Best Books of 2020 by Latin American or Latin American Authors


In a year filled with angst and loneliness, books have been a source of both learning and unlearning. It was the time to reimagine existing worlds and create new ones, and the books were a continuing source of inspiration for both. Latin writers like Karla Cornejo Villavicencio have received well-deserved praise for her digestible but exuberant interpretation of a tale far too familiar to most of us. Others like Christine Gutierrez aimed to provide healing advice while respected writers like Maria Hinojosa and Roberto Lovato have chronicled their lives and work for, perhaps, the betterment of ours. Most people have read a lot this year and we hope it will continue in the years to come. Here are our 15 best books by Latin and Latin American authors published in 2020, in no particular order:

Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

Right off the bat, Cornejo Villavicencio tells you what to expect: “This book is for anyone who wants to get away from immigration buzzwords… and read about illegals. Not heroes. Random. People. Characters. ”She is a journalist who visits the sites of American tragedies (September 11, Flint, Hurricane Sandy) and finds the undocumented migrants who have been there from the start, putting New York communities on their rights afterwards. disasters and helping others get health care in Flint and Miami As part of his journey, Cornejo Villavicencio tells his own story: thorny and angry and exuberant, full of contradictions. One character. —Alejandra Oliva

Children of the earth by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

After the controversy that followed the release of American dirt, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo Children of the earth has become one of the most recommended books for its authentic story of the real immigrant experience. This memoir from the award-winning poet shines a light on what it’s like to live undocumented in the United States as it chronicles what life was like after he and his family crossed the border at the age of five. He honestly recounts how their status contributed to some painful experiences, including the deportation of his father and later his own which kept him away from his family for a decade. Amid the continuing immigration crisis, Castillo’s beautifully told story offers a window into an experience that is reduced to one title but carries so many layers of pain and trauma. —Virginia Isaad

hateful by Jean Guerrero

that of Jean Guerrero hateful is the first book biography to be published on Donald Trump’s adviser Stephen Miller. As Guerrero meticulously traces the origins and evolution of Miller’s bigotry, his skills as an investigative journalist shine. It also shows how Miller’s bigotry, which is largely rooted in anti-Mexican sentiment, shaped and fueled Miller’s political aspirations, leading him to become a protégé of David Horowitz, a lackey of Jeff Sessions, and one of the main architects of Trump’s racist and racist politics. xenophobic immigration policies. hateful straddles genres, functioning as a non-fiction chronicle as well as a political horror story. —Myriam Gurba

Bigger than life by Maria Sherman (illustrated by Alex Fine)

Author Maria Sherman is perfectly in tune with the transformative nature of music and is able to put its effects into words, from the gaping hole left by the release of live music to the impact of the exuberance of boy bands. The release of his first animated book on boy bands is at the same time estimable while being playful and inviting while being intelligent; Bigger than life is a fun read and getaway from the 1800s to 3000s. At over 200 pages, the author mentions opportunities for expanding the themes therein – on the timeline so far, the role of ‘a restless fandom, the politics of boys’ positioning outside the male gaze and more. Hopefully this is the first in a long series. —Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo

Let’s talk about your wall by Carmen Boullosa

Don’t be fooled by the catchy title. Let’s Talk About Your Wall: Mexican Writers Respond to Immigration Crisis does not treat Trump and his supporters’ ‘Build the Wall’ chorus as a new non-American phenomenon. Instead, its authors deconstruct the borders that artificially define Mexico in order to reconstruct definitions of community beyond the nation-state. From retracing the etymology of “bad hombre” to Western films of the 60s in “Please Don’t Feed the Gringos” by Claudio Lomnitz and revisiting the mourning of Cisteil X. Pérez Hernández on the erasure of biodiversity by the wall , the book offers a multilingual and complex vocabulary. to discuss what is too often described simply as a “crisis”. —Julia V. Pretsfelder

earth eater by Dolores Reyes (translated by Julia Sanches)

When earth eater puts a handful of dirt in her mouth, she sees the things the soil is associated with – the dead, the desaparecidas, the lost. For much of the first part of the book, she acts like a bloodhound, sniffing out traces of those whose families have brought the filth of their missing to her door. Through the ground earth eater flavors, Reyes wrote an elegant and eerie meditation on feminicides, the wave of violence against women across Latin America, family and coming together. —Alejandra Oliva

