Six books by Latino authors to help you bounce back from the post-holiday blues

Two women diving into books
(Roxsy Lin / For De Los )

Let’s face it — the post-holiday slump is as real as that extra slice of panettone you couldn’t resist. Whether you’re back to the daily grind or still finding tinsel in random corners of your house, we all need a little escape, transitioning from celebration mode to reality mode. If you’re feeling a bit off-kilter, worried about holiday overspending, or just missing the festive vibes, you’re not alone.

What better way to unwind than by giving yourself a little post-holiday self-care? That’s why we’re bringing you this list of great book suggestions so you can begin the year focused on your well-being.

Break The Cycle

Start with “Break the Cycle: A Guide To Healing Intergenerational Trauma” by Dominican author and psychologist Dr. Mariel Buqué. This book hits on a crucial issue that’s close to home for many of us in the Latino community — intergenerational trauma. The book exposes how the struggles of previous generations can trickle down, shaping our present experiences. With profound cultural awareness, the author connects the dots of many elements specific to the Latino experience. It’s like having a roadmap to understanding ourselves and breaking the cycle of pain and guilt.

In the book, Buqué shares how her mother refused to throw away old clothes, broken appliances and other household items no longer in use. “Nestled in them was her fear of letting objects go and being left with nothing. This comes from a scarcity mindset, driven by true scarcity in her childhood, which became embedded as a fear of not being able to survive… My family’s fear had been transferred onto me, and in some strange way, I have felt a deep loyalty to them when I carefully preserved things,” Buqué writes. “In doing so, I felt I was honoring them. It took a long time to realize that my loyalty came at a psychological cost.”

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Por amor a mi

In the same vein, the book “Por Amor an mí: Elígete a diario y mejora tu salud mental” by Mexican psychologist Alma Lozano, sheds light on how to reset your mindset. “Just as you can think of the worst possible scenario, you can also think of the best possible scenario. Métele luz al caos, and you’ll realize that things can also go wonderfully well.”

This book offers several journal prompts for well-being practices, such as identifying and honoring personal needs, navigating family expectations through boundaries, promoting self-compassion and challenging mistaken notions of love.

The author created a guide that encourages readers to rewrite their narratives and embrace resilience.

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These reads are your companions on a journey toward better mental health this year, and while you’re doing that, you can also relieve some stress by losing yourself in the pages of these captivating fiction books.

The Silence in Her Eyes

The Silence in Her Eyes,” a new novel by Cuban journalist and author Armando Lucas Correa, is a psychological thriller that narrates the story of Leah, a young woman with motion blindness, a rare neurological disorder that makes her see the world frozen in still images. Despite her limitations, her sharp senses of smell and hearing have created a rich, detailed inner world.

Living a methodic and isolated life in her Upper Manhattan apartment, Leah sees her routine disrupted when she awakens one night with the unsettling scent of an intruder. As she transitions between being awake and her nightmares, the presence of the intruder challenges Leah’s notion of reality while she tries to keep her sanity. “This isn’t happening, I tell myself. I’m asleep. I’m completely alone.”

The narrative takes an intense turn when Leah, urged by her new neighbor Alice’s desperate plea for help, must confront the tangible and intangible threats surrounding them.

It’s a captivating and suspenseful escape read that will keep you wondering about what’s real and what’s just in Leah’s mind.

Flores and Miss Paula

Another great option is “Flores and Miss Paula” a novel by Peruvian author Melissa Rivero. This emotionally charged novel delves into the complexity of mother-daughter relationships, exploring the intricacies of Latino parental expectations and the challenges faced by the only child of immigrant parents. The alternating perspectives of Flores and Miss Paula provide rich insights into their individual struggles, desires and the shared history that binds them.

“…when you have one child, there is the danger of putting everything into that only. All of your sadness and fears. Everything you hoped to be one day, and all the things you hoped to end — to not pass on — just to give that child the opportunity to be free of generations of burdens. Maybe this happens with every child… but with an only, it feels like you have just that one chance to get it right.” Rivero writes.

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The story unfolds after the death of Flores’ father, which leads her to the discovery of a heartfelt note written by her mother, Miss Paula. The note reveals a plea for forgiveness, leaving Flores perplexed and determined to uncover the truth behind her mother’s remorse.

The novel exposes an authentic portrayal of the Latino immigrant experience. As Flores balances her aspirations with the expectations of her mother, and Miss Paula faces the evolving power dynamics that emerge as parents age, readers are invited to contemplate the intricate threads of familial bonds while reflecting on their own experiences.

26 Cuentos Para Crecer

Now that we’ve taken a cozy stroll through some soul-soothing reads, let’s check some options for parents who want to share the wonders of well-being with their chiquitines through mindful stories. The Picture Book “26 Cuentos Para Crecer” by Patricia Suárez, illustrated by El Gato De Hojalata, is a compendium of short tales led by curious, wise characters. It explores topics like self-esteem, empathy, assertiveness, emotional intelligence and self-trust, inviting young readers to dive into a learning pool with furry friends as their guides.

El Señor Pancho tenía un Rancho

For a bilingual burst of laughter, we’ve got “El Señor Pancho tenía un Rancho,” the Spanish version of the book “Señor Pancho Had a Rancho.” Imagine “Old MacDonald Had a Farm’’ getting a fiesta makeover. Meet Old MacDonald and his buddy El Señor Pancho, ready to bring the barnyard to life with animal sounds in English and Spanish. It’s a toe-tapping, finger-snapping adventure with hilarious illustrations that’ll have your little ones singing along.

In the aftermath of the holidays, let books be your refuge. Whether you need a mental health pick-me-up, some self-care wisdom or a fictional escape, these titles have got you covered. So, let the pages transport you to a world where the post-holiday blues are nothing more than a distant memory. Happy reading!

Roxsy Lin is a bilingual journalist and illustrator originally from Venezuela. Her work focuses on the pulse of the modern rhythms of Latinidad, arts and culture. @roxsy_lin