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Books to Read for Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month

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September 15-October 15 is Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month. We’re inviting you to join us in reading stories by Latinx and Hispanic authors–and if you don’t know where to start, here are a few of our recommendations!

 

When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez 

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An unforgettable debut young adult novel-in-verse that redefines what it means to “make it,” touching on themes of mental illness, sexual assault, food insecurity and gentrification, for readers of Nicholasa Mohr and Elizabeth Acevedo.

Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth grader who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has been denied.

When We Make It is a love letter to anyone who was taught to believe that they would not make it. To those who feel their emotions before they can name them. To those who still may not have all the language but they have their story. Velasquez’ debut novel is sure to leave an indelible mark on all who read it. Coming 9/21!

 

Living Beyond Borders edited by Margarita Longoria

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Twenty stand-alone short stories, essays, poems, and more from celebrated and award-winning authors make up this YA anthology that explores the Mexican American experience.

With works by Francisco X. Stork, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, David Bowles, Rubén Degollado, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Diana López, Xavier Garza, Trinidad Gonzales, Alex Temblador, Aida Salazar, Guadalupe Ruiz-Flores, Sylvia Sánchez Garza, Dominic Carrillo, Angela Cervantes, Carolyn Dee Flores, René Saldaña Jr., Justine Narro, Daniel García Ordáz, and Anna Meriano.

In this mixed-media collection of short stories, personal essays, poetry, and comics, this celebrated group of authors share the borders they have crossed, the struggles they have pushed through, and the two cultures they continue to navigate as Mexican Americans. Living Beyond Borders is at once an eye-opening, heart-wrenching, and hopeful love letter from the Mexican American community to today’s young readers.

A powerful exploration of what it means to be Mexican American.

 

We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez

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A poignant novel of desperation, escape, and survival across the U.S.-Mexico border, inspired by current events.

Pulga has his dreams.
Chico has his grief.
Pequeña has her pride.

And these three teens have one another. But none of them have illusions about the town they’ve grown up in and the dangers that surround them. Even with the love of family, threats lurk around every corner. And when those threats become all too real, the trio knows they have no choice but to run: from their country, from their families, from their beloved home.

Crossing from Guatemala through Mexico, they follow the route of La Bestia, the perilous train system that might deliver them to a better life–if they are lucky enough to survive the journey. With nothing but the bags on their backs and desperation drumming through their hearts, Pulga, Chico, and Pequeña know there is no turning back, despite the unknown that awaits them. And the darkness that seems to follow wherever they go.

In this striking portrait of lives torn apart, the plight of migrants at the U.S. southern border is brought to light through poignant, vivid storytelling. An epic journey of danger, resilience, heartache, and hope.

 

Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher

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Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi

Perfectly Parvin

Fourteen-year-old Iranian-American Parvin Mohammadi sets out to win the ultimate date to homecoming in this heartfelt and outright hilarious debut.

Parvin Mohammadi has just been dumped–only days after receiving official girlfriend status. Not only is she heartbroken, she’s humiliated. Enter high school heartthrob Matty Fumero, who just might be the smoking-hot cure to all her boy problems. If Parvin can get Matty to ask her to Homecoming, she’s positive it will prove to herself and her ex that she’s girlfriend material after all. There’s just one problem: Matty is definitely too cool for bassoon-playing, frizzy-haired, Cheeto-eating Parvin. Since being herself hasn’t worked for her in the past (see aforementioned dumping), she decides to start acting like the women in her favorite rom-coms. Those women aren’t loud, they certainly don’t cackle when they laugh, and they smile much more than they talk.

But Parvin discovers that being a rom-com dream girl is much harder than it looks. Also hard? The parent-mandated Farsi lessons. A confusing friendship with a boy who’s definitely not supposed to like her. And hardest of all, the ramifications of the Muslim ban on her family in Iran. Suddenly, being herself has never been more important.

Olivia Abtahi’s debut is as hilarious as it is heartfelt–a delightful tale where, amid the turmoil of high school friendships and crushes, being yourself is always the perfect way to be.

 

This Is How We Fly by Anna Meriano

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A loose retelling of Cinderella, about a high-school graduate who–after getting grounded for the whole summer–joins a local Quidditch league and finds her footing, perfect for fans of Dumplin’Fangirl, and everyone who’s read and adored Harry Potter.

