21 Essential Audiobooks to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Heritage Hispanic Month is meant to celebrate the many aspects of Hispanic culture that make it unique. This is a perfect time to enjoy literature by Hispanic authors that covers a broad range of topics. There is no singular Hispanic experience, and the books on this list include fiction, nonfiction, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and worthwhile translations.

Though Latinx and Hispanic are used interchangeably, and a person can be both, they are not exactly the same. For the purpose of this list, we will spotlight audiobooks from authors from Hispanic and Latin American countries. 

Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez

An Argentine journalist who also excels when she sets her sights on novels, Mariana Enriquez offers a listen like no other at the perfect time: the moody, dark days of fall.

After his mother’s death, Gaspar goes with his father to see his mother’s family. They just happen to be called The Order and seek immortality through truly immoral acts. The Order wants to pull Gaspar into their group since he is family, but his father fights to flee and takes Gaspar with him. Whether you want a story of family, a ghost story, or Argentinian military history, Enriquez delivers it all in this powerful novel about what we will do for those we love.

Length: 27 hours and 17 minutes

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Finding Latinx: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity by Paolo Ramos

Another journalist uses her expertise to introduce listeners to the many faces of the Latin community in her audiobook, Finding Latinx. Ramos narrates her non-fiction study that had her interviewing and researching Latinx communities all across the country, seeking to undo the flat, one-dimensional depiction of the Latinx community often shown in the news.

Interweaving her own story and drawing on her extensive research, Ramos creates a story of a community defining themselves, coming together, and leading movements to better the world around us.

Length: 7 hours and 34 minutes

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Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Two girls separated by distance mourn the death of their father when his plane crashes on the way to the Dominican Republic. With this loss comes the reality that neither of them knew their father like they thought they did, and this tale of family, grief, and acceptance is a quick listen. Acevedo uses her lyrical style to offer a novel-in-verse that translates beautifully to audio since these words are meant to be heard, not just seen.

Length: 5 hours and 32 minutes

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Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

Antonia has just retired from her job as an English professor when her husband dies. She’s then faced with the disappearance of her sister and the arrival of a stranger asking for her help. Pulled from the world of books that has always guided her steps, she has to figure out how to interact in a world with so much need and so many separated people. 

Tight, lovely, and narrated perfectly by Alma Cuervo, Afterlife is a perfect listen for a rainy afternoon.

Length: 6 hours and 26 minutes

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Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado 

The word that comes to mind when I recall listening to Machado’s collection of short stories is surreal. The lines between genres are blurred and what the listener is left with are images painted beautifully by a master of words.

Machado’s characters undergo weight loss surgery, a plague, and ghosts all in the science fiction world where nothing will be what you expected. Prepare for a wild ride when you put your earphones in and click play on this one.

Length: 8 hours and 42 minutes

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My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education by Jennine Capo Crucet

I was introduced to Jennine Capo Crucet through her novel Make Your Home Among Strangers, and I was thrilled to find out she was releasing essays she narrated so I could hear her voice describe her experiences. 

Born in the United States with parents from Cuba, Capo Crucet explores how a country obsessed with the white experience treats anyone it deems different. Scathing, honest, and enlightening, Capo Crucet offers listeners the opportunity to glimpse the alienation that can come from being Latinx in your own country, and she also shows how the Latinx community can thrive regardless.

Length: 4 hours and 27 minutes

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Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

I listened to this book when it first came out and was shattered by the beautiful writing and story of a family on a cross-country trip. They set out from New York at the same time children were being sent to the United States from South American countries to seek refuge. As the family nears their destination in Arizona, family tensions rupture and the immigration crisis weaves into this story of displacement, belonging, and loss.

Length: 11 hours and 16 minutes

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How to Not Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz

Losing her job in her 50s is not what Cara Romero planned. The job counselor trying to help her get back to work at this stage of life ends up hearing about Cara’s life as she recounts the steps that led to where she is now. Her relationships, losses, and regrets will help listeners understand  Cara, and they will also remind them of the hope that exists as we make our way through this world.

Length: 6 hours and 16 minutes

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Solito by Javier Zamora 

You’ve likely already heard of Zamor’s memoir since it was on a ton of lists and nominated for a plethora of awards. While not easy to hear, Zamora’s story of crossing the border to join his parents in the United States is necessary. At the age of nine, there was no way for him to know what he would face and that the people he traveled with would help protect him from the elements he encountered.

Beautiful, haunting, and ultimately hopeful, Solito will stay with you long after you finish it.

Length: 17 hours and 8 minutes

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Border Hacker: A Tale of Treachery, Trafficking, and Two Friends on the Run by Levi Vonk

Want a true story that feels stranger than any work of fiction ever could? Listen to Vonk’s tale of meeting Axel Kirschner, a man trying to get back to the only country he knows after being deported. Vonk is an anthropologist and a journalist, and he listens to Kirschner’s story of being a hacker and doing everything he can to get back to the New York he grew up in and remembers.

