This Women's History Month, why not make a goal to diversify your reading, and include a few books by Latinx authors? With everything going on in the United States right now, from the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall to the deportation and general abysmal treatment of immigrants, we need to amplify those voices now more than we ever have before. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by adding more books from Latinx authors to our must-read lists; the only way to ensure that we continue to see diverse voices hitting the shelves is by reading and championing more of them.
We are always thrilled when see more YA and MG books by Latinx authors, especially when those books are about a seriously wide range of topics. Some of the books below are Own Voices, and speak specifically to the Latinx experience, but others are entirely different, including heart-pounding thrillers and contemporary satire. It doesn't need to be said, but Latinxs can and will tell stories that are as varied and unique as we are, and seeing the publishing industry allow those voices to shine through without boxing them into telling any one particular kind of is definitely inspiring. Add some Latinx awesomeness to your reading this year with the nine books below.
1. 'The Education of Margot Sanchez' by Lilliam Rivera
After stealing her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded for the summer, forced to work 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.
2. 'Because Of The Sun' by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Dani Falls learned to tolerate her existence in suburban Florida with her brash and seemingly unloving mother by embracing the philosophy 'Why care? It will only hurt.' So when her mother is killed in a sudden and violent manner, Dani goes numb. Dani’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she is sent to New Mexico to live with an aunt she never knew she had. The awkwardness between them is palpable. To escape, Dani takes long walks in the merciless heat. One day, she meets Paulo, who understands how much Dani is hurting. Although she is hesitant at first, a mutual trust and affection develop between Dani and Paulo, and Dani begins to heal. And as she and her aunt begin to connect, Dani learns about her mother’s past. Forgiving isn’t easy, but maybe it’s the only way to move forward.
3. 'A Good Idea' by Cristina Moracho
Fin and Betty’s close friendship survived Fin’s ninth-grade move from Maine to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates. Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones — and herself — at risk. But Williston is a town full of secrets, where a delicate framework holds everything together, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda. How much is she willing to damage to get her revenge and learn the truth about Betty’s disappearance, which is more complicated than she ever imagined — and infinitely more devastating?
4. 'America: Issue 1' by Gabby Rivera
Meet Gabby Rivera's Miss America, America Chavez. The queer Latinx teenage superheroine has all of the cool powers you can imagine (superhuman strength and durability, the power of flight, and the ability to to literally kick open doors between realities with her foot) with the kick ass diversity we need in our comics now more than ever.
5. 'Proof of Lies (Anastasia Phoenix #1)' by Diana Rodriguez Wallach (March 7, 2017)
Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, moving from city to city with her scientist parents. And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead. She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail ― and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true. Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility. She will find her sister.
6. 'Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics' by Margarita Engle (March 14, 2017)
Musician, botanist, baseball player, pilot — the Latinxs featured in this collection come from many different countries and from many different backgrounds, but all have made massive contributions to the culture. Celebrate their accomplishments and their contributions to a collective history and a community that continues to evolve and thrive today. Biographical poems include: César Chávez, Julia de Burgos, Pura Belpré, Roberto Clemente, Tito Puente, and more, with gorgeous illustrations by Rafael Lopez.
7. 'I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter' by Erika L. Sánchez (Oct. 17, 2017)
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend, Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?
8. 'No Good Deed' by Goldy Moldavsky (May 30, 2017)
He's not asking for much... all Gregor Maravilla wants to do is feed all of the starving children on the planet. So when he’s selected to join Camp Save the World, a special summer program for teenage activists from all over the country to champion their cause, Gregor is sure he’s on the path to becoming Someone Great. But then a prize is announced. It will be awarded at the end of summer to the activist who shows the most promise in their campaign. Gregor’s sure he has the prize in the bag, especially compared to some of the other campers’ campaigns. Like Eat Dirt, a preposterous campaign started by Ashley Woodstone, a famous young actor who most likely doesn’t even deserve to be at the camp. Everywhere Gregor goes, Ashley seems to show up ready to ruin things. Plus, the prize has an unforeseen side effect: turning a quiet summer into cutthroat warfare where campers stop focusing on their own campaigns and start sabotaging everyone else’s.
9. 'The First Rule Of Punk' by Celia C. Perez (Aug. 22, 2017)
The First Rule of Punk follows 12-year-old Malú, who is surrounded by different generations of women. They give her a framework for exploring her identity as Mexican-American, a zine creator, a musician, and a young woman. It’s sometimes hard for her to reconcile her many selves, and she often feels like she’s disappointing someone. But she learns to let the first rule of punk (“be yourself”) guide her. This graphic novel was made with a team made up of entirely Latina creatives, from the author and illustrator to the agents and editor.