September is Hispanic Heritage Month, and we wanted to share some books by Latinx authors. However, neither of us are Hispanic and it seemed disingenuous for us to choose them. Enter fantastic friend and fellow book lover, Christina. Fun fact: Christina is -indirectly- responsible for Lora & Logan becoming friends. I’ll tell you why later in this post.

Christina is a second-generation American; her father was born in Mexico. She shared a bit of their story, and this conversation is being shared with her permission.

When my father came to the US he couldn’t speak any English and went through so much racism and mistreatment as a result. His education suffered and he didn’t learn how to read until much later in life.

He didn’t want to teach his children to speak fluent Spanish because of what he went through. He thought we would stand out and go through the same troubles he went through. So I grew up not really knowing where I fit in. I was too brown and Mexican to fit in  with the All-American girls but considered not Mexican enough to hang with the Mexican girls and had to find my own way.

Christina G

Christina is going to do a much better job explaining her recommendations that I would, so I’m turning over to her now. See you back at the end for the wrap-up!

Crying in the Bathroom: A Memoir by Erika L. Sánchez

I related to this book mostly because I was not born in Mexico. As mentioned, I struggled figuring out where I fit in when I was growing up, and I did a lot of the same things the author did.

From the publisher: Growing up as the daughter of Mexican immigrants in Chicago in the ‘90s, Erika L. Sánchez was a self-described pariah, misfit, and disappointment—a foul-mouthed, melancholic rabble-rouser who painted her nails black but also loved comedy and dreamed of an unlikely life as a poet. Twenty-five years later, she’s now an award-winning novelist, poet, and essayist, but she’s still got an irrepressible laugh, an acerbic wit, and singular powers of perception about the world around her.

In these essays about everything from sex to white feminism to debilitating depression to the redemptive pursuits of spirituality, art, and travel, Sánchez reveals an interior life that is rich with ideas, self-awareness, and perception—that of a woman who charted a path entirely of her own making.

The Pain We Carry by Natalie Y Gutiérrez LMFT

This one has helped me and was part of a book club I am in for Women of Color.

Publisher description: If you are a person of color who has experienced repeated trauma—such as discrimination, race-related verbal assault, racial stigmatization, poverty, sexual trauma, or interpersonal violence—you may struggle with intense feelings of anger, mistrust, or shame. You may feel unsafe or uncomfortable in your own body, or struggle with building and keeping close relationships. Sometimes you may feel very alone in your pain. But you are not alone. This groundbreaking work illuminates the phenomena of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) as it is uniquely experienced by people of color, and provides a much-needed path to health and wholeness.

The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende

This one I love because it intertwines the fictional story of a young Jewish boy escaping Nazi Germany with the story of a daughter fleeing El Salvador in the 21st Century.

Publisher’s description: Vienna, 1938. Samuel Adler is five years old when his father disappears during Kristallnacht—the night his family loses everything. As her child’s safety becomes ever harder to guarantee, Samuel’s mother secures a spot for him on a Kindertransport train out of Nazi-occupied Austria to England. He boards alone, carrying nothing but a change of clothes and his violin.

Arizona, 2019. Eight decades later, Anita Díaz and her mother board another train, fleeing looming danger in El Salvador and seeking refuge in the United States. But their arrival coincides with the new family separation policy, and seven-year-old Anita finds herself alone at a camp in Nogales. She escapes her tenuous reality through her trips to Azabahar, a magical world of the imagination. Meanwhile, Selena Durán, a young social worker, enlists the help of a successful lawyer in hopes of tracking down Anita’s mother.

Hi, it’s Lora – just back for a quick fun fact about Christina. She invited me to my first WWII event and is at least 20% responsible for the blood, sweat, and tears that go into participating in the hobby. She was instrumental in introducing me to people and helping me research living history impressions. Since Logan and I met through our involvement with a reenacting group and Christina introduced me to the group, I have her to thank for my best friend.

