The House on Mango Street

These Books Made Me

Mar 10 2022 • 1 hr 5 mins

We're spending time with Esperanza Cordero, her family, friends, and neighbors from 1984's groundbreaking novel, The House on Mango Street. This paragon of the Chicano/a literary canon challenges us to define it - is it a novel, a novella, an epic poem - and has itself been the subject of frequent challenges for its unflinching look at the lives and loves of its characters. We discuss scary nuns, high heels, uncles who just want to dance (or uncles who don't want Hawa to dance), and the hardships and joys of womanhood as we explore this classic work by Sandra Cisneros. We also chat with Professor Randy Ontiveros about the importance of the book to Chicano/a literature.

These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at

We mentioned a lot of topics in this episode. Here’s a brief list of some informative articles about some of them if you want to do your own further research:

The Chicano Literary Movement:

Intersectional Feminism: