Hispanic Voices Fiction

Afterlife : a Novel by Julia Alvarez

Call# Fiction Alvarez

"A literature professor tries to rediscover who she is after the sudden death of her husband, even as a series of family and political jolts force her to ask what we owe those in crisis in our families, biological or otherwise"--

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

Call# Fiction Diaz

Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA.

Caramelo, Or, Puro Cuento : a Novel by Sandra Cisneros

Call# Fiction Cisneros

Struggling to find a voice above the boom of her brothers and to understand her place on this side of the border and that, Lala is a shrewd observer of family life. But when she starts telling the Awful Grandmother’s life story, seeking clues to how she got to be so awful, grandmother accuses Lala of exaggerating. Soon, a multigenerational family narrative turns into a whirlwind exploration of storytelling, lies, and life. Like the cherished rebozo, or shawl, that has been passed down through generations of Reyes women, Caramelo is alive with the vibrations of history, family, and love.

Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Call# Fiction Cruz

Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year's Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by César, Juan's free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay. As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family's assets, leaving César to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with César, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

Fruit of the Drunken Tree : a Novel by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Call# Fiction Rojascontreras

A mesmerizing debut set against the backdrop of the devastating violence of 1990's Colombia about a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both. Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogotá, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation. When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city's guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona's mysterious ways. But Petrona's unusual behavior belies more than shyness. She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the rip tide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction. As both girls' families scramble to maintain stability amidst the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal. Inspired by the author's own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree contrasts two very different, but inextricable coming-of-age stories. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras sheds light on the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.

The House of Broken Angels : a Novel by Luis Alberto Urrea

Call# Fiction Urrea

"In Urrea's exuberant new novel of Mexican-American life, 70-year-old patriarch Big Angel de la Cruz is dying, and he wants to have one last birthday blowout. Unfortunately, his 100-year-old mother, America, dies the week of his party, so funeral and birthday are celebrated one day apart. The entire contentious, riotous de la Cruz clan descends on San Diego for the events. High rollers and college students, prison veternaos and welfare mothers, happy kids and sad old-timers and pinches gringos and all available relatives. Not to mention figurative ghosts of the departed and an unexpected guest with a gun. Taking place over the course of two days, with time out for an extended flashback to Big Angel's journey from La Paz to San Diego in the 1960s, the narrative follows Big Angel and his extended familia as they air old grievances, initiate new romances, and try to put their relationships in perspective. Of the large cast, standouts include Perla, Big Angel's wife, the object of his undimmed affection; Little Angel, his half-Anglo half-brother, who strains to remain aloof; and Lalo, his son, trailing a lifetime of bad decisions. Urrea (The Hummingbird's Daughter) has written a vital, vibrant book about the immigrant experience that is a messy celebration of life's common joys and sorrows"--Publisher's weekly.

A Long Petal of the Sea : a Novel by Isabel Allende

Call# Fiction Allende

"In the late 1930s, civil war gripped Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life irreversibly intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them wants, and together are sponsored by poet Pablo Neruda to embark on the SS Winnipeg along with 2,200 other refugees in search of a new life. As unlikely partners, they embrace exile and emigrate to Chile as the rest of Europe erupts in World War. Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning. Over the course of their lives, they will face test after test. But they will also find joy as they wait patiently for a day when they are exiles no more, and will find friends in the most unlikely of places. Through it all, it is that hope of being reunited with their home that keeps them going. And in the end, they will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along"--

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Call# Fiction Morenogarcia

"The acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow returns with a darkly enchanting reimagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a spirited young woman discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico"--

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Call# Fiction Garcia Marquez

The internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel offers a rich and brilliant chronicle celebrating the endless variety of life in the mythical Latin America town of Macondo.

You Had Me at Hola : a Novel by Alexis Daria

Call# Fiction Daria

Rendered the subject of tabloid gossip by a messy public breakup, soap star Jasmine takes a part in a new bilingual comedy at the side of a telenovela costar who would revitalize his career.