Once I Was You: A Memoir by Maria Hinojosa

This is another good one since we are facing a continuous crisis in America right now with the immigration system.

From Publisher: In Once I Was You, Maria shares her intimate experience growing up Mexican American on the South Side of Chicago. She offers a personal and illuminating account of how the rhetoric around immigration has not only long informed American attitudes toward outsiders, but also sanctioned willful negligence and profiteering at the expense of our country’s most vulnerable populations—charging us with the broken system we have today.

An urgent call to fellow Americans to open their eyes to the immigration crisis and understand that it affects us all, this honest and heartrending memoir paints a vivid portrait of how we got here and what it means to be a survivor, a feminist, a citizen, and a journalist who owns her voice while striving for the truth.”

For Brown Girls by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez 

This one addresses how brown girls have had to push against powerful forces of racism, sexism, and classism. With not much guidance, which makes one feel very alone in their struggle. 

Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez founded Latina Rebels to create a community to help all women fight together. 

In For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts, she sets a liberating path forward for all women of color. 

The following I like, a quote from the publisher. “She empowers women to decolonize their worldview, and defy “universal” white narratives, by telling their own stories”

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed edited by Saraciea J. Fennell

Publisher description: Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed is a collection of 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora.  

This one is filled with stories of joy and of sorrow. It covers the different myths and stereotypes about the Latinx community. It addresses everything from ghost stories and family memories, to addiction and grief, finding yourself, finding love and most of all speaking  your truth.

The bestselling and award-winning contributors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Cristina Arreola, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Naima Coster, Natasha Diaz, Saraciea J. Fennell, Kahlil Haywood, Zakiya Jamal, Janel Martinez, Jasminne Mendez, Meg Medina, Mark Oshiro, Julian Randall, Lilliam Rivera, and Ibi Zoboi.  

Skeletina and the In-Between World by Susie Jaramillo

“Skeletina” is helpful for children who have nightmares. Susie Jaramillo is a Latina author who takes children on a journey into the “in-between” world, and helps them with anxiety and dealing with bad dreams. Lora has already ordered a copy, saying it’s a no-brainer with a cover that adorable.

From the publisher: With a focus on nightmares, anxiety, and bravery, this series opener is perfect for fans of the hit movies Coco, Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Slumberland.

Welcome to the in-between world, where the living go when they are fast asleep and where ghosts hang out when they have unfinished business. Visitors who come to the in-between world can confront their fears or see a loved one who has recently left the world of the living. Luckily, anyone who visits the in-between world can face their fears and anxieties with friends at their side.

In the in-between world, anything is possible, especially Skeletina, a fun-loving, fearless little girl who lives in there. Every day, Skeletina visits her friends, who include monsters, creatures, ghosts, and more. You can meet friends like Senor Tic Toc, who knows everything about the in-between world, or Spider Grandma, who teaches Skeletina the power of creativity.

Skeletina also loves to help others, like her friend Sombras, who is very shy. Sometimes, she even helps children who visit the in-between world in their sleep. She shows them how not to be afraid and how love lives on, even when someone has passed away. No matter the problem, Skeletina is there to help!

My Little Golden Book about Frida Kahlo

Little Golden Books has expanded into non-fiction, and this one tells the story of how Frida Kahlo became a painter after surviving both polio and a life-altering accident at a young age.

Publisher description: This Little Golden Book captures the essence of Frida Kahlo for the youngest readers. From overcoming illness, to being one of only a handful of girls at her school in Mexico, to having her paintings hanging in museums, this is an inspiring read for future trailblazers and their parents! Features informative text and colorful illustrations inspired by Frida’s own artwork.

I can’t thank Christina enough for taking time out of her busy life to share not only her recommendations but also a bit of her story.

If you’re interested in any of these books, links to purchase on Amazon are below. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We encourage you to support your local bookstore often and enthusiastically, but understand the convenience of buying online.

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