Explore Hispanic culture with popular books


My Time to Speak by Calderon

This is an enthralling autobiography of a well-known American journalist Ilia Calderon. The story follows her journey from her humble beginnings in Colombia to her present role as one of the top news anchors in the United States. Her story is spiced with exciting stories of her experiences as a reporter traveling to all the hot places across the world. “A lady needs to be like a violet, the more subtle, the more loved and desired,” Ilia’s mother once said. Her mother meant that she doesn’t have to be loud and stylish to be noticed, but inner strength and intellectual ability screams louder than anything. I love that she shares a point of view from an Afro-Latina.

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

This love-laced story is an introspective narrative about a woman’s sadness over the loss of her spouse as well as her sense of self without him. The book emphasizes the need to be needed and family affection, especially the profound love between the main character and her sister despite their own quirks. It’s about immigration as well as mental illness. The author discusses a variety of thought-provoking topics including how to pick up the pieces of your life after losing a loved one, sisterhood dynamics and learning to put your needs first while also listening to the needs of others. This perfect writing helped me learn a lot about situations I would normally have no idea about. So I suggest you go once through it. You will love it.

Children of the Land by Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo discusses growing up as a young man in this poetic autobiography. He was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, but moved to California with his family when he was young. He talks about his tense relationship with his demanding father as well as his yearning to reconnect with his ancestral home. He explores his growing feeling of responsibility for himself, his siblings and his parents in the face of adversity. Castillo demonstrates that living in the United States without documentation is a life laced with dread of deportation punctuated by half-truths, silences, grief and a glimmering hope just out of reach. It is about the struggle of the young man and his family in a nation that denies their existence. 

Daughters of the Stone by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

The story begins with Fela, a lady who was taken from Africa to Puerto Rico as a slave. The novel is a magical blend of realism and historical fiction. It includes at least a dozen strong and assertive female characters who are motivated to live and it focuses on a generation of women from a Black Puerto Rican family. This story helps the reader learn about the history of Puerto Rico and the contribution made by Africans to Puerto Rican communities. I especially love this book because it shows the importance of women and their legacies that are still evident in today’s cultures.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros 

This book deviates from traditional storytelling by narrating Esperanza’s attempts at self-discovery in brief vignettes. These vignettes tells the story of a girl attempting to figure out who she is and how to exist in the world around her from her home on Mango street in Chicago. She wishes she could be baptized under a new name, a name she believes truly reflects her As you read, you follow Esperanza’s desire for self-love from wanting to look like Sally, “The girl with Egypt-like eyes and smoke-colored nylons,” to realizing she is not Sally and she cannot push herself to be more like her. Ultimately the novella’s journey of acceptance helps her to learn how to embrace herself and culture.