Latino Books Month

May is Latino Books Month! The yearly celebration was launched in 2004 by The Association of American Publishers Publishing Latino Voices for America (PLVA) Task Force with the goal of promoting reading among Latinos and raising awareness of the rich variety of books by and for Latinos that are available, in both English and Spanish. Here are some highlights from our collection!

English Language Materials by Latino authors and featuring Latino characters

Snapshots From the Wedding by Gary Soto
Maya, the flower girl, describes a Mexican American wedding through snapshots of the day’s events, beginning with the procession to the altar and ending with her sleeping after the dance.

Harvesting Hope: the Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull ; illustrated by Yuyi Morales
A biography of Cesar Chavez, from age ten when he and his family lived happily on their Arizona ranch, to age thirty-eight when he led a peaceful protest against California migrant workers’ miserable working conditions.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

How Tía Lola Learned to Teach by Julia Alvarez
Juanita and Miguel’s great aunt, Tía Lola, comes from the Dominican Republic to help take care of them after their parents divorce, and soon she is so involved in their small Vermont community that when her visa expires, the whole town turns out to support her.

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Throughout her high school years, as her mother battles cancer, Lupita takes on more responsibility for her house and seven younger siblings, while finding refuge in acting and writing poetry.

We Were Here by Matt de la Péna
Haunted by the event that sentences him to time in a group home, Miguel breaks out with two unlikely companions and together they begin their journey down the California coast hoping to get to Mexico and a new life.

What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez
Marooned in a broken-down Houston neighborhood–and in a Mexican immigrant family where making ends meet matters much more than making it to college–smart, talented Marissa seeks comfort elsewhere when her home life becomes unbearable.

Gringolandia by Lynn Miller-Lachman
In 1986, when seventeen-year-old Daniel’s father arrives in Madison, Wisconsin, after five years of torture as a political prisoner in Chile, Daniel and his eighteen-year-old “gringa” girlfriend, Courtney, use different methods to help this bitter, self-destructive stranger who yearns to return home and continue his work.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the curse that has haunted the Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of a mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, alive with unforgettable men and women, and with a truth and understanding that strike the soul.

Spanish Language Materials/Libros en español

Las Abuelas de Liliana por Leyla Torres
Mimi y Mamá Gabina son las abuelas de Liliana. Mima vive en las misma calle que Liliana en un pueblo de New England. Mamá Gabina vive lejos, en Sur América.

Fiesta Femenina: Homenaje a las Mujeres a Través de Historias Tradicionales Mexicanas recopilado por Mary-Joan Gerson; ilustrado por Maya Christina Gonzalez
Mary-Joan Gerson toma su material de las ricas tradiciones culturales de México, que incluye cuentos de los pueblos maya, mixteca y yaqui, para crear una colección que refleja los muchos rostros de las heroínas mexicanas.

Beisbol en Abril y Otros Cuentos por Gary Soto
Un colección de once cuentos breves que se centran en las aventuras diarias de los chicanos jovenes que crece en Fresno, California.

Conquistadora por Esmeralda Santiago
Desde que era una niña en la España del siglo diecinueve, Ana Larragoity Cubillas se siente atraida por la exuberante y exotica isla de Puerto Rico que describen los diarios de un antepasado que viajo a la isla junto a Ponce de Leon. Y en los hermanos gemelos, Ramon e Inocente, ambos enamorados de ella, Ana encuentra la forma de llegar alli: se casa con Ramon y convence a los hermanos de que su destino se encuentra en la remota plantación de azucar que han heredado en la isla. Pero las fantasias de Ana no la han preparado para el implacable calor, los peligros de una tierra salvaje, ni los esclavos de quienes depende la existencia de la Hacienda Los Gemelos. A pesar de las tragedias y privaciones, el misterio y romance de la isla la mantienen cautiva, y Ana lo sacrificara casi todo con tal de mantener el control de la tierra que se ha convertido en su verdadero hogar. Pero cuando finalmente encuentra la pasion en un sitio antes prohibido, la vida y la riqueza por las que ha trabajado se ven amenazadas por las mismas personas sobre cuyos hombros se ha levantado.

Bilingual Spanish-English Language Materials

Gracias/Thanks by Pat Mora; illustrations by John Parra
¿Por qué das las gracias tú? Un niño expresa su gratitud para muchas cosas.

A young multiracial boy celebrates family, friendship, and fun by telling about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful.

A Cafecito Story /El Cuento del Cafecito by Julia Alvarez, traducción de Daisy Cocco de Filippis; woodcuts by Belkis Ramírez
Joe vive en Nebraska; siempre ha querido ser agricultor. Sin embargo, su padre debe vender las tierras para pagar las deudas. Entonces decide ser profesor. Poco a poco, se siente más y más perdido: su vida carece de rumbo. Se casa, pero al poco tiempo se separa. Sin ningún horizonte, decide irse de vacaciones a la República Dominicana. Allí tomará un café que cambiará su vida: la propietaria le lee el poso y le vaticina una vida nueva, cerca de montañas y de aves. Poco a poco empieza a entender la tragedia de los campesinos: acostumbrados a cultivar el café al modo antiguo, ahora se ven obligados a vender sus tierras porque no pueden competir con los grandes propietarios, quienes consiguen mejores precios, ‘industrializando’ el cultivo del café. Joe ha entendido que su vida está aquí.

“A Cafecito Story” is a story of love, coffee, birds and hope. It is a beautifully written eco-fable by best-selling author Julia Alvarez. Based on her and her husband’s experiences trying to reclaim a small coffee farm in her native Dominican Republic, “A Cafecito Story” shows how the return to the traditional methods of shade-grown coffee can rehabilitate and rejuvenate the landscape and human culture, while at the same time preserving vital winter habitat for threatened songbirds.Not a political or environmental polemic, “A Cafecito Story” is instead a poetic, modern fable about human beings at their best. The challenge of producing coffee is a remarkable test of our ability to live more sustainably, caring for the land, growers, and consumers in an enlightened and just way.

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