Land. This book serves as Velasquez’s ode to what it means to be of Puerto Rican descent while facing the mounting pressures that society puts on Latinx people and how to find your unapologetic voice through it all.
“Speculative Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology” edited by Alex Hernandez + Matthew David Goodwin + Sarah Rafael García
Serving as a follow-up to Latinx Rising, Speculative Fiction for Dreamers is a collection of works from over 30 contributors who are leading the charge in a new wave of Latinx writers. Each of the stories dives into the nuances of what it means to navigate the often precarious and ever-changing landscape of what it means to be Latinx within the United States.
“In the Time of Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez
Unlike the fictional novel The Feast of the Goat, In The Time of Butterflies centers around the Mirabal sisters: the late Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and their surviving sister Dedé. It is an honest portrayal of the women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the love of their country and its freedom from dictator “El Generalisimo” Rafael Leónidas Trujillo.
“The House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende
To be fair, reading anything from Allende is sure to be a winner, but The House of The Spirits marks the novelist’s debut and helped propel her to the renowned storyteller status she has today. The book dives into the trials and tribulations that occur throughout three generations of the Trueba family starting with the explosive patriarch Esteban and ending with the strong-willed granddaughter Alba.
“Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies” by Laura Esquivel
Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate is a folksy, witty, and homey story about tradition and love. The novel follows the story of the all-female De La Garza family and how fate and duty intertwine with tragedy in the most unexpected of ways. Like Water for Chocolate is filled with bittersweet love, magic, and delicious recipes.