Chicanx Literature

Covering texts written by American authors of Mexican descent, this collection includes titles such as Erika L. Sanchez's YA best seller I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and modern classics like The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

Publication year 1922Genre Poem, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Lyric Poem

Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Realistic Fiction

Across a Hundred Mountains is a 2006 novel by Reyna Grande. It won the American Book Award. The novel tells the story of two women, Adelina and Juana. Every few pages, the novel alternates between each woman’s story. Adelina is an adult working at a woman’s shelter in Los Angeles and has devoted her life to searching for her father, who went missing many years ago. At the beginning of the novel, Adelina finally finds... Read Across A Hundred Mountains Summary

Publication year 1971Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil

And the Earth Did Not Devour Him by Chicano-American author Tomás Rivera was originally published as a Spanish and English bilingual edition in 1971, translated into English by Herminio Ríos. Evangelina Vigil-Piñón’s translation, considered the definitive one, came out in 1988. The book was awarded the Quinto Sol Prize for literature and was adapted into a film. Born in Texas, Rivera,was himself the son of Mexican migrant farm workers, and worked on farms as a... Read And The Earth Did Not Devour Him Summary

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Action / Adventure

An Echo in the Bone (2009) is the seventh novel in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Combining elements of the historical fiction, adventure, fantasy, and romance genres, the series follows the adventures of Claire Randall, a WWII battle nurse who accidentally time travels to 18th-century Scotland and falls in love with Jamie Fraser, a Highland warrior. Over the course of 10 planned novels, Gabaldon follows Claire, Jamie, and their family as they navigate fate... Read An Echo in the Bone Summary

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Self Discovery, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: Sexuality, Identity: RaceTags Romance, LGBTQ

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Society: WarTags Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Military / War, Latin American Literature

Publication year 1971Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: Immigration, Society: ClassTags Immigration / Refugee, Race / Racism

Barrio Boy is a memoir by Ernesto Galarza that narrates the author’s journey from a small village in Mexico to a barrio in the United States. Considered a founding text in ethnic studies, the book was originally published in 1971 and was reissued as a 40th anniversary edition in 2011. Barrio Boy follows the author from his birth in the small town of Jalcocotán in 1905 up until high school. Galarza, who went on to... Read Barrio Boy Summary

Publication year 1972Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Latin American Literature

Bless Me, Ultima is a novel by American author Rudolfo Anaya (1937-2020). Published in 1972 by independent Chicanx publishing house TQS Publications, it is one of the first literary accounts of Chicanx culture to attain widespread acclaim in the United States. The novel is a semi-autobiographical account based on Ayana’s experience of coming of age in post-World War II New Mexico. Anaya explores themes of the Multiplicity within Chicanx Identity, Catholicism, Innocence Versus the Power... Read Bless Me, Ultima Summary

Publication year 1987Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionTags Creative Nonfiction

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, by Gloria Anzaldúa, presents the U.S.-Mexico border as a space ripe for sociocultural, psychological, and historical deconstruction. Speaking from her own experiences growing up in South Texas, Anzaldúa redefines the boundaries between practice and theory, personal history and cultural critique, poetry and prose. Writing in both Spanish and English (and omitting translations at times), Anzaldúa writes as a Chicana, in the Chicano language, envisioning a new consciousness borne out of... Read Borderlands La Frontera Summary

Publication year 2006Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Relationships: Family, Society: ImmigrationTags LGBTQ, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Immigration / Refugee

Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Historical Fiction

Caramelo (2002) is a multi-generational family epic by American-Chicana author Sandra Cisneros. The novel follows the coming-of-age stories of Soledad Reyes; her son, Inocencio Reyes; and her granddaughter, Celaya “Lala” Reyes. The narrative takes place as the family moves among Chicago, Mexico City, and San Antonio. Written in a unique bilingual English and Spanish voice, Caramelo features themes of memory, Mexican-American heritage, female strength, and the search for a “home” between and beyond national borders. In... Read Caramelo Summary

Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders is a 2005 thriller by American novelist, poet, and essayist Alicia Gaspar de Alba. The novel takes place in 1998 when Juárez, Mexico is experiencing a spate of brutal killings of poor young women and girls, mostly factory workers. The protagonist, Ivon Villa, is a women’s studies professor from Los Angeles who returns to her hometown of El Paso, Texas—just across the border from Juárez—to adopt a baby. When the... Read Desert Blood Summary

Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Revenge, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Gender, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Place, Relationships: Marriage, Society: Nation, Society: Politics & Government, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Action / Adventure, History: European, Health / Medicine

