Latino Literary Contributions

As Latino Heritage month comes to an end we focus on that community's literary works.

Books by Latino authors are providing a window into a culture that's writing a new chapter in America's history.

Camila Alire, the president-elect of the American Library Association, discusses many of the books.

ALA Recommendations for Hispanic Heritage Month

By Camila Alire

The Poet Slave of Cuba

The Poet Slave of Cuba, by Margarita Engle, tells the story of a slave boy denied an education but had a talent for poetry. Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated hide caption

itoggle caption Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated
Tomas and the Library Lady

Tomas and the Library Lady is based on the true story of the Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera. Random House Children's Books hide caption

itoggle caption Random House Children's Books

The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography in Poems of Juan Francisco Manzano by Margarita Engle. 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.

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya. This edition of the classic Chicano coming of age novel tells the haunting moral tale of a New Mexican boy, confused and alienated, who finds answers in Ultima, a woman who cures with herbs and magic.

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez. Four lively Latinas plunged from a pampered life of privilege on an island compound in Santo Domingo into the big-city chaos of New York rebel against Mami and Papi's old-world discipline and embrace all that America has to offer.

Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez. In the early 1960s in the Dominican Republic, 12-year-old Anita learns that her family is involved in the underground movement to end the bloody rule of the dictator, General Trujillo.

Chato and the Party Animals by Gary Soto. Chato, the coolest cat in the barrio, decides to throw a "pachanga" for his friend Novio Boy, who has never had a birthday party, but when it is time to party, Novio Boy cannot be found. This lively text features Spanish words throughout.

Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora. While helping his family in their work as migrant laborers far from their home, Tomâas finds an entire world to explore in the books at the local public library. It is based on the true story of the Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera, a child of migrant workers who went on to become the first minority Chancellor in the University of California system.

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