Delve deep into Hispanic Heritage with these great recommended reads

Article published on september 9, 2023

Hispanic Heritage Month brings with it a celebration of a vital culture and important stories. Here are three books for your nightstand that offer some unique and different perspectives on American life as experienced by Hispanic people.

Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States - Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto sweeps aside the premise that America’s history began with the first English settlers in Jamestown, Virginia, and instead traces America’s beginnings through its Hispanic past. Starting with the colonizing conquistadors of Spain, the author traces how missionaries and rancheros brought Spain’s expansive drive to the United States, settling California, mapping the American interior to the Rockies, and charting the Pacific coast. He explores the Mexican-American War the Hispanic resurgence that followed and Latinx immigration to the United States. The book is a deep dive into the history of one of America’s rapidly growing populations.

The Undocumented Americans - Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation. Karla Cornejo Villavicencio was on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) when she decided to write about being undocumented for the first time using her own name. She embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants, and to find the hidden key to her own.

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation - Duncan Tonatiuh

Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.