Women writers are vessels of change for gender equality around the globe. Their storytelling gives us an incredible perspective both on daily life and history, and many times we close their books feeling empowered ourselves.
During Hispanic Heritage Month, we are celebrating the power of Hispanic and Latinx writers who bravely tell their stories. We asked for your help with book recommendations from a Hispanic woman author you love, and you listened. Here are the top five recommended books to honor Hispanic and Latnix women.
1. The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia
Mexican writer Sofia Segovia tells the story of a boy with the power to change a family’s history in a country verging on revolution. Set against the Mexican revolution and the influenza of 1918, young Simonopio changes the course of his small pueblo with a gift to see visions from the future. The mysterious child uses his powers to deliver his adoptive family from threats — all while being followed by a protective swarm of bees. This book, the first of Segovia’s to be translated into English, gives rich insight into the fate of Mexico during revolution while telling an incredible tale of family, love, and faith.
2. In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
In this novel by famed Chilean writer Isabelle Allende, Richard Bowmaster, a 60-year-old human rights scholar, and Evelyn Ortega, a young undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, are brought together in Brooklyn, New York by a traffic accident. When Evelyn seeks advice from Richard, he turns to tenant Lucia Maraz, a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile, for her advice. The lives of these three individuals are brought together by a story moving from present-day New York to Brazil and Chile in the 1970s, beginning a mesmerizing tale of love through history while exploring human rights and the plight of refugees and migrants.
3. The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
Ecuadorian American author Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, one of the first undocumented immigrant women to graduate from Harvard University, tells the stories of undocumented immigrants across the United States as they fear for the unknown that comes with their status. Villavicencio uncovers the powerful personal narratives of individuals in New York, Miami, Michigan, and Connecticut creating a diverse image of what it means to be undocumented. The author grapples with questions dealing with love, family, and survival through the day-to-day lives of her interview subjects. Through these stories, we come to find what it means to be excluded from the American narrative, as well as what it truly means to be an American.
4. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erica Sanchez
Mexican American poet and author Erika L. Sánchez shines a light on love, loss, and familial identity through the eyes of Julia, a Mexican American teenager left to resemble the shattered pieces of her family after the death of her sister, Olga. Grappling with pressures put on her by her family and her own grief, Julia attempts to understand the impossible ideal that comes with being an immigrant daughter through learning more about her sister. With the help of her best friend and her boyfriend, she finds that Olga is not as perfect as everyone thought.
5. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Renowned Afro-Dominican slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo’s debut novel dives into the life of young Xiomara in Harlem, a student attempting to learn more about her mother’s religion and her relationship with the world around her through the art of slam poetry. Even though she has plenty to say, Xiomara feels unheard and uses writing to express her passions, hopes, and desires for life around her. When she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she begins to understand the power of her own words and refuses to be silenced.