Earlier this year, the bestselling book American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins caused a large uproar in the book community.

Her novel about a mother and son escaping Mexico after a drug cartel murders their entire family was chosen as an Oprah Book Club pick. However, the book quickly received backlash when folks pointed out that this story about a Mexican woman and her son was written by a white woman. This backlash came from people in the #OwnVoices movement who call on publishers to publish books about diverse characters that have been written by authors from those same groups.

After much prompting, the President of Flatiron Books (the publishing house responsible for American Dirt) issued a statement in response to the book’s release. The response to this statement was mostly negative, however, with most folks claiming that the President, Bob Miller, tried to frame Latinx concerns about the book as violent and scary, rather than writing an apology addressing how they will improve going forward.

Wherever you stand on the response to American Dirt, I always encourage folks to take their reading further and explore books written by Latinx authors that capture the Latinx perspective.

Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

With beauty, grace, and honesty, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo recounts his family’s encounters with a system that treats them like criminals for seeking safe, ordinary lives.

Castillo writes of the Sunday afternoon when he opened the door to an ICE officer who had one hand on his holster, of the hours he spent making a fake social security card so that he could work to support his family, of his father’s deportation and the decade that he spent waiting to return to his wife and children only to be denied reentry.

Find it here

Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción never dreamed of moving to America like the other girls in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire family to eventually immigrate.

So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by César, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving César to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with César, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

Find it here

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

In Luis Urrea’s exuberant new novel of Mexican-American life, 70-year-old patriarch Big Angel de la Cruz is dying, and he wants to have one last birthday blowout. Unfortunately, his 100-year-old mother, America, dies the week of his party, and the funeral and his birthday are celebrated one day apart.

The entire contentious, riotous de la Cruz clan descends on San Diego for the events: “high rollers and college students, prison veternaos and welfare mothers, happy kids and sad old-timers and pinches gringos and all available relatives.” Not to mention figurative ghosts of the departed and an unexpected guest with a gun.

Taking place over two days—with time out for an extended flashback to Big Angel’s journey from La Paz to San Diego in the 1960s—the narrative follows Big Angel and his extended familia as they air old grievances, initiate new romances and try to put their relationships in perspective.

Of the large cast, standouts include Perla, Big Angel’s wife and the object of his undimmed affection; Little Angel, his half-Anglo half-brother, who strains to remain aloof; and Lalo, Big Angel’s son, trailing a lifetime of bad decisions.

Urrea has written a vital, vibrant book about the immigrant experience that is a messy celebration of life’s common joys and sorrows.

Find it here

I am not your perfect Mexican daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their families. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then, a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. But no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

Find it here

Fiebre Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopera

In this novel told in Spanglish, fifteen-year-old Francisca is uprooted from her life in Bogotá, Colombia, and moves with her family to Miami, Florida, where she is ushered into an evangelical church and falls in love with the pastor’s daughter.

Find it here