Latinx Authors and Hispanic Heritage Month

Graphic of colorful "tiles" with text: "Celebrate hispanic Heritage Month @ PPL! Celebre el mes de la Herencia Hispana @ PPL! September 15-October 15, 2021"

We are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15-October 15 here in Pasadena and at PPL!

We have lots going on, so check out our brochure full of happenings or go straight to our online events calendar to plan and sign up at https://pasadena.evanced.info/signup.

If you’re looking for some recent books to read in honor of the month, here are a few suggestions for titles you can find at PPL.

Book cover The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende ©2021

“When I say that I was a feminist in kindergarten, I am not exaggerating,” begins Isabel Allende. As a child, she watched her mother, abandoned by her husband, provide for her three small children without “resources or voice.” Isabel became a fierce and defiant little girl, determined to fight for the life her mother couldn’t have.

As a young woman coming of age in the late 1960s, she rode the second wave of feminism. Among a tribe of like-minded female journalists, Allende for the first time felt comfortable in her own skin, as they wrote “with a knife between our teeth” about women’s issues. She has seen what the movement has accomplished in the course of her lifetime.

Book cover image for The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencia ©2020

Traveling across the country, journalist Karla Cornejo Villavicencio risked arrest at every turn to report the extraordinary stories of her fellow undocumented Americans. Her subjects have every reason to be wary around reporters, but Cornejo Villavicencio has unmatched access to their stories. Her work culminates in a stunning, essential read for our times. Born in Ecuador and brought to the United States when she was five years old, Cornejo Villavicencio has lived the American Dream. Raised on her father’s deliveryman income, she later became one of the first undocumented students admitted into Harvard. She is now a doctoral candidate at Yale University and has written for The New York Times. She weaves her own story among those of the eleven million undocumented who have been thrust into the national conversation today as never before. Looking well beyond the flashpoints of the border or the activism of the DREAMERS, Cornejo Villavicencio explores the lives of the undocumented as rarely seen in our daily headlines.

Book cover image of Gordo by Jaime Cortez ©2021

Shedding profound natural light on the inner lives of migrant workers, Jaime Cortez’s debut collection ushers in a new era of American literature that gives voice to a marginalized generation of migrant workers in the West.

…[S]cenes from Steinbeck Country seen so intimately from within are full of humor, family drama, and a sweet frankness about serious matters – who belongs to America and how are they treated? How does one learn decency, when laborers, grown adults, must fear for their lives and livelihoods as they try to do everything to bring home a paycheck? Written with balance and poise, Cortez braids together elegant and inviting stories about life on a California camp, in essence redefining what all-American means.

 

Book cover image of What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster ©2021

From the author of Halsey Street, a sweeping novel of legacy, identity, the American family–and the ways that race affects even our most intimate relationships.

A community in the Piedmont of North Carolina rises in outrage as a county initiative draws students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly white high schools on the west. For two students, Gee and Noelle, the integration sets off a chain of events that will tie their two families together in unexpected ways over the next twenty years.

Book cover image of Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora Edited by Saraciea Fennell ©2021

Edited by The Bronx Is Reading founder Saraciea J. Fennell and featuring an all-star cast of Latinx contributors, Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed is a ground-breaking anthology that will spark dialogue and inspire hope.

In Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed , bestselling and award-winning authors as well as up-and-coming voices interrogate the different myths and stereotypes about the Latinx diaspora. These fifteen original pieces delve into everything from ghost stories and superheroes, to memories in the kitchen and travels around the world, to addiction and grief, to identity and anti-Blackness, to finding love and speaking your truth. Full of both sorrow and joy, Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed is an essential celebration of this rich and diverse community.

Book cover image of Cazadora by Romina Garber ©2021

In Cazadora , Romina Garber weaves together Argentine folklore and what it means to be illegal in a timely, intimate, and emotionally powerful narrative.

Werewolves. Witches. Romance. Resistance. Enter a world straight out of Argentine folklore…

Book cover image Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia ©2021

In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt.

From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals–personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others–that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.

Book cover image My Broken Language: A Memoir by Quiara Alegría Hudes ©2021

Quiara Alegría Hudes was the sharp-eyed girl on the stairs while her family danced in her grandmother’s tight North Philly kitchen. She was awed by her aunts and uncles and cousins, but haunted by the secrets of the family and the unspoken, untold stories of the barrio–even as she tried to find her own voice in the sea of language around her, written and spoken, English and Spanish, bodies and books, Western art and sacred altars. Her family became her private pantheon, a gathering circle of powerful orisha-like women with tragic real-world wounds, and she vowed to tell their stories–but first she’d have to get off the stairs and join the dance. She’d have to find her language.

Weaving together Hudes’s love of books with the stories of her family, the lessons of North Philly with those of Yale, this is an inspired exploration of home, memory, and belonging–narrated by an obsessed girl who fought to become an artist so she could capture the world she loved in all its wild and delicate beauty.

Book cover image Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas by Roberto Lovato ©2020

An urgent, no-holds-barred tale of gang life, guerrilla warfare, intergenerational trauma, and interconnected violence between the United States and El Salvador, Roberto Lovato’s memoir excavates family history and reveals the intimáate stories beneath headlines about gang violence and mass Central American migration, one of the most important, yet least-understood humanitarian crises of our time–and one in which the perspectives of Central Americans in the United States have been silenced and forgotten.

In Unforgetting, Roberto interweaves his father’s complicated history and his own with first-hand reportage on gang life, state violence, and the heart of the immigration crisis in both El Salvador and the United States. In doing so he makes the political personal, revealing the cyclical ways violence operates in our homes and our societies, as well as the ways hope and tenderness can rise up out of the darkness if we are courageous enough to unforget.

Book cover image Las Biuty Queens by Iván Monalisa Ojeda ©2021

Drawing from his/her own experience as a trans performer, sex worker, and undocumented immigrant, Iván Monalisa Ojeda chronicles the lives of Latinx queer and trans immigrants in New York City. Whether she is struggling with addiction, clashing with law enforcement, or is being subjected to personal violence, each character choses her own path of defiance, often responding to her fate with irreverent dark humor. What emerges is the portrait of a group of friends who express unquestioning solidarity and love for each other, and of an unfamiliar, glittering and violent, New York City that will draw readers in and swallow them whole. On every page, Iván Monalisa’s unique narrative talent is on display as he/she artfully transforms the language of the streets, making it his/her own — rich with rhythm and debauchery. This bold new collection positions Ojeda as a fresh and necessary voice within the canon of world literature.

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