Not sure what to buy your loved ones for the holidays? The Latinidad List below features my picks for the year's best Latino books; all would make superb gifts. As you head out to do your shopping, be sure to include La Casa Azul Bookstore on your itinerary, either the brick and mortar store at 143 East 103rd Street in New York City or online at:
To nominate a book for next year's list, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that I'm seeking nominations only for books to be published in 2013.
The Latinidad List
Literary Fiction – Cervantes Street by Jaime Manrique (pictured)
Fans of the classics in general and Cervantes in particular will devour this lovingly crafted tribute filled with passion and adventure.
Memoir – Darkroom: A Memoir in Black & White by Lila Quintero Weaver
Vivid rendering of the civil rights movement conveyed with the innocence and openness of a wise child.
Poetry – When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz
An unexpected male muse extracts visceral yet clear-eyed poems from a perceptive poet who saw too much at a tender age.
Debut Nonfiction– Free Stylin': How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry by Elena Romero
Mix journalism, history, and pop culture then add a hefty dose of scholarly swagger to create this eminently readable book that defies categorization.
Suspense – Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias
If Margaret Atwood were Latina, this eerily believable depiction of where U.S. immigration policy is heading is the novel she would have written instead of The Handmaid's Tale.
Cookbook – Flavor Exposed: 100 Global Recipes from Sweet to Salty, Earthy to Spicy by Angelo Sosa
Foodies who want to kick up their repertoire a notch will appreciate the sophisticated yet simple-to-prepare recipes and Sosa's elemental approach to interpreting and combining tastes.
Women's Fiction – The Second Time We Met by Leila Cobo
This engrossing page-turner with a smooth, quick pace, instantly relatable characters, and a spot on ending belongs on every nightstand.
Young Adult – The Downside of Being Charlie by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Perfectly conveys the voice of a teen boy who captures your heart and who you will miss the second you put down the book.
Middle Grade - Latin Americans Thought of It: Amazing Innovations by Eva Salinas
Kids and their parents are sure to be impressed by this enthusiastic, illustrated celebration of Latino ingenuity.
Children's Picture Book – My Dad is the Best Playground by Luciana Navarro Powell
A refreshingly Dad-centric story that is deservedly destined to be read and reread.
Marcela Landres is the author of the e-book How Editors Think. She is an Editorial Consultant who specializes in helping Latinos get published and was formerly an editor at Simon & Schuster. Author's website Email the author