20 Books by Literary Latinas That Will Make You Feel Like You’re Looking Into A Mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall, look in this mirror and see us all. Latinas are so much more than the limited roles we see on TV or in the movies. We are more than the broken English speaker, the humble maid, the gangbanger, or the broken English Speaker. We don’t all teeter around on high heels or bow our heads submissively. We have varied backgrounds, sexualities, and interests, and literary Latinas such as Anna Castillo, Michelle Serros, Celia C Peréz, Gabby Rivera, and Vanessa Fuentes help illustrate so many of the different ways we exist, live, think, look, feel, love, and hate.

Violence Girl by Alice Bag (2011)

Name pronunciation and nicknames are often fraught for Latinx people, especially in school where we often don’t have control over what we might be called.

The Wanderings of Chela Coatilique, Ananda Esteva (2018)

This choose your own adventure novel by Chilean born, US raised Ananda Esteva will be a series, so if you like punk rock travel narratives start reading before you get left behind.

You’re full name is Chavela Coatlicue Alvarez Santis, but people call you Chela for short. Ditching “Chavela” is fine by you. It’s too long and has too many connotations. As it is, you aren’t the most feminine twenty-one-year-old running the streets of Mexico City and rumor has it your gay uncle named you after Chavela Vargas, the Cost Rican lesbian singing corridos about women lost and conquered in a voice that shakes the tightest chests into tender sobbing.

The Mixquihuala Letters, Ana Castillo (1986)

Published in 1986, Ana Castillo’s The Mixquiahuala Letters is an epistolary novel made up of snail mail letters from the narrator, Teresa, a Xicana from Chicago to her friend Alicia, a white woman living in New York. The letters focus on their various trips to Mexico and the ways each woman experiences the same country quite differently due to their different ethnic and class backgrounds. While the two women are like sisters, “Letter Thirteen” reveals the complex nature of interracial friendships.

Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras (2018)

This novel just came out, which means you might even be able to catch, Colombiana, Ingrid Rojas Contreras read from it live – check your local bookstores!

 Simple Dreams, Linda Ronstadt (2013)

I’ve always loved singer Linda Ronstadt, her voice and her big brown eyes. I sobbed when I read the opening chapter of her book where she, the daughter of a Mexican father and European white mother, recalls growing up on the US/Mexico border and making mud huaraches with her brother and sister for their bare feet so they wouldn’t burn on the hot ground.

The First Rule of Punk, Celia C. Perez (2017)

It’s no surprise that young people might see themselves in the award-winning, middle-grade novel, The First Rule of Punk (2017) by Celia C. Peréz, but adults will too. I personally never expected to read a book so close to my own experience or that there’d be a market for books about punk Latina girls whose peers either totally don’t get them or call them coconuts.

 The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait (2005)

It wasn’t just Frida Kahlo’s paintings that were ahead of their time. Her ideas about race and ethnicity were too, in particular, as you can see here, her love for diversity and an understanding of the shared subjugation of Mexican folks and black folks under capitalism and Eurocentrism.

Chicana Falsa by Michelle Serros (1993)

To silence the haters, who criticized for being nerdy, (read white) and not bilingual, Michelle Serros called herself Chicana falsa, or a fake Chicana. She made an art form of beating people to the punch, and making it clear that being Chicana is so much more than corn goddesses, Aztec dances, and rolling our rrrs.

Sun, Stone, and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories, edited by Jorge F. Hernandez (2008)

Rosario Castellanos was way ahead of her time, both her ideas and her writing. This piece reminds me a bit of “Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood, and I rather like thinking of Margaret Atwood as the Canadian Rosario Castellanos.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (2016)

The climactic scene (in which the protagonist is betrayed by her writer hero) of Bronx born, queer, Latinx, Gabby Rivera’s novel, Juliet Takes a Breath made me hold my breath. The following scene comes from the denouement.

Woman Hollering Creek, Sandra Cisneros (1992)

When I was single, I photocopied this passage from Woman Hollering Creek and hung it on my refrigerator for any suitor who came around to see.

We Were Going to Change the World, edited by Stacey Russo (2017)

Teresa Covarrubias, (singer of the seminal punk band, The Brat,) poet, and educator’s interview reminds us that not all women and not all Latinas want to get married and have children.

Dear Animal, MK Chavez (2016)

Latinx writer, MK Chavez’s writing is always sensual and provocative.

A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness, Cherríe L. Moraga (2011)

This book is a collection of poetry and scholarly essays by Cherríe  L. Moraga, one of the pre-eminent, queer Latina writers and scholars who gave us all so much already with This Bridge Called My Back.

A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, edited by Sun Yung Shin (2016)

A Good Time for the Truth, a collection of essays about being a person of color in the very white State of Minnesota, came out just a few months before Philando Castile was shot and killed by police in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, so yes, it’s a good time for the truth.

I Asked the Blue Heron, Lisbeth Coiman (2017)

Venezuelan writer, Lisbeth Coiman’s memoir addresses coping with mental illness all while immigrating from Venezuela to Canada, and Canada to the US. 

“Amarisa’s Cooking Pot,” Désirée Zamorano (2017)


For immigrants, or children of immigrants, food is an important connection to our Latinidad, and cooking really is magic, just like this short story by Désirée Zamorano

 When My Brother Was an Aztec, Natalie Diaz (2012)

My mom liked to remind me that we were Indian too, that our people were indigenous to North America, and we like writer Diaz, who is Mojave American and Spanish, are a mixed-race people, la raza cosmica, who grew up eating welfare food, in Diaz’s case, “USDA stamped like a fist on the side.” 

Listen To Your Mother by  Ann Imig

Grandmothers: no list of passages by literary Latinas would be complete without a couple of excerpts about abuelitas, like this tender one by The Moth storyteller, Alexandra Rosas.

The Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band, Michelle Cruz Gonzales (2016)

Have you ever taken your white friends to visit your abuelita and while there got the feeling they never quite realized you were latinx before, not that kind of latinx? If not, this is how it might go.

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series


Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

Fans of magical realism rejoice. On Wednesday, Netflix announced it acquired the rights to Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and will be turning the literary masterpiece into a Spanish-language series.

This is the first time the 1967 novel, considered “one of the most significant works of the 20th Century,” will be adapted for screen. For years, the author, who died in 2014, refused to sell the film rights, believing the story could not be done justice through a two-hour project, according to Deadline.

Rodrigo Garcia and Gonzalo García Barcha, García Márquez’s sons, who are serving as executive producers on the show, believe a series is an appropriate approach to the book.

“For decades, our father was reluctant to sell the film rights to Cien Años de Soledad. He believed that it could not be made under the time constraints of a feature film, or that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice,” Rodrigo Garcia told BuzzFeed News, adding that the “current golden age of series,” with “the level of talented writing and directing, the cinematic quality of content,” changed the family’s mind.

“The time could not be better to bring an adaptation to the extraordinary global viewership that Netflix provides,” he continued.

The series will be filmed in Colombia.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” tells the story of the multi-generational Buendia family, whose patriarch Jose Arcadio Buendia founded Macondo, a fictional town in the South American country.

The book has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 46 languages.

In a statement, Francisco Ramos, Netflix’s vice president of Spanish-language content, said, “We know our members around the world love watching Spanish-language films and series and we feel this will be a perfect match of project and our platform.”

He’s right. Since announcing the adaptation, fans of the magical realism novel have been celebrating the news.

There’s no word yet on when the series will debut and who will star in it.

Read: This Film About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is At The Center Of The Most Expensive Sundance Documentary Deal Of All Time

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Latinas Are Gearing Up To Run 2019: From Tessa Thompson’s Role in The New ‘MIB’ To J.Lo’s Skin Care Line, Here’s A Look

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Latinas Are Gearing Up To Run 2019: From Tessa Thompson’s Role in The New ‘MIB’ To J.Lo’s Skin Care Line, Here’s A Look

As 2018 inches toward its finale, we can’t help but look forward to the new year and get excited for all of the exciting and unpredictable things that 2019 has in store. Among the things we’re excited about is a newly-announced skincare line from the venerable Jennifer Lopez, which is set to be released in late 2019. But Lopez isn’t the only Latina that has exciting projects lined up in the new year. In fact, so far 2019 is shaping up to be a year chock full of Latina-Power so far. In addition to Lopez, we’ve rounded up some Latina-Power Projects to look forward to in the new year, starting with the ageless goddess herself.

