New Book: Cabañuelas by Norma Elia Cantú

Nena leaves Laredo, Texas, and moves to Madrid, Spain, to research the historical roots of traditional fiestas in Laredo. Immersing herself in post-Franco Spain and its rich history, its food, music, and fiestas, Nena finds herself falling for Paco, a Spaniard who works in publishing. Nena’s research and experiences teach her about who she is, where she comes from, and what is important to her, but as her work comes to a close, Nena must decide where she can best be true to her entire self: in Spain with Paco or in Laredo, her home, where her job and family await her return.Norma Elia Cantú is the Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University. Her recent works include Transcendental Train Yard: A Collaborative Suite of SerigraphsCanícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera, Updated Edition (UNM Press), and the coedited anthology Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art.




New Book: Ballad of a Slopsucker by Juan Alvarado Valdivia

Check out this new book from UNM press!

A young widower visits Chichén Itzá to honor his wife; family dynamics unravel at a child’s birthday party; the lead singer of a high school metal band faces his dreaded tenth reunion; a serial killer believes he’s been blessed by God to murder bicycle thieves—Alvarado Valdivia’s debut collection of short stories ranges from dark to light and is written with a storyteller’s skill and compassion. Based in Northern California and examining a variety of themes, including love, family, and masculinity, these stories offer an important new perspective on the experiences of Latinos and Latinas in the United States and complicate ideas of nationhood, identity, and the definition of home.


Juan Alvarado Valdivia was born to Peruvian parents and raised in Fremont, California. He is the author of ¡Cancerlandia!: A Memoir (UNM Press).

Alicia Gaspar de Alba in Austin on May 2nd   RSVP here – seats are limited!


“This is about resistance:” The Feminist Revisions of Alicia Gaspar de Alba

Thursday, May 2, 2019, 4:00pm – 6:00pm

The University of Texas Libraries, The Center for Mexican American Studies, the Center for Women and Gender Studies, and LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections invite you to commemorate the acquisition of the Alicia Gaspar de Alba papers. The multifaceted Chicana queer feminist scholar will be reading from her works and discussing her career with MALS lecturer and community organizer Lilia Rosas. Archival viewing and reception to follow remarks. 

9 queer Latinx books you have to read before you die

Check out the original article by Vania Castilla for Borderzine here:

Last summer I had the opportunity to work alongside filmmakers Angie Tures and Henry Alberto as a production assistant on a project that brought the work of noted poet and author Benjamin Alire Sáenz to life on film.

Sáenz and I spent most of the day together talking about film, poetry, and really just about how funny life can be. He gave me a copy of his book, “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.” I opened the book and didn’t put it back down until the last page. I laughed, cried, found love, lost love. I had never experienced reading a book whose story was so similar to my own.

Knowing that there were books like this, I set out on a quest to find other books written about the queer Latinx experience. Knowing there must be others looking for similar books, I’m going to make life a little easier for you. Here’s my list of essential reading of queer Latinx books you have to read before you die.

1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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At the top of any queer reading list, you’ll find “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe”. One of the many reasons it’s at the top of mine is the book is written by El Pasoan and award-winning author Benjamin Alire Sáenz. The coming-of-age story is set in El Paso and follows the lives of two Mexican-American boys and their unique friendship. The book is currently being adapted for the screen and being directed by Latinx filmmaker Henry Alberto.

2. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria E. Anzaldúa


Gloria E. Anzaldúa is one of the most prolific and influential theorists in Chicano Studies. Redefining the Chicanx experience by giving a voice to its women, she spent her life documenting the Chicana experience. In her semi-autobiographic book, she writes about her experience growing up brown, queer and a woman in Texas. The book is written in both Spanish and English – many times living in the in-between of both languages.

3. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera


If finding representation of the queer identity in literature is difficult, finding a character like Juliet is as close to a miracle as it gets. Juliet is getting ready to leave the Bronx and head to Oregon to pursue an internship with her favorite writer. Afraid of how her family might react to her being queer, she decides that because she’s leaving it’s the perfect time to come out to her family. One of the biggest takeaways is how the book tackles white feminism and the need for women of color to have a voice.

