8 Must-Reads by Latino Authors

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With authors from all over North and South America, these stories will pull on your heart strings, draw you into their culture, and put your own life in perspective. From learning it’s OK to be different with Marisol McDonald, being engrossed in the romantic poetry of Pablo Neruda, to learning about another side of Netflix’s infamous star, Pablo Escobar, there’s something here that will speak to you.

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

In this debut novel, the García sisters–Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía–and their family must flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their father’s role in an attempt to overthrow a tyrannical dictator is discovered. They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Caribbean. In the wild and wondrous and not always welcoming U.S.A., their parents try to hold on to their old ways, but the girls try find new lives: by forgetting their Spanish, by straightening their hair and wearing fringed bell bottoms. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating to be caught between the old world and the new.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match

Marisol McDonald, a biracial, nonconformist, soccer-playing pirate-princess with brown skin and red hair, celebrates her uniqueness.

The Poetry of Pablo Neruda

In his work a continent awakens to consciousness,” wrote the Swedish Academy in awarding the Nobel Prize to Pablo Neruda, author of more than thirty-five books of poetry and one of Latin America’s most revered writers and political figures–a loyal member of the Communist party, a lifelong diplomat and onetime senator, a man lionized during his lifetime as “the people’s poet.” Born Neftali Basoalto, Neruda adopted his pen name in fear of his family’s disapproval, and yet by the age of twenty-five he was already famous for the book Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, which remains his most beloved. During the next fifty years, a seemingly boundless metaphorical language linked his romantic fantasies and the fierce moral and political compass–exemplified in books such as Canto General–that made him an adamant champion of the dignity of ordinary men and women. Edited and with an introduction by Ilan Stavans, this is the most comprehensive single-volume collection of this prolific poet’s work in English. Here the finest translations of nearly six hundred poems by Neruda are collected and join specially commissioned new translations that attest to Neruda’s still-resounding presence in American letters.

When I Was Puerto Rican

Magic, sexual tension, high comedy, and intense drama move through an enchanted yet harsh autobiography, in the story of a young girl who leaves rural Puerto Rico for New York’s tenements and a chance for success.

The Book of Unknown Americans

A boy and a girl who fall in love. Two families whose hopes collide with destiny. An extraordinary novel that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American. Woven into their stories are the testimonials of men and women who have come to the United States from all over Latin America. You can also check out this title as eAudiobook on Overdrive/Libby and as eBook on Overdrive/Libby.

The Seamstress: A Novel

As seamstresses, the young sisters Emília and Luzia dos Santos know how to cut, mend, and conceal—useful skills in the lawless backcountry of Brazil, where ruthless land barons feud with bands of outlaw cangaceiros, trapping innocent residents in the crossfire. Emília, a naive romantic, dreams of falling in love with a gentleman and escaping to a big city. Quick-tempered Luzia also longs for escape, finding it in her craft and secret prayers to the saints she believes once saved her life. But when Luzia is abducted by cangaceiros led by the infamous Hawk and Emília stumbles into a marriage with the son of a wealthy and politically powerful doctor, the sisters’ quiet lives diverge in ways they never would have imagined.

This Is How You Lose Her

The stories in This Is How You Lose Her , by turns hilarious and devastating, raucous and tender, lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weaknesses of our all-too-human hearts. They capture the heat of new passion, the recklessness with which we betray what we most treasure, and the torture we go through – “the begging, the crawling over glass, the crying” – to try to mend what we’ve broken beyond repair. They recall the echoes that intimacy leaves behind, even where we thought we did not care. They teach us the catechism of affections: that the faithlessness of the fathers is visited upon the children; that what we do unto our exes is inevitably done in turn unto us; and that loving thy neighbor as thyself is a commandment more safely honored on platonic than erotic terms. Most of all, these stories remind us that the habit of passion always triumphs over experience, and that “love, when it hits us for real, has a half-life of forever.”

Pablo Escobar: My Father

Until now, we believed that everything had been said about the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, the most infamous drug kingpin of all time, but these versions have always been told from the outside, never from the intimacy of his own home.

More than two decades after the full-fledged manhunt finally caught up with the king of cocaine, Juan Pablo Escobar travels to the past to reveal an unabridged version of his father–a man capable of committing the most extreme acts of cruelty while simultaneously professing infinite love for his family.

This is not the story of a child seeking redemption for his father, but a shocking look at the consequences of violence and the overwhelming need for peace and forgiveness.