Latinx Heritage Month 2021

Christiana Urbano | September 15, 2021



Latinx Heritage Month

Latinx Heritage Month is September 15 – October 15! We’re celebrating with a digital book display highlighting works by Latinx creators for readers of all ages. Every item is available through the Minuteman Library Network – all you need is your library card!

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Latinx Heritage Month 2021: Featured Recommendations


Gods of Jade and Shadow

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore. "A spellbinding fairy tale rooted in Mexican mythology . . . Gods of Jade and Shadow is a magical fairy tale about identity, freedom, and love, and it's like nothing you've read before."--Bustle NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR * Tordotcom * The New York Public Library * BookRiot The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather's house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own. Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather's room. She opens it--and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea's demise, but success could make her dreams come true. In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City--and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld. Praise for Gods of Jade and Shadow "A dark, dazzling fairy tale . . . a whirlwind tour of a 1920s Mexico vivid with jazz, the memories of revolution, and gods, demons, and magic."--NPR "Snappy dialog, stellar worldbuilding, lyrical prose, and a slow-burn romance make this a standout. . . . Purchase where Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, and N. K. Jemisin are popular."--Library Journal (starred review) "A magical novel of duality, tradition, and change . . . Moreno-Garcia's seamless blend of mythology and history provides a ripe setting for Casiopea's stellar journey of self-discovery, which culminates in a dramatic denouement. Readers will gladly immerse themselves in Moreno-Garcia's rich and complex tale of desperate hopes and complicated relationships."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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You Had Me at Hola

Alexis Daria

National Bestseller "I could not get enough of Jasmine and Ashton! I adored Jasmine--her ambition, her confidence, her attacks of self-doubt, and especially her hilarious, snarky, and loving cousins. She and Ashton have such a steamy, swoony, love story that I didn't want the book to end!"--Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author RITA® Award Winning author Alexis Daria brings readers an unforgettable, hilarious rom-com set in the drama-filled world of telenovelas—perfect for fans of Jane the Virgin and The Kiss Quotient. Leading Ladies do not end up on tabloid covers. After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy. After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had. Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars. With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

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American Dreamer

Adriana Herrera

“A fresh and vital new voice in romance.”—Entertainment Weekly From award-winning author Adriana Herrera comes a novel hailed as one of Entertainment Weekly’s 10 Best Romance Novels of 2019 and a TODAY Show Hot Summer Read. No one ever said big dreams come easy For Nesto Vasquez, moving his Afro-Caribbean food truck from New York City to the wilds of Upstate New York is a huge gamble. If it works? He’ll be a big fish in a little pond. If it doesn’t? He’ll have to give up the hustle and return to the day job he hates. He’s got six months to make it happen—the last thing he needs is a distraction. Jude Fuller is proud of the life he’s built on the banks of Cayuga Lake. He has a job he loves and good friends. It’s safe. It’s quiet. And it’s damn lonely. Until he tries Ithaca’s most-talked-about new lunch spot and works up the courage to flirt with the handsome owner. Soon he can’t get enough—of Nesto’s food or of Nesto. For the first time in his life, Jude can finally taste the kind of happiness that’s always been just out of reach. An opportunity too good to pass up could mean a way to stay together and an incredible future for them both...if Nesto can remember happiness isn’t always measured by business success. And if Jude can overcome his past and trust his man will never let him down. Dreamers Book 1: American Dreamer Book 2: American Fairytale Book 3: American Love Story Book 4: American Sweethearts Book 5: American Christmas

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Ordinary Girls

Jaquira Díaz

One of the Must-Read Books of 2019 According to O: The Oprah Magazine * Time * Bustle * Electric Literature * Publishers Weekly * The Millions * The Week * Good Housekeeping “There is more life packed on each page of Ordinary Girls than some lives hold in a lifetime.” —Julia Alvarez In this searing memoir, Jaquira Díaz writes fiercely and eloquently of her challenging girlhood and triumphant coming of age. While growing up in housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Díaz found herself caught between extremes. As her family split apart and her mother battled schizophrenia, she was supported by the love of her friends. As she longed for a family and home, her life was upended by violence. As she celebrated her Puerto Rican culture, she couldn’t find support for her burgeoning sexual identity. From her own struggles with depression and sexual assault to Puerto Rico’s history of colonialism, every page of Ordinary Girls vibrates with music and lyricism. Díaz writes with raw and refreshing honesty, triumphantly mapping a way out of despair toward love and hope to become her version of the girl she always wanted to be. Reminiscent of Tara Westover’s Educated, Kiese Laymon’s Heavy, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club, and Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries, Jaquira Díaz’s memoir provides a vivid portrait of a life lived in (and beyond) the borders of Puerto Rico and its complicated history—and reads as electrically as a novel.