4. We the Animals by Justin Torres


There are few books that can capture what it’s like to grow up in an abusive home. Three brothers form a formidable bond as they navigate through their childhood. The narrator must follow a different path as he discovers his queerness. The dark and fragile story was recently released as a film last year and directed by Jeremiah Zagar.

5. America Vol. 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez by Gabby Rivera


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s an openly queer superhero! This is the “book” for people who don’t like to read. Gabby Rivera does it again but this time partnering with Illustrator Joe Quinones and bringing America Chavez to life. America Chavez is the latest superhero to join the Marvel Universe. She’s not your average superhero and this isn’t your average comic.

6. Chulito by Carlos Rico-Gonzalez


Chulito is a 16-year-old boy growing up in the South Bronx who starts realizing he might have more than just friendly feelings towards his best friend Carlos. When Carlos is ostracized by the neighborhood for being gay, Chulito has to decide between his community and his best friend. “Chulito” is a work that challenges the idea of gender norms and what it means to be a “man.”

7. The Rain God by Arturo Islas


Another author El Paso can be proud to claim as their own is Arturo Islas. He was one of the first Chicanos to be signed by a major publishing house. The Rain God is one of only two books completed by the author before he died in 1999, due to complications brought on by AIDS. The book tells the story of a Mexican family struggling to adapt to the “American” and the immigrant experience.

8. More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera


Aaron Soto, a 16-year-old Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx struggles to find happiness. Aaron hears of the Leteo Institute – a company that promises to erase painful memories so people can move forward – and decides it would be best if he could forget he’s gay. What follows is an honest portrayal of struggling with depression and mental illness.

9. Gulf Dreams by Emma Perez


Published in 1996, “Gulf Dreams” is considered one of the first Chicana lesbian pieces of literature to be print. It tells the story of a young girl growing up in a rural and racist town in Texas. The narrator telling a gripping and heartbreaking story of her childhood and of the first girl she ever loved.


Meg Medina on Winning the Newbery Medal

Meg Medina has gotten “the call” before. It came on a Sunday night in January 2014 when the chairperson of the American Library Association’s Pura Belpré committee telephoned to say that her YA novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Candlewick), had won its gold medal for narrative. That award goes to a writer whose work best portrays the Latinx cultural experience in a work of literature for children or teens.

“They called about 10 at night, so when the phone didn’t ring this time, I thought, ‘Oh well, that’s it,’” Medina said. She went to bed and rose early to go to the YMCA for her cardio class. But Merci Suárez Changes Gears(Candlewick) had received five starred reviews. Medina was right to think her middle-grade novel about an irrepressible Cuban-American girl might have been on the radar of one of ALA’s many award committees. “Psychologically, you fight expectation, but there is this tiny seed of hope that you’ve won something, that one of these awards will have your name on it, but you’re afraid to hope too much.”

And as it turned out, the phone did ring at 10 at Medina’s home in Richmond, Va., but this time it was 10 a.m., which was 7 a.m. in Seattle where the Newbery committee members had assembled to make their calls. Medina was back from the gym and getting into the shower when she saw an unfamiliar number on her phone’s and answered by saying, “Who is this?”

“When she [chairperson Ellen Riordan] said it was the Newbery committee and I had won the medal, all of the emotion I had been holding back, not only for this day, but over the entire course of my career as a writer, just came crashing forward and I sank to the floor of my bathroom and had a big messy cry,” Medina said. “Those poor people. I have no idea what I even said to them but I’m so grateful that they loved Merci and the Suárez family.”


Merci Suarez is Medina’s seventh book but only her second middle grade novel. She also won recognition from the Pura Belpré committee in 2016 for Mango, Abuela, and Me, a picture book. Other than her first novel, Milagros: Girl from Away (Holt, 2008), all of her books have been edited by Candlewick’s Kate Fletcher.

“And she doesn’t speak a word of Spanish!” Medina said. “I am working on her, though.”

The novel, which stars 11-year-old Merci but prominently features her extended Cuban-American family, began as a short story Medina contributed to Flying Lessons and Other Stories, an anthology edited by Ellen Oh (Crown), and produced in cooperation with We Need Diverse Books. The collection included short stories by Matt de la Peña, Jacqueline Woodson, Kwame Alexander and others. “All the heavyweights and me,” Medina said. Medina gave Merci her own childhood love of bike-riding and her birthplace, setting the story in South Florida, where Medina’s parents emigrated to when they left Cuba in 1960. Medina was the first of her family to be born in America.

She found that even after turning in the story for the anthology, Merci had a lot more to say. “I wasn’t finished with her, or she wasn’t finished with me,” Medina said. “You know how Merci is. She keeps coming at you.”

Medina also felt strongly that the moment was right for a story about the particularities of the immigrant experience and the universal truths about growing up.

“I worry for children right now, especially in Latino families, around the issue of immigration,” she said. “These children are not deaf. They are hearing all of this political talk. We need books that sound and look the way we as Americans look, books that get into the corners of children’s experiences.” And though her Pura Belpré Awards are cherished achievements—“It’s the award of your language, of your home, of your parents,” she said—the Newbery will bring a much wider audience to Merci’s story. “That sticker is like a magic portal,” she said.

There is also this: the Newbery conveys on a book something close to immortality, and on its author membership in a very exclusive club. “Just to join the amazing authors who have already won, that my name is going to be part of that list, that is why my knees buckled, why I wept,” Medina said. “One day, my grandchild will walk into a library and see the title of my book as a Newbery winner and say, ‘My abuela wrote that.’”

Not that she is an abuela, yet, mind you. “No, right, don’t make me a grandmother yet,” she said. “Someday in the future, my grandchild will say that.”

Elizabeth Acevedo and ‘The Poet X’ Add Printz, Pura Belpré to Awards Collection

Elizabeth Acevedo, whose debut novel won over the publishing world, critics, and award committees in 2018, continued her streak into the new year as The Poet Xnabbed the 2019 Michael L. Printz Award and the Pura Belpré Author Award at the Youth Media Awardsceremony at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Seattle on Monday.

“I was shaking when I got the call for the Printz; I was shaking when I got the call for the Pura Belpré,” says Acevedo. “Then, when I actually watched them announce my name, my heart was pounding. I knew it was coming but still, it was like, ‘This cannot be real.’”

The Pura Belpré Author Award shocked Acevedo—who says the recognition of a Latinx writer whose work best “best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience” wasn’t on her radar as an award she might win.

“To get that honor is so special,” she says. “There were so many good books this year written by the Latinx community. I was really honored. That one caught me by surprise.”

The Poet X , which also won an Odyssey Honor for its audiobook version on Monday, had already won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Best Fiction. Acevedo can’t and won’t rank the honors. The most important thing is each different honor affirms that the story spoke to a different group of people, she says. The Printz commitee saw a unique combination of attributes in Acevedo’s work.

“It’s that rare combination of kick-ass literary novel and resonant, readable story,” said committee chair Rachel Fryd.

Winning the Printz will likely bring the title to an even wider audience, as librarians, educators, and parents often look for the award winners when selecting books.

“I hope so,” says Acevedo. “I hope that while my book was written so specifically and with so much of my heart directed at a particular community that allowing other folks into that heart will make them realize how connected we all are. That’s the exciting part of this, realizing this kind of story can have such a wide reach behind who I ever imagined would read it.”

When Acevedo thinks about the recognition, the many awards, she feels a pride that she makes clear is “not pride as a creator, but pride as in God, I wish as a reader I had seen this kind of story and this kind of life and this kind of protagonist being told, ‘You deserve to be celebrated,’ because it would have changed my life.”

And she has reaction she describes as, “Heck yeah, a story like this deserves to be on the same shelves as so many other stories. Yes, this girl. Yes, a novel in verse. Yes, this community. It’s about time, right?”

Then there are those final thoughts she can’t shake.

“None of it makes sense to me,” Acevedo says, with a laugh. “I keep waiting for folks to be like, ‘Eh it’s not that good. There’s a lot of hype.’”

Now working on her third book, she hopes people will love her new characters and stories as much as they did her first novel. But if readers always want to talk to her about Xiomara and The Poet X, Acevedo knows that’s OK. She was “lucky” enough to talk to Speak author Laurie Halse Anderson, who told her sometimes a first book has such an impact on readers, they will always want to come back to it.

“‘It’s ok to let people have whatever experience they want to have with whatever books you put out and you just keep working toward the next thing,'” Acevedo remembered Halse saying. “‘That doesn’t stop you from working on your craft, that doesn’t stop you from writing better books.’..So that’s really what I’m trying to zoom in on.”

Comix Latinx: Professor Latinx – Graphic Reclamations: Barajas and Gonzo’s Tata Rambo

Please view this post at its original site:

“Graphic Reclamations: Barajas and Gonzo’s Tata Rambo as Co-Creative Journey that Sets the Historical Record Straight”
Guest Post By: Frederick Luis Aldama, aka Professor LatinX

Just the other day my kid asked: “how can the filmmaker of Hidden Figures have known the story of these three important African American women mathematicians and scientists if the history books never included them?”

I was quick to muddle through a response that amounted to something like this: “Someone had to do the work of sleuthing out their story. In this case, it was Margot Lee Shetterly. They had to dig into newspaper archives and personal records. They had to meet and talk with living relatives, friends—anyone who knew these incredible women.”

I was fast to respond because, well, this is a fact of life for those “hidden figures” of underrepresented peoples in the US. When I ask my college students if they know about the Young Lords, Dolores Huerta, Elena Ochoa, Cesar Chavez, many draw a blank. Latinx shapers of US history, culture, politics have been willfully dust-balled in K-12 education—and the mainstream media generally.

Fortunately, the work and will of Latinx intellectuals, teachers, activists, and comic book creators is changing this—radically and rapidly.  I think readily here of Inverna Lockpez and Dean Haspiel’s Cuba My Revolution (2010), Christine Redfern and Caro Caron’s Who is Ana Mendieta? (2011)Lila Quintero Weaver’s Darkroom (2012), Wilfred Santiago’s 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente (2013)Julian Voloj and Claudia Ahlering’s Ghetto Brothers: Warrior to Peacekeeper (2015), and the many Latinx stories collected in my recently published, Tales from la Vida (2018).

With the publication of their latest comic book, La Voz De M.A.Y.O: TATA RAMBO, Henry Barajas and Jason “Gonzo” Gonzalez join these Latinx creators in setting the record straight.

TATA RAMBO brings to vibrant life the story of Tucson-based activist and Henry’s bisabuelo, Ramon Jaurigue. We learn of Ramon’s suffering from PTSD as a WWII vet along with his fight for the rights of the Pascua Yaqui tribe peoples. And, with Gonzo’s deft visual storytelling skills, we step into a world that comes vibrantly alive with every responsive inked line. We suffer Ramon’s PTSD. We stand aghast at the behind-closed-doors wheeling and dealing between city and government officials and greedy corporate capitalists who will do anything to turn a profit.  We stand with Ramon and many others as they hold ground against gun-wielding, marauding police.

Along with those Latinx visual-verbal narrative creations mentioned above, I teach comics like Henry and Gonzo’s TATA RAMBO precisely because of their power to set records straight. I teach them so my students can do more than just whip through a Wiki page. So they can viscerally step into the shoes of a Ramon Jaurigue, a Chavez, a Huerta, a Guevara, among many others. These are powerful means for making visible our otherwise hidden figures: the struggles and lives lost by our parents, grandparents, tíos and tías who stood together in solidarity to fight for a better tomorrow.

I recently caught up with Henry and Gonzo, asking them to share some insights about their co-creative journey in setting the record straight.

Professor LatinX: With Tata Rambo you pulled off the impossible at quicksilver speed:  dynamic comic book storytelling and the recuperation of an important Latinx shaper of history.

Henry: I guess you’re right. This story has been with me my whole life, but it wasn’t until four years ago I started to investigate and forge a narrative. I was very inpatient and eager to get this out of my head and body. There was a part of me that wanted to move on with my life, but I was afraid that I would have to say goodbye to my Tata Rambo.

Gonzo had to live with this for about 10 months. He really took on this project and gave my research and intentions justice. The editor, Claire Napier, helped me push past my fears and helped tell the best story possible. I planned on lettering the book, but, I needed to hand the reins to Bernardo Brice. Brice nearly lettered the whole Where We Live Anthology that Image Comics published to aid the Route 91 survivors under a tight deadline, and he turned my 30 pages in less than a week.

