Nearly 20 percent of the US population is Hispanic, but where are all the Hispanic-centered books? And when the hero of a novel happens to be Latino, why does their ethnicity seem to be a plot point, as if it’s a struggle they must overcome? With the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign on Twitter and the growing demand for Latino books, learning about Latin American culture is increasingly important. Here are some of the best indie books set in Latin America or featuring Hispanic culture, most of which are featured in our Fall 2014 issue.
A Thousand Forests in One Acorn: An Anthology of Spanish-Language Fiction by Valerie Miles (Open Letter)
This outrageously valuable project asked twenty-eight Spanish-language heavyweights of the last half of the twentieth century to choose a favorite piece of their own work, accompanied by some personal words of commentary and reflection.
Tequila Sunset by Sam Hawken (Serpent’s Tail)
The Texas-Mexico border makes for a thrilling, violent setting for this gritty novel of drug cartels, police dedication, and family.
Pig Park by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez (Cinco Puntos Press)
In this young adult novel, a fifteen-year-old girl shows her community the power of belonging and togetherness.
The Argentine Triangle: A Craig Page Thriller by Allan Topol (SelectBooks)
Quick wit and a positive attitude make this spy hero unique and likable.
Naturally Healthy Mexican Cooking: Authentic Recipes for Dieters, Diabetics, and All Food Lovers by Jim Peyton (University of Texas Press)
This clearly-laid-out cookbook is perfect for those who don’t want to sacrifice taste for healthy choices—or vice versa.
Tortillas: A Cultural History by Paula E. Morton (University of New Mexico Press)
The rich history of numerous cultures is revealed in this in-depth investigation into the tortilla.
Larry and Friends by Carla Torres and Nat Jaspar (Tangerine Books)
Jaspar’s fun, informative language imbues each fascinating character with a full personality and backstory, and Torres’s playful, edgy profiles display these personalities in all their uniqueness.