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Velvet Was the Night

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a “delicious, twisted treat for lovers of noir”* about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome enforcer, and the mystery of a missing woman they’re both desperate to find. *Simone St. James, New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel 1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger. Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents. Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he watches Maite from a distance—and comes to regard her as a kindred spirit who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart. Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets—at gunpoint. Velvet Was the Night is an edgy, simmering historical novel for lovers of smoky noirs and anti-heroes.

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The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo

Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award! Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent. “Crackles with energy and snaps with authenticity and voice.” —Justina Ireland, author of Dread Nation “An incredibly potent debut.” —Jason Reynolds, author of the National Book Award Finalist Ghost “Acevedo has amplified the voices of girls en el barrio who are equal parts goddess, saint, warrior, and hero.” —Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street

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The Grief Keeper

Alexandra Villasante

After escaping a detention center at the U.S. border, 17-year-old Marisol agrees to participate in a medical experiment hoping to keep her and her younger sister, Gabi, from being deported to El Salvador in this stunning and timely debut.

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How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

The Hating Game meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter in this irresistible romance starring a Mexican American teen who discovers love and profound truths about the universe when she spends her summer on a road trip across the country. When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible. Most notable is her bunkmate and new nemesis, Santiago Phillips, who is grumpy, combative, and also the hottest guy Moon has ever seen. Moon is certain she hates Santiago and that he hates her back. But as chance and destiny (and maybe, probably, close proximity) bring the two of them in each other’s perpetual paths, Moon starts to wonder if that’s really true. She even starts to question her destiny as the unnoticed, unloved wallflower she always thought she was. Could this summer change Moon’s life as she knows it?

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They Both Die at the End

Adam Silvera

Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day. New York Times bestseller * 4 starred reviews * A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year * A Kirkus Best Book of the Year * A Booklist Editors' Choice of 2017 * A Bustle Best YA Novel of 2017 * A Paste Magazine Best YA Book of 2017 * A Book Riot Best Queer Book of 2017 * A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of the Year * A BookPage Best YA Book of the Year On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day. In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, the New York Times called “profound.”

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Erika L. Sanchez

National Book Award Finalist! Instant New York Times Bestseller! The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian meets Jane the Virgin in this poignant but often laugh-out-loud funny contemporary YA about losing a sister and finding yourself amid the pressures, expectations, and stereotypes of growing up in a Mexican American home. Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents' house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga's role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it's not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend, Lorena, and her first love (first everything), Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister's story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

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The Poet Slave of Cuba

Margarita Engle

A lyrical biography of a Cuban slave who escaped to become a celebrated poet. Born into the household of a wealthy slave owner in Cuba in 1797, Juan Francisco Manzano spent his early years by the side of a woman who made him call her Mama, even though he had a mama of his own. Denied an education, young Juan still showed an exceptional talent for poetry. His verses reflect the beauty of his world, but they also expose its hideous cruelty. Powerful, haunting poems and breathtaking illustrations create a portrait of a life in which even the pain of slavery could not extinguish the capacity for hope. The Poet Slave of Cuba is the winner of the 2008 Pura Belpre Medal for Narrative and a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year. Latino Interest.

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Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish

Pablo Cartaya

One boy's search for his father leads him to Puerto Rico in this moving middle-grade novel, for fans of Ghost and See You in the Cosmos. Marcus Vega is six feet tall, 180 pounds, and the owner of a premature mustache. When you look like this and you're only in the eighth grade, you're both a threat and a target. After a fight at school leaves Marcus facing suspension, Marcus's mom decides it's time for a change of environment. She takes Marcus and his younger brother to Puerto Rico to spend a week with relatives they don't remember or have never met. But Marcus can't focus knowing that his father--who walked out of their lives ten years ago--is somewhere on the island. So begins Marcus's incredible journey, a series of misadventures that take him all over Puerto Rico in search of his elusive namesake. Marcus doesn't know if he'll ever find his father, but what he ultimately discovers changes his life. And he even learns a bit of Spanish along the way.

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The Moon Within

Aida Salazar

The dazzling story of a girl navigating friendship, family, and growing up, an Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? for the modern day, from debut author Aida Salazar. ****Four starred reviews!***** "A worthy successor to Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret set in present-day Oakland." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewCeli Rivera's life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend's exploration of what it means to be genderfluid.But most of all, her mother's insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It's an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be?A dazzling story told with the sensitivity, humor, and brilliant verse of debut talent Aida Salazar.

