1. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
The youngest daughter in a Mexican family, Tita has been forbidden to marry and forced to take care of her mother until she dies. But, Tita falls in love with Pedro. In a desperate act to stay a part of her life, Pedro marries Tita’s sister and, for two decades, the two are unable to act on their passion, keeping their love a secret until a crazy twist of events reunites them.
2. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
This family saga spans three generations of the Trueba family, including the political patriarch, his magical wife, and their daughter, who — with her forbidden love — conceive Alba, an ambitious girl who may just be the saving grace of the family and their country.
3. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevado
Since getting pregnant during her first year of high school, Emoni Santiago has put her daughter first, sacrificing her dreams of becoming a chef along the way. But the kitchen is the one place she feels free from the pressure of responsibility, and once she starts cooking, her talent takes over and opens a door that she thought she had closed.
4. Carmelo by Sandra Cisneros
Every year, Lala and the rest of the Reyes family travel from Chicago to Mexico City to visit “the Little Grandfather and Awful Grandmother.” This summer, Lala is determined to discover why her grandmother is so awful, and as her life story unfolds, generations of family history, lies, and secrets are discovered.
5. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
In a series of vignettes, The House on Mango Street follows a young Latina girl coming of age and discovering her identity in Chicago.
6. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
Forced to flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their father tried to overthrow dictator Rafael Trujillo, the García sisters — Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía — relocate to 1960s New York with their family. As the four sisters try to acclimate to American life, their parents work to hold onto their old ways and culture in this story about identity.
7. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
In 1960 in the Dominican Republic, the Mirabal sisters — also known as Las Mariposas, or the Butterflies — died fighting the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. In the Time of the Butterflies gives voices to the sisters and tells the story of their early lives, their loves, and the radical actions they took to overthrow Trujillo’s regime.
8. Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
On her family’s ranch in Mexico, Esperanza lives a privileged life in a large home with lots of servants, surrounded by her family. But when tragedy strikes, she and her mother are forced to leave their home and flee to California during the Great Depression. Now working at a Mexican farm labor camp, Esperanza must quickly adjust to her new reality, which includes a strike for better working conditions and helping her ill mother survive.
9. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
Julia Reyes planned to leave her family in Chicago to go away to college, but perfect Mexican daughters don’t do that. Perfect daughters stay with their family, like Julia’s sister, Olga. But when Olga is killed in a tragic accident, Julia must stay and help put the pieces of her broken family back together. But, soon, she discovers that Olga wasn’t as perfect as she thought.
10. When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
In this best-selling memoir, award-winning author Esmeralda Santiago writes about her life, from growing up in rural Puerto Rico to immigrating to the United States in New York, with her mother and numerous siblings.
11. Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
In a series of diary entries, Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year of high school, including her best friend’s pregnancy, her father’s drug addiction, her complicated relationship with her mother, her struggles with body image, and more — not to mention college applications.
12. Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria E. Anzaldúa
In this collection of essays and poems, Gloria Anzaldúa uses her own background as a Mexican woman from Texas to comment on issues such as undocumented migrant workers, Aztec religion, women in Latin culture, lesbianism, and more.
13. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno Garcia
Instead of enjoying the excitement of the Jazz Age, Casiopea Tun is busy cleaning the floors of her grandfather’s home in Mexico. Wishing for a new life all her own, Casiopea stumbles upon a dusty old box in her grandfather’s room. Opening it unleashes the Mayan God of Death, who needs her help recovering his throne from his brother. Though scary and unknown, this adventure could make Casiopea’s dreams come true.
14. Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina García
Infused with magical realism, Dreaming in Cuban tells the story of how Celia del Pino and her family, spanning multiple generations over nearly 50 years, are affected by the Cuban revolution.
15. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
Between balancing her honors courses, working a weekend job, and trying to learn about the father she never knew, Piddy Sanchez has enough on her plate. The last thing she needs is to be harassed by a bully for her light skin, lack of accent, and “not being Latin enough.” But soon, Yaqui Delgado’s harassment escalates and forces Piddy to confront not only her bully, but also things about herself.