Young Adult Fiction for Adults discussion

Books about Minorities > Latino/Latina Suggestions?

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J-Lynn Van Pelt | 27 comments Any recommendations for great reads that are either written by or about Latinos?

My personal collection is sorely lacking.

I have read Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan and Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida by Victor Matinez and loved them both.

Any suggestions? Favorites?

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Marci (nutti72) | 2 comments If you're ok with gay themes Alex Sanchez writes about Latinos.

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Kelly Rueda | 1 comments Gary Soto (chapter books, picture books, short stories, and poems..he does a lot) I believe all of his books have Latino characters living in the US. Any Small Goodness by Tony Johnston. It's about a Latino family that lives in LA and how anyone can make a positive difference through small deeds. Francisco Jimenez is another Latino author who wrote The Circuit, which is an autobiography about his migration from Mexico to the US as a migrant worker. And lastly try The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. All of these are great reads..

J-Lynn Van Pelt | 27 comments Marci,
I have Alex Sanchez's Rainbow High Trilogy, but haven't had a chance to read them. My friends have really enjoyed them.

I have read The House on Mango Street and liked it. Thanks for the other suggestions.

About Gary Soto, do you have specific titles to recommend? I have picked up some of his books and have not been able to get into them.

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Llama Castillo | 8 comments My aunt grew up in the barrio in East LA and though she is white, her main characters are Mexican in many of her books. Try Stars Over East LA, Ever So Slightly and Forever Friends by Marian Flandrick Bray. She also wrote a series for youth - The Reba Series. She used me as her main character in it and always uses our last name in her books, its kinda cool.

J-Lynn Van Pelt | 27 comments Llama,
That is very cool, thank you.

Krista the Krazy Kataloguer (kristathekrazykataloguer) | 2 comments One of my very favorite Christmas stories is Maria by Theodore Taylor, about a girl in a poor Hispanic neighborhood who encourages her neighborhood contribute a float to the town Christmas parade. I wish it was still in print!

Another good one is Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box by Juan Felipe Herrera. It's a novel in verse that takes place in NY City after 9/11.

If you want books about Latinos outside the U.S. I can recommend the following: A Taste of Salt, Tonight, By Sea, and Grab Hands and Run by Frances Temple; Colibri by Ann Cameron; Tree Girl and Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen; The Flight to Freedