Throughout publishing history, Latina writers continue to be underrepresented, resulting in a lack of our narratives. Yet, over the years, strides have been made towards the inclusion of our voices in literature, courtesy of trailblazing Latina authors who shattered barriers, weathered microaggressions, and racism, and filled a void. Here are a few of our favorite Latina authors to celebrate and search for on your next library visit.

Sandra Cisneros

The first Latina author (specifically Mexican-American) that I was introduced to (and ignited my passion for writing) is Sandra Cisneros. When I was a freshman in high school, I read her best-selling and critically acclaimed novel The House On Mango Street (1983) which follows a young Mexican American girl growing up in Chicago which sold millions of copies. That book forever changed my life. For the first time I was able to recognize familiar characters and themes in a book.

Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten (although she was born in the United States). Over the course of her life she has written six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults. In college, I was introduced to In the Time of the Butterflies (1994) and my eyes opened to the plight of other Latinos in their countries. Her other well-known novel How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1991) was the first novel by a Dominican-American woman to be critically acclaimed in the United States.

Laura Esquivel

In her debut novel, Like Water for Chocolate (1995), Laura Esquivel creates both a novel and cookbook that explores the tale of a family during the turn of the century in Mexico. This book was later adapted into an award-winning film and helped increase visibility of Mexican literature throughout mainstream media. She has since written 10 novels, many of which have explored Mexico’s complex history and race relations.

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