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Want more Latino authors? Time to hit the bookstores

I want books.  Good books by and about Latinos.  Since Latinos comprise a large and growing part of the U.S. population, with increasingly significant purchasing power, I naturally assumed that these figures would have translated into a flood of new Latino to Latino products, like books.  But, as highlighted by a recent New York Times article, “For Young Latinos, An Image is Missing,” there aren’t so many published Latino authors out there.  While there are various Latino authors who have had bestselling works, for example, Sandra Cisneros, Esmeralda Santiago, Junot Diaz, Julia Alvarez, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, and Gary Soto, this list should be much longer, with names I haven’t heard of yet

There are many theories as to why Latino authors aren’t getting published as much as they should: the economy, there aren’t enough “good” Latino authors, Latino authors lack connections, publishing houses are prejudiced, Latino authors’ books don’t sell.

At the same time, Latino authors and lovers of books are actively working to help Latino authors get their name out there and break into the publishing world.  For example, a national network of Latina women, Las Comadres para las Americas, has established a book club that features books written by a Latino authors, an annual Comadres y Compadres Writers Workshop and they are now venturing into producing their own books; in 2012, they released Count on Me: Tales of Sisterhoods and Fierce Friendships and have just released a Spanish version of the book.  Other examples of networks for Latino authors include Latinidad and the Latino Authors and Writers Society.  Several bloggers have even started a public campaign, “Latinas for Latino Literature ” to increase Latino representation in the publishing industry.

Finally, some major publishing houses are starting to get the hint and have started to recognize and promote Latino authors.  Harper Collins and Simon and Schuster both have divisions that focus on Latinos.  Other firms, like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, are allocating a significant percentage of their content to works with Latino characters.

While these efforts are progress, we still have a way to go before we can enter a bookstore and find an endless selection of works by Latino authors.  But luckily we can do something.  Perhaps the most effective way for Latinos to get more books by and about Latinos is to send a message with our wallets.   Fellow book lovers, it’s time to start showing the publishing houses that that the demand for Latino authors’ works is here.


By Being Latino Contributor, Alexandra Aquino-Fike. Alex is Senior Manager for Corporate Relations at Hispanics in Philanthropy in New York, where she seeks to increase the participation of the corporate sector in the advancement of the Latino communities.  She was born in El Salvador but immigrated to the U.S. at the age of four and grew up in a mash-up of Salvadoran, Irish American and Berkeley cultures.  

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Camila Garces says:

    Nice article. I read a really good book by a Haitian-US author about the Dominican Republic and Haiti in 1937 which I would heartily recommend (The Farming of Bones – Edwige Danticat).

  2. Sylvia Rosales-Fike says:

    Thanks for this blog. It’s great to learn about the efforts to promote Latino writers. And yes, let’s go shopping for Latino/a authors!

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