I've been awhile for minute and it that time the winner of the NerdsHeartYA, a tournament for underrepresented YA was announced. Congratulations to Renee Watson, who won for What Momma Left Me, one of my favorite reads of 2010. It was up against another 2010 Favorite of mine, Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. Each year the tournament accomplishes its goal of bringing some much needed and well deserved attention to all nominated titles. NerdsHeartYA is in its third year, and I've yet to be disappointed or underwhelmed by a winning title.
We are right in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month which started on Sept. 15 and runs until Oct 15. There are a lot of great blogs including Latin Baby Book Club and Bookjoy Ever year there seem to be more mainstream Spanish/English picture books which is a very good thing. I only wish that same increase could be seen with early readers, middle grade and young adult novels. As it is now there simply aren't enough books by Latino authors or featuring Latino characters to sustain a blog that isn't centered around picture books.
Last year I did a feature called More Latino Authors Please/necesitamos mas autores Latinos only 15 middle grade and young adult Latino authors were published last year. Initially it was 16 but Guadalupe Garcia McCall's debut, Under the Mesquite with pushed back to this Sept. (loved it) Only 15 authors is beyond ridiculous and lets not forget that's combining middle grade and young adult. There are 15 White young adult authors published any given Tuesday.
When I did that feature I was a bit worked up, seeing the hard facts of a marginalized group having less then 20 authors published in a year its difficult not to feel the injustice of it. But I kept my emotions in check.
Authors Alex Sanchez, Jennifer Cervantes, Christina Gonzalez, Caridad Ferrer and Francisco X. Stork were all kind enough to answers a few question about the issue. I learned something from all of their answers, if you missed it the first time around, the link to all of the authors answer can be found here
This year there were 13 novels published by Latino authors. I could've missed a few but even if one did a margin error of 5 that's still less then 20 titles. I am absolutely loving the fact that two of my favorite debuts are by Latina authors, What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez and Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall.
For whatever reason the gatekeepers are doing their best to keep Latino authors out. So it pleases me to no end to see Hope Perez and Garcia McCall bring it hard. Like what? You can't deny my goodness.
The first chapter of What Can't Wait, my interview with the author
An excerpt from Under the Mesquite, the author's interview @ Bookjoy