Latino books for Young Adults

This post comes straight from the REFORMA listserv. Librarians serving Latinos are having a difficult time finding titles for Young Adults and I thought that this list might help. It includes titles by authors from various countries including Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

[ Note to publishers: we need more books for Young Adults 🙂  We’ll buy them! ]

Accidental Love, Gary Soto: After unexpectedly falling
in love with a “nerdy” boy, fourteen-year-old Marisa
works to change her life by transferring to another
school, altering some of her behavior, and losing
weight.Adios to my old life, Caridad Ferrer: Ali might become
the next “Latin superstar.”
The afterlife, Gary Soto: A senior at East Fresno High
School lives on as a ghost after his brutal murder.

Always running: La vida loca, gang days in L.A.
(non-fiction), Luis Rodriguez: A former LA gang member
describes his experiences.

And Now Miguel, Joseph Krumgold: The young son of a
New Mexico sheep rancher longs to go with the men when
they take the sheep to the Sangre de Christo

Araña, Fiona Avery: Fiesty teenager Anya Corazon is
saved from death by a mysterious mage named Miguel.
Now, Anya is pledged to fight alongside Miguel and the
Spider Society. First, she must prove herself to the
society–and go to school, and keep her father and her
friends from discovering her new secret.

Barefoot heart, Elva Trevino Hart: Stories of a
migrant child (Biography): Chronicles the life of a
child growing up in a family of Mexican American
migrant farm workers.

Behind the Eyes, Francisco X. Stork: Sixteen-year-old
Hector is the hope of his family, but when he seeks
revenge after his brother’s gang-related death and is
sent to a San Antonio reform school, it takes an odd
assortment of characters to help him see that hope is
still alive.

Bless Me Última, Rudolfo Anaya: Set in a small New
Mexican community during World War II, Antonio speaks
of the dignity, traditions, and mythology of Chicano

Buried onions, Gary Soto: Eddie leaves college to
return to his violence infested home in Fresno.

Call me Henri, Lorraine M. Lopez: Henri has big dreams
for his future but first he’s got to get his school to
let him take French instead of ESL.

Call me Maria, Judith Ortiz Cofer: Fifteen year old
Maria leaves Puerto Rico to live with her father in
the barrio of New York City.

Chasing the Jaguar, Michele Greene: After having
unsettling dreams about the kidnapped daughter of her
mother’s employer, fifteen-year-old Martika learns
that she is a descendant of a long line of
curanderas—Mayan medicine women with special powers.
Includes glossary of Spanish words.

Cinnamon Girl: letters found inside a cereal box, Juan
Felipe Herrara: Yolanda, a Puerto Rican girl, tries to
come to terms with her painful past as she waits to
see if her uncle recovers from injuries he suffered
when the towers collapsed on September 11, 2001.

The Circuit: stories from the life of a migrant child,
Francisco Jiménez

CrashBoomLove, Juan Felipe Herrera: Sixteen year old
Cesar struggles through high school after his father
leaves town.

Crazy Loco: Stories, David Rice: This collection
features nine stories about Mexican-American kids
growing up in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas.

Cuba 15: A novel, Nancy Osa: Violet Paz prepares for
her upcoming “quince.”

Cubanita, Gabby Triana: Seventeen-year-old Isabel,
eager to leave Miami to attend the University of
Michigan and escape her overprotective Cuban mother,
learns some truths about her family’s past and makes
important decisions about the type of person she wants
to be.

Drift, Manuel Luis Martínez: At sixteen, Robert Lomos
has lost his family. His father, a Latin jazz
musician, has left San Antonio for life on the road as
a cool-hand playboy. His mother, shattered by a
complete emotional and psychological breakdown, has
moved to Los Angeles and taken Robert’s little brother
with her. Only his iron-willed grandmother, worn down
by years of hard work, is left. But Robert’s got a
plan: Duck trouble, save his money, and head to
California to put the family back together. Trouble
is, no one believes a delinquent Mexican American kid
has a chance—least of all, Robert himself.

Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa, Micol Ostow: Forced to
stay with her mother in Puerto Rico for weeks after
her grandmother’s funeral, half-Jewish Emily, who has
just graduated from a Westchester, New York, high
school, does not find it easy to connect with her
Puerto Rican heritage and relatives she had never met.

Esperanza Rising, Pam Muñoz Ryan: Esperanza and her
mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and
privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of
Southern California, where they must adapt to the
harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the
eve of the Great Depression.

Estrella’s Quinceanera, Malin Alegria: Estrella
doesn’t want a gaudy quinceanera but her mom still
gets carried away.

Finding Miracles, Julia Alvarez: Fifteen-year-old
Milly Kaufman is an average American teenager until
Pablo, a new student at her school, inspires her to
search for her birth family in his native country.

Finding our way, Renee Saldana: A collection of short
stories depicting life growing up Hispanic in America.

The Girl from Playa Blanca, Ofelia Dumas Lachtman:
When Elena and her little brother, Carlos, leave their
Mexican seaside village to search for their immigrant
father in Los Angeles, they encounter intrigue, crime,
mystery, friendship, and love.