It didn’t feel like quicksilver speed. But looking back I can see how you think so.

Gonzo: I suppose that compared to the timeline of the story, this seems to have been done quickly. I personally broke a wrist and had to recover from it fully in the time between starting and finishing this first chapter of the story, so, to me, it seemed a lot longer. My perception of time is always wrong when I am drawing. However, infusing the story with as much dynamism as possible was my paramount concern – there is a lot of information coming at the reader and I wanted to ensure they were as engaged as possible. It is important to me that this story not get overlooked and I wanted to make sure the art made it undeniable.


Professor LatinX: Henry, at the end of the comic book you chose to include an “Additional Materials” section. Readers can see first-hand the actual activist articles printed La Voz M.A.Y.O.

Henry: So, I tried to attack this like a journalist and scientist. My thesis was that this part of history was buried or omitted. For whatever reason the Yaqui tribe doesn’t recognize this in their history books, and you will be hard press to find this in any text about indigenous people Tucson or Arizona. Thankfully, the people of M.A.YO. and my Tata were keen enough to recognize the importance of their work. They left bread crumbs in the daily newspaper and created their own newsletter that was self-distributed to the community. It was important for me to publish my findings and research. I believe in 100% transparency. I wanted to showcase my Tata’s writing abilities and bring his work back in print.


Professor LatinX: Gonzo, your visuals are not just stunning and the sequencing kinetic, but your color scheme distills and reconstructs the sight, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch of Latinx life in the Southwest, particularly Tucson.  Can you talk about your visual choices: from layout to color palette to you name it?

Gonzo: I decide to curate a realty that was reflective of the world Ramon lived in – he occupies a place that is very much “home” to him, not just where he resides. I strove to make the Tucson of the late 60s look as warm and comfortable as possible, so I chose a palette that was era-appropriate yet warm. Ramon is also keenly aware of the faults and foibles of his home and so the art also reflects the rough-hewn edges of the city as the story reflects the rough-edges of Ramon. I also wanted to make sure there a variety of real people that populate the story—not everyone is idealized as some comics can be. I guess, overall, I was trying to evoke a feeling more than just convey a story.


Professor LatinX: We know from K-12 history books—all aspects of our education system, actually—that our significant contributions to the shaping of today and tomorrow have been willfully erased.  By choosing to reconstruct Tata Ramon’s story we have more than just a familial connection. We have the resuscitation of one of many of our ancestors who fought to make a better place for us.

Henry: It bothered me that this was history wasn’t properly documented. I had a new question for every answer and revelation. I felt like I was driving myself mad with all the truths that were absent from the history books. Then I realized this was a common thing for brown people. I’ll never forget when Governor Jan Brewer signed HB 2281. I felt like she spat on my face. But that was just one example of this compulsion that oppressors have to keep the truth from the people that they feel it will empower.

My dream is to hear about a teacher using our comic as text to teach in their classrooms. My history teacher Mr. Johnson used Art Spiegelman’s Maus to teach me about the holocaust, so I want to pay it forward.

Gonzo: I felt a great sense of responsibility in working on this story for exactly that reason. I also admire that Henry made sure to paint a complete portrait of Ramon and didn’t seek to solely lionize or mythologize him. Henry presents the facts and insights and fleshes-out Ramon with warts and all—and I feel this is the story’s real power; the notion that you needn’t be perfect to create a positive change.


Professor LatinX: This is not just a Samson vs. Goliath story. It’s the story of how our parents, grandparents, and bisabuelos stood together in solidarity to fight corporate and government violence, oppression, and exploitation.

Henry: My memory of Ramon was he was a warrior. But at the end of his life he lived in a broken trailer that didn’t have hot water. He battled emphysema and he put up a fight. I wanted to honor his work. He inspired a community of people to go toe-to-toe with the City of Tucson to fight for their land. Sadly, there are a number of Natives that didn’t have that kind of champion in their corner.

