1) Enrique’s Journey – Sonia Nazario
This is a book about the plight of many young individuals that come to the U.S. from Central America through treacherous means and paths. Many risk their lives to come to the United States and some die as a result of this endeavor. It is an emotional story of a boy named Enrique who manages to beat the odds and finally reaches his destination. He will see his mother after 10 years, but another journey then begins.
2) Cecilia M. Fernandez – Leaving Little Havana
This is a great memoir of a young girl who leaves Cuba during the rise of Fidel Castro. This book takes the reader through changing times in a political arena, yet it captures the insight and soul of a young girl who sees her world breaking apart. A very telling and honest story that will make you laugh and cry all at the same time.
3) Luis Alberto Urrea – Nobody’s Son
This author has often been compared to John Steinbeck due to his excellent writing. In this particular book he captures his journey from Tijuana, Mexico, through the Southwest, and then transgresses through the high plains in the U.S. He grows up with two cultures, mom is white and dad is Mexican, and he excellently captures what brings it all together.
4) Graciela Tiscareno-Sato – Latinovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them
Finally a book written that captures the many significant impacts that Latinos are making in this country today. The book not only provides insight into the lives of successful individuals, but it provides vision and wisdom for students throughout the country. This is definitely a must have book for high school and college campuses.
5) Manuel Melendez – Observations Through Poetry
Although poetry is usually not categorized in either Fiction or Non Fiction, we included this book in the Non Fiction section due to its descriptive nature of New York. If you like poetry, then this is the book to read this year. It captures the stories of people within the streets of New York and the many plights, hurt, and struggles within this community. The author beautifully captures the stories with an excellent mix of words and is wonderfully descriptive and full of feeling. It is beautifully done.
6) Victor E. Villaseñor – Revenge of a Catholic Schoolboy
This book is a spiritual book that details the author’s overcoming his past fears of his religious upbringing through the Catholic hurch alongside the guidance of his parents. The message is about tolerance and forgiveness and how to achieve respect for others through a higher spiritual level.
7) Mirta Ines Trupp – With Love, The Argentina Family: Memories of Tango and Kugel; Mate with Knishes
The story is written by a young girl who lives between two worlds, Argentina and the United States and how she manages this dance. The reader will find humor and honesty as the author discloses her experiences with old traditions and her feet in both worlds. This is definitely a book to read this upcoming year.
8) Esmeralda Santiago – When I was Puerto Rican
This is a coming of age story that chronicles the author’s life in Puerto Rico. The child of unmarried parents, she details the turmoil of living under those conditions and then moving to New York with her mother. She is faced with learning a new language and living in a poor environment throughout her growing up years and in a strange city. She does, however, eventually graduate from Harvard and beats the odds – a wonderfully written book.
9) Alvaro Uribe – No Lost Causes
This book is an ideal book for understanding how Colombia moved from being nearly a disastrous state to becoming a place for investors on a ploy to expand. This memoir from a former Colombian President is excellently written and will take the reader on a mind-expanding ride. For those wanting to learn more about Latin American politics and great leadership, this is the book to read.
10) Marie Arana – Bolivar: American Liberator
This is the story of Simón Bolívar (El Libertado) who is known to have freed six countries from Spanish rule. His journey took him from the Amazon jungles to the Andes Mountains to accomplish this great feat. His only wife died early on and he survived an assassination attempt through the help of his mistress. The author captures this recap of history brilliantly.