May 5-May 15 is Bronx Week, the celebration of the culture and heritage of what makes this borough of New York City truly great. It’s always great to celebrate my home borough but instead of highlighting the great institutions that come out of the Bronx, but also wanted to take the time uplift the Bronx writers that are gracing our bookshelves! I’m so proud to say that there are so many great Bronx natives taking up the mighty sword that is the pen and bringing and imagination and diversity to the literary pages.
So if you want to celebrate Bronx Week in style and want to start searching for books that are both by Bronx writers and set in the Bronx, give these rising stars a try!
Bronx Shapes by Alex Rivera
Take a walk through the Bronx and what do you see? CIRCLE wheels on a classic tricycle, a vast DIAMOND where the Yankees play baseball, colorful TRIANGLE flags above the bodega, and more! Bronxshapes, the second board book in a new series, teaches young readers about shapes through Bronx native Alex Rivera’s eye-catching photographs and creative design. The small square trim (7 x 7) and sturdy pages are a perfect format for toddlers, and the content inside promotes language acquisition and concept learning in both English and Spanish. Curl up with your little one for a bilingual story time that helps them reach important developmental milestones. (Credit: Kokila)
Also read this picture book by Alex Rivera, Bronxtones!
Boogie Boogie, Y’all by C.G. Esperanza
The city is alive with vibrant art in every corner of the parks, the shops, the trains. But most people are too busy to see it–or worse, choose to ignore it! When three children stop to marvel at the art around their community, they realize it’s up to them to show everyone else how truly special it is when art and reality dance together so seamlessly.
Boogie boogie, y’all.
The city boogied all day.
Busy, busy, busy,
Till one kid stopped to say,
Woah, woah, woah!
Look at the art on the wall! (Credit: Katherine Tegen Books)
Also watch the fun music video singing the song!
Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business.
Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late. (Credit: Scholastic)
Stella’s Stellar Hair by Yesenia Moises
It’s the day of the Big Star Little Gala, and Stella’s hair just isn’t acting right! What’s a girl to do?
Simple! Just hop on her hoverboard, visit each of her fabulous aunties across the solar system, and find the perfect hairdo along the way.
Stella’s Stellar Hair celebrates the joy of self-empowerment, shows off our solar system, and beautifully illustrates a variety of hairstyles from the African diaspora. Backmatter provides more information about each style and each planet. (Credit: Imprint)
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
In the months following his father’s suicide, sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto can’t seem to find happiness again, despite the support of his girlfriend, Genevieve, and his overworked mom. Grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist won’t let him forget the pain. But when Aaron meets Thomas, a new kid in the neighborhood, something starts to shift inside him. Aaron can’t deny his unexpected feelings for Thomas despite the tensions their friendship has created with Genevieve and his tight-knit crew. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound happiness, he considers taking drastic actions. The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-altering procedure will straighten him out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
Why does happiness have to be so hard? (Credit: Soho Teen)
Adam Silvera is the bestselling author of many books but this debut really put him on the map and I still consider to be one of the most heartbreaking and remarkable YA books I’ve ever read.
The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Things/People Margot Hates:
Mami, for destroying her social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises–the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood–keep her from her goal. (Credit: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
For over a year, the Bronx has been plagued by sudden disappearances that no one can explain. Sixteen-year-old Raquel does her best to ignore it. After all, the police only look for the white kids. But when her crush Charlize’s cousin goes missing, Raquel starts to pay attention–especially when her own mom comes down with a mysterious illness that seems linked to the disappearances.