17-year-old vegan feminist Ellen Lopez-Rourke has one muggy Houston summer left before college. She plans to spend every last moment with her two best friends before they go off to the opposite ends of Texas for school. But when Ellen is grounded for the entire summer by her (sometimes) evil stepmother, all her plans are thrown out the window.

Determined to do something with her time, Ellen (with the help of BFF Melissa) convinces her parents to let her join the local muggle Quidditch team. An all-gender, full-contact game, Quidditch isn’t quite what Ellen expects. There’s no flying, no magic, just a bunch of scrappy players holding PVC pipe between their legs and throwing dodgeballs. Suddenly Ellen is thrown into the very different world of sports: her life is all practices, training, and running with a group of Harry Potter fans.

Even as Melissa pulls away to pursue new relationships and their other BFF Xiumiao seems more interested in moving on from high school (and from Ellen), Ellen is steadily finding a place among her teammates. Maybe Quidditch is where she belongs.

But with her home life and friend troubles quickly spinning out of control–Ellen must fight for the future that she wants, now she’s playing for keeps.

Filled with heart and humor, Anna Meriano’s YA debut is perfect for fans of Dumplin’ and Hot Dog Girl.

 

Concrete Kids by Amyra León

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In Concrete Kids, playwright, musician, and educator Amyra León uses free verse to challenge us to dream beyond our circumstances — and sometimes even despite them.

Pocket Change Collective is a series of small books with big ideas from today’s leading activists and artists.

Concrete Kids is an exploration of love and loss, melody and bloodshed. Musician, playwright, and educator Amyra León takes us on a poetic journey through her childhood in Harlem, as she navigates the intricacies of foster care, mourning, self-love, and resilience. In her signature free-verse style, she invites us all to dream with abandon–and to recognize the privilege it is to dream at all.

 

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

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The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

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Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

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Beyond the Break by Heather Buchta

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Imaginary Borders by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

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And add to your list for later…

Food-Related Stories by Gaby Melian – Coming January 4, 2022!

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In this moving, personal account, chef and activist Gaby Melian shares her journey with food and how creating a relationship with food — however simple or complicated — is a form of activism in its own right.

Pocket Change Collective was born out of a need for space. Space to think. Space to connect. Space to be yourself. And this is your invitation to join us. This is a series of small books with big ideas from today’s leading activists and artists.

“Food rescued me so many other times — not only because I sold food to survive. I cook to entertain; I cook to be liked; I cook to be loved.” In this installment, chef and activist Gaby Melian shares her personal journey with food — from growing up in Argentina to her time as a Jersey City street vendor and later, as Bon Appetit‘s test kitchen manager. Powerful and full of heart, here, Melian explores how we can develop a relationship with food that’s healthy, sustainable, and thoughtful.

 

Flirting with Fate by J.C. Cervantes – Coming April 19, 2022!

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Jane the Virgin meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in New York Times bestselling author J. C. Cervantes’s charming, romantic YA debut.

Ava Granados will never forgive herself for being late to her beloved Nana’s deathbed. For generations, blessings have been passed to the women in her family upon death, but due to a freaky flash flood that left Ava in a fender bender with a mysterious boy, she arrived seconds too late to for Nana’s blessing—instead, all she gets is the wash of regret on her sisters’ faces.

Until Nana pops up with a challenge from beyond the grave. As it turns out, Nana did give Ava a blessing, but it missed, landing with the boy from the night of the storm. If Ava can’t straighten out the mistake, Nana will linger as a ghost forever, which she’s not exactly excited about. To help her on her quest, Ava will have her two older sisters and Nana’s rather bumbling spiritual guide, Medardus, who is, of all things, the patron saint of teeth.

For solitary Ava, being asked to befriend some random boy is the last thing she wants to do. She’s gotten along just fine being wary and protecting her heart; keeping people at a distance is a great way to ensure no one ever hurts you. But as Ava and the gang embark on their mission to retrieve Nana’s blessing, she starts to wonder if what she might gain by getting close to thunderstorm boy is worth the risk.

 Looking for more amazing reads? Here’s a list of completed YA series you can binge now!

 

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