To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we’ve teamed up with avid readers both within Powell’s and in the Portland Latinx community to create a list of great books by Mexican and Mexican American authors. Before you head out to party this Saturday, check out the community recommendations below. From classic coming-of-age novels to memoirs to edgy and experimental new fiction, the following books explore Mexican and Mexican American identity in diverse, imaginative, and often challenging ways.
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Picks from the Portland Guadalajara Sister Association
The Portland Guadalajara Sister Association
is a “non-profit organization dedicated to creating and strengthening partnerships and fostering goodwill between the City of Portland, Oregon and the City of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.” The sister city program was developed to “foster intercultural exchange…and stimulate economic development” between participating cities, and the PGSCA does so through fun and impressive initiatives and cultural events like the Portland-Guadalajara Sister City Beer Collaboration and the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta
on the Tom McCall Waterfront. PGSCA President Ivette Flores Schmidt and Board Member Rosana McNew were kind enough to share a few of their favorite books with us.
: These books are so popular that another participant, Michael Cavazos, picked them too! We've included Michael's recommendations here.
Picks from the Tierra Educational Center
Portland's Tierra Educational Center
offers Spanish language classes for adults and children. Tierra also hosts very welcoming special events throughout the year celebrating traditional Mexican and Latin American holidays like Cinco de Mayo and Día de los Muertos, with traditional food, music, and decorations. Tierra Center Director Norberto T. Medina shared two of the Center's favorite books with us. For information on Tierra’s literary immersion courses based on these books, visit here
Picks from Cynthia Gómez, Executive Director of the Cultural Resource Centers at PSU
In addition to her work at the Cultural Resource Centers at PSU, Cynthia Gómez is also an active member of PDX Latinx Pride and a student in the MFA program for creative nonfiction at PSU.
by Myriam Gurba
Picks from Michael Cavazos of PDX Latinx Pride
Michael Cavazos is the author of the play Gritos y Chismesitos
and coauthor of Chic and Sassy
and Chic and Sassy: The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God
. He’s an actor and stage manager in Portland, and an active member of PDX Latinx Pride
, whose mission is to "bring our community together to share and celebrate our diverse and evolving latina, latino, and Latinx cultures, experiences, and identities by creating safe events for our queer and LGBTQIA+ family."
Finally, here are the Mexican novelists that Powell’s booksellers can’t stop raving about. Jeremy Garber, our resident books in translation expert (and veteran committee member of the Best Translated Book Award), helped with our selection.