Raquel and Charlize team up to investigate, but they soon discover that everything is tied to a terrifying urban legend called the Echo Game. The game is rumored to trap people in a sinister world underneath the city, and the rules are based on a particularly dark chapter in New York’s past. And if the friends want to save their home and everyone they love, they will have to play the game and destroy the evil at its heart–or die trying. (Credit: Sourcebooks Fire)
Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora edited by Saraciea J. Fennell
In Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed, bestselling and award-winning authors as well as up-and-coming voices interrogate the different myths and stereotypes about the Latinx diaspora. These fifteen original pieces delve into everything from ghost stories and superheroes, to memories in the kitchen and travels around the world, to addiction and grief, to identity and anti-Blackness, to finding love and speaking your truth. Full of both sorrow and joy, Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed is an essential celebration of this rich and diverse community. (Credit: Flatiron Books)
I’m a Wild Seed by Sharon Lee de la Cruz
In this delightfully compelling full-color graphic memoir, the author shares her process of undoing the effects of a patriarchal, colonial society on her self-image, her sexuality, and her concept of freedom. Reflecting on the ways in which oppression was the cause for her late bloom into queerness, we are invited to discover people and things in the author’s life that helped shape and inform her LGBTQ identity. And we come to an understanding of her holistic definition of queerness. (Credit:
Street Noise Books)
A Lot Like Adiós by Alexis Daria
Hi Mich. It’s Gabe.
After burning out in her corporate marketing career, Michelle Amato has built a thriving freelance business as a graphic designer. So what if her love life is nonexistent? She’s perfectly fine being the black sheep of her marriage-obsessed Puerto Rican-Italian family. Besides, the only guy who ever made her want happily-ever-after disappeared thirteen years ago.
It’s been a long time.
Gabriel Aguilar left the Bronx at eighteen to escape his parents’ demanding expectations, but it also meant saying goodbye to Michelle, his best friend and longtime crush. Now, he’s the successful co-owner of LA’s hottest celebrity gym, with an investor who insists on opening a New York City location. It’s the last place Gabe wants to go, but when Michelle is unexpectedly brought on board to spearhead the new marketing campaign, everything Gabe’s been running from catches up with him.
I’ve missed you.
Michelle is torn between holding Gabe at arm’s length or picking up right where they left off–in her bed. As they work on the campaign, old feelings resurface, and their reunion takes a sexy turn. Facing mounting pressure from their families–who think they’re dating–and growing uncertainty about their futures, can they resolve their past mistakes, or is it only a matter of time before Gabe says adiós again? (Credit: Avon Books)
Like A Sister by Kellye Garrett
When the body of disgraced reality TV star Desiree Pierce is found on a playground in the Bronx the morning after her 25th birthday party, the police and the media are quick to declare her death an overdose. It’s a tragedy, certainly, but not a crime.
But Desiree’s half-sister Lena Scott knows that can’t be the case. A graduate student at Columbia, Lena has spent the past decade forging her own path far from the spotlight, but some facts about Desiree just couldn’t have changed since their childhood. And Desiree would never travel above 125th Street. So why is no one listening to her?
Despite the bitter truth that the two haven’t spoken in two years, torn apart by Desiree’s partying and by their father, Mel, a wealthy and influential hip-hop mogul, Lena becomes determined to find justice for her sister, even if it means untangling her family’s darkest secrets–or ending up dead herself. (Credit: Mulholland Books)
The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada with Holly Lorincz
Angel Gomez has never lived by the book. A Bronx-based unwed mother by the time she was sixteen, Angel’s personal mission has always been to show the world that a Puerto Rican girl is not to be messed with–especially by a man. The only thing that matters to Angel, now, is providing for her son and earning enough tips at the club to complete her nursing degree along the way. Love is nowhere on her agenda.
Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is a star pitcher for the Bronx Bolts whose romantic escapades make delicious fodder for gossip columns. But lately he’s been trying to keep a lower profile–so much so that when he meets Angel, first while she’s in her nurse uniform and the next time behind the bar, she has no idea who Duke is, fails to fall for his obvious charm, and ends up throwing a drink in his face! She is the perfect woman for Duke…to fool the tabloids into thinking he’s finally settling down. But what begins as a charade soon has Duke and Angel hurtling into a full-blown romance that rocks each of their worlds and begs the question: Is this the real deal–or are some love stories just too good to be true? (Credit: St. Martin’s Griffin)
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Other Notable Bronx Authors
There are so many other authors that has come out of the Bronx but we would be here all day naming them! So if you are looking for a list to jump start your search, you can start with the following!
- Stan Lee
- Mary Higgins Clark
- Gabby Rivera
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Raven Leilani
- Coe Booth
- Don Delillo
- E L Doctorow
- Raven Leilani
- Sonia Manzano
- Claudia Rankine
- Desus & Mero
- Sunny Hostin
- Sonia Sotomayor