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Siblings, Values/Ideas: MusicTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature

Echo (2015) by Pam Muñoz Ryan is a young-adult novel about the power of music to unite individuals across time, and even save lives: the wide-reaching novel follows an enchanted harmonica to 1933 in Germany, 1934 in Pennsylvania, and 1942 in California, before uniting the characters we meet along the way at Carnegie Hall in 1951. Covering the rise of Nazism in Germany, the tail end of the Great Depression in the United States, and... Read Echo Summary

Publication year 1991Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 1981Genre Poem, FictionThemes Identity: RaceTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2019Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Mothers, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Gratitude, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Realistic Fiction, Poverty, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2017Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Indigenous, Natural World: Flora/plants, Relationships: FriendshipTags Free verse, American Literature, Love / Sexuality, Science / Nature, LGBTQ

Publication year 1990Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Identity: Masculinity, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Action / Adventure, Historical Fiction, Immigration / Refugee, Race / Racism, American Literature

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Identity: FemininityTags Historical Fiction, WWII / World War II, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Identity: Masculinity, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, American Revolution

Publication year 1987Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Identity: Language, Identity: Race, Identity: GenderTags Sociology, Latin American Literature

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction

Published in 2017, Erika L. Sánchez’s first novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is a young adult coming-of-age story set in contemporary Chicago. The story is told from the perspective of 15-year-old Julia Reyes as she navigates her grief and struggles with mental health, her familial relationships, and cultural expectations when her older sister Olga unexpectedly dies. The book has won several awards, including the Thomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award in... Read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Summary

Publication year 1977Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Immigration / Refugee, Social Justice, American Literature

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Immigration / Refugee

Into the Beautiful North is an adventure story that parallels the plot of the Hollywood movie, The Magnificent Seven. Set in the village of Tres Camarones in Sinaloa, Mexico, the novel’s protagonist, nineteen-year-old Nayeli, notices that there are no men left in the village – they have all gone north for more opportunities and a better life. Fearing that the village will be taken over by bandidos, and with no real law enforcement or men... Read Into the Beautiful North Summary

Publication year 1995Genre Poem, FictionThemes Society: Immigration, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Win & Lose, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Poetry: Dramatic Poem, Immigration / Refugee

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction, Sports

Danny Lopez arrives in National City, a suburb just south of San Diego. The area’s proximity to the border makes it heavily Hispanic. Danny has come to spend the summer with his father’s family while his mother and sister are in San Francisco with his mother’s new boyfriend.From the start, it’s clear Danny does not fit in. He is from a beach community in northern San Diego County,where he plays baseball and attends Leucadia Prep... Read Mexican WhiteBoy Summary

Publication year 2023Genre Graphic Memoir , NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Language, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Society: Immigration

Publication year 2015Genre Poem, FictionThemes Natural World: Environment, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Prose poetry

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Immigration, Relationships: MothersTags Historical Fiction, Immigration / Refugee, Gender / Feminism, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, American Literature

Publication year 2010Genre Poem, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: AgingTags Grief / Death

Publication year 1985Genre Poem, FictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Natural World: FoodTags Lyric Poem, Narrative / Epic Poem, Relationships, Love / Sexuality, Food, Poverty, American Literature

Publication year 1991Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Relationships, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Love / Sexuality, History: European

Outlander, published by Random House in 1991, is the first in a highly successful romantic novel series written by Diana Gabaldon, a #1 New York Times bestselling author. The series was adapted into a historical drama television series in 2014.Plot SummaryTold from the perspective of 27-year-old Englishwoman Claire Beauchamp, Outlander begins in 1945 in Inverness, Scotland. Former WWII nurse Claire Beauchamp and her historian husband Frank Randall have returned to Scotland to reconnect after several... Read Outlander Summary

Publication year 1959Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FriendshipTags Historical Fiction, Classic Fiction

Pocho is a 1959 novel by José Antonio Villarreal. Often considered the first Chicano novel, it was a critical success and an important landmark in American literature. This guide refers to the 1989 Anchor Books edition.Plot SummaryPocho is a bildungsroman, telling the coming-of-age story of young Richard Rubio. However, the story starts before his birth with the tale of how his father, Juan Manuel Rubio, first came to America. A soldier who fought alongside Pancho... Read Pocho Summary

Publication year 1998Genre Novel, FictionTags Action / Adventure, Children's Literature

