Hispanic Heritage Month

Published 11:46 am Monday, September 14, 2020

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Jen Pace Dickenson

Shelf Life


National Hispanic Heritage Month started yesterday and runs until October 15 and is a period for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. What better way to honor their effect on our society than to read a book by a Hispanic author! Here are some suggestions.



¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raúl Gonzalez

Richard Scarry’s “Busytown” gets a Mexican-American makeover in the marketplace of a buzzing border town in this 2020 Pura Belpré Award honor book.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

This fantasy novel for children ages 9-12 is set in a near-future Miami, where middle-school student Gabi discovers her friend Sal’s ability to call forth things and people from other dimensions simply by meditating. There’s one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

In this debut novel, which was a National Book Award Finalist and New York Times bestseller, Julia navigates difficult family relationships and her sister’s mysterious death.



Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

Antonia Vega, the immigrant writer at the center of Afterlife, has had the rug pulled out from under her. She has just retired from the college where she taught English when her beloved husband, Sam, suddenly dies. And then more jolts: her bighearted but unstable sister disappears, and Antonia returns home one evening to find a pregnant, undocumented teenager on her doorstep.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Oscar is a sweet but overweight nerd who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere.

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

In this unforgettable final volume of the novels set in the universe of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, beautiful and enigmatic Alicia Gris, with the help of the Sempere family, uncovers one of the most shocking conspiracies in all Spanish history.

Jen Pace Dickenson is the youth services librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit polklibrary.org or call 828-894-8721.