Book List

8 Books to Read for National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15, 2019
Janine Perez
Riveted Editorial Board

Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th-October 15th)!!

Whether you’re a first generation or sixth generation American; fully or partially Hispanic; or if you aren’t Hispanic at all and just want to appreciate the complexities of having a Hispanic heritage, this list is for you! Here are 8 books to read that celebrate the importance of representation of Hispanic and Latinx characters for National Hispanic Heritage Month!

8 Books to Read for National Hispanic Heritage Month

1. Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez

Just like his characters, Matt Mendez grew up in El Paso, Texas. This is his debut novel and boy is it a good one! To quote Jason Reynolds on the matter “Mendez, a gifted storyteller with a distinct voice, is sure to bring a quake to the literary landscape.”

Juan has plans. He’s going to get out of El Paso, Texas, on a basketball scholarship and make something of himself.  His best friend JD has plans, too. He’s going to be a filmmaker one day, like Quinten Tarantino or Guillermo del Toro (NOT Steven Spielberg). He’s got a camera and he’s got passion—what else could he need? Soon Juan and JD are embarking on a road trip to visit Mando, a man on death row who just might be Juan’s dad. Juan will finally meet his dad, JD has a perfect subject for his documentary, and Fabi, Juan’s mother, is desperate to stop them. But, as we already know, there are some things you just can’t plan for…

2. Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

If you loved Lilliam Rivera’s debut, The Education of Margot Sanchez, then you really don’t want to miss this! Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That role brings with it violent throwdowns and access to the hottest bodega clubs, but Nalah quickly grows weary of her questionable lifestyle. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers. To make it there, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in search of a mysterious gang with the help up a reluctant guide. Nalah must choose whether or not she’s willing to do the unspeakable to get what she wants. Can she discover that home is not where you live but whom you chose to protect before she loses the family she’s created for good?

 

3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

 

4. The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider’s perspective, it was practically a family tradition. In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy—hiding the truth from even her siblings and boyfriend’s parents—and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself.

 

5. Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Analee Echevarria is a Cuban-American teen who, since the death of her mom, struggles to say what’s her mind. Analee spends most of her time avoiding reality and role-playing as Kiri, the night elf hunter at the center of her favorite online game. Although, despite how much Analee loves her online world, she wishes she could confess her feelings for her video game partner-in-crime Xolkar, a boy named Harris whom she’s actually never met. Things quickly become complicated when Analee enters a fake relationship with her lab partner, and a love triangle ensues. But Analee in Real Life is about so much more than Analee’s love life, and the dynamics of her Cuban-American family, her best friend, and her emotional journey are equally as compelling.

 

6. The Universal Laws of Marco by Carmen Rodrigues

In the summer before eighth grade, Marco Suarez kissed his best friend Sally Blake. This was his first spark. And then, at the end of that year, she disappeared, leaving without even saying why. And now in their senior year, Sally unexpectedly returns and Marco is shaken. Still, he holds tightly to his carefully choreographed life. A life that is full of reasons why first sparks don’t matter, the main reason? He has a girlfriend.

 

7. Enchanted Air by Margarita Engle

Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother’s tropical island country, a place so lush with vibrant life that it seems like a fairy tale kingdom. But most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. Then a revolution breaks out in Cuba. Margarita fears for her far-away family. When the hostility between Cuba and the United States erupts at the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Margarita’s worlds collide in the worst way possible. How can the two countries she loves hate each other so much? And will she ever get to visit her beautiful island again?

 

8. Soaring Earth by Margarita Engle

Engle lived a life between two places: the lush island of Cuba, and the isolated, hard reality of Los Angeles. As she gears up for high school, the wave of change notable in the 1960s takes hold of everything in her life. It’s a love letter to education, grassroots movements, and identity in a tumultuous world.

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