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The 2020 Boricua Holiday Reading List

Rosa Cruz

The 2020 holiday season is like no other we have ever experienced.  This year has been a challenging one for most of us. Natural disasters, the financial fallout from the pandemic and social justice and political struggles have reshaped society. We are having to assess and reorient our relationship to our communities, government, and each other; while witnessing the formation of a new normal.

Social distancing has forced us to make changes to our daily routines but has also moved many of us to reinvent ourselves, learn a new skill, take up a new hobby, and possibly gain a new appreciation for many of the things that we had overlooked as a result of our hectic lives.

As we prepare for a social distanced holiday, consider that no matter what is going on in the world, a good book can be a welcomed escape. The 2020 Boricua Holiday Reading recommendations can go on your Wishlist or serve as gift ideas.  Travel, parrandas and other holiday traditions may have to be postponed until next year, but you can always celebrate by curling up in your favorite chair with a cup of coquito and lose yourself in a book.

Pioneros: Puerto Ricans in New York City 1896-1948

Editors: Felix V. Matos-Rodriguez and Pedro Juan Hernández

Through hundreds of images of the "pioneers"-those Puerto Rican migrants who established themselves in New York City between the 1890s and the end of World War II-they capture a glimpse of their daily lives and of their individual and collective stories.


Pioneros II: Puerto Ricans in New York City 1948-1998

Editors: Virginia Sánchez Korroll and Pedro Juan Hernández

Following World War II, Puerto Ricans moved to New York in record numbers and joined a community of compatriots who had emigrated decades before or were born in diaspora.


The AmeRícan Poet: Essays on the Work of Tato Laviera

Edited by Stephanie Alvarez and William Luis

The essays discuss diverse aspects of Laviera’s life and substantial body of work that includes five published collections of poetry, twelve written and staged plays, and many years of political, social, literary and healthcare activism.


Liberalism and Identity Politics: Puerto Rican Community Organizations and Collective Action in New York City

José E. Cruz

This book is a recollection and analysis of the role of ethnic identity in Puerto Rican community institutional development and collective action in New York City between 1960-1990.


Not the Time to Stay: The Unpublished Plays of Víctor Fragoso Víctor Fragoso

Edited, Translated and with an Introduction by Consuelo Martínez-Reyes

Not the Time to Stay brings to light for the first time the marvelous work of Puerto Rican playwright Víctor Fragoso. Eight plays, edited and translated by Consuelo Martínez-Reyes, portray the socio-cultural issues Fragoso sought to expose: the choice and difficulties of migration, the clash between American and Puerto Rican societies, the oppression suffered by Latinos in the USA, homelessness, and domestic violence, among others.


Soy Gilberto Gerena Valentín: memorias de un puertorriqueño en Nueva York 

Gilberto Gerena Valentín; Edición de Carlos Rodríguez Fraticelli

Gilberto Gerena Valentín es uno de los personajes claves en el desarrollo de la comunidad puertorriqueña en Nueva York.


Rhythm & Power: Performing Salsa in Puerto Rican and Latino Communities

Edited by Derrick León Washington, Priscilla Renta and Sydney Hutchinson

The story of New York salsa is one of cultural fusion, artistry, and skilled marketing.


Patria: Puerto Rican Revolutionary Exiles in Late Nineteenth Century New York

Edgardo Meléndez

Patria examines the activities and ideals of Puerto Rican revolutionaries’ exiles in New York City at the end of the nineteenth century.


Gilberto Gerena Valentín: My Life as a Community Activist, Labor Organizer, and Progressive Politician in NYC

Edited by Carlos Rodríguez Fraticelli; Translated by Andrew Hurley; With an Introduction by José E. Cruz

Gilberto Gerena Valentín was a union organizer, community leader, political activist and general in the war for the civil-rights recognition of his community.


The Stories I Read to the Children: The Life and Writing of Pura Belpré, the Legendary Storyteller, Children’s Author, and New York Public Librarian Pura Belpré

Edited by Lisa Sánchez González

Lisa Sánchez González has collected, edited, and annotated over 40 of Belpré’s stories and essays, most of which have never been published.


Race, Front and Center: Perspectives on Race Among Puerto Ricans

Edited by Carlos Vargas-Ramos

Race, Front and Center is a collection of essays that captures the breadth of research on the subject of race among Puerto Ricans.


Before the Wave: Puerto Ricans in Philadelphia, 1910–1945 Víctor Vázquez-Hernández

This book recounts the genesis of the Puerto Rican community in Philadelphia during the interwar years (1917–1945).


The Bodega: A Cornerstone of Puerto Rican Barrios (The Justo Martí Collection)

Carlos Sanabria

This photo book is a compilation of photographs of bodegas in 1960s New York City shot by Cuban photographer Justo Martí.


Borderline Citizens: The United States, Puerto Rico, and the Politics of Colonial Migration, by Robert C. McGreevey 
Reviewed by Daniel Acosta Elkan


Navigating Teacher Education in Complex and Uncertain Times: Connecting Communities of Practice in a Borderless World, by Carmen I. Mercado
Reviewed by Abdín Noboa-Ríos


Tourism and Language in Vieques: Ethnography of the Post-Navy Period, by Luis Galanes Valldejuli
Reviewed by 
Yolanda Rivera Castillo


Ricanness: Enduring Time in Anticolonial Performance, by Sandra Ruiz
Reviewed by 
Marisol LeBrón


Borderline Citizens: The United States, Puerto Rico, and the Politics of Colonial Migration
Robert C. McGreevey 


Practice in a Borderless World
Carmen I. Mercado


Tourism and Language in Vieques: Ethnography of the Post-Navy Period, by Luis Galanes Valldejuli
Reviewed by Yolanda Rivera Castillo


Ricanness: Enduring Time in Anticolonial Performance, by Sandra Ruiz
Reviewed by Marisol LeBrón


Radical Imagination, Radical Humanity: Puerto Rican Political Activism in New York
Rose Muzio
 (Saulo Colón)


Nor from Here, Not from There / No soy de aquí ni da allá: The Autobiography of Nelson A. Díaz
by Nelson A. Díaz (Ariel Arnau)


Escenas transcaribeñas: ensayos sobre teatro, performance y cultura 
by Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes
 (Wilfredo José Burgos Matos)


Being Bilingual in Borinquen: Student Voices from the University of Puerto Rico
Edited by Alicia Pousada
 (Elizabeth Taveras Rivera)


Writing Puerto Rico. Our Decolonial Moment
Guillermo Rebollo Gil - Manuel S. Almeida


Concrete and Countryside: The Urban and the Rural in the 1950s Puerto Rican Culture
Carmelo Esterrich - Ivis García


The Constitutional Evolution of Puerto Rico and Other US Territories, 1898-Present
by Gustavo Gelpí - Luis Galanes Valldejuli