We Asked 15 Mujeristas For Their Favorite Latina Written Books

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World Book Day is an annual event celebrated across the planet on April 23rd. The non-profit behind the festivities, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), aims to give every child a book of their own and promote reading. To inspire our reading list and join in on the celebration, we asked 15 Mujeristas about their favorite books written by Latina authors.

My personal favorite is The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende. The way she correlates spirituality with dysfunctional family dynamics and political crises resonated deeply with me as my father was also impacted by the military coups in the southern cone during the 1970s.

Read on to learn other favorites picked by nuestras hermanas written by Latina authors. Your book club will love you for suggesting these reads!

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Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction
by Elizabeth Vargas

“Not only did I relate to her as a Latina and a journalist, but I suffer from an anxiety disorder that, left undiagnosed, led to my alcohol addiction and dependency in my late 20s. In the book, she details her slow ascent into alcoholism, how she hid it at work, how she was “outed,” and ultimately how she found healing for a lifelong panic disorder. Her early life and early career were detailed with careful consideration and all of it left me, too, breathless to know more of her story.”  
Irina Gonzalez

 
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The House on Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros

“She just got the vibe right: the emotion and the heritage, the common essence that we share. It was my first time experiencing that in literature and I´ll never forget it. It was like her poetry was everything that I wanted to say but she already said it, so all I had to do was just be.”
—  Susan

 
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Self-Made
by Nely Galán

“It’s a perfect mix of storytelling and tangible resources for anyone but especially Latinas who want to succeed as an entrepreneur. My favorite quote: “When we rely on someone else to make our dreams come true, we actually give up our dreams.” This books gives a lot more knowledge and definitely a lot of motivation.

— Melanie of Que Means What

 
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The Book of Unknown Americans
by Cristina Henríquez

“It's about a couple who comes to Delaware from Mexico and their socioeconomic status changes as a result. I love it because it weaves true quotes from people who immigrated from Latin America in with the story about the couple. It makes the fiction more relatable and real to hear those stories, plus it's lifting up voices from our community at the same time.”

Dannie

 
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The New Latinas Bible: The Modern Latina's Guide to Love, Spirituality, Family, and La Vida
By Sandra Guzmán

“A must have to help every Latina arrive at womanhood without a multitude of generational guilt. "I love the woman that I have become because with every hard knock came a beauty mark...hell I must be gorgeous."

— GinaLinn of Get Wise Latinas

 
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A Place Where the Sea Remembers
by Sandra Benitez

“I first read the short book when I was in high school, the characters and their stories stayed with me for years. It is deeply moving and a go-to book for short trips.”  

Leonina

 
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The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo

“I’m not a poetry person and wouldn’t normally pick up a book of poems- but in this case, I’m glad I did. I had heard so many people rave about this book, and it definitely lives up to the hype! The Poet X evoked so many emotions and memories of my childhood and Latino upbringing. I came to adore the characters as I got an intimate look into their worlds. The writing is raw and beautiful and even inspired me to write some new songs. I am in awe of how the poems have profoundly touched my soul!”

Karina

 
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In The Times of The Butterflies
by Julia Alvarez

“Gives a history of how powerful Dominican women die because of the dictatorship of the president at the time. It was written by the sister of three of the women killed during this time.”   — Emely

 
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Mrs. Vargas and The Dead Naturalist
by Kathleen Alcala

“This book weaves family history and subtle humor into magic realist stories. It was an inspiration for me as a writer seeking models for breaking out of the realist mode, and I turned to it again when I started teaching fiction at the college level; the title story, in particular, was perfect for discussing so many aspects of technique.”  

Rosalie

 
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Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match / Marisol McDonald No Combina
by Monica Brown

“Monica Brown is a children’s author. She creates amazing characters that are usually biracial (Hispanic included). My little ones love reading her books because they relate to the characters multiethnic and cultural families.”

— Cathie

 
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When I was Puerto Rican
by Esmeralda Santiago

“I read this during my freshman year in college. I felt it was the first book I could relate to as a Latina in the U.S. The book inspired me to write about my childhood memories.”

— Sofia

 
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Esperanza Rising
by Pam Muñoz Ryan

“I read the book as a kid and it's been one of my favorites well into adulthood. The story details a young girl who has a luxurious lifestyle on a ranch in Mexico taken away from her and shows her resilience and grit as she shifts to a new life working in the farm fields in California during the great depression. It's actually inspired by the author's grandma's life story. When my friend who's a teacher asked for book donations, I sent the book in Spanish and English for her students.”
— Michelle

 
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How To Be a Chicana Role Model
by Michele M. Serros

“Same with “Chicana Falsa”. It resonated to me as someone who also spent life feeling like a false Chicana. Serros unpacks so much which I dealt with: not speaking Spanish perfectly (or little), re-defining authenticity as Chicana, and embracing my creative journey.”

— Heather

 
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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
by Erika L.
Sánchez 

"This book should be a must read for all high school students, but especially for students with immigrant parents. You will feel SO understood! I may not have grown up in the South side of Chicago like the main character does, but her description of her immigrant-rich neighborhood reminded me of my East Los Angeles. SOMOS."

— Janette

 
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Itzá
by Rios de la Luz

“My favorite book written by a Latina is Itzá by Rios de la Luz because its fantastical narrative, an homage to pop culture, and hybridity of form relays all the dark joys and nuances of our body politic.”

Monique



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About the Writer:

Lola Méndez is an Uruguayan-American travel writer and full-time globetrotter sharing her adventures on Miss Filatelista. She travels to develop her own worldview and has explored over 50 countries. Passionate about sustainable travel she seeks out ethical experiences that benefit local communities.

You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.