Riding Freedom, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan, was originally published in 1998 and won several awards, including the 2000 California Young Reader Medal. This fictionalized biography of the real Charlotte Parkhurst, better known as One-eyed Charley, tells the story of the first female to vote in the United States. She became a famous stagecoach driver and a property owner. How she accomplished these things before women were granted suffrage is detailed in this fast-paced narrative... Read Riding Freedom Summary

Publication year 1991Genre Poem, FictionTags Narrative / Epic Poem, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Class, Education, American Literature

Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Historical Fiction, Military / War

Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Fantasy

A loose adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey, Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s Summer of the Mariposas (2012) follows five Mexican American sisters on an epic journey from Texas to Mexico. Drawing deeply from Mexican folklore, the book’s genre blends magical realism and fantasy. The book was a 2013 Andre Norton Award Nominee, won the Westchester Fiction Award, and made the list of 2012 School Library Journal Best Books. Guadalupe Garcia McCall was born in Piedras Negras in Coahuila... Read Summer of the Mariposas Summary

Publication year 1995Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Equality, Society: NationTags Arts / Culture, American Literature, Social Justice

Publication year 1991Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: FriendshipTags Realistic Fiction, Sports, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 1959Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags History: World, Anthropology, Grief / Death, Military / War, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Latin American Literature

Publication year 2004Genre Book, NonfictionTags Sociology, History: U.S., Race / Racism, Immigration / Refugee, Creative Nonfiction

Luis Alberto Urrea’s book, The Devil’s Highway, tells the story of a disastrous border crossing between Mexico and The United States. The Devil’s Highway refers to a particularly brutal stretch of desert. In the past, it was not used as often as other routes, but as the story shows, the development and proliferation of the Border Patrol has made it necessary to use this dangerous route. The story is divided into four sections: “Cutting the... Read The Devil's Highway Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Trauma / Abuse / Violence

The Distance Between Us is a 2012 memoir by Reyna Grande, who is also the author of the novels Across a Hundred Mountains and Dancing With Butterflies. A finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award and required reading in schools and colleges across the country, The Distance Between Us is followed by A Dream Called Home, which continues the story of Grande’s life. In addition to writing, Grande also teaches and works as a... Read The Distance Between Us Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: GenderTags Realistic Fiction, Children's Literature

The First Rule of Punk is Celia C. Pérez’s 2017 debut YA novel. It was a 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book, a 2018 ALSC Notable Children’s Book, and a 2018 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award Winner. Pérez, as a long-time punk zine author and Mexican Cuban woman, drew from her adoration of “outsiders” and “weirdos” to craft her first novel. Pérez then penned her second YA novel, Strange Birds: A Field Guide... Read The First Rule of Punk Summary

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Identity: Indigenous, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Gothic Literature

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Realistic Fiction

The House of Broken Angels (2018) is work of contemporary literary fiction by Luis Alberto Urrea. The book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Urrea has received a number of awards for his novels and non-fiction, including a Lannan Literary Award, an Edgar Award, and a Pulitzer Prize for his book The Devil’s Highway. Plot SummaryThe House of Broken Angels takes place in San Diego over the course of two days... Read The House of Broken Angels Summary

Publication year 1984Genre Novella, FictionThemes Identity: FemininityTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Gender / Feminism, Immigration / Refugee, American Literature

Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street is an internationally acclaimed novel, first published in 1984. The story of Esperanza Cordero is told through stunning vignettes that chronicle the life of a young Latina woman growing up in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago. Heralded as an important voice in representing an underserved community, the novel won the American Book Award in 1985. It has since become an integral part of school curriculum across the country... Read The House on Mango Street Summary

Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Identity: Indigenous, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Fathers, Society: Colonialism, Society: Politics & Government, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Latin American Literature

Written by Luis Alberto Urrea in 2005, The Hummingbird’s Daughter is a fictional account of the life of Teresa Urrea, a woman whose mystical powers and religious fervor earned her the reputation of a living saint in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Luis Alberto Urrea is a distant cousin of Teresa and grew up hearing about her. He eventually researched her life through his family connections and the communities that she helped. The novel... Read The Hummingbird's Daughter Summary

Publication year 2015Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: CommunityTags Anthropology

The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail is a 2015 work of nonfiction and the winner of four awards, including the J.J. Staley Book Prize in 2018. Drawing on his expertise in anthropology, ethnography and archeology, author Jason De León, Executive Director of the Undocumented Migration Project and current Professor of Anthropology and Chicanx Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, critiques the federal border enforcement policy known as... Read The Land of Open Graves Summary