September 15-October 15 is Latine Heritage Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the histories and culture of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
To honor Latine Heritage Month we’re reading books by authors and about characters who identify as belonging to these communities.
How many of the below titles are on your TBR list this month?
Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros
Isaac and Marco already know sixth grade is going to change their lives. But it won’t change things at home—not without each other’s help.
This year, star basketball player Isaac plans on finally keeping up with his schoolwork. Better grades will surely stop Isaac’s parents from arguing all the time. Meanwhile, straight-A Marco vows on finally winning his father’s approval by earning a spot on the school’s basketball team.
But will their friendship and support for each other be enough to keep the two boys from falling short?
Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros
Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman—or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved.
But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México.
Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.
A glossary of Spanish words is included in the back of the book.
The Last Beekeeper by Pablo Cartaya
In a future shaken by climate disasters, Yolanda Cicerón knows that nature is something to be feared. While life in the Valley is brutal and harsh, Yoly dreams of leaving her farm to live in Silo—the most advanced town for miles around. But first, Yoly will need to prove she belongs in a place where only the smartest and most useful are welcomed.
Between her razor-sharp smarts and sheer determination, Yoly is well on her way until she discovers her family can no longer afford her schooling. When forced to take matters into her own hands, the closer she gets to securing her future, the more she uncovers the dangers lying inside Silo’s walls—ones that threaten the entire Valley.
As she cracks long-guarded secrets, Yoly, along with those closest to her, is put in grave peril and the only chance of surviving may lie in the rediscovery of a long-extinct species—the honeybee. Can the last surviving beehive be the key to pulling the Valley out from under Silo’s thumb, or will they destroy what remains of Yoly’s future?
Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano
Binge in the full series now with Love Sugar Magic #2: A Sprinkle of Spirits and Love Sugar Magic #3: A Mixture of Mischief, available now in paperback!
Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.
Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.
Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.
And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?
Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera
Also check out the sequel, Cece Rios and the King of Fears—coming September 27!
Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas—humans who capture and control criaturas—consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime.
When her older sister, Juana, is kidnapped by El Sombrerón, a powerful dark criatura, Cece is determined to bring Juana back. To get into Devil’s Alley, though, she’ll have to become a bruja herself—while hiding her quest from her parents, her town, and the other brujas. Thankfully, the legendary criatura Coyote has a soft spot for humans and agrees to help her on her journey.
With him at her side, Cece sets out to reunite her family—and maybe even change what it means to be a bruja along the way.
Fantastic Tales of Nothing by Alejandra Green and Fanny Rodriguez
Look for the sequel, Lost Legends of Nothing—coming January 17, 2023!
Welcome to Nothing! Despite its name, this is a fantastic land where humans and magical volken coexist peacefully—at least they try . . .
This is the tale of Nathan, an ordinary human (or so he thinks) living an ordinary life (or so he wishes). Everything changes when he meets Haven, a mysterious creature who is neither human nor volken. Oh, and the two of them are being chased by volken mercenaries—a grumpy wolf named Bardou and a delightful crow named Sina.
Nathan soon learns he has mysterious powers, even though humans aren’t supposed to have magic. But there’s no time to dwell on that because this discovery sets the group on a perilous quest across windswept terrain, through haunted forests, and in ancient tombs. Nathan and his unlikely friends must prevent an impending war and defeat a dark evil to save their land.
No pressure, of course. If they fail, everything will turn into, well . . . nothing.
Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos by Lulu Delacre
In this book, you will meet many young Latinos living in the United States, from a young girl whose day at her father’s burrito truck surprises her to two sisters working together to change the older sister’s immigration status, and more.
Turn the pages to experience life through the eyes of these boys and girls whose families originally hail from many different countries; see their hardships, celebrate their victories, and come away with a better understanding of what it means to be Latino in the U.S. today.
Chunky by Yehudi Mercado
Also check out the sequel, Chunky Goes to Camp, available now in paperback!
Hudi needs to lose weight, according to his doctors. Concerned about the serious medical issue Hudi had when he was younger, his parents push him to try out for sports. Hudi would rather do anything else, but then he meets Chunky, his imaginary friend and mascot. Together, they decide to give baseball a shot.
As the only Mexican and Jewish kid in his neighborhood, Hudi has found the cheerleader he never had. Baseball doesn’t go well (unless getting hit by the ball counts), but the two friends have a great time drawing and making jokes. While Hudi’s parents keep trying to find the right sport for Hudi, Chunky encourages him to pursue his true love—comedy.
But when Hudi’s dad loses his job, it gets harder for Hudi to chart his own course, even with Chunky’s guidance. Can Chunky help Hudi stay true to himself or will this friendship strike out?
