Recommended Reading for #OwnVoices Latinx Books

Books Are Magic
Feb 5 · 6 min read

Amidst recent industry-wide controversy about who can write which stories, and perhaps even more importantly, which stories are being heralded and celebrated as the defining stories of certain people’s experiences, we’ve been thinking its a great time to share some of our favorite books by #OwnVoices authors from the Latinx community. These are books that have made huge impacts on us as readers, many of which explore themes surrounding migration and U.S border relations. The list was immensely hard to narrow down, as there is no shortage of talented writers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, who are writing vital Latinidad texts—so make sure to check out our full list here.


Fiction

Cantoras
by Carolina De Robertis

Spanning three decades, this revolutionary novel follows five incredibly unique cantoras — aka women who “sing” — who find one another amidst the brutal Uruguayan dictatorship. A triumph of queer history that celebrates the miraculous, reclamatory power of chosen family.

Sabrina & Corina
by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

A complex and evocative collection that centers working-class, Latinx women of indigenous descent, set in the American West. Told with a chorus of vital, unforgettable voices, this collection pierces you and then, with equal measure tenderness and force, dresses the wound.

Dominicana
by Angie Cruz

It’s the early 1960’s when 15-year-old Ana Cancion emigrates to New York City by way of the Dominican Republic, after her mother forces her to marry 32-year-old businessman, Juan Ruiz. This story — inspired by the author’s mother — enters your heart surreptitiously and never leaves. You won’t stop thinking about Ana.

A Long Petal of the Sea
by Isabel Allende

Roser and Victor, two young refugees — one left widowed and pregnant by the other’s brother — are forced to join in marriage amidst the Spanish Civil War. Together, they embark on the SS Winnipeg to Chile, where they strive to build a new life as exiles.

The Lost Children Archive
by Valeria Luiselli

Lost Children Archive is a song for those without a voice, resonating across the country as we travel along on an intimate family road trip from New York to the Southwest. Connecting native and indigenous histories with the current migration crisis at the border, Luiselli is masterful in her tenderness and her exploration of storytelling, documentation, and boundaries, both internal and external, sings with the heartache of someone who knows what we lose in refusing others their humanity. Lost Children Archive offers a much needed return to the generous, the caring, and the humane in a world so desensitized to its violence and isolation.

The Affairs of the Falcons
by Melissa Rivero

In the 1990’s, the Falcón family flees Peru amidst economic and political turmoil, and a young undocumented Ana must now attempt to sustain her family in New York City, while confronting past trauma and ongoing adversity. A fierce debut about sacrifice, hope, and belonging.

The Book of Lost Saints
by Daniel José Older

Ramón, a Cuban American man living in New Jersey, is compelled by the spirit of his ancestor, Marisol, to investigate her disappearance during the Cuban Revolution. A poignant and genre-defying, multigenerational saga about a man’s journey to unearth his family history.

Where We Come From
by Oscar Cásares

An incisive and provocative book tackling the many cruelties — from human trafficking to drug cartels to U.S. immigration policy — occurring at the border, told through an incredibly intimate lens. A Mexican-American family gets caught up in the throes of these cruelties while providing refuge to a young, undocumented, immigrant boy in Brownsville, Texas.

Signs Preceding the End of the World
by Yuri Herrera, trans Lisa Dillman

Makina, a streetwise young woman, travels from Mexico to USA via the mythical and criminal underworlds in the search for her brother. A harrowing, masterful and unforgettable epic told in under 100 pages.

Nonfiction

Children of the Land
by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

A truly moving and gorgeously written memoir about the author, who is also a prize-winning poet, growing up as an undocumented immigrant in the United States. Here, the author offers an intimate and insightful portrait of a family fractured by dehumanizing U.S. immigration policies.

Ordinary Girls
by Jaquira Díaz

A breathtaking and brutally honest coming-of-age story about the authors experience as a Puerto Rican navigating issues of: trauma (personal and intergenerational), abuse, mental illness, sexual identity, class, and colonialism.

Homelands
by Alfredo Corchado

Merging the personal and the political (was there ever a divide?), this book offers a compelling account of the great Mexican migration, as explored through the relationship of four friends: a radical activist, a restaurant/tequila entrepreneur, a lawyer/politician, and the author, a (then) reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

The Devils Highway
by Luis Alberto Urrea

In May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the Mexican border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, the “Devil’s Highway.” Three years later, Luis Alberto Urrea wrote about what happened to them. Urrea also has an incredible book The House of Broken Angels.


See our full list including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, & YA

Forthcoming:

The Taste of Sugar by Marisel Vega
Subduction by Kristen Millares Young
The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: Latinext ed. by Felicia Rose Chavez, Willie Perdomo, José Olivarez
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz
Guillotine by Eduardo C. Corral
Catrachos by Roy G. Guzmán
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Fiebre Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopera
From Our Land to Our Land by Luis J. Rodriguez
Running by Natalia Sylvester
Spirit Run by Noé Álvarez
The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
The Fire Eater by Jose Hernandez Diaz


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Books Are Magic

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The musings from a bookstore in Brooklyn

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