Gonzo: I think those notions are just part of the story, but don’t sum it up in its totality. I feel the the fact that mythic notions of David vs Goliath fail to reflect the complexity of actual heroes and perhaps preclude us from becoming heroic ourselves – I don’t know – that’s probably a question for sociologists. I do know the emotional scope of this story is broad and deep and the real people involved did their best and accomplished a lot and that is worth celebrating.


Professor LatinX: In our reconstructions of our Latinx stories we sometimes forget to weave in our deep connection to our indigenous brothers and sisters.

Henry: We explore the more indigenous roots in the second issue. The Yaquis were drove out of Mexico because of their own government. I didn’t know about this bloody history until I did research for the book. But it didn’t surprise me they won the battle with the City of Tucson to curb its plans to build the Interstate 10 through their land. They’re off-springs of warriors.

Gonzo: I’ve always felt that there is complicated relationship between LatinX and Native peoples. My personal experience has been one of cultural guilt that perhaps allowed the LatinX community to thrive in ways that the Native community has not. It’s like cultural survivor’s guilt. I’m not sure how self-imposed this is or if it is the by-product of oppressive machinations (or maybe even both), but this story serves a reminder of our shared histories and is a small step in building better bridges between these two worlds.


Professor LatinX: Will we be seeing more Barajas/Gonzo comics that recuperate Latinx transformers of history, culture, society. . .?

Henry: We have two more issues to go with La Voz De M.A.Y.O. before it hits print as a trade paperback with Top Cow Productions. I’d love to keep telling stories with Gonzo, but he has stories he wants to tell, and I don’t want to get in his way. He loves telling stories about luchadores, and I want to keep pushing my slice-of-life narrative as long as folks keep read it.

Gonzo: Like Henry said, we have 2 more chapters in this story to do and then, I’m not sure what’s next. I’d love to work with Henry again, but I do have a lot of Luchador stories to shake from my head and onto the page. It is hard to find good creative partners, so I’m sure Henry and I will come together at some later point to do another project.

SA’s International Latina Feminist Zine ‘St. Sucia’ Celebrates Final Issue

Check out the original article by Sam Sanchez here…

St. Sucia, the international Latina feminist zine that originated in San Antonio in 2014, will be celebrating the publication of its 14th and final issue on January 5 at Hitones.

During the last four years, St. Sucia’s art director Isabel Ann Castro and editor Natasha Hernandez have distinguished themselves by creating a widely-praised publication with submissions from around the globe.

On the magazine’s website, its creators explain to potential contributors: “Our goal is to share our stories, including the ones from mujeres who don’t consider themselves writers, artists, or poets. We want to share the stories we don’t tell, but other mujeres need to hear. We want to encourage other mujeres to express themselves. We are a space for gente who identify as mujer, in any way they choose to. Mujer is queer, mujer is straight, it’s political, it’s flaca, it’s gordita, it’s a grito, it’s a mouthed curse, it’s a walk alone at night. Mujer is a million things and so are you. Tell us about it.”

Castro and Hernandez told the San Antonio Current that ending the zine’s run was “a decision they reached after long consideration to pursue other creative projects, such as independent zines, comics and a web series they plan to launch with the help of other San Antonio artists, including musician Alyson Alonzo.”

The work has paid off. St. Sucia is available in university libraries around the country and is on syllabi for courses on Chicano/a Studies, Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, Latino Contemporary Literature and has been the subject of academic study and theses. It can also be found in university archives including the international Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection.

Looking toward the future, Castro and Hernandez are planning workshops, organizing events like the San Anto Zine Fest and guest lecturing at universities across the U.S.

Still, parting is sweet sorrow. “I’m really sad,” Hernandez told the Current. “It’s been a part of my identity for a while.”


The Best Books by Latino and Latin American Authors of 2018

The original post by Alejandra Oliva for Remezcla can be found here:

Please note that not all of these are necessarily US Latinx…

Compiling a list of the best works in a year can feel like kind of a wild exercise – it’s impossible for any one person to read everything that comes out in any given year, even when you get to narrow the field a little bit and limit yourself to only Latinx writers. This year’s list represents writers past and present, writing in English and Spanish (and sometimes both), presses big and small, books for children and adults (and maybe kind of both), works categorized as fiction and non-fiction and poetry. What it doesn’t represent is even a tenth of the fantastic books written and published by Latinx writers this year.