Muse Squad: The Cassandra Curse by Chantel Acevedo
Also check out the sequel, Muse Squad: The Mystery of the Tenth, available now in paperback!
Callie Martinez-Silva didn’t mean to turn her best friend into a pop star. But when a simple pep talk leads to miraculous results, Callie learns she’s the newest muse of epic poetry, one of the nine Muses of Greek mythology tasked with protecting humanity’s fate in secret.
Whisked away to Muse Headquarters, she joins three recruits her age, who call themselves the Muse Squad. Together, the junior muses are tasked with using their magic to inspire and empower—not an easy feat when you’re eleven and still figuring out the goddess within.
When their first assignment turns out to be Callie’s exceptionally nerdy classmate, Maya Rivero, the squad comes to Miami to stay with Callie and her Cuban family. There, they discover that Maya doesn’t just need inspiration, she needs saving from vicious Sirens out to unleash a curse that will corrupt her destiny.
As chaos erupts, will the Muse Squad be able to master their newfound powers in time to thwart the Cassandra Curse . . . or will it undo them all?
The Curse on Spectacle Key by Chantel Acevedo
Frank Fernandez’s family never stays in one place for long. His parents renovate unusual buildings and turn them into homes, which means the family moves—a lot. This makes it hard for bookish Frank to make friends. So when his parents announce they’re moving to Spectacle Key, Florida, to live in a lighthouse—this time for good!—Frank is thrilled.
But Spectacle Key isn’t the perfect forever home they’d imagined. The lighthouse is falling apart. There are knocks on the door—but no one is there—and mysterious sighs and sniffles from nowhere. There’s even a creepy doll that seems to move on its own. Could Spectacle Key be haunted?
Then one day while exploring, Frank meets a girl in old-fashioned clothes, with no memory of who she is. What she does know, though, is that the island is under a curse—and she needs Frank’s help to figure out how to lift it. But what if learning the truth about Spectacle Key means losing the first real friend he’s ever had?
The Insiders by Mark Oshiro
San Francisco and Orangevale may be in the same state, but for Héctor Muñoz, they might as well be a million miles apart. Back home, being gay didn’t mean feeling different. At Héctor’s new school, he couldn’t feel more alone.
Most days, Héctor just wishes he could disappear. And he does. Right into the janitor’s closet. (Yes, he sees the irony.) But one day, when the door closes behind him, Héctor discovers he’s stumbled into a room that shouldn’t be possible. A room that connects him with two new friends from different corners of the country—and opens the door to a life-changing year full of friendship, adventure, and just a little bit of magic.
You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro
Middle school is the worst, especially for David Bravo. He doesn’t have a single class with his best (okay, only) friend, Antoine. He has to give a class presentation about his heritage, but he’s not sure how—or even if—he wants to explain to his new classmates that he’s adopted. After he injures Antoine in an accident at cross-country practice, he just wishes he could do it all over.
He doesn’t expect his wish to summon a talking, shapeshifting, annoying dog, Fea, who claims that a choice in David’s past actually did put him on the wrong timeline… and she can take him back to fix it.
But when their first try (and the second, and the third) is a total disaster, David and Fea are left scrambling through timeline after timeline—on a quest that may lead them to answers in the most unexpected places.
The Keeper by Guadalupe García McCall
James always knew moving from Texas to Oregon was going to be horrible.. But no sooner have he and his family arrived in their “perfect” new home in their “perfect” new town than he starts getting mysterious letters from someone called the Keeper. Someone who claims to be watching him. Someone who is looking for “young blood.”
James and his sister, Ava, are obviously in danger. But the problem with having a history of playing practical jokes is that no one believes James—not even his parents. Now James and Ava need to figure out who is sending the letters before they become the next victims in their neighborhood’s long history of missing children.
Because one thing is clear: Uncovering the truth about the Keeper is the only thing that will keep them alive.
Sincerely Sicily by Tamika Burgess
On sale January 3, 2023 and available now for preorder!
Sicily Jordan’s worst nightmare has come true! She’s been enrolled in a new school, with zero of her friends and stuck wearing a fashion catastrophe of a uniform. But however bad Sicily thought sixth grade was going to be, it only gets worse when she does her class presentation.
While all her classmates breezed through theirs, Sicily is bombarded with questions on how she can be both Black and Panamanian. She wants people to understand, but it doesn’t feel like anyone is ready to listen—first at school and then at home. Because when her abuela starts talking mess about her braids, Sicily’s the only one whose heart is being crumpled for a second time.
Staying quiet may no longer be an option, but that doesn’t mean Sicily has the words to show the world just what it means to be a proud Black Panamanian either. Even though she hasn’t written in her journal since her abuelo passed, it’s time to pick up her pen again—but will it be enough to prove to herself and everyone else exactly who she is?