‘My Papi Has A Motorcycle’ Pays Loving Tribute To A California Childhood

This write up and interview for NPR by Leila Fadel and Samantha Balaban. Check out the site for audio!

 

My Papi Has a Motorcycle, by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña, pays tribute to the rapidly-changing city of Corona, Calif., where Quintero grew up.

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In My Papi Has A Motorcyle, a little girl named Daisy Ramona waits for her dad to come home from work so they can ride around their city, Corona, Calif., on the back of his motorcycle. They pass a tortilla shop, a raspado shop, her grandparent’s house, and her dad’s construction site.

Zeke Peña, left, and Isabel Quintero

Zeke Peña/Charles Lenida

 

The book is illustrated by Zeke Peña and written by Isabel Quintero. It’s a love letter to the city, and her father.

“When I was a kid my dad would get home from work, and he put me on the back of his motorcycle and he would drive me around the neighborhood I grew up in in Corona,” Quintero remembers, “and you know, it was the ’80s, so there were no helmets — in the book, obviously, there’s helmets, but it was a different time. And you know, I really was holding onto that memory and it was so special to me, that relationship between myself and my dad.”

My Papi Has a Motorcycle, by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña

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This summer we’ve been asking authors and illustrators how they work together to bring stories to life. They often don’t — but illustrator Zeke Peña says he and Quintero chatted back and forth constantly. “She even was cool enough to go drive in her car around the neighborhood that she grew up in so I could physically see the space and see the turns of the corners, see the trees, the way the homes are built — kind of those things. This shows through in the story, right? Like there’s really specific things that are from Isabel’s memory, you know? I sneak some things from my own memory in there a little bit as a kid, but there’s this specificity. That’s what for me makes the story so strong, is that Isabel has this personal experience, and we’re we’re trying to tap into that and illustrate that, and kind of create that spark for for other readers young and old.”

“When I was a kid in Corona there was a tortilleria — in the book it’s Tortilleria Estrella, in real life it was Tortilleria Don Leon — and that was torn down,” Quintero says. “I think those things are are pretty specific to where I was at. But I think other people can connect to living in a community where you walk to places like a tortilleria or to Joy’s Market. Zeke did such an amazing job with that market, that so many people have told me, like, I know that market. That market’s in my neighborhood, you know, with the piñatas outside, and the little gumball machines, and the carnicería inside the store. So it is very specific, but it’s also a story that especially Latinx kids in other parts of the country can enjoy or relate to.”

“For me in the book, it’s like that first page — Daisy Ramona’s working on the motorcycle, and she’s working with this toolbox, and that was my dad, like that’s kind of really what I got from my dad, was you know, learning how to work with my hands, learning how to work hard and stuff,” Peña says. “But I think that with Isabel and I, it’s nice because a lot of our backgrounds as people who identify as Latinx or Chicanx or Chicanos, there’s this really narrow definition of what that is. But the nice thing with my collaboration with Isabel is that we span like a spectrum of that, right? And it doesn’t necessarily look just one way. I hope that the youth reading our book walk away with a validation of their own story, and where their own family comes from and their heritage. And their right to it, their right to express that as they wish.”

Isabel Quintero says she teared up at this image of Daisy Ramona’s visit to her dad’s work site.

Kokila

 

“Going off the toolbox,” Quintero adds, “my dad also works with his hands. And so that scene, that spread, where Daisy Ramona gets to the worksite with her dad is probably one of my favorite scenes in the book, because Zeke was able to capture so much emotion of what it’s like for a kid like myself, like when I was a kid, going to work with my dad, and that happiness and that joy of getting to see where my dad worked. You know, hearing the sound of the the music, the music in Spanish in the background, and the men yelling at each other and cracking jokes. So when I opened to that spread I cried, because you don’t see a lot of celebration of working class people in children’s books, especially not working class brown men. And I know there will be a lot of children who will be able to say, oh, that’s my dad.”

We couldn’t ignore that we’re talking about Isabel Quintero’s love letter to her city and her people; Zeke Peña is from El Paso — and earlier this month his city suffered an enormous loss, a mass shooting that targeted the Latinx community and took the lives of 20 people.

“It breaks my heart, it breaks my heart to see these people suffering. To see my people suffering. Our community,” he says. “You know, who am I to be commenting on it. I do have friends and family that were affected directly. My love goes out to those people. And also my action goes out to those people, right? That’s something that we’re all going to have to live with for the rest of our lives. And we’re going to hopefully do something to change it.”

This piece was produced for radio by Samantha Balaban and Barrie Hardymon, and adapted for the Web by Petra Mayer.

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Angie Cruz to present at University of South Florida

If you’re going to be in the Tampa Bay Area in early October, this looks like a great event to attend. Dominicana is on my list of must-reads.

Here’s what the book is about…

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Angie Cruz’s Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.

New Book: In Dust & Dusk by Esteban Rodriguez

“In Dust & Dusk by Esteban Rodríguez, the ordinary and the astounding enrich and enlarge each other. These poems shimmer with surprising phrasing and dazzling figurative language. We encounter ‘pews of dirt’ and the month of June becomes a ‘fugitive outrunning spring’s custody.’ There’s emotional range, too. Sorrow and wonder, and all their synonyms, darken and illuminate the poems. Rodríguez is a gifted poet who has written an impressive and memorable book.” —Eduardo Corral, author of Slow Lightning

Esteban Rodríguez is the author of Dusk & Dust (Hub City Press) and the micro-chapbook Soledad (Ghost City Press, 2019). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Arts & Letters, The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Puerto del Sol, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. His reviews have appeared in PANK and American Book Review. He lives with his family and teaches in Austin, Texas.

The New Generation of Latinx Literature Will Have Room for Everyone

Check out this article by Ruby Mora for ElectricLiterature.com

 

I grew up with a vigorous love for reading and storytelling. There was (and still is) a sense of ethereal magic that occurs when reading about other people, real or fiction, other worlds, other perspectives. At the time, I wasn’t looking to books for people who looked like me; I was looking for something outside myself. Eventually, though, I wanted to see myself reflected in the works I read—or at least know that it was possible, that other people reading fiction for other perspectives might find a perspective that looked a little like mine. What I found was that it was possible, but very rare. The great Sandra Cisneros and Julia Alvarez were some of the very few Latina authors that had pivotal works with Latinx characters heavily represented.

Over the last few years, Latinx representation in literature has slowly but surely increased. Among these new voices is Kali Fajardo-Anstine, whose debut short story collection Sabrina & Corinawas published this year. Centered around multiple Latinas with indigenous ancestry and the trials they face, while also having their lives interwoven through their shared home of Denver Colorado, Sabrina & Corina features complex Latina characters that fall outside of the stereotypes that are normally attached to this community in various media. This has been something that felt so out of reach for a long time in my eyes, but reading the stories of these women, women whose cultures and struggles are similar to mine, has given me a feeling of fullness I longed for since realizing the need for representation of the community I’m a part of in the stories I read. Latinx representation in literature has been increasing, but now it’s time for us to ask for something more than representation. It’s not enough for Latinx characters to exist, instead of not existing; we’re ready for a range of Latinx characters as varied and vital as the white characters we’ve been reading for so long. With its cast of challenging and admirable Latinas, Sabrina & Corina has the potential to be the start of a new generation of Latinx literature.

This is not to diminish the work of iconic Latina authors like Cisneros and Alvarez. In previous decades, transcendent and remarkable works, including In the Time of the Butterflies, The House on Mango Street, Esperanza Rising, and Like Water for Chocolate, gave us deep insight into Latina characters from various generations. The problem has always been one of numbers. There have always been very few Latina authors with work in mainstream literature, compared to the number of white authors who have their narratives widely and continuously available.

I don’t want to have to only expect these stories one in a while.

The women in Sabrina & Corina are complex and imperfect, three-dimensional in a way Latina characters don’t always get to be (especially when written by white authors). In a recent interview, Fajardo-Anstine stated that she “was trying to portray a community that, often times, is invisible in the greater Latinx narrative. Southern Colorado, Northern New Mexico, mixed Latinx communities here in Denver—I was trying to create characters that were very individualistic, very human, in a way that I haven’t seen rendered before.” Her characters deal with traumas and intense situations, some of which are unique to the community and indigenous ancestry they come from, but many more of which face not only the broader Latinx community but humans everywhere: racism, classism, general and intergenerational trauma, and gentrification, among others. Fajardo-Anstine goes past the surface of her characters and digs deeper, pulling all the complexities, aches, doubts, and struggles, both internal and external, to the forefront. There’s no sense of hindrance in the way that Fajardo-Anstine writes so relentlessly raw, especially through the voices of the Latinas she’s manifested. These were stories that I had to sit with after finishing each one, ruminating on each of their unique and detailed environments and narratives.

Even though I was absolutely overjoyed that Sabrina & Corina exists just as it is, I couldn’t help but wonder how the literary world could better itself if Latinx narratives like Fajardo-Anstine’s became commonplace. In glimpsing into these lives, I gained a sense of comfort, a camaraderie between myself and the women of many generations in the book, especially knowing that we share similar experiences with many of the hardships faced by our community. To feel these things, especially in a time where we are seen as less than, is phenomenal, but I don’t want to have to only expect these stories one in a while.

In literature that I’ve read prior, there weren’t many characters like me that I could relate to and identify with in regards to their described viewpoint as a Latina. The Latinas in Sabrina & Corina display the layers of experience, both good and bad, that come with being a Latina in an ever-changing society. Social pressures, machismo, colorism within our own community; there was a sense of comfort in knowing that I was reading about Latinas that I could connect with if they existed in real life, that I could share an unspoken mutual understanding with them. This is a feeling that white readers get all the time, so often that they probably don’t even notice. I, and undoubtedly many other Latinas, deserve to experience it more often. Our voices are often silenced and disregarded as unimportant in mainstream literature. When we do get narratives in literature and in U.S. media, especially, they end up warped into unrealistic, exaggerated versions of us. Having our narratives be written by us and for us allows us to reclaim and strengthen our voices, while also emphasizing to the public that we aren’t the sidekicks, the gang bangers, or the maids.

In the next generation of Latinx literature, Latinas won’t need to search for the stories we can connect with.

Other Latina authors have preceded Fajardo-Anstine into the mainstream, including Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X), Lilliam Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez), Erika L. Sanchez (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter), and Ingrid Rojas Contreras (Fruit of the Drunken Tree). It’s apparent that what’s been happening in Latinx literature lately can easily be called a cultural renaissance. I can already tell, or at least truly hope, that this next generation of Latinx literature will be vast, full of a wide variety of voices within our community. There will be a multitude of voices from so many diasporas, a constant stream of thoughts, discoveries and rediscoveries of the depths of our cultures, contemplations on what it means to be Latina and what those who came before us suffered through in order to have us exist today. In the next generation of Latinx literature, Latinas won’t need to search for the stories we can, as a community, connect with.

Signs of a new era have been showing through, filled with narratives that allow Latinas to be even more proud of our cultures and roots, where we came from and what lies ahead. Fajardo-Anstine has created multidimensional Latinas who have shared paths with those who came before, who have shared griefs and devastating cycles of abuse, who haven’t had the ability to voice their stories. She and other new Latina authors are reclaiming these real narratives we’ve been used to going without during our experiences reading mainstream literature. I only hope that other Latinas who are yearning to have their writing out in the world see that there is still a demand for the stories they are holding on to, their potential contribution to this exciting moment and movement that’s happening. I hope for this influx of literature written by us to inspire more undiscovered and upcoming Latina authors to grow and join this reclamation of our narratives and true depiction of ourselves, imperfections and all. It is more than possible to have our narratives be easily and readily accessible in mainstream literature, and this renaissance we’re in the middle of is only the beginning of what’s to come. Let it continue to thrive further, for the sake of the generations currently here and the ones yet to arrive.

JENNIFER A. JONES, The Browning of the New South

Review by Jaime Sanchez Jr. for New Books. Check out the audio clip as well…

 

The dawn of the new millennium bore witness to an unprecedented transformation of the population in the Southeastern United States as evidenced by Dr. Jennifer A. Jones in her new book The Browning of the New South (University of Chicago Press, 2019). Jones, an Assistant Professor of Sociology as well as Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, examines the evolution of race relations in the face of rapid demographic change as Mexican immigrants move into the traditionally biracial American South. Employing a community-based ethnographic approach, Jones vividly illustrates shifting Southern race relations through the case study of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Browning of the New South contributes to the scholarship on immigration and racial formation by revealing the mechanisms that spur collaboration (rather than division) between Latino immigrants and African Americans in a process that Jones calls “minority linked fate.” Counter to a generally national conception of racial formation, Jones emphasizes its local nature, not simply based on preexisting racial hierarchies or phenotype but instead on personal experiences of discrimination, unique social pressures, and local political dynamics. Ultimately, this study of the newly triracial South has immense implications for the future of U.S. politics and our understanding of how race is made.

2019 Caribbean Children’s and YA Books

This list of Caribbean authors (some of which are Latinx) was compiled by Summer Edward over at the amazing site Anansesem in January. Please show them love here and please share if you have read any of these great books.

Happy new year! We hope you enjoyed time with loved ones and got some books ticked off your reading list over the holidays. We’re excited to share our list of *English-language* Caribbean children’s and young adult (YA) books expected to be published in the coming year. We curate and publish this list every January (see previous lists here) and we only list #ownvoices books by Caribbean-based and Caribbean self-identified authors. This year will bring books by some of the veterans in the field, like Margarita Engle and Lulu Delacre (both Anansesem alums) plus some highly-anticipated debut titles by authors like Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite, Claribel Ortega and Zalika Reid-Benta. Keep checking this post throughout the year since we will continue to discover and gradually add more 2019 titles. And leave a comment if you know of a book that needs to be added to the list!

*All book synopses from the publisher’s website. Inclusion in the list below does not constitute an endorsement by Anansesem or its editors.

Across the Bay
by Carlos Aponte (Author and Illustrator)
Picturebook. Penguin Workshop. Pub date: September 17, 2019

Author-illustrator Carlos Aponte takes readers on a journey to the heart of Puerto Rico in this enchanting picture book set in Old San Juan.

Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his abuela, and Coco the cat. Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father. Jolly piragüeros, mischievous cats, and costumed musicians color this tale of love, family, and the true meaning of home.

A Story About Afiya
by James Berry (Author) and Anna Cunha (Illustrator)
Picturebook. Lantana Publishing. Pub date: May 5, 2020

Afiya has fine black skin that shows off her white clothes, big brown eyes that laugh, and long limbs that play. This joyful book provides a celebration of Caribbean identity and a whimsical meditation on the impressionable and irrepressible nature of children, written by Coretta Scott King Book Award–winning poet James Berry.

Boonoonoonous Hair
by Olive Senior (Author) and Laura James (Illustrator)
Picturebook. Tradewinds Books. Pub date: June 30, 2019

In this beautifully illustrated picture book written by Commonwealth Prize-winning author Olive Senior and illustrated by the much-acclaimed artist of Anna Carries Water a little girl learns to love her difficult-to-manage curly hair.

*Full synopsis coming soon.

My Fishy Stepmom
by Shakirah Bourne (Author)
Middle grade-YA book. Blue Banyan Books. Pub date: TBA, 2019

No one is good enough for Josephine Cadogan’s Dad. Not since her mom died. Good thing she’s a master at creating booby traps to stop new girlfriends from coming into their lives.

No one survives her tricks, until Mariss comes along.

No matter what anyone else says, Josephine knows there is something ‘fishy’ about Mariss. She is just too perfect. But Mariss proves much more difficult to get rid of than the others. And maybe it’s all the stories about baccoos and douens, and other mythical creatures from Miss Mo, champion fish de-boner of Fairy Vale, or maybe it’s all the missing pets, but Josephine begins to suspect there is something downright spooky about Mariss. But will she be able to get to the bottom of the mystery?”

Party: A Mystery
by Jamaica Kincaid (Author) and Ricardo Cortés (Illustrator)
Picturebook. Black Sheep/Akashic. Pub date: June 4, 2019

Three girls—Pam, Beth, and Sue—attend a party to celebrate the publication of the first of the Nancy Drew mystery books. There are many distractions at the fancy affair: flower arrangements, party-goers, refreshments, and lots and lots of marble. Suddenly, the oldest girl, Pam, sees what can only be described as something truly . . . bilious . . . not good! Beth sees it too. The youngest, Sue, does not, and as usual she has a hard time getting anyone to tell her anything. Party: A Mystery is a beautifully drawn adventure story that promises questions that will grab children, but does not guarantee an answer. The story’s language builds and swings between lyrical and snappy—packing a wallop.

Red Panda & Moon Bear
by Jarod Roselló (Author and Illustrator)
Middle grade graphic novel. Top Shelf Productions. Pub date: March 26, 2019

Two Latinx kids battle supernatural threats to their working-class neighborhood with the power of science, magic, and a pair of very special hoodies.

Red Panda and Moon Bear are the defenders of their community! Together, these brave siblings rescue lost cats, scold bullies, and solve mysteries, all before Mamá and Papá get home. But lately… the mysteries have been EXTRA mysterious. All of RP and MB’s powers may not be enough to handle spooks, supervillains, alien invaders, and time warps! It’ll take all their imagination — and some new friends — to uncover the secret cause behind all these events before the whole world goes crazy.

In his first book for young readers, Cuban-American cartoonist Jarod Roselló presents a whimsical and tender-hearted adventure, packed with Saturday-morning action and glowing with Caribbean sunshine.

Octopus Stew
by Eric Velasquez (Author and Illustrator)
Picturebook. Holiday House. Pub date: September 17, 2019

What do you do when an octopus captures Grandma? Put on your superhero cape and rescue her! Two stories in one from award-winning Afro-Latino artist Eric Velasquez.

The octopus Grandma is cooking has grown to titanic proportions. “¡Tenga cuidado!” Ramsey shouts. “Be careful!” But it’s too late. The octopus traps Grandma!

Ramsey uses both art and intellect to free his beloved abuela.

Then the story takes a surprising twist. And it can be read two ways. Open the fold-out pages to find Ramsey telling a story to his family. Keep the pages folded, and Ramsey’s octopus adventure is real.

This beautifully illustrated picture book, drawn from the author’s childhood memories, celebrates creativity, heroism, family, grandmothers, grandsons, Puerto Rican food, Latinx culture and more.

Five Midnights
by Ann Dávila Cardinal (Author)
YA novel. Tor Teen. Pub date: June 4, 2019

Ann Dávila Cardinal’s Five Midnights is a “wickedly thrilling” (William Alexander) novel based on the el Cuco myth set against the backdrop of modern day Puerto Rico.

Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.

If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they’ll have to step into the shadows to see what’s lurking there—murderer, or monster?

Soaring Earth: A Companion Memoir to Enchanted Air
by Margarita Engle (Author)
YA verse novel. Atheneum Books for Young Readerss. Pub date: February 26, 2019

In this powerful companion to her award-winning memoir Enchanted Air, Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle recounts her teenage years during the turbulent 1960s.

Margarita Engle’s childhood straddled two worlds: the lush, welcoming island of Cuba and the lonely, dream-soaked reality of Los Angeles. But the revolution has transformed Cuba into a mystery of impossibility, no longer reachable in real life. Margarita longs to travel the world, yet before she can become independent, she’ll have to start high school.

Then the shock waves of war reach America, rippling Margarita’s plans in their wake. Cast into uncertainty, she must grapple with the philosophies of peace, civil rights, freedom of expression, and environmental protection. Despite overwhelming circumstances, she finds solace and empowerment through her education. Amid the challenges of adolescence and a world steeped in conflict, Margarita finds hope beyond the struggle, and love in the most unexpected of places.

With the Fire on High
by Elizabeth Acevedo (Author)
YA novel. HarperTeen. Pub date: May 7, 2019

From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré
by Anika Aldamuy Denise (Author) and Paola Escobar (Illustrator)
Picturebook. Harper Collins. Pub date: January 15, 2019

An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.

When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.

Brought to colorful life by Paola Escobar’s elegant and exuberant illustrations and Anika Aldamuy Denise’s lyrical text, this gorgeous book is perfect for the pioneers in your life.

Informative backmatter and suggested further reading included.

A Spanish-language edition, Sembrando historias: Pura Belpré: bibliotecaria y narradora de cuentos, is also available.

Sofi Paints Her Dreams/Sofi pinta sus sueños
by Raquel M. Ortiz (Author) and Roberta Morales Collier (Illustrator)
Picturebook. Pinata Books. Pub date: May 31, 2019

Young Sofi enters a New York City community garden and finds a half-painted mural. It’s full of big, leafy plants in blue and yellow, and a vibrant emerald green color appears where the two colors meet. As Sofi runs her fingers over the image, she is suddenly transported to a beautiful place with plants just like the ones on the wall!

Sofi finds herself in the Dominican Republic, where she meets a young boy named Juan Luis. He is writing a song, but he’s stuck on the lyrics and needs her help. After they finish the song, the pair flies over the river that separates San Pedro de Macoris from Haiti. There, Juan Luis introduces her to his friend, Güerlande, a young metal artist. She also needs Sofi’s help. Can she make just the right shade of purple to paint Güerlande’s huge mermaid sculpture?

This bilingual picture book about an imaginative girl and an enchanted mural is an engaging exploration of the cultural traditions of the Caribbean. The sequel to Sofi and the Magic, Musical Mural / Sofi y el mágico mural musical, this story introduces young readers to the art and music of the gorgeous island of Hispaniola. Kids will be encouraged to explore their own artistic talents after reading about internationally acclaimed Dominican musician, Juan Luis Guerra, and Haitian artist, Güerlande Balan.

My Mommy Medicine
by Edwidge Danticat (Author) and Shannon Wright (Illustrator)
Picturebook. Roaring Brook Press. Pub date: February 26, 2019

My Mommy Medicine is a picture book about the comfort and love a mama offers when her child isn’t feeling well, from renowned author Edwidge Danticat.

Whenever I am sick,
Or just feel kind of gloomy or sad,
I can always count on my Mommy Medicine.

When a child wakes up feeling sick, she is treated to a good dose of Mommy Medicine. Her remedy includes a yummy cup of hot chocolate; a cozy, bubble-filled bath time; and unlimited snuggles and cuddles. Mommy Medicine can heal all woes and make any day the BEST day!

Award-winning memoirist Edwidge Danticat’s rich and lyrical text envelops the reader in the security of a mother’s love, and debut artist Shannon Wright’s vibrant art infuses the story with even more warmth.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe
by Carlos Hernández (Author)
Middle grade novel. Rick Riordan Presents. Pub date: March 5, 2019

How did a raw chicken get inside Yasmany’s locker?

When Sal Vidon meets Gabi Real for the first time, it isn’t under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal’s office for the third time in three days, and it’s still the first week of school. Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany, who just picked a fight with Sal. She is determined to prove that somehow, Sal planted a raw chicken in Yasmany’s locker, even though nobody saw him do it and the bloody poultry has since mysteriously disappeared.

Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician, but for this sleight of hand, he relied on a talent no one would guess . . . except maybe Gabi, whose sharp eyes never miss a trick. When Gabi learns that he’s capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken–including his dead mother–and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There’s only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk.

A sassy entropy sweeper, a documentary about wedgies, a principal who wears a Venetian bauta mask, and heaping platefuls of Cuban food are just some of the delights that await in his mind-blowing novel gift-wrapped in love and laughter.

Don’t Date Rosa Santos
by Nina Moreno (Author)
YA novel. Disney-Hyperion. Pub date: May 14, 2019

For fans of GILMORE GIRLS and TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, this effervescent love story from debut author Nina Moreno will sweep you away.

Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that’s what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you’re a boy with a boat.

But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about.

As her college decision looms, Rosa collides-literally-with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?

Silver Meadows Summer
by Emma Otheguy (Author)
Middle grade novel. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Pub date: April 30, 2019

Just right for fans of Pam Muñoz Ryan, this story of moving out and moving on is a touching portrayal of the experience of leaving one’s home country and making new friends–sometimes where least expected.

Eleven-year-old Carolina’s summer–and life as she knows it–is upended when Papi loses his job, and she and her family must move from Puerto Rico to her Tía Cuca and Uncle Porter’s house in upstate New York. Now Carolina must attend Silver Meadows camp, where her bossy older cousin Gabriela rules the social scene.

Just as Carolina worries she’ll have to spend the entire summer in Gabriela’s shadow, she makes a friend of her own in Jennifer, a fellow artist. Carolina gets another welcome surprise when she stumbles upon a long-abandoned cottage in the woods near the campsite and immediately sees its potential as a creative haven for making art. There, with Jennifer, Carolina begins to reclaim the parts of the life she loved in Puerto Rico and forget about how her relationship with Mami has changed and how distant Papi has become.

But when the future of Silver Meadows and the cottage is thrown into jeopardy, Carolina and–to everyone’s surprise–Gabriela come up with a plan to save them. Will it work?

Dealing in Dreams
by Lilliam Rivera (Author)
YA novel. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Pub date: March 5, 2019

The Outsiders meets Mad Max: Fury Road in this fast-paced dystopian novel about sisterhood and the cruel choices people are forced to make in order to survive.

At night, Las Mal Criadas own these streets.

Sixteen-year-old Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That role brings with it violent throwdowns and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but Nalah quickly grows weary of her questionable lifestyle. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live. To make it to the Mega Towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search of the mysterious gang the Ashé Ryders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles crews and her own doubts but the closer she gets to her goal the more she loses sight of everything–and everyone–she cares about.

Nalah must choose whether or not she’s willing to do the unspeakable to get what she wants. Can she discover that home is not where you live but whom you chose to protect before she loses the family she’s created for good?

The Universal Laws of Marco
by Carmen Rodrigues (Author)
Middle grade novel. TU Books. Pub date: Fall 2018

Told through the lens of a guy in love with the cosmos (and maybe two girls), The Universal Laws of Marco explores the complicated histories that bring us together and tear us apart.

In the summer before eighth grade, Marco Suarez kissed his best friend Sally Blake. This was his first spark.

And since then, whenever he’s thought about that moment, he’s traveled through a wormhole—of sorts—to relive those brief seconds when time sped up (or, rather, his view of time distorted) and he kissed her.

And then, at the end of that year, she disappeared, leaving in that way that people sometimes leave—alive and well and somewhere out there but gone, nonetheless. She never even said why.

And now in their senior year, Sally unexpectedly returns and Marco is shaken. Still, he holds tightly to his carefully choreographed life. A life that is full of reasons why first sparks don’t matter:

Reason 1: He has a girlfriend. Her name is Erika Richards.
Reason 2: He’s leaving on a full scholarship to college.
Reason 3: He’s busy with his friends and making money to help support his family.

But as Marco navigates the final days of high school, he learns that leaving home is never easy and a first spark is hard to ignore.

The Jumbie God’s Revenge
by Tracey Baptiste (Author)
Middle grade novel. Algonquin Young Readers. Pub date: September 3, 2019

In book three of the popular Jumbies series, Corinne must use her emerging supernatural powers to battle the angry god who would destroy her Caribbean island home.

