Hispanic Heritage Month began September 15, and lasts until the middle of October. Though not celebrated traditionally as a “calendar” month, the date marks an important event in Latin American history – five Latin American countries achieved their independence September 15th. And as lovers of books, there happen to be some of our favorites that were written by Hispanic writers. One of my favorite writers, Junot Diaz, has broadened my horizons. These writers are a unique voice, helping give voice and identity to those in the Hispanic community. Through them, we learn more about Hispanic culture and language. Last year the community, the world, lost one of the most influential voices in Gabrial Garcia Marquez. In honor of this occasion, here is just a short list of our favorites:
The House on Mango Street By Sandra Cisneros – this book was first published over 25 years ago. Then there weren’t that many popular Hispanic writers. Now there seem to be quite a bit more, but Cisneros helped to pave the way.
Isabelle Allende has published a few books, but last year I read Maya’s Notebook. I really enjoyed reading it, and through the eyes of a troubled teen learned so much about Chilean culture.
Junot Diaz has written a few books in a relatively short writing career. I have read each one, and loved each one. I first read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao a few years ago. It was chosen by my book club and I remember being the only one who really liked it. Last summer I read This Is How You Lose Her and was equally amazed.
Pam Munoz Ryan is known for writing several books for young readers, focused on strong female characters. A friend recommended Esperanza Rising, and it has been on my TBR list for a while. Maybe this month I’ll actually get around to reading it!!
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel is a great example of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s style. I loved the book, and I really loved the movie! Going deep into Mexican culture and history, there is love, magic, and revolution.
Julia Alvarez is well known for her many YA books, which have been published in English and Spanish. We reviewed Return to Sender just a few months ago, which we loved. Centering on a farm family farm in Vermont, it was an important reminder of the struggle migrant workers and their families go through.
We are always in search of a good book. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, this can be your guide to some of the most prolific Hispanic writers. Of course there are many more – and this only the beginning! For more information, please visit http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/.