Hispanic Voices Nonfiction

American Like Me : Reflections on Life Between Cultures

Call# 920.073 Ame

"From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures. America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents' homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, having Saturday-morning-salsa-dance-parties in the kitchen, and eating tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas never seemed at odds with her American identity. Still, she yearned to see that identity reflected in the larger American narrative. Now, in American Like Me, America invites thirty-one of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all. Ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, their stories shine a light on a quintessentially American experience and will appeal to anyone with a complicated relationship to family, culture, and growing up."--

From Our Land to Our Land : Essays, Journeys, and Imaginings From a Native Xicanx Writer by Luis J. Rodriguez

Call# 921 Rodriguez

"Luis J. Rodriguez writes about race, culture, identity, and belonging and what these all mean and should mean (but often fail to) in the volatile climate of our nation. Rodriguez has a distinctly inspiring passion and wisdom in his approach. Ultimately, the book carries the message that we must come together if we are to move forward. As he reminds us in the first essay, "The End of Belonging," "I'm writing as a Native person. I'm writing as a poet. I'm writing as a revolutionary working class organizer and thinker who has traversed life journeys from which incredible experiences, missteps, plights, and victories have marked the way. . . . I belong anywhere." The pieces in From Our Land to Our Land capture that same fantastic energy and wisdom and will spark conversation and inspiration"--

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Call# 347.732 Sot

"An instant American icon--the first Hispanic on the U.S. Supreme Court--tells the story of her life before becoming a judge in an inspiring, surprisingly personal memoir. With startling candor and intimacy, Sonia Sotomayor recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a progress that is testament to her extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself. She writes of her precarious childhood and the refuge she took with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. She describes her resolve as a young girl to become a lawyer, and how she made this dream become reality: valedictorian of her high school class, summa cum laude at Princeton, Yale Law, prosecutor in the Manhattan D.A.'s office, private practice, federal district judge before the age of forty. She writes about her deeply valued mentors, about her failed marriage, about her cherished family of friends. Through her still-astonished eyes, America's infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this ... book"--Provided by publisher.

Once I Was You : a Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America by Maria Hinojosa

Call# 921 Hinojosa

"Emmy Award-winning NPR journalist Maria Hinojosa shares her personal story interwoven with American immigration policy's coming-of-age journey at a time when our country's branding went from "The Land of the Free" to "the land of invasion.""--

Ordinary Girls : a Memoir by Jaquira Díaz

Call# 921 Diaz

"Jaquira Díaz writes an unflinching account of growing up as a queer biracial girl searching for home as her family splits apart and her mother struggles with mental illness and addiction. From her own struggles with depression and drug abuse to her experiences of violence to Puerto Rico's history of colonialism, every page vibrates with music and lyricism"--

Paula by Isabel Allende

Call# 921 Allende

When Isabel Allende’s daughter, Paula, became gravely ill and fell into a coma, the author began to write the story of her family for her unconscious child. In the telling, bizarre ancestors appear before our eyes; we hear both delightful and bitter childhood memories, amazing anecdotes of youthful years, and the most intimate secrets passed along in whispers. With Paula, Allende has written a powerful autobiography whose straightforward acceptance of the magical and spiritual worlds will remind readers of her first book, The House of the Spirits.

Silver, Sword, and Stone : Three Crucibles of the Latin American Story by Marie (Writer) Arana

Call# 980 Ara

"Against the background of a thousand years of vivid history, acclaimed writer Marie Arana tells the timely and timeless stories of three contemporary Latin Americans whose lives represent three driving forces that have shaped the character of the region: exploitation (silver), violence (sword), and religion (stone). Leonor Gonzales lives in a tiny community perched 18,000 feet above sea level in the Andean cordillera of Peru, the highest human habitation on earth. Like her late husband, she works the gold mines much as the Indians were forced to do at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Illiteracy, malnutrition, and disease reign as they did five hundred years ago. And now, just as then, a miner's survival depends on a vast global market whose fluctuations are controlled in faraway places. Carlos Buergos is a Cuban who fought in the civil war in Angola and now lives in a quiet community outside New Orleans. He was among hundreds of criminals Cuba expelled to the US in 1980. His story echoes the violence that has coursed through the Americas since before Columbus to the crushing savagery of the Spanish Conquest, and from 19th- and 20th-century wars and revolutions to the military crackdowns that convulse Latin America to this day. Xavier Albo is a Jesuit priest from Barcelona who emigrated to Bolivia, where he works among the indigenous people. He considers himself an Indian in head and heart and, for this, is well known in his adopted country. Although his aim is to learn rather than proselytize, he is an inheritor of a checkered past, where priests marched alongside conquistadors, converting the natives to Christianity, often forcibly, in the effort to win the New World. Ever since, the Catholic Church has played a central role in the political life of Latin America--sometimes for good, sometimes not. In Silver, Sword, and Stone Marie Arana seamlessly weaves these stories with the history of the past millennium to explain three enduring themes that have defined Latin America since pre-Columbian times: the foreign greed for its mineral riches, an ingrained propensity to violence, and the abiding power of religion. What emerges is a vibrant portrait of a people whose lives are increasingly intertwined with our own"--
"Marie Arana tells the stories of three people in contemporary Latin America whose lives emblemize the three powerful historical forces that still shape Latin America: mineral exploitation (silver), violence (sword), and the Church (stone)"--

The Sum of Our Days by Isabel Allende

Call# 863.64 All

Isabel Allende reconstructs the painful reality of her own life in the wake of the tragic death of her daughter, Paula. Narrated with warmth, humor, exceptional candor, and wisdom, this remarkable memoir is as exuberant and as full of life as its creator. Allende bares her soul while sharing her thoughts on love, marriage, motherhood, spirituality and religion, infidelity, addiction, and memory—and recounts stories of the wildly eccentric, strong-minded, and eclectic tribe she gathers around her and lovingly embraces as a new kind of family.

We Fed an Island : the True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time by José Andrés

Call# 363.34 And

Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. The economy was destroyed and for most people there was no clean water, no food, no power, no gas, and no way to communicate with the outside world. Andrés addressed the humanitarian crisis the only way he knew how: by feeding people, one hot meal at a time. From serving sancocho with his friend José Enrique at Enrique's ravaged restaurant in San Juan to eventually cooking 100,000 meals a day at more than a dozen kitchens across the island, Andrés and his team fed hundreds of thousands of people, including with massive paellas made to serve thousands of people alone.. At the same time, they also confronted a crisis with deep roots, as well as the broken and wasteful system that helps keep some of the biggest charities and NGOs in business. Based on Andrés's insider's take as well as on meetings, messages, and conversations he had while in Puerto Rico, We Fed an Island movingly describes how a network of community kitchens activated real change and tells an extraordinary story of hope in the face of disasters both natural and man-made, offering suggestions for how to address a crisis like this in the future. Beyond that, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Chef Relief Network of World Central Kitchen for efforts in Puerto Rico and beyond.

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Call# 921 Santiago

In a childhood full of tropical beauty and domestic strife, poverty and tenderness, Esmeralda Santiago learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs, the taste of morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby’s soul to heaven. But when her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually a new identity. In the first of her three acclaimed memoirs, Esmeralda brilliantly recreates her tremendous journey from the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years, to translating for her mother at the welfare office, and to high honors at Harvard.

Hispanic Voices Young Adult

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Call# Y Ryan

Lost in the Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, as the second World War approaches, the lives of three children -- Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California -- become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. Pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their solo stories converge.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Call# Y Saenz

"A story set on the American border with Mexico, about family and friendship, life and death, and one teen struggling to understand what his adoption does and doesn't mean about who he is"--

Jazz Owls : a Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots by Margarita Engle

Call# Y Engle

In early 1940s Los Angeles, Mexican Americans Marisela and Lorena work in canneries all day then jitterbug with sailors all night with their zoot suit wearing younger brother, Ray, as escort until the night racial violence leads to murder. Includes historical note.

The Moon Within by Aida Salazar

Call# Y Salazar

Eleven-year-old (nearly twelve) Celi Rivera, who is a mix of Black-Puerto Rican-Indigenous Mexican is secretive about her approaching period, and the changes that are happening to her body; she is horrified that her mother wants to hold a traditional public moon ceremony to celebrate the occasion; she must choose loyalty to her life-long best friend who is contemplating an even more profound change of life or the boy she likes.

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Call# Y Perez

"1937. Naomi Vargas is Mexican American. Wash Fuller is Black. These teens know the town's divisive racism better than anyone. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive. Naomi and Wash dare to defy the rules, and the New London school explosion serves as a ticking time bomb in the background. Can their love survive both prejudice and tragedy? Race, romance, and family converge in this riveting novel that transplants Romeo and Juliet to a bitterly segregated Texas town. Includes a fascinating author's note detailing the process of research and writing about voices that have largely been excluded from historical accounts"--Amazon.com.

Hispanic Voices DVD Recommendations

10 Items or Less

Call# DVD Drama Ten

Once the center of Hollywood, an aging actor finds that his fear of failure has made his career dry up, and he is now forced to consider a role in an independent film. While researching the role, he meets Scarlett, a check-out clerk at a Latino community market. The two begin a trek through Los Angeles finding unexpected situations, chance encounters, and personal revelation that neither could ever have anticipated.

America by the Numbers : the New Deciders

Call# DVD 304.609 Ame

The New Deciders presents surprising numbers and the gripping real-life stories behind population change, demonstrating how demography becomes destiny for politics in the 2016 election and beyond.

Cantinflas

Call# DVD Foreign Can

From his humble origins on the small stage to the bright lights of Hollywood, Cantinflas became famous around the world, one joke at a time. Relive the laughter that has charmed generations.

Latino Americans : the 500-year Legacy That Shaped a Nation

Call# DVD 973.046 Lat

Latino Americans chronicles the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have for the past 500-plus years helped shape what is today the United States. It is a story of people, politics, and culture, intersecting with much that is central to the history of the United States while also going to places where standard U.S. histories do not tend to tread.

Selena

Call# DVD Drama Sel

Tells the story of the Grammy Award-winning South Texas singer whose life tragically ended just as she was taking Tejano music into mainstream America.

Under the Same Moon

Call# DVD Foreign Und

Tells the parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, Rosario. In the hopes of providing a better life for her son, Rosario works illegally in the U.S. In Mexico, her mother cares for Carlitos. Unexpected circumstances drive both Rosario and Carlitos to embark on their own journeys in a desperate attempt to reunite. Along the way, mother and son face challenges and obstacles but never lose hope that they will one day be together again.

More Hispanic Voices Recommendations

Resources

  • The Hispanic Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides an effective education forum for an informed and empowered Hispanic America.

  • Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. This Web portal is a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

  • The Hispanic Federation is the nation’s premier Latino nonprofit membership organization. Founded in 1990, HF seeks to empower and advance the Hispanic community, support Hispanic families, and strengthen Latino institutions through work in the areas of education, health, immigration, civic engagement, economic empowerment, & the environment.

  • The Committee for Hispanic Families and Children aims to improve the quality of life for Hispanic children and families. CHFC has developed and implemented programs that meet the needs of low-income Hispanic families and children in such critical areas as youth development, child care, HIV/AIDS prevention and education, immigrant services, public policy and advocacy.

  • Since 1982, The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) has served as a resource for Latinos in the workplace and is an expert matter for corporations seeking to access diverse talent. HACE is a national non-profit dedicated to the employment, development, and advancement of current and aspiring Latino professionals.

  • The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute provides leadership, public service, and policy experiences to outstanding Latino students and young professionals, and convenes Members of Congress and other public officials, corporate executives, nonprofit advocates, and thought leaders to discuss issues facing the nation and the Hispanic community.

Podcasts

  • The Latin American History Podcast – Taking listeners on a trip back to Latin origins, host Max Serjeant discusses the stories of Spanish and Portuguese America from its beginnings up until the present day.

  • Latina to Latina – Hosted by Alicia Menendez, this podcast is an interview series that talks to remarkable Latinas about making it, faking it, and everything in between.

  • Spanish Aquí Presents – Raiza, Oscar, Tony, and Carlos host this laugh-out-loud comedy show that centers on asking their special guests: ¿Que te Pica? (What’s itching you?). From code switching to Latino movies, they’re adept at tackling any topic with humor.

  • Tres Cuentos – Carolina Quiroga-Stultz hosts this bilingual storytelling podcast that’s dedicated to the traditional narratives of Latin America. It explores the myths, legends, and folktales that are told in the Hispanic, Indigenous, and Afro-Latin American world.