Activities

Hispanic-American Nonfiction

Hispanic-American Heritage month continues until October 15, so we're sharing another list of books by and about Hispanic-Americans. Check out the book display in the library for more titles!

The Mexican Home Kitchen book cover image

The Mexican Home Kitchen

The Mexican Home Kitchen - Mely Martínez

Illustrated with stunning photography, this book includes recipes for stews, soups, and side dishes, along with famous dishes like mole, enchiladas, picadillo, and milanesa, and is rounded out with delicious salsas, drinks, and desserts.

For Mely Martínez, Mexican cooking has always been about family, community, and tradition. Born and raised in Tampico, Mely started helping in the kitchen at a very young age, since she was the oldest daughter of eight children, and spent summers at her grandmother’s farm in the state of Veracruz, where part of the daily activities included helping grind the corn to make masa.

Mely started her popular blog, Mexico in My Kitchen, to share the recipes and memories of her home so that her son can someday recreate and share these dishes with his own family. In the meantime, it has become the go-to source for those looking for authentic home-style Mexican cooking.

Spirit Run book cover image

Spirit Run

Spirit Run - Noé Álvarez

Growing up in Yakima, Washington, Noé Álvarez worked at an apple–packing plant alongside his mother, who “slouched over a conveyor belt of fruit, shoulder to shoulder with mothers conditioned to believe this was all they could do with their lives.” A university scholarship offered escape, but as a first–generation Latino college–goer, Álvarez struggled to fit in. At nineteen, he learned about a Native American/First Nations movement called the Peace and Dignity Journeys, epic marathons meant to renew cultural connections across North America. He dropped out of school and joined a group of Dené, Secwépemc, Gitxsan, Dakelh, Apache, Tohono O’odham, Seri, Purépecha, and Maya runners, all fleeing difficult beginnings. Telling their stories alongside his own, Álvarez writes about a four–month–long journey from Canada to Guatemala that pushed him to his limits. Running through mountains, deserts, and cities, and through the Mexican territory his parents left behind, Álvarez forges a new relationship with the land, and with the act of running, carrying with him the knowledge of his parents’ migration, and—against all odds in a society that exploits his body and rejects his spirit—the dream of a liberated future.

My Beloved World book cover image

My Beloved World

My Beloved World - Sonya Sotomayor

In this story of human triumph that “hums with hope and exhilaration” (NPR), she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.

Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother.

With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to an appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty.

Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book.

Mexican Made Easy book cover image

Mexican Made Easy

Mexican Made Easy - Marcela Valladolid

On her Food Network show, Mexican Made Easy, Marcela Valladolid shows how simple it is to create beautiful dishes bursting with bright Mexican flavors. Now, Marcela shares the fantastic recipes her fans have been clamoring for in a cookbook that ties into her popular show.

A single mom charged with getting dinner on the table nightly for her young son, Fausto, Marcela embraces dishes that are fun and fast—and made with fresh ingredients found in the average American supermarket. Pull together a fantastic weeknight dinner in a flash with recipes such as Baja-Style Braised Chicken Thighs, Mexican Meatloaf with Salsa Glaze, and Corn and Poblano Lasagna.

With 100 easy recipes and 80 sumptuous color photographs, Mexican Made Easy brings all of the energy and fresh flavors of Marcela’s show into your home.

In the Dream House book cover image

In the Dream House

In the Dream House - Carmen Maria Machado

In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.

Each chapter is driven by its own narrative trope―the haunted house, erotica, the bildungsroman―through which Machado holds the events up to the light and examines them from different angles. She looks back at her religious adolescence, unpacks the stereotype of lesbian relationships as safe and utopian, and widens the view with essayistic explorations of the history and reality of abuse in queer relationships.

Machado’s dire narrative is leavened with her characteristic wit, playfulness, and openness to inquiry. The result is a wrenching, riveting book that explodes our ideas about what a memoir can do and be.

Gmoring, Gnight book cover image

Gmorning, Gnight

Gmorning, Gnight! - Lin-Manuel Miranda

Good morning. Do NOT get stuck in the comments section of life today. Make, do, create the things. Let others tussle it out. Vamos!

Before he inspired the world with Hamilton and was catapulted to international fame, Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspiring his Twitter followers with words of encouragement at the beginning and end of each day. He wrote these original sayings, aphorisms, and poetry for himself as much as for others. But as Miranda’s audience grew, these messages took on a life on their own. Now Miranda has gathered the best of his daily greetings into a beautiful collection illustrated by acclaimed artist (and fellow Twitter favorite) Jonny Sun. Full of comfort and motivation, Gmorning, Gnight! is a touchstone for anyone who needs a quick lift.

Deep Down Dark book cover image

Deep Down Dark

Deep Down Dark - Héctor Tobar

For Deep Down Dark, the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Héctor Tobar received exclusive access to the miners and their tales. These thirty-three men came to think of the mine, a cavern inflicting constant and thundering aural torment, as a kind of coffin, and as a church where they sought redemption through prayer. Even while still buried, they all agreed that if by some miracle any of them escaped alive, they would share their story only collectively. Héctor Tobar was the person they chose to hear, and now to tell, that story.

The result is a masterwork or narrative journalism―a riveting, at times shocking, emotionally textured account of a singular human event. Deep Down Dark brings to haunting, tactile life the experience of being imprisoned inside a mountain of stone, the horror of being slowly consumed by hunger, and the spiritual and mystical elements that surrounded working in such a dangerous place. In its stirring final chapters, it captures the profound way in which the lives of everyone involved in the disaster were forever changed.

A Dream Called Home book cover image

A Dream Called Home

A Dream Called Home - Reyna Grande

When Reyna Grande was nine years old, she walked across the US–Mexico border in search of a home, desperate to be reunited with the parents who had left her behind years before for a better life in the City of Angels. What she found instead was an indifferent mother, an abusive, alcoholic father, and a school system that belittled her heritage.

With so few resources at her disposal, Reyna finds refuge in words, and it is her love of reading and writing that propels her to rise above until she achieves the impossible and is accepted to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Through it all, Reyna is determined to make the impossible possible, going from undocumented immigrant of little means to “a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer” (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild); a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist “speak[ing] for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard” (Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street); and a proud mother of two beautiful children who will never have to know the pain of poverty and neglect.

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