We would recommend using this list as a jumping off point to find new favorite writers, to read further, and to write your own story.


The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Harper Teen

This year’s National Book Award winner in Young People’s Literature, The Poet X, is out here changing people’s lives. The book-in-verse centers on Xiomara, an Afro-Latina growing up in Harlem caught between the strict religion her mother is raising her in and her desire to find her own voice. Acevedo is an award-winning slam-poet, and the poems that she gives Xiomara are stirring and gorgeous.

After The Winter by Guadalupe Nettel, translated by Rosalind Harvey

Release Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Coffee House Press

Nettel is maybe one of the most underappreciated writers being translated from Spanish right now – her work is wry, sad, and funny. After The Winter is an intercontinental story of the ways that even fleeting relationships can shift a life, but it is also about the particular strangeness of the lonely and alone. This is a novel that takes as its focus all the peculiarities of the personal, in short, a fantastic character study.

Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir by Jean Guerrero

Release Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: One World

As anyone who has ever lived along the border knows, it’s far more complicated than a simple dividing line. In Crux, Guerrero, who is trained as a journalist, investigates not only her own family’s relationship with the border across generations, but the life of her father, a Mexican immigrant, and the borders he traverses between mysticism and sanity, illness and health, drugs and medicine. Crux is as deeply reported as it is deeply felt.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Release Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Neal Porter Books

Yuyi Morales is a rockstar in the children’s book world – she won a Caldecott Medal for her biography of Frida Kahlo in 2015. Her latest, Dreamers, is the story of a mother and child arriving to the United States, and finding a sense of home in their public library. It’s a beautifully illustrated, colorful text that makes wondrous again language that has been somewhat politicized.

The Taiga Syndrome by Cristina Rivera Garza, translated Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana

Release Date: October 1, 2018
Publisher: Dorothy

This book, published in English just a year after The Iliac Crest, will hopefully usher in a wave of Rivera Garza-mania in the US. Much like her earlier work, The Taiga Syndrome is dark and strange and layered over with social commentary. With the same kind of dream-like narration as a fairy tale, and the haunted forests of Hansel and Gretel and Snow White, The Taiga Syndrome is a gorgeous winter read.

The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America by Jaime Hernandez

Release Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: TOON Graphics

Jaime Hernandez is better known as one of the brothers behind acclaimed comic book series Love and Rockets. Here, he uses his graphic-novelist skills to retell three stories from across Latin America, including an introduction by teacher and folklorist F. Isabel Campoy, which helps to put the whole project into context. If you’re looking for a gift for your Spanish-speaking primito, the book was also simultaneously published in translation.

Museum of the Americas by J. Michael Martinez

Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books

A National Book Award nominee this year in Poetry, Museum of the Americas takes as its subject the body under colonialism – as seen in the early colonial castapaintings popular in Mexico, his own family, General Santa Ana’s wooden leg. Crossing the lines between the personal and the historical, and blending the two, Martinez addresses both the past and the present moment.

Packing My Library: An Elegy and 10 Digressions by Alberto Manguel

Release Date: March 20, 2018
Publisher: Yale University Press

The former head of the national library of Argentina packs up his personal book collection to prepare for a move. That’s it, the whole premise. But it unspools like you’re sitting across from someone who has spent a lifetime thinking about books and libraries and collections, and he’s riffing off everything as its going into boxes – Manguel ranges deeply and widely across his own collection and history, making this a joy to read.

The Carrying by Ada Limón

Release Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Milkweed Books

If you follow a lot of poets on Twitter, you’re likely already at least a little familiar with Ada Limón’s work. Poems from her latest book, The Carrying, were photographed and posted for inspiration, benediction, aspiration, admiration, tweeted and retweeted. The Carrying in its totality is a meditation on bodies and aging, ranging between the personal and political. A book to inspire and bless and admire.

10 Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Release Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Doubleday

A coming-of-age story set in Bogota during Pablo Escobar’s reign that focuses on the relationship between a little girl and her mostly-silent maid, Petrona. Rojas Contreras’ lovely, spare prose alternates between both girls, and in the process tells a complex story about class, violence, and living in turbulent times.

11 Comemadre by Roque Larraquy, translated by Heather Cleary

Release Date: July 10, 2018
Publisher: Coffee House Press

An absolutely bananas kind of sci-fi, kind of historical novel that plays with the borders and boundaries between life and death, person and object, bodies and pain and doubling over. Larroquy is an Argentine screenwriter, and the cinematic noticeably bleeds into Comemadre. If the word extra was a novel, this would be it.

12 Lo Terciario/The Tertiary by Raquel Salas Rivera

Release Date: April 14, 2018
Publisher: Timeless, Infinite Light

Rivera’s book is a poetic response to the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Stability Act that the United States passed two years ago. They place it against and in conversation with Marx, and queerness, and in the process create a politically sharp, stirring poetic declaration. This year was rich in Latinx National Book Award Nominees – this is another!

13 Sexographies by Gabriela Wiener, translated by Lucy Greaves and Jennifer Adcock

Release Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Restless Books

Gabriela Wiener is a Peruvian sex writer, and Sexografias is a book of her collected essays. However, she doesn’t just stay on the carnal, and uses her explorations of egg donation, swingers parties, cruising, and squirting as channels into meditations on motherhood, death, and immigration, all while staying sharp and funny and wild.

14 The Naked Woman by Armonia Somers, translated by Kit Maude

Release Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: The Feminist Press

Along with the boom in translations of contemporary Latinx authors, we’re also lucky enough to be in the midst of a revival of older Latinx writers as well. Armonia Somers is an Uruguayan writer from the mid-century, and her work, about the violence women encounter while reaching for personal autonomy was shocking back in the 1950s, but will still resonate with audiences today.


15 Stripped by Zoey Castile

Release Date: April 28, 2018
Publisher: Kensington Books

Sometimes all you want to do when you’re reading is hunker down with…well, a hunk. Zoey Castile (aka YA author Zoraida Cordova) has got you covered, with this story of a traditional, Catholic Latinx school teacher who meets her hot neighbor who happens to be a male stripper. A very sweet, very sexy, and very fun romp of a read.

New Book: Vincent Ventura and the Mystery of the Chupacabras by Xavier Garza

This looks like a great new bilingual book for children.

ISBN: 978-1-55885-869-5

Publication Date: October 31, 2018

Bind: Trade Paperback

Pages: 64

Award-winning author returns with thrilling new bilingual series for intermediate readers!

When stray dogs start disappearing from the neighborhood, Vincent’s dad thinks that maybe the Animal Control Department is finally doing its job. But then, Mrs. Rangel’s celebrity chihuahua Chato, who appeared in television commercials promoting tacos, disappears. And Mrs. García’s weiner dog and Mrs. West’s poodle go missing. Everyone in the neighborhood is puzzled, but Vincent Ventura has a theory.

The disappearances started when Mr. Calaveras moved into the house at 666 Duende Street, which is rumored to be haunted. Vincent knows he’s not the harmless but grumpy guy that everyone else sees. He’s convinced the old man is behind the rash of missing dogs. In fact, Vincent is sure he’s a monster, a blood-sucking beast known as el chupacabras!

Vincent enlists the aid of his cousin Michelle, the smartest student at their school, and her twin brother Bobby to spy on the suspected killer. Vincent Ventura, monster fighter extraordinaire, is determined to catch him in the act, even if it puts them all in danger! Accompanied by the author’s dramatic black and white illustrations, this exciting short novel for ages 8 – 12 will introduce Latino creepy creatures to a new generation of readers.



“Older middle-grade readers will find these Latin American horror stories deliciously short but spooky.”—Kirkus Reviews on The Donkey Lady Fights La Llorona and Other Stories / La señora Asno se enfrenta a la Llorona y otros cuentos

“With its quick pace, humor and endearing characters, this is sure to turn more kids into lucha libre fans.”—Booklist on Maximillian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel

XAVIER GARZA is the author of numerous books for kids, including The Donkey Lady Fights La Llorona and Other Stories / La señora Asno se enfrenta a la Llorona y otros cuentos (Piñata Books, 2015), Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016) and Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil and Other Stories / Kid Ciclón se enfrenta a El Diablo y otras historias (Piñata Books, 2010). He lives with his family in San Antonio, Texas.