As a person, I think of Puerto Rico as more than just a place where I can go on vacation or read about bad things in the news. It has always been a place where I have felt like a part of a big group of people. Many of my cousins, aunts, and uncles live there. I hope you enjoy these great books that are either written by a Puerto Rican author or are about the beautiful island itself. ¡Wepa!
by Esmeralda Santiago
CONQUISTADORA is a beautiful and epic book that moves from Spain to Puerto Rico in the 1800s. It tells the story of a young woman and her husband who inherit a sugar plantation on the island. So how can she make money while her family used slaves cruelly? Moving and poetic, this story has vivid language and a cast of characters that will stay with you for years.
We Fed an Island
by Jose Andres
He talks about his work in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in this book, which is a celebration of hope and the best that people can be. An account of how he and others served more than 100,000 meals a day while also seeing how some of the biggest charities and NGOs on the island wasted food. This is a heartfelt reminder to always help those in need.
by José Trías Monge
Anyone who wants to understand the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico should read this book. It starts with Spain’s rule of the island and goes all the way to modern times. José Tras Monge talks about Puerto Rico’s complicated status as a commonwealth and the many debates about its future in simple terms, making it easy to learn about everything.
My Beloved World
by Sonia Sotomayor
When Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, it was a story that will never be forgotten. It was also a story that was truly inspiring. Sotomayor tells how, with a lot of hard work, she became valedictorian in high school and went on to Princeton University, Yale Law School, and the Supreme Court. This is a great example of how hard work and perseverance can pay off.
The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico
by Sarah McCoy
This moving and relatable coming-of-age story is about Verdita, a young girl in rural Puerto Rico in 1961. She is about to turn 13. During this time in the island’s history, it’s hard to stay true to your roots while also pursuing your own dreams and goals. This is the backdrop for the complicated rites of womanhood. An evocative and moving book.
by Lin-Manuel Miranda
The creator of Hamilton and one of the most well-known Puerto Rican celebrities of today has put together a beautiful book of daily affirmations with some of his best poetry and prose. GMORNING, GNIGHT! is a wonderful gift for longtime and new fans. It reminds us of our own great abilities.
The Battle For Paradise
by Naomi Klein
From the best-selling author and journalist, this eye-opening and in-depth book looks at how colonialism and disaster capitalism have hurt the economy and people of Puerto Rico. With easy-to-read writing and interesting research, THE BATTLE FOR PARADISE is a stirring call to action that will stay with you for a long time.
by David Maraniss
When Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash while on his way to help Nicaragua after an earthquake, he was one of Puerto Rico’s most beloved and well-known people. He comes to life in a vivid way in this long biography. You’ll enjoy this book whether you’re a fan of sports or not. It tells the story of a truly inspirational person who did great things.
by Eduardo Lalo
Because of weird and creepy messages, it soon becomes clear that he has a fanatical stalker in San Juan. With thrilling twists and turns, this suspenseful book takes you on a breath-taking journey that explores the thin line between admiration and lust.
Puerto Rico Strong
by Vita Ayala
This beautiful anthology looks at what it means to be Puerto Rican in the world today, from the point of view of some of the best Puerto Rican comics artists. With beautiful art and heartfelt words, this book shows how Puerto Ricans are so different, and all the money from sales goes to help the island recover from Hurricane Maria.
Down These Mean Streets
By Piri Thomas
In the field of Nuyorican Literature (a sub-genre of Diasporic Literature), Thomas’s memoir is a key text. It is also important in the Latinx canon. In the 1960s, a new kind of urban literature was born. This book is also in that genre. If you want to read about the gritty, raw life of the inner city in a way that isn’t always pretty, this isn’t the book for you. This is the first Latinx version of the book. When there were very few Latinx writers at the time, this had a huge impact on how they learned to write. His work, as well as that of other authors in that genre, still has an impact on some Latinx authors in terms of style and theme. Mean Streets is written in the traditional Augustinian style of an autobiography. It tells the story of Piri’s fall into crime and drugs and her transformation and redemption. More important, this memoir talks about Latinx black identity and how it’s complicated in the American black-white paradigm.
Family Installments: Memories of Growing Up Hispanic
By Edward Rivera
Junot Diaz is one of the many Latinx writers who have been influenced by Rivera’s only major work, “Family Installments.” In 1982, it was one of the first novels to show how diasporic people lived during the Great Migration in the 1950s. His name is Santos Malánguez. Rivera’s main character tells the story of his family’s journey from Puerto Rico to New York in great detail, often with humor and sharp observations. During my time as a young writer, I could relate to Santos because he found solace in reading and books, even though his life was filled with hardship and struggle. It’s not like any other book shows the lives of people who have been forced to leave their home country. It shows everything from harsh rural life on the island to tenement living and abusive parochial school education to credit scams and exploitative working conditions.