Grab Hands and Run, Frances Temple: After his father
disappears, twelve-year-old Felipe, his mother, and
his younger sister set out on a difficult and
dangerous journey, trying to make their way from their
home in El Salvador to Canada.

Graffiti girl, Kelly Parra: Artistic Angel expresses
herself through street art.

Haters, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez: Having tried for years
to deny her psychic abilities, high school sophomore
Paski has disturbing visions about the popular girl at
her new high school in Orange County, California.

Heat, Mike Lupica: Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is
on the run from social services after being banned
from playing Little League baseball because rival
coaches doubt he is only twelve years old and he has
no parents to offer them proof.

Help wanted: Stories, Gary Soto: Short stories about
young Mexican Americans.

The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros: Esperanza
Cordero is a young girl growing up in the Hispanic
quarter of Chicago with all its hard realities of
life. She captures her thoughts and emotions in poems
and stories in order to rise above the hopelessness
and create a space for herself.

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, Julia
Alvarez: The story of the Garcia family’s adjustment
to life in the United States.

How to Be a Chicana Role Model, Michele M. Serros:
From the award-winning author of Chicana Falsa comes a
humorous new novel about a young Chicana writer who is
struggling to find a way to embrace two very different
cultures, without losing touch with her own true

In the Shadow of the Alamo, Sherry Garland:
Conscripted into the Mexican Army, fifteen-year-old
Lorenzo Bonifacio makes some unexpected alliances and
learns some harsh truths about General Santa Ana as
the troops move toward the Battle of the Alamo.

Jumping Off to Freedom, Anilú Bernardo: Courage and
desperation lead fifteen-year-old David and his father
to flee Cuba’s repressive regime and seek freedom by
taking to the sea on a raft headed for Miami.

La Linea, Ann Jaramillo: Miguel is set to leave his
Mexican village to join his parents in California but
his little sister is determined to join him.

Lorenzo’s Secret Mission, Lila Guzmán and Rick Guzmán:
Two historical figures, Bernardo de Gálvez and George
Gibson, appear prominently in the book. In 1776,
fifteen-year-old Lorenzo Bannister leaves Texas and
his father’s new grave to carry a letter to the
Virginia grandfather he has never known, and becomes
involved with the struggle of the American Continental
Army and its Spanish supporters.

Parrot in the oven: Mi vida, Victor Martinez: Manny
relates his coming of age experiences as a member of a
poor Mexican American family.

Prizefighter en Mi Casa, e. E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Following a car accident that left her with epilepsy,
twelve-year-old Chula—with a little help from a
visiting fearsome Mexican boxer—tries to deal with the
repercussions her new condition has on her family,
neighborhood, and school.

Raining Sardines, Enrique Flores-Galbis: The artistic
Ernestina and the analytical Enriquito use their
ingenuity to save a herd of wild horses and stop an
evil landowner from spoiling their Cuban village.
The republic of East LA: Stories, Luis Rodriguez: A
collection of short stories about life in East L.A.

Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, Benjamin Alire Saenz:
Sammy faces the challenges of “gringo” racism in 1969.
Sisters: Hermanas, Gary Paulsen: The lives of a
fourteen-year-old Mexican prostitute, living in the
United States illegally, and a wealthy American girl
intersect in a dramatic way.

So Hard to Say, Alex Sanchez: Thirteen-year-old Xio, a
Mexican American girl, and Frederick, who has just
moved to California from Wisconsin, quickly become
close friends, but when Xio starts thinking of
Frederick as her boyfriend, he must confront his
feelings of confusion and face the fear that he might
be gay.

Sofi Mendoza’s guide to getting lost in Mexico, Malin
Alegria: Sofi goes to a weekend party in Tijuana and
now the border patrol won’t let her return to San

The Tequila Worm, Viola Canales: Sofia grows up in the
close-knit community of the barrio in McAllen, Texas,
then finds that her experiences as a scholarship
student at an Episcopal boarding school in Austin only
strengthen her ties to family and her “comadres.”

Trino’s Choice, Diane Gonzales Bertrand: Frustrated by
his poor financial situation and hoping to impress a
smart girl, seventh grader Trino falls in with a bad
crowd led by an older teen with a vicious streak.
White Bread Competition, Jo Ann Yolanda Hernández:
When Luz, a ninth-grade Latina student in San Antonio,
wins a spelling competition; her success triggers a
variety of emotions among family, friends, and the
broader community.

The Whole Sky Full of Stars, René Saldaña:
Eighteen-year-old Barry competes in a non-sanctioned
boxing match in hopes of helping his recently-widowed
mother, unaware that his best friend and manager,
Alby, has his own desperate need for a share of the
purse that may put their friendship on the line.

More resources available at:
Barahona Center// Bibliography of Latino books (and online resources)
for youth:

Austin Public Library:

Alma Ramos-McDermott
MLS Student
Simmons College, Boston MA



3 thoughts on “Latino books for Young Adults”

  1. Hi– just came across this post and wanted to let you know I have another release, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ACCENT, which is about identity and personal history. Thanks for spreading the word about Latino YA.

    Caridad Ferrer

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