Once i was you by Maria Hinojosa

Journalist Maria Hinojosa is a pioneer in the media industry: Emmy Award winner as well as Founder, President and CEO of Futuro Media Group. But this book is more than his impressive career. Hinojosa keeps it real in Once i was you, speaking about what it was like growing up Mexican-American in South Chicago sharing insights into the immigrant experience in the United States In true journalist form, she infuses her personal account with historical context for paint a complete and authentic picture. It’s a powerful story that’s barely making its way into the mainstream and is told by one of the most prominent Latin American voices in media today. —Virginia Isaad

Hurricane season by Fernanda Melchor (translated by Sophie Hughes)

Ding Dong the witch is dead! The witch, in this case, was a woman living on the outskirts of the small Veracruzane town of Matosa, aborting her wives while pushing back and attracting all of her citizens, but mostly men. The novel unfolds from his murder, picking up the voices of those on its outskirts to weave the story of what happened to the bruja. The book is as tumultuous as its title with bursts of curse, phrases that stretch on pages and a violence that sweeps through the lives of its characters. A dark and beautiful read. —Alejandra Oliva

Spirit race by Noé Alvarez

Noe Alvarez was a freshman looking for change when he discovered Peace and Dignity Journeys, a 6,000 mile race from Alaska to Central America, connecting Indigenous communities on the road through a ceremony, tales and tradition. Alvarez chronicles the physical exhaustion and spiritual rejuvenation involved in the run and talks about alliance, community and his own family history as the trail crosses the country. —Alejandra Oliva

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez brings to life a strong female protagonist with a passion for football and a desire to break down barriers in male-dominated sport in Rosario, Argentina. Teenager Camila Hassan is a fully developed character who is a force on the pitch but feels she needs to keep her passion from her family lest they support her. The #NiUnaMenos movement and family dynamics that reflect the traditional roles that men and women are expected to take are woven throughout history. It’s a gripping story about a young girl’s ambitions in a world that has never made room for her. —Virginia Isaad

Made in Saturn by Rita Indiana (translated by Sydney Hutchinson)

Rita Indiana is one of the Dominican Republic’s most exciting and visible artists and writers right now. His latest book, Made in Saturn, is the story of Argenis, the son of a prominent Dominican politician who was sent to Cuba to detoxify from his heroin addiction. The novel is billed as a novel about the generation after the Latin American revolutions of the 1960s, and it is gloriously odd, messy, and transgressive. —Alejandra Oliva

Unforgettable by Roberto Lovato

Unforgettable is Roberto Lovato’s loving, lyrical, and still iconoclastic memoir on family, migration, gangs, and revolution in the Americas. In the process of recounting his own life, Lovato delves into the history of his parents’ homeland, El Salvador. His passionate prose points to the propagandists and cowards who encourage us to forget historical injustices in the name of patriotism. Lovato also remedies state-sponsored amnesia by telling stories that testify to the breadth and complexity of highly political people, Salvadorans and their diaspora. Unforgettable reveals how Lovato, once nerd and evangelical, became a revolutionary, militant, and prose stylist. —Myriam Gurba

The duty of life by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado

Fish, mamás, mud and lemons accompany us from the post-hurricane María Puerto Rico to paradise in the house of Ricardo Alberto Maldonado The duty of life. The book’s 17 bilingual poems were first written in Spanish and sometimes intentionally poorly translated into English, “making no concessions to the language of (our) current Empire,” notes the author of boricua. Maldonado’s observations of the pervasive violence of capitalism are particularly timely in this lonely decades-long year – embodied in references to lockdown, work uniforms, and guilty fantasies of productivity and self-improvement. “I would throw Marlboros out / in the dream of discipline,” he wrote from a blustery fire escape in Manhattan. —Julia V. Pretsfelder

Don’t ask me where i come from by Jennifer De Leon

One glance at the title and many Latinos feel seen. De Leon skillfully explores the nuances of being Latinx and first generation in his first novel, Don’t ask me where i come from. The main character, Liliana Cruz, is the daughter of Guatemalan and Salvadoran immigrants who sees the stark contrast between her working-class family and the privilege of students at the wealthy new high school she transferred to in Boston. It’s a powerful and authentic coming-of-age story about letting your roots guide your growth by embracing and celebrating who you are. —Virginia Isaad

I am Diosa by Christine Gutierrez

2020 has been a difficult year and putting personal care first has never been more important, so Gutierrez I am Diosa couldn’t have happened at a better time. The Puerto Rican psychotherapist helps readers overcome past traumas to reclaim their worth through mantras, meditations, and journal prompts to connect with the inner Diosa. As she writes in the book, “this work is about moving recovery,” and remembers that self-esteem is paramount. The book is divided into three parts: the dark, the light, and the integration of the two, so as you read it you go through the healing process. —Virginia Isaad

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