After reading Mayra Lazara Dole's article "Authentic Latino Voices" in the Hunger Mountain Journal.
I felt inspired to write something about the lack of middle grade and young adult Latino authors. I found 14 MG/YA books by Latino authors published this year in the United States. Since I originally posted this I have been informed of two more Latino authors published in 2010. Thanks Edi
1 The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork
2.The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle
3.The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan
4.Mr. Mendonza's Paintbursh by Luis Alberto Urrea
5 Secret Saturdays by Torrey Maldonado
6 The F Factor by Diane Gonzales Bertrand
7.The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez
8.Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes
9.90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis
10 Efrain's Secret by Sofia Quintero
11 How Tia Lola Learned to Teach by Julia Alvarez
12 I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena
13 The Good Long Way by Rene Saldana Jr
14.When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer
Please take a moment to really think about that,
14 Latino authors
I am willing concede that I may have missed ( I did) or been unaware of a few authors . Even if the number was tripled, that would only make 42, still far from respectable.
16 authors is no where near 42, but hopefully this list will contiunue to grow.
I know this is a silly question, that will only make me angry if I think about it too long. Yet, I still can't help but wonder how this can happen?
In her article Laraza Dole stresses the need for more distinct and diverse stories told by Latino authors.
"Our common Spanish language is a tool that helps Latino kids and teens unite, but they also need to feel proud of their diversity and unique customs. When the media, journal reviewers and publishers list books as “Latino” or “Hispanic,” instead of, let’s say, Cuban-American or Nicaraguan-American, it leads children and teens to believe our culture and celebrations are identical. Once, when an Anglo teen found out I was born in Cuba, she asked me if my family celebrated Cinco de Mayo and El Dia de los Muertos, celebrations that aren’t Cuban."
Quinceanera novels are nice but I can only read so many. I think we are at a point where more diverse stories should be welcomed and encouraged. Though until that acutally happens race based awards like the Pura Belpre will continue to necessary.
Banned Book Week. September 25 - Oct 2 is a very big deal. Much online space is dedicated to it. This year, at the Huffington post there was an article about 15 movies based off of banned books. There was also an article about it at LA Times. . There's so much more. When I see all this it makes me wonder, what if people truly got behind the cause to get more authentic voices in children's literature. What if online media and bloggers spent a week reviewing, talking about and listing books by Latino authors and other underrepresented groups.
Disallowing, a people the ability to tell their own story is a form a censorship. Just because this problem isn't as sexy, popular or easily discussed doesn't mean it should be ignored.
I like my voice well enough but for this I wanted to give a few Latino authors the opportunity to be heard. So I reached out to a few authors, and some were kind enough to answer 3 questions or give a statement. Initially, I had planned to post all the answers as one.
Now I know each response should stand alone, giving everyone the chance to really take them in. I won't reveal which author participated until I post their responses. I will post the first one Wednesday at 9:00am. The next Thursday at 9:00 am, and so on. This should run for about a week. I hope you enjoy and spread the word.