Check It Out Category: Diverse and Inclusive Spotlights

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Fiction Reads

“Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture” – United States Census Bureau

Whether you are in the mood for quiet and thoughtful, tense and unnerving, heartfelt and sweet, or sincere and compelling, exciting reads by Hispanic American authors are yours for the taking. The contributions from writers of Hispanic descent are monumental, and one of the ways we are honoring Hispanic Heritage Month is to share suggestions that celebrate the authentic experience in great storytelling.

Check out a fresh list of contemporary reads for Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) or browse a sample below. For information on national events and much more, visit the Library of Congress website.

The Hacienda book cover

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

In the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence and the execution of her father, Beatriz accepts Don Rodolfo Solorzano’s proposal of marriage and is whisked away to his remote country estate where she is faced with a malevolent presence linked to his first wife’s death.

Gothic historical fiction

Neruda on the park book cover

Neruda on the Park by Cleyvis Natera

The Guerreros have lived in Nothar Park, a predominantly Dominican part of New York City, for twenty years. When demolition begins on a neighboring tenement, Eusebia devises an increasingly dangerous series of schemes to stop construction of the luxury condos. Meanwhile, Eusebia’s daughter, Luz, becomes distracted by a sweltering romance with the handsome white developer at the company her mother so vehemently opposes.

Melodrama

the wedding crasher book cover

The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa

Crashing the wedding of complete strangers who don’t belong together, Solange agrees to be the former groom’s pretend girlfriend to make up for her interference, and as they fake date for the benefit of his colleagues, they form an undeniable connection.

Romantic comedy

what storm what thunder book cover

What Storm, What Thunder by Myriam J.A. Chancy

Set in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, this novel is a reckoning of the heartbreaking trauma of disaster, and – at the same time – an unforgettable testimony to the tenacity of the human spirit.

Literary fiction

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Tears of the Trufflepig by Fernando A. Flores

A surreal debut novel set on the Texas-Mexico border, blending magical realism, sci-fi, and political parable to tell the story of an everyday man’s tumble into a bizarre and sinister criminal underworld.

Magical realism

Gender Equality Fiction to Celebrate International Women’s Day

For over 100 years, International Women’s Day has celebrated all women who contribute to the workplace and to society, often without equal recognition or reward. Though every life is its own story, common themes of strength, perseverance, and stubborn optimism unite women’s experiences across time and place. Choose from below to find a fascinating read that explores gender equality through the lens of fiction.

Black Literature: Classics, Contemporaries, and Current Reads

Explore Black voices through the decades during Black History Month and beyond!

The Classics: 20th Century

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Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Twelve-year-old Sophie Caco is removed from her impoverished village and sent to live in New York with her mother, a woman she barely knows. There she learns about a terrible truth that shadows her family.

Relationship fiction / Lyrical prose / Emotional

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Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

1948, Los Angeles: The mortgage payment’s coming due, so Easy Rawlins accepts the assignment of finding Daphne Monet, a blonde torch singer with a penchant for jazz and criminal black consorts. In his search through a sleazy, fearful city, he is lucky to be under the protection of the murderous Mouse who wants a piece of the action.

Historical mystery / Hard-boiled / Gritty

Their Eyes Were Watching God book cover

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

When Janie Starks returns home, she seeks identity and independence as the small southern black community buzzes with gossip about the outcome of her affair with a younger man.

Southern literary fiction / Moving / Engaging

The Contemporaries: 21st Century

transcendent kingdom book cover

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

A novel about faith, science, religion, and family that tells the deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief, narrated by a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford school of medicine studying the neural circuits of reward seeking behavior in mice.

Psychological fiction / Eloquent / Quietly poignant

libertie book cover

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Coming of age as a free-born Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson is all too aware that her mother, a physician, has a vision for their future together: Libertie will go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is constantly reminded that, unlike her mother, Libertie has skin that is too dark. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it-for herself and for generations to come.

Historical fiction / Richly detailed / Immersive

Vanishing Half book cover

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Twin sisters, inseparable as children, ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

Relationship fiction / Sharp and rich writing / Character-driven

Current Reads:

What Fiction Staff are Loving Right Now

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Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

Compelled by poverty to agree to a lucrative final heist that will allow him to go straight, a skilled getaway driver finds his efforts complicated by racial dynamics and the ghosts of his past.

Crime fiction / Atmospheric / Action-packed

black cake book cover

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a traditional Caribbean black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s true history, and fulfill her final request to ‘share the black cake when the time is right’?

Family fiction / Engrossing / Lush

the love songs of W.E.B. Du Bois book cover

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

To come to terms with who she is and what she wants, Ailey, the daughter of an accomplished doctor and a strict schoolteacher, embarks on a journey through her family’s past, helping her embrace her full heritage, which is the story of the Black experience in itself.

Coming-of-age story / Richly layered / Haunting poignancy

18 Teen Reads Celebrating Black Joy

Black History Month (and any month!) offers a great time to add books featuring Black protagonists to the top of your reading list. We suggest these 18 page-turners of all genres, featuring joyful moments and happy endings. Click on any cover that strikes you for full book information.

Looking for other books featuring Black characters written by Black authors? Check out these lists: Black Voices in YA Fiction or Black Voices & Black Stories – YA Nonfiction.

Why MPPL Staff Love Talia Hibbert

Zoom Program: Meet the author Talia Hibbert, Saturday, July 17 at 11 a.m.

What is it about Talia Hibbert’s books that has won the hearts of our readers’ advisors? Peek over the shoulders of MPPL staff to learn six reasons why they are infatuated, and join us for a live virtual conversation on Saturday, July 17 to hear from the author herself. Can’t wait? Try a reading date with Get a Life, Chloe Brown, the first of the Brown Sisters trilogy, as ebook or e-audio on Hoopla.

Real and Relatable Characters

“I enjoy how real both her male and female characters are. They have many facets to them and they are normal people with things like tough pasts, mental health issues, and/or disabilities, and I find that so refreshing and relatable.”

What We Already Love but More

“I love that the sisters make reappearances throughout the whole trilogy and that there is overall a general kindness to these books even in the enemies-to-lovers trope. Speaking of tropes: Hibbert covers a bunch of them (fake dating, enemies to lovers, person teaching other person to LIVE), but because she has such superb character development and banter between characters it feels like fresh takes on the tropes.”

Ultramodern with Ease

“I liked that the writing was effortlessly contemporary. There are references to social media and other bits of modern life that don’t feel clunky like they sometimes do when an author is trying to seem ‘with it.’ It feels like the author could be writing about her own life — that’s how real the characters, places, and social media bits feel.”

Accessibility and Tone

“A way in for me was when I was trying to stretch my reading, and I was able to do so easily  thanks to the humor and not-often-talked-about issues. I’d probably recommend to a reader looking for a more contemporary/real-life (right now) romance with a bit of humor. I’d definitely mention the fun back and forth/quirkiness between the characters. So romantical!”

Inclusivity

“The book I read had two Black main characters, a bisexual lead, two non-Christian religions, and a mental health subplot, and still managed to be funny and fun to read.”

Delicious Audio Productions

“I love the snappy dialogue, and the audiobooks’ narrators are fabulous!! Yes, I’m swooning!”

Added note: Steamy Encounters 

Talia is renown for romance with lots of sizzle. Whether you are looking for more stories with equal heat or some that lean into slow-burn simmer instead, we can suggest just the right recipe!