Hispanic Heritage Month Staff Picks

Texas Book Festival celebrates and reveres Hispanic and Latine stories and experiences. Through reading about the lived cultural experiences of others we expand our knowledge of those experiences and of the world. Check out some TBF staff picks below!

Some of these staff picks are 2023 Texas Book Festival featured titles. Look for hyperlinks to purchase these books from the official Texas Book Festival online bookstore. Proceeds support the Festival!

Varela is doing the good work. Where else can you learn about the nuanced consequences of racism on public health among people of color and at the same time get an inside look at what it feels like to be a queer person in 2023? The People Who Report More Stress demonstrates in a smart and entertaining fashion that neither Latinidad nor queerness are monoliths to be easily understood. No one aspect of an intersectional, marginalized identity can be so simply untangled from the other. They inform one another in layered tones and shades. You’ll want to dive right into this one.” – Jose Rodriguez, Communications and PR Coordinator

“Marisel Vera’s sweeping novel introduces readers to the story of Valentina Sanchez and Vicente Vega from the dwindling coffee farm in the mountains of Utuado fortunes of a turn-of-the-century coffee grower to the burgeoning sugar plantations of Hawaii in pursuit of a better life. The history of Puerto Rico and its relationship with the United States is often overlooked and this riveting story offers context for the tension and challenges that continue to this day.” – Susannah Auby, Development Director

“Brown Girls felt like a tender love letter to Brown girls – with a focus on exploring intersecting identities, Brown Girls used a humorous and candid approach to making sense of the contradictory components and worlds of growing up as a multi-cultural Brown woman. A warm hug of comfort and hope that is engaging (and funny!) throughout.” – Becky Gomez, Digital Design & Content Coordinator

“I can’t stop thinking about the poem “Poetry Is Not Therapy” and the first line that follows “but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try it.” In this stunning collection, José Olivarez writes of love, intimacy, heartbreak, and loss. He reflects on masculinity, systems of power, and capitalism. And while Olivarez’s insights are brilliant, I also found them accessible and wildly relatable. These poems may not be therapy for the poet or its readers, but they provide a lot of good for both the head and the heart.” – Michelle HernandezSchool and Community Programs Manager

“A finalist for both the National Book Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize, this unique memoir reads like a magical realism novel. The Man Who Could Move Clouds explores the author’s Colombian upbringing in a family of powerful curanderos – healers who have otherworldly powers to see the future, heal the sick, and commune with the dead. A must read for those fascinated by spirituality and/or culture!” – Hannah Gabel, Literary Director

With this recommendation I’m looking back at a novel that inspired my passion for historical fiction and the inventive ways that fiction can be built around a historical framework. This absorbing novel illuminates the lives of four sisters whose lives are profoundly impacted by political turmoil and oppression in the Dominican Republic under General Rafael Leónidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. This timeless and memorable story inspired me to try my own hand at writing a historical novel.” – Dalia AzimInterim Executive Director