Hispanic Heritage Month Author Recommendations
The English, Rhetoric & Writing Department at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith has released a reading list featuring faculty and staff author recommendations inspired by Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month.In line with the university's commitment to amplify diverse voices, each installment of the UAFS Book Series will feature faculty picks that educate, inform and celebrate diversity.
Dr. Carlson, Associate Professor of English:
Miguel de Cervantes
- Cervantes invented the novel--the dominant literary form of the modern world--as Don Quixote, a story that brought the medieval into the modern world in spite of itself and, in so doing, laid the foundation for novels of high fantasy and realism alike: before Tolkien, there was Cervantes; before Dickens, Dostoyevsky, and Hugo, there was Cervantes. Try the recent translation by Edith Grossman.
Dr. Hardin, Professor of English:
Pablo Antonio Cuadra
- Most famous Nicaraugan poet. Founded the Vanguardia literary movement in Nicarauga. Champion of the poor.
- Great Argentine film director and experimental novelist. Lived most of his life in exile in Mexico.
Jorge Luis Borges
- One of the leaders of literary surrealism. Critic, novelist, poet, philosopher.
Dr. Lee, Professor of English:
- Bless Me, Ultima is such an interesting book containing magic realism but also feminist undertones. It has also been banned in various schools nationwide, so definitely worthy of reading and analysis.
- So Far from God also contains magic realism and is much more overt in its political and feminist messages. It has also been banned in some school districts.
- Like Water for Chocolate is a little racy for younger audiences, but the recipes and magic-realist aspects make it stand out from the other books.
Dr. Strauch, Associate Professor of English:
- Anzaldua's work blurs the lines of poetry, philosophy, and rhetoric. Her work confronts issues central to colonialism, race, gender, and identity.
Jorge Luis Borges
- Absurd and logical, Borges' writing, while magical, challenges and foregrounds a number of contemporary philosophical problems related to reality, truth, and experience.
- Friere's writing is central to the work critical pedagogy and education. His writing is influential to understanding education as tool for liberation and freedom.
Dr. Winterberg, Assistant Professor of English:
- In Next Year in Havana Cleeton explores the connection between what it means to be an American of Cuban ancestry and a Cuban National while paralleling the reader with forbidden love and love of family. I laughed; I cried; I yelled out loud at the characters, and I learned about Cuban culture. Beautifully written story.
Dr. Witherington, Associate Professor of English:
- Like Water for Chocolate is a classic. The narrative structure is really different and it combines two of my favorite things: food and romance. The film is great, too! It's a light, fun read, but there's a lot to digest (pun intended) there, too.
Luis Alberto Urrea
- After we read Into the Beautiful North a couple of years ago, I wanted to read more by Luis Alberto Urrea. By the Lake of Sleeping Children provides more detail about those living on the US-Mexican border in the dompes. It's absolutely tragic.
Sister Juana Indez de la Cruz
- Repuesta to the Bishop is often anthologized, and for good reason. De la Cruz's tone is savage, razor sharp. It's a joy to read the take-down tone from the seventeenth century. I'm mentally saying "you go, girl" all the way through.
Dr. Sobhani, Associate Professor, World Languages Department Head:
- Los Cuentos de mi Tia Panchita is a selection of Costa Rican short stories and fairy tales with all the flavors and colloquialisms of Costa Rica.
Luis Alberto Urrea
- The Hummingbird’s Daughter, based on the true-historical figure of Mexican folk saint Teresita Urrea, is no dry hagiography. Full of humor, miracles and grit, this novel is just epic--and as delectable as a summer peach.
- A transnational novel, Caramelo looks at the life of three generations of the Reyes family through the eyes of child-narrator Lala Reyes. Offering insight into Mexican-American culture, the narrative is full of beautiful imagery, Mexican proverbs, and the bittersweet discovery of hidden truths.
Dr. Nolasco-Schultheiss, Assistant Professor of World Languages:
- Bendíceme Ultima
- La Edad de Oro
- Poesía Completa
- Postcolonial Love Poem
Alora Bauer, Student Success Librarian:
- Elizabeth Acevedo is an Afro-Dominican American poet and author. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, The Poet X, won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She was honored with the 2019 Pure Belpré Author Award for celebrating, affirming, and portraying Latinx culture and experience.
- Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a Mexican Canadian author who brings Latinx characters into the diverse range of genres she writes. Her latest novel, Mexican Gothic, is set in glamorous 1950s Mexico and offers a dark feminist take on classic Gothic horror.
- Born and raised in Mexico, Rafael López is an internationally recognized illustrator and artist. His illustrations use vivid colors and shapes to bring diverse people and places to life in children's books. He has won Pura Belpré medals for Dancing Hands, Drum Dream Girl, and Book Fiesta.
Melissa Freiley, Discovery and Access Librarian:
Carmen Maria Machado
- Current Latina author of award-winning short stories and memoir of emotional abuse in a lesbian relationship.
- Peruvian-American children's book author and illustrator who won a Caldecott Honor in 2019 for Alma and How She Got Her Name.
- Current Mexican-American award-winning children's book author and illustrator whose unique and amazing artwork is inspired by Pre-Columbian art.