However, what is already an incredible story becomes an epic adventure as these two learn more about each other and try to survive the violence involved in making it across the border. Relevant and hard to stop listening to once you start, Border Hacker is a fast-paced nonfiction account of a journey you won’t forget.

Length: 10 hours and 30 minutes

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Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Like noir and a bit of mystery set in the 1970s? Silvia Moreno-Garcia has you covered. When Leonora goes missing, Maite, her neighbor, tries to find her. So does Elvis, but he is on assignment and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty to get the job done. They encounter spies, violence, and political corruption on the journey, making this a fast-paced listen set in a dark corner of Mexico. 

Length: 9 hours and 52 minutes

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What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster

Gee and Noelle are thrown together when their North Carolina community finds a way to draw Black students to predominantly white high schools, setting off a debate about integration, family, and what it means to give your kids the best tools to live in this world.

Lacey, Noelle’s mother, refuses to even acknowledge that her white-passing daughters are Latina, and Noelle’s sudden connection with Gee causes two families to come to terms with decisions that will leave them intertwined for decades to come.

Haunting and on many of the best book lists in the country, this is a listen that will leave audiences talking for a while.

Length: 12 hours and 15 minutes

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Everyone Knows You Go Home by Natalia Sylvester

This is a perfect listen as we approach the Day of the Dead. Isabel is greeted by her dead father-in-law, Omar, on her wedding day and every Day of the Dead, but she’s the only one who can see or communicate with him. Omar wants forgiveness from the wife and son he left behind, but it’s not that easy. As Omar shares his story with Isabel, listeners get a vision of how the past led here, as well as questions about what it really means to belong.

Length: 10 hours and 37 minutes

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Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America by Maria Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa narrates her memoir about being a Mexican American growing up in the United States. She uses her journalism skills to investigate how we talk about immigration and how the language has created the system we have today that looks down on other populations and treats many Latinx communities as if they are inferior. Honest, difficult, and well-written, Hinojosa challenges all of us to find a better path forward.

Length: 12 hours and 12 minutes

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Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis

Five women find each other in Uruguay in the 1970s as the government starts cruelly dealing with anyone they see as a dissenter. Being gay is a crime, and these women find an isolated cape to live on together as the country continues to change. They live this way for decades, but they still visit their old homes, and each time they do they realize what it can cost to live a life where you love who you love and live freely.

You will ride a wave of emotions as you listen to this incredible story. Revolutionary, it’s a relevant tale for any era.

Length: 13 hours and 37 minutes

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Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

This novel was made to be listened to, and the narrators use their voices to create an experience that will transport you. 

As Hurricane Maria prepares to slam Puerto Rico, siblings Olga and Piedro live their lives in New York with distinguished jobs. However, they were abandoned by their mother when they were young, and family secrets start to creep up on them. Eventually, so does their long-lost mother, back after so many years.

Gonzalez tells a story of family, loss, and the illusion of the American Dream in this smart story you will listen to for hours.

Length: 11 hours and 22 minutes

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Trust by Hernan Diaz

This Pulitzer Prize-winning book takes place over a century, focusing on Benjamin and Helen Rask, a well-known couple in the 1920s. Who are they, and how did they acquire their fortune?

As one woman tries to find the truth, Diaz explores all the ways power can corrupt. Who can be trusted, and are the relationships or the lives we’ve built ever really what they seem?

This audiobook remains popular, award-winning, and relevant, and it should be on everyone’s to-listen list.

Length: 10 hours and 21 minutes

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The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

How to choose what to read by Isabel Allende? Start from the beginning and keep going. Her first novel spans generations and introduces readers to the Trueba family. A volatile father and a spirited mother raise their family together, and we follow them through political upheaval, personal losses, and the trappings of family. Throw in magic, and you will find this is a listen that has resonated with audiences for decades.

Length: 18 hours and 51 minutes

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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

A family is divided, with some in the United States while others are in Columbia, and Engel tells the story of how they got separated and what that means for them daily. This novel is about a family, a country, and the decisions we do or don’t make that can have devastating consequences.

Engel shares the view of all five main characters, and she helps readers experience the tension that comes from trying to live in two worlds. This is a quick listen, tight and meaningful and award-winning.

Length: 4 hours and 58 minutes

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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

When Julia loses her older sister, Olga, in a terrible accident, her mom puts all of her expectations on Julia’s shoulders. Julia, still grieving, sets out to find out more about who her sister was and if she was really the perfect daughter Julia is now expected to be. 

A story for anyone who is tired of living up to someone else’s expectations, Sanchez creates a wonderful story for teens and adults.

Length: 9 hours and 41 minutes

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The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

Any debates about immigration, legal or otherwise, in the last decade turned the issue into a political point that erases the people who are actually affected. Villavicencio, who also narrates the audiobook, seeks to change that. She travels across the country to meet undocumented Americans and find out what life is like when you are trying to survive on the fringes of society. 

Villavicencio was on DACA, so this is a personal journey as well. Alarming, human, and infuriating, this is a must-listen for everyone.

Length: 4 hours and 53 minutes

Listen on Audible

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