Recommended reading to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Beginning on Sept. 15 and continuing into mid-October, the United States recognizes and celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. To commemorate this month, the Texas Book Festival reached out to Texas publishers to compile a list of recommended reading by Latina/o or Latinx authors. The recommendations below were provided to our team from Arte Público Press and the University of Texas Press.

Agent of Change by Cynthia Orozco

Cynthia Orozco’s book tells the story of Adela Sloss-Vento, an essayist and activist within the Mexican American civil rights movement. Agent of Change is a captivating portrait of an influential female leader, and we can’t wait to host Orozco at the 2020 Texas Book Festival.

American Tacos by José R. Ralat

Another author from our 2020 festival, José R. Ralat tracks the history and diversity of the taco across the United States. From crunchy tacos in California to breakfast tacos in Texas, Ralat details the origins and evolution of this classic Mexican street food using exciting interviews and interesting history.

Borderlands Curanderos by Jennifer Koshatka Seman

Jennifer Koshatka Seman’s book gives the history of two curanderos, or faith healers, who healed Mexicans, Indigenous people, Tejanos, and Anglos in Mexico and the South Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Apostles of Change by Felipe Hinojosa

A story about the urban crisis in 1960s American cities, Apostles of Change provides the history of Latinx activists who created a revolution against urban renewal in church communities throughout the United States. In looking deeper at movements in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Houston, Felipe Hinajosa explains the intersection of faith and politics and how these radicalists used that connection to create change.

Chican@ Artivistas by Martha Gonzalez

Martha Gonzalez, Grammy-winning singer of Quetzal and Chicana/o studies scholar, writes about the politics within musical, performance, and visual art that has come out of East Los Angeles since 1995. Chican@ Artivistas weaves Gonzales’ own experiences with the progression of art in this community and explores the political engagement that comes with the industry.

Reading, Writing, and Revolution by Philis M. Barragán Goetz

In Reading, Writing, and Revolution, Philis M. Barragán Goetz examines how escuelitas, grassroots Spanish-language community schools, were formed to meet the needs of Mexican Americans and later helped shape the identities of many in the United States. 

Trust Me by Richard Z. Santos

Texas Book Festival author Richard Z. Santos’s debut novel Trust Me untangles the secrets and deceptions of those Charles O’Connell meets after moving to New Mexico for a new job. This story is one of suspense and surprise, as hidden connections and schemes are unearthed with the beginning of Charles’ fresh start.

The Moths and Other Stories / Las palomillas de la noche y otros relatos by Helena María Viramontes

This bilingual collection of eight short stories follows young female characters as they come of age in Mexican American society. Helena María Viramontes’ writing deals with sexuality, oppression, and religion and shows a true understanding of the experiences of women like those in these stories.

A Latino Memoir by Gerald Poyo

Gerald Poyo’s memoir brings readers into five generations of his family’s history and migration about the Americas and his own experiences in growing up in both North and South America. A Latino Memoir explores transnationalism and its impact on Poyo’s life.

The Soledad Children by Marty Glick and Maurice Jourdane

After discovering that schools in California were using English-language IQ tests to disadvantage Mexican American students, attorneys at California Rural Legal Assistance began a journey to bring justice and equal education to these children. The Soledad Children was written by two of the attorneys that filed Diana v. State Board of Education and provides a deeper look into the inequity of classrooms across the United States.

The Paper Lawyer by Carlos Cisneros

Texas author Carlos Cisneros writes about a real-estate attorney that, after being fired from her original position for sending an email containing racial slurs, finds herself practicing social security disability law. This legal drama is a social commentary on prejudice, ethics, and immigration. 

Manhattan Tropics / El trópico en Manhattan by Guillermo Cotto-Thorner

Soon after moving to New York from Puerto Rico, Juan Marcos Villalobos realizes many differences and discriminations Puerto Ricans experience in the city. Though the book was originally published in 1951, this bilingual version from 2019 remains relevant in its description of race and class issues and cultural pride.