Jennifer Lopez


In response to a question about her skincare routine during her promotional tour of Second Act, Lopez revealed that she “will be coming out with a skincare line” that she’s been “working [on] for a long time”. She further explained why she decided to release it after her makeup collection, saying, “I don’t want to put [just] anything out”. According to Lopez, she hopes the line “encompasses all of the things I’ve learned, all of the secrets I have”. And suddenly, 2019 can’t come fast enough.

Gina Rodriguez


There will be no escaping Gina Rodriguez in 2019–not that we’d want to. Not only will her action-thriller Miss Bala (a film with a 95 percent Latinx cast and crew) hit theaters in February, she will also be voicing the iconic Latina character Carmen San Diego in Netflix’s animated re-boot, set to premiere on January 18. And lest we forget, the fifth and final season of Jane the Virgin is rumored to be premiering in early 2019, officially making next year the property of Gina Rodriguez.

Cardi B


Cardi B can’t–and won’t–slow down. Not only is she scheduled to make regular, showstopping appearances into 2019, but she’ll also be making money moves with her lucrative partnership with Reebook. It’s safe to assume that Cardi isn’t going anywhere for a long time.

Rita Moreno


As we announced before, Rita Moreno is set to appear in Steven Spielberg’s much-anticipated remake of the beloved classic, Westside Story. According to Deadline, the actress will play an “expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store” from the original movie. According to Moreno, she is “tingling” over the opportunity to re-visit the story that made her a legend. She further stated: “Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work, and to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling!”. We can’t wait to see her back on the silver screen where she belongs.

Tessa Thompson


Tessa Thompson isn’t letting some out-dated name of a movie stop her. In 2019, the talented Mexican-Panamanian actress will be starring in a “Men in Black” reboot with Chris Hemsworth. The fact that an Afro-Latina is headlining a movie that literally has “men” in the title is so refreshing–we can’t wait to see Thompson break down more barriers in 2019.

Isabela Moner


As soon as we heard that a live-action version of “Dora the Explorer” would be coming to a theater near us, we couldn’t wait to see what Latina fabulosa would fill Dora’s little white tennis shoes. Luckily for us, we weren’t disappointed. Peruvian-American Nickelodeon star Isabela Moner was announced as the actress who had won the part among many. Moner stated that she was “excited and honored” to get to play the iconic character. “I grew up watching the show, and for me, especially as a Latina, Dora was an amazing role model”, she said. We can’t wait to catch Moner in theaters on August 22nd.

Valentina Garza


Yes, we’re sad that “Jane the Virgin” is coming to an end, but we can’t help but be excited about its recently-announced spinoff. And in even more exciting news, this time the show will be run by Cuban-American writer/producer Valentina Garza. This will mark the first time a Latina has been a showrunner of a CW show. No news yet on when the new anthology series will premiere, but either way, Garza will have her hands full with development and pre-production all of 2019.

Anjelah Johnson/America Ferrera/Emilia Serrano

@mexemilia/Twitter. @americaferrera/Instagram. @anjelahjohnson/Instagram.

In November, deadline announced that it was developing a sitcom called “All Fancy” that is starring Mexican-American comedian Anjelah Johnson, written by Mexican-American writer Emilia Serrano, and produced by Honduran-American actress, philanthropist and overall powerhouse America Ferrera. According to “Deadline”, the series will revolve around Johnson playing a “newly successful 30-something Mexican-American woman who often goes against cultural and social expectations”. Kudos for these Latina ladies making waves in Hollywood.

Gina Torres


Finally, Cuban-American actress Gina Torres is getting her day in the sun. After co-starring in “Suits” for six years, USA Network has given Torres her very own spinoff that is currently in production and set to premiere in 2019. According to Deadline, the series, entitled “Second City”, will center on Torres’s iconic character Jessica Pearson as she “enters the dirty world of Chicago politics”. It’s so rare that a Latina–let alone an Afro-Latina–has the chance to star in her own show, that we’re jumping up and down for joy because of this one. We know Torres will be her usual, mesmerizing self in this role.

Read: After A Judge Ordered Activist Ale Pablos’ Deportation, Thousands Sign Petition Urging Arizona Governor For A Pardon

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