When an out-of-season hurricane sweeps through Corinne’s seaside village, Corinne knows it’s not a typical storm. At first Corinne believes Mama D’Leau—the powerful and cruel jumbie who rules the ocean—has caused the hurricane. Then a second, even more ferocious storm wrecks the island, sending villagers fleeing their houses for shelter in the mountains, and Corinne discovers the storms weren’t caused by a jumbie, but by the angry god Huracan.

Now Corinne, with the help of her friends and even some of her enemies, must race against time to find out what has angered Huracan and try to fix it before her island home is destroyed forever.

A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice
by Nadia Hohn (Author) and Eugenie Fernandes (Illustrator)
Picturebook. Owlkids. Pub date: August 15, 2019

A picture book biography of the Jamaican poet Miss Lou.

*Full synopsis coming soon.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
by Maika Moulite (Author) and Maritza Moulite (Author)
YA novel. Inkyard Press. Pub date: September 3, 2019

This exceptional debut novel captures a sparkling new voice and irrepressible heroine in a celebration of storytelling sure to thrill fans of Nicola Yoon, Ibi Zoboi and Jenna Evans Welch!

When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
by Junauda Petrus (Author)
YA novel. Dutton Books for Young Readers. Pub date: September 17, 2019

Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.

Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

Minneapolis. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner.

Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

Junauda Petrus’s debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars.

Nocturna
by Maya Motayne (Author)
YA novel. Balzer + Bray. Pub date: May 7, 2019

The first in a sweeping and epic own voices debut fantasy trilogy—set in a stunning Latinx-inspired world—about a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince who must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed. Perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Leigh Bardugo, and V. E. Schwab.

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

Frying Plantain
by Zalika Reid-Benta (Author)
Middle grade/YA short story collection. House of Anansi Press. Pub date: June 4, 2019

Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle — of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too “faas” or too “quiet” or too “bold” or too “soft.” Set in “Little Jamaica,” Toronto’s Eglinton West neighbourhood, Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig’s head in her great aunt’s freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother’s house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents.

A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker. In her brilliantly incisive debut, Zalika Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.

The Truth Is
by NoNieqa Ramos (Author)
YA novel. Carolrhoda Lab. Pub date: September 3, 2019

A powerful exploration of love, identity, and self-worth through the eyes of a fierce, questioning Puerto Rican teen.

Fifteen-year-old Verdad doesn’t think she has time for love. She’s still struggling to process the recent death of her best friend, Blanca; dealing with the high expectations of her hardworking Puerto Rican mother and the absence of her remarried father; and keeping everyone at a distance. But when she meets Danny, a new guy at school–who happens to be trans–all bets are off. Verdad suddenly has to deal with her mother’s disapproval of her relationship with Danny as well as her own prejudices and questions about her identity, and Danny himself, who is comfortable in his skin but keeping plenty of other secrets.

Ghost Squad
by Claribel Ortega (Author)
Middle grade novel. Scholastic Press. Pub date: September 3, 2019

The hurricane-swept town of St. Augustine is the only home Lucely Luna has ever known. It’s the same home her father grew up in, and his parents before him. In fact, all of the deceased relatives in the Luna family now live as firefly spirits in the weeping willow tree in their backyard.

Shortly before Halloween, a mysterious storm appears on the radar heading towards St. Augustine, causing Lucely’s firefly spirits to lose their connection to this world. In an effort to save them, Lucely finds a spell to bring them back to life, but accidentally brings more spirits to the town than she’d planned. Ghosts start showing up all around town, some more dangerous than others, wreaking havoc.

Lucely will have to band together with her best friend and occult buff, Syd, along with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head on, save the town, and save her firefly spirits all before the full moon culminates on Halloween.

Queenie
by Candice Carty-Williams (Author)
YA crossover novel. Gallery/Scout Press . Pub date: March 19, 2019

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.

The Black Flamingo
by Dean Atta (Author)
YA novel in verse. Hodder Children’s Books. Pub date: August 8, 2019

Fiercely told, this is a bold and timely coming-of-age story, told in verse about one boy’s journey to self-acceptance. Perfect for fans of Sara Crossan, The Poet Xand Orangeboy.

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.

I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.

What Lane?
by Torrey Maldonado (Author)
Nancy Paulsen Books. Pub date: TBA

*Synopsis coming soon

Belly Full Stew
by Heidi Fagerberg (Author) and Ann-Cathrine Loo (Illustrator)
Picturebook. CaribbeanReads. Pub date: TBA

*Synopsis coming soon

Rafi and Rosi: Music!/Rafi y Rosi: música!
by Lulu Delacre (Author and Illustrator)
Early Reader. Lee & Low Books. Pub date: TBA

In this new book in the popular Dive Into Reading: Rafi and Rosi chapter book series, Rafi and his younger sister, Rosi, are excited to learn about and participate in the traditional forms of music of their native Puerto Rico. They drum and dance to the rolling and rippling beats of bomba instruments. They sing and sway with the rhythms of plena songs. And they attend a party where they eat paella and warm corn fritters and dance to the hot, spicy beat of la salsa!

El baile de octavo y otros recuerdos / The Eighth Grade Dance and Other Memories
by Ada de Jesús (Author) and Nicolás Kanellos (Translator)
YA book. Pinata Books. Pub date: May 31, 2019

Eleven-year-old Ada De Jesús was on the cusp of her teens when she moved to the United States from Puerto Rico. Hurricane Hugo had just decimated the island and her father couldn’t find a job.

In Chicago, the white dress she arrived in didn’t protect her from the snow and frigid temperatures! Constantly exposed to new things, she developed a resilience that served her well. “From one place to another, like riding a bike, if you keep pedaling, you won’t fall.”

Ada discovered that students in the United States were frequently disrespectful to their teachers. At school she often felt like a two-year-old as she grappled with a completely new language. In addition to navigating a different culture, she had to deal with all the issues familiar to teenage girls: the growth of body hair, pimples, menstruation and of course boys! Her memories of first intimate encounters, fending off unwanted advances and fear of pregnancy will strike a chord with readers.

In these short vignettes recollecting her middle-school years, Ada De Jesús shares her poignant and often funny experiences as a newcomer and an adolescent. Young readers will relate to—and laugh at—her experiences; some may take heart that they too will overcome the difficulties common at this age.

Oh My Gods
by Alexandra Sheppard (Author)
YA novel. Scholastic. Pub date: January 3, 2019

Life as a half-mortal teenager should be epic.

But, for Helen Thomas, it’s tragic.

She’s just moved in with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings – who happen to be the ancient Greek gods, living incognito in London!

Between keeping her family’s true identities secret, trying to impress her new friends, and meeting an actually cute boy, Helen’s stress levels are higher than Mount Olympus.

She needs to rein in her chaotic family before they blow their cover AND her chances at a half-normal social life.

*Our note: Like the author, the main character is a biracial Jamaican Brit teen.

This Train Is Being Held
by Ismée Williams (Author)
YA novel. Amulet Books. Pub date: September 10, 2019

When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the downtown 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and his gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her untroubled happiness, something he feels all rich kids must possess. That, and her long dancer legs.

Over the course of multiple subway encounters spanning the next three years, Isabelle learns of Alex’s struggle with his father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues, despite Alex’s desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle’s unstable mother, a woman with a prejudice against Latino men. But fate—and the 1 train—throw them together when Isabelle needs Alex most. Heartfelt and evocative, this romantic drama will appeal to readers of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen.

When Julia Danced Bomba/Cuando Julia Bailaba Bomba
by Raquel M. Ortiz (Author) and Flor de Vita (Illustrator)
Picturebook. Arte Publico Press. Pub date: December 2019

Young Julia struggles with the steps to the Afro-Puerto Rican dance known as bomba, but when she quits trying so hard and listens and feels the beat of the drums, she is able to relax, enjoy herself, and do the steps perfectly.

In the Key of Nira Ghani
by Natasha Deen (Author)
YA novel. Running Press Kids. Pub date: April 9, 2019

A Guyanese girl must find the balance between her parents’ “old world” expectations and traditions while pursuing her dream of being a great trumpeter in this contemporary, coming-of-age story, written by an #OwnVoices author.

Nira Ghani has always dreamed of becoming a musician. Her Guyanese parents, however, have big plans for her to become a scientist or doctor. Nira’s grandmother and her best friend, Emily, are the only people who seem to truly understand her desire to establish an identity outside of the one imposed on Nira by her parents. When auditions for jazz band are announced, Nira realizes it’s now or never to convince her parents that she deserves a chance to pursue her passion.

As if fighting with her parents weren’t bad enough, Nira finds herself navigating a new friendship dynamic when her crush, Noah, and notorious mean-girl, McKenzie “Mac,” take a sudden interest in her and Emily, inserting themselves into the fold. So, too, does Nira’s much cooler (and very competitive) cousin Farah. Is she trying to wiggle her way into the new group to get closer to Noah? Is McKenzie trying to steal Emily’s attention away from her? As Farah and Noah grow closer and Emily begins to pull away, Nira’s trusted trumpet “George” remains her constant, offering her an escape from family and school drama.

But it isn’t until Nira takes a step back that she realizes she’s not the only one struggling to find her place in the world. As painful truths about her family are revealed, Nira learns to accept people for who they are and to open herself in ways she never thought possible.

A relatable and timely contemporary, coming-of age story, In the Key of Nira Ghaniexplores the social and cultural struggles of a teen in an immigrant household.

The Dark of the Sea
by Imam Baksh (Author)
YA novel. Blue Banyan Books. Pub date: September 15, 2019

Obsessed with girls, devoid of muscles and faced with hostile teachers and a reading disability, 15-year-old Danesh has been struggling to survive life in the lower bowls of the Essequibo high school system. In a community wracked by alcoholism, suicide and corruption, he sees no purposeful path for himself.

Then, Medusa, a creature of savage beauty and determination, crashes into his life and reveals a whole new world beneath the muddy waves—a world full of wonder, adventure and the possibility of becoming a better person. But Danesh soon learns that the path before him is not an easy one and to get there he just may have to redefine what it means to be a hero.

A Dark Iris
by Elizabeth J. Jones (Author)
YA novel. Blue Banyan Books. Pub date: July 15, 2019

It is 1972 and 12-year-old Rebekah Eve is excited to be on her way to the prestigious Meridian Institute with her best friend, Wanda. But Rebekah’s joy is dampened by her parents’ separation. She misses having her father at home and the fun things they did together. Most of all, she dislikes her mother’s new ‘friend’–Thomas Forster–who is trying way too hard to win her over. These personal changes take place while her country, goes through dramatic changes of its own, and life gets even more complicated when her new friend Zende is arrested for the attempted assassination of the Governor.

To cope, Rebekah turns to her art. But her paintings take on new, or rather ‘old’ life, as figures from the past seep in and replace her usual subjects. She is thrust into a whirlwind of emotion as her visions and the resulting paintings unveil wounds of the past that are not buried as deeply as some would like.

With help from the mysterious Lady of the Library and her new art tutor Mr. Stowe, Rebekah makes sense of these visions and unearths the truth behind one of Bermuda’s legends. But some truths are difficult for anyone, especially a young girl, to digest. Ultimately, she must learn to trust herself, believe in her talents, and that even a little black girl from a small island, could one day become a famous artist.

Kirkus Review of WHEN JULIA DANCED BOMBA / CUANDO JULIA BAILABA BOMBA by Raquel Ortiz

Read on Kirkus

Afro–Puerto Rican dance traditions are celebrated through one girl’s breakthrough moment with bomba.

Julia is not thrilled to be practicing dance at the cultural center after she’s dragged along by her brother Cheíto, who is adept at drumming on barriles to make music for the bomba dance. “Julia didn’t want to practice dancing. She preferred to play make believe. Julia loved to daydream about becoming an astronaut.” After she watches an older dancer and tries her own clumsy steps, Julia is ready to give up. But when she’s invited to participate in bombazo, an opportunity for dancers to perform solos as everybody sings, she finds her nervousness transformed to joy as she locks in with the main drum. “TAN, rang out the drum again, loud and clear. ‘Wow,’ Julia thought, ‘the drum is talking to me!’ ” Readers won’t learn much about Julia, her brother, or other dancers in the story, but what Ortiz elucidates in the text and de Vita conveys in motion-filled illustrations and close-ups on drums is how music can break through one’s defenses and take over. The way Julia’s expressions change and her movements go from stiff and frustrated to unencumbered works. Throughout the book, English and Spanish versions of the text are featured, including lyrics from the music from Julia’s solo performance. A pagelong explanation of bomba celebrations and a brief glossary round out the package.

A solid reminder of music’s power and a good primer on Puerto Rican dance culture. (Picture book. 5-8)

New Book: Collisions at the Crossroads: How Place and Mobility Make Race

There are few places where mobility has shaped identity as widely as the American West, but some locations and populations sit at its major crossroads, maintaining control over place and mobility, labor and race. In Collisions at the Crossroads, Genevieve Carpio argues that mobility, both permission to move freely and prohibitions on movement, helped shape racial formation in the eastern suburbs of Los Angeles and the Inland Empire throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By examining policies and forces as different as historical societies, Indian boarding schools, bicycle ordinances, immigration policy, incarceration, traffic checkpoints, and Route 66 heritage, she shows how local authorities constructed a racial hierarchy by allowing some people to move freely while placing limits on the mobility of others. Highlighting the ways people of color have negotiated their place within these systems, Carpio reveals a compelling and perceptive analysis of spatial mobility through physical movement and residence.
There is an audio discussion for this book, which you can listen to here: https://newbooksnetwork.com/genevieve-carpio-collisions-at-the-crossroads-how-place-and-mobility-make-race-u-california-press-2019/

New Book: Copper Stain: ASARCO’s Legacy in El Paso

“The convertors would spew it out,” employee Arturo Hernandez recalled, referring to molten metal. “You’d see the ground, the dirt, catch on fire. . . . If you slip, you’d be like a little pat of butter, melting away.”

Hernandez was describing work at ASARCO El Paso, a smelter and onetime economic powerhouse situated in the city’s heart just a few yards north of the Mexican border. For more than a century the smelter produced vast quantities of copper—along with millions of tons of toxins. During six of those years, the smelter also burned highly toxic industrial waste under the guise of processing copper, with dire consequences for worker and community health.

Copper Stain is a history of environmental injustice, corporate malfeasance, political treachery, and a community fighting for its life. The book gives voice to nearly one hundred Mexican Americans directly affected by these events. Their frank and often heartrending stories, published here for the first time, evoke the grim reality of laboring under giant machines and lava-spewing furnaces while turning mountains of rock into copper ingots, all in service to an employer largely indifferent to workers’ welfare. With horror and humor, anger, courage, and sorrow, the authors and their interviewees reveal how ASARCO subjected its employees and an unsuspecting public to pollution, diseases, and early death—with little in the way of compensation.

Elaine Hampton and Cynthia C. Ontiveros weave this eloquent testimony into a cautionary tale of toxic exposure, community activism, and a corporate employer’s dubious relationship with ethics—set against the political tug-of-war between industry’s demands and government’s obligation to protect the health of its people and the environment.

Make sure to check out an audio discussion about the book here: https://newbooksnetwork.com/elaine-hampton-and-cynthia-ontiveros-copper-stain-asarcos-legacy-in-el-paso-u-oklahoma-press-2019/

New Book: Charros: How Mexican Cowboys are Remapping Race and American Identity by Laura R. Barraclough

Make sure to check out the interview here: https://newbooksnetwork.com/laura-r-barraclough-charros-how-mexican-cowboys-are-remapping-race-and-american-identity-u-california-press-2019/

In Charros: How Mexican Cowboys Are Remapping Race and American Identity (University of California Press, 2019), Dr. Laura R. Barraclough tells a surprising story about the urban American West. Barraclough, the Sarai Ribicoff Associate Professor in American Studies at Yale University, writes the history of elite Mexican and Mexican-American cowboys – charros – and how charro culture served as a site of contested national identity in the mid twentieth century United States. In Western cities such as Los Angeles, Denver, and San Antonio, Chicano men and women used charro organizations and events as places where one could assert both Mexican and American, as well as middle- and upper-class, identities. Rather than the archetypical image of a white, dusty, cowboy riding alone across a desolate mesa, Charrosportrays a Western ranching culture that is more urban, more flamboyant, more crowded, and less white than many Americans may assume.

Reviewed by Stephen Hausmann for New Books Network.