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The First Rule of Punk

Celia C. Pérez

A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book The First Rule of Punk is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place, and learning to rock out like no one’s watching. There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school—you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself. The real Malú loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malú finally begins to feel at home. She'll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself! Black and white illustrations and collage art throughout make The First Rule of Punk a perfect pick for fans of books like Roller Girl and online magazines like Rookie.

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Efrén Divided

Ernesto Cisneros

Winner of the Pura Belpré Award! “We need books to break open our hearts, so that we might feel more deeply, so that we might be more human in these unkind times. This is a book doing work of the spirit in a time of darkness.” —Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman—or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved. But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México. Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family. A glossary of Spanish words is included in the back of the book.

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Mañanaland

Pam Muñoz Ryan

Newbery Honoree Pam Muñoz Ryan weaves an entrancing tale of courage and self-discovery.

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Carmela Full of Wishes

Matt de la Peña

An Instant New York Times Bestseller! In their first collaboration since the Newbery Medal- and Caldecott Honor-winning Last Stop on Market Street, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson deliver a poignant and timely new picture book that's sure to be an instant classic. When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true--she's finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make . . . With lyrical, stirring text and stunning, evocative artwork, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson have crafted a moving ode to family, to dreamers, and to finding hope in the most unexpected places.

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Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre

Anika Aldamuy Denise

RECIPIENT OF THE PURA BELPRÉ HONOR * A Today Show's Best Kids' Books of 2019 * Indie Next List Pick * Junior Library Guild Selection * “An appealing tribute and successful remedy to the lack of titles about the groundbreaking librarian...a must-have for all libraries.” —School Library Journal (starred review) An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature. When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy. Brought to colorful life by Paola Escobar’s elegant and exuberant illustrations and Anika Aldamuy Denise’s lyrical text, this gorgeous book is perfect for the pioneers in your life. Informative backmatter and suggested further reading included. A Spanish-language edition, Sembrando historias: Pura Belpré: bibliotecaria y narradora de cuentos, is also available. “Anika Aldamuy Denise’s intimate telling captures the magical, folk-tale feeling of Belpré’s own stories. Her lyrical text, sprinkled like fairy dust with Spanish words, begs to be read aloud, while Paola Escobar’s stylishly detailed and warmly expressive illustrations capture the joy of sharing stories.” —New York Times Book Review

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¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market

Raúl the Third

Little Lobo, a Mexican American, and Bernabe, his dog, deliver supplies to vendors at the Mercado, a busy border town market.

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My Papi Has a Motorcycle

Isabel Quintero

"When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she's always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her"--

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Where Are You From?

Yamile Saied Méndez

This resonant and award-winning picture book tells the story of one girl who constantly gets asked a simple question that doesn’t have a simple answer. A great conversation starter in the home or classroom—a book to share, in the spirit of I Am Enough by Grace Byers and Keturah A. Bobo. When a girl is asked where she’s from—where she’s really from—none of her answers seems to be the right one. Unsure about how to reply, she turns to her loving abuelo for help. He doesn’t give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one. Where am I from? You’re from hurricanes and dark storms, and a tiny singing frog that calls the island people home when the sun goes to sleep.... With themes of self-acceptance, identity, and home, this powerful, lyrical picture book will resonate with readers young and old, from all backgrounds and of all colors—especially anyone who ever felt that they don’t belong. 2019 Nerdies Fiction Picture Book Award Winner | Silver Medalist for Bank Street College of Education’s Best Spanish Language Picture Books of the Year | Named one of Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2019 |A Mighty Girl’s 2019 Book of the Year | Named one of New York Public Library's Best Books for Kids 2019 "Lyrical language and luminous illustrations. An ideal vehicle for readers to ponder and discuss their own identities." —Kirkus (starred review) "An enchanted, hand-in-hand odyssey [and] opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the many, many backgrounds, roots, histories, of those who live in these United States." —Shelf Awareness (starred review) "A much-needed title that is a first purchase for libraries and classrooms." —School Library Journal "This touching book addresses a ubiquitous question for children of color, and in the end, the closeness between the girl and Abuelo shows that no matter the questions, she knows exactly where she’s from." —Booklist "Although the book begins as a gentle riposte to narrow cultural and ethnic categorizations, its conclusion reaches out to all readers, evoking both heritage and the human family." —Publishers Weekly A Spanish-language edition, ¿De dónde eres?, is also available.

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Looking for more resources? We have you covered. Check out our entire list of Latinx Heritage Month recommendations. For more personalized recommendations, fill out our recommendation form.