THE BLOG
10/14/2014 09:36 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Stories of Work: Sí, se puede

Each year, from September 15 to October 15, we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrate the Latino culture and the contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and honor the contribution that Hispanic workers have made to our country's economic vitality since its inception, we've added 14 books about Hispanics and work -- suggested via public submissions by ordinary people -- to our ongoing list of Books that Shaped Work in America.

"Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican American Middle Class" by Jody Agius Vallejo

This book provides an important contribution to our understanding of how America's largest ethnic group, Latinos, advance into the middle class.

"From Coveralls to Zoot Suits" by Elizabeth R. Escobedo

From Coveralls to Zoot Suits provides a first-of-its-kind look into the lives of Mexican American women who worked in the U.S. defense industry during World War II.

"Gathering the Sun" by Alma Flor Ada

This children's book contains 28 short poems in English and in Spanish in honor of the living memory of Cesar Chavez.

"Presente!" by Cristina Tzintzún, Carlos Pérez de Alejo and Arnulfo Manríquez

Presente! offers a unique perspective on the immigrant-rights movement as told by immigrant workers themselves.

"Last Night at the Lobster" by Stewart O'Nan

This book tells the story of the awkward final day of work at a fictional Red Lobster restaurant before it is shut down by corporate headquarters.

"Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation" by Ray Suarez

This book gives its readers a vivid and concise account of the story of Latinos, who have helped shape U.S. history for more than 500 years.

"Harvesting Hope: The Story of César Chávez" by Kathleen Krull

This picture book tells the story of legendary labor and civil rights activist César Chávez.

"My Beloved World" by Sonia Sotomayor

In this autobiography, Sonia Sotomayor chronicles her life from a challenging childhood in a public housing project in the Bronx to being appointed the first Hispanic and third female Supreme Court justice in U.S. history.

"Poor Workers' Unions: Rebuilding Labor from Below" by Vanessa Tait

Published in 2005 this book is a comprehensive survey of the last four decades and tells the story of grassroots experiments in social justice unionism which began in the 1960s.

"The Power of Latino Leadership" by Juana Borda

This book provides thorough review of the leadership styles of influential Latinos including former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. The book also shows readers how unique Latino cultures and values add a new dimension to the understanding of leadership.

"Working" by Studs Terkel

Published in 1974, this book gives insight to Americans' lives and livelihoods and their feelings about work, both positive and negative. One of the most moving accounts of work is from Roberto Acuna, a farmworker who tells a story about the deplorable working conditions faced in farm work.

"Traqueros: Mexican Railroad Workers in the United States" by Richard J. Jensen and John C. Hammerback

This book tells the story of the tens of thousands of Mexican Traqueros or railroad workers who laid the tracks of the U.S. railroad system.

"The Words of César Chávez" by Jeffrey Marcos Garcilazo

Published in 1962, The Words of César Chávez is a compendium of the speeches given by farm worker, labor leader and founder of the United Farm Workers of America, César Chávez.

"Working in the Shadows" by Gabriel Thompson

This book chronicles the Gabriel Thomson's experiences of working for one year undercover in a variety of low-wage jobs. Thompson exposes an often unseen and largely ignored side of the American economy, one of immigrants working in dangerous conditions and physically taxing work.

Interested in adding to the list? Suggest a book here.

Carl Fillichio heads the Labor Department's Office of Public Affairs.