Editor’s post-publication note: this list has books that are worth reading and rereading. Just pure good old-fashioned powerful writing.
1) Raul Ramos y Sanchez. Remember that name because you’ll be hearing it time and time again. America Libre is about a frightening future in which Latinos are divided among themselves and among others; and the result is a war with a twist. His next novel, House Divided, is scheduled to be published in 2011, and I for one, can’t wait to read it.
2) If there is any justice in the world of children’s literature, Mara Price will win awards for this debut. Grandma’s Chocolate / El Chocolate De Abuelita (English and Spanish Edition) should be in bookshelves of any child whose grandparent lives in another country.
3) The Red Umbrella, Christina Diaz Gonzalez revisits Castro’s revolution. Based on the experiences of her parents, this Young Adult novel provides a perspective on Cuba unlike any other work written for this population. Schoolteachers wanting to educate students on the revolution and the Peter Pan program should take note of this book.
4) In Vida, Patricia Engel confirms that the art of storytelling is alive and well. This collection of short stories by this young Colombian American reminds me of the work of a writer whose name I won’t mention but who recently won a Pulitzer Prize. The combination of a soulful writing style and vivid characters makes this collection a true winner.
5) In My Kill Adore Him (Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize), Paul Martinez Poma reminds us that poetry and powerful language are intertwined. This collection is a testament to his ability to make us think, make us laugh, and make us ponder the tragic.
6) Aaron Michael Morales tells it like is. Plain and simple, he’ll go to the darkest depths to shine the light on what is below the core. Drowning Tucson is not for the sensitive reader looking for romanticism. This book is for those who prefer to explore not hide from reality.
7) Sandra C. Lopez has made quite a name for herself as an author of Young Adult Literature. I was so impressed by this book that I went ahead and read her first, novel, Esperanza: A Latina story. By Sandra C. López., and it didn’t take much for me to realize that the praise for her is not hyperbole.
8) The author who brought us the critically acclaimed short story collection, Brownsville: Stories, is back, and this time, he’s written a novel that is impossible to classify. In Amigoland, Oscar Casares incorporates so many unique characters, it’s almost impossible to forget them.
9) Salvador Plascencia, author of The People of Paper, debuted with a huge splash. It’s great to see writers experiment with their creativity, and in this work, Plascencia takes that creativity to a new, exciting, and innovative level.
10) Ruth Irupe Sanabria is a poet, but in this collection, you can hear her sing. The poetry is nothing short of musical. As she describes Argentina’s past, she touches upon periods of history full of political instability and human emotion.