A Latino book list for the classroom

| September 8, 2011

I recently went on a mission to find the author of “Reaching Out,” a short book about the true account of one first generation immigrant’s experience as a student at the University of California, Santa Clara during the 1960’s.  Prompted by the many similarities between his undergraduate experience and my own, I felt the need to write to him and thank him for putting together a work that was free of the sometimes overly-romanticized or stereotypical literature about Latinos I read as a high school student. To my relief, finding him was not difficult. (Thank you, Google). He is currently a professor at the University of California, Santa Clara.

The book, which you can find at the TC library on the second floor (Call Number: PZ7.J57525 Rea 2008), first caught my eye because of its cover–a faded picture of the author.  The photograph reminded me of the old photographs and residency cards my parents had taken upon coming to the United States. In my own opinion, the book honestly recounts many of the experiences of identity and family-school balance that many Latinos face.

In thinking about this book, I began to remember some of the other books about Latino lives that I read throughout my schooling.  The books I read, which are listed below, are on my list to re-read and analyze with a teacher’s eye rather than that of a student’s.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Y no se lo trago la tierra/…and the earth did not devour him by Tomas Rivera

Parrot in the oven: Mi vida by Victor Martinez

Macho by Victor Villasenor

Pocho by Jose Antonio Villarreal

Books I have yet to read, but want to…

Down these Mean Streets by Piri Thomas

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez