Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15th-October 15th, honors the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans with ancestry in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Here are a few recent books written by Hispanic American authors to help you celebrate the month through reading.
How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez is a collection of linked short stories set over 30 years and following the four García sisters after their family escapes political tensions in the Dominican Republic and resettles in the U.S. Night at the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade is a collection of short stories, all set in rural New Mexico, about characters exploring the pressures and joys of family life and growing up. Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a collection of short stories about borders and boundaries centered on the Kentucky Club, a bar just south of the U.S.- Mexican divide.
In Héctor Tobar’s novel The Barbarian Nurseries, a fight between parents leaves their children in the hands of their Mexican-American maid Araceli, who sets off into Los Angeles with the children to find their grandfather. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez follows the Rivera family as it moves from Mexico to Delaware so that their daughter can receive medical care, where they meet and become intertwined with the Panamanian Toro family. Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet finds Cuban-American Lizet breaking away from her family to attend a prestigious liberal arts college in New York, only to feel pulled between her life at college and her family.
Next up is a trio of compelling personal stories. In My Beloved World Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor relates part of her life story, from growing up in a family of Puerto Rican immigrants in the South Bronx, through her pursuit of education, to the beginning of her judicial career. The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood by poet Richard Blanco is his memoir of growing up in Miami as the gay son of Cuban immigrants and his family’s struggle to remain true to their history while carving out a new life. Acclaimed author Sandra Cisneros’ A House of My Own: Stories From My Life is a compilation of 30 years of vignettes, family stories from Chicago and Mexico, and reflections on her writing life.
Rounding out this list is Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States by Felipe Fernández-Armesto, a well-done history that demonstrates the United States’ roots in Spanish and Hispanic culture and presence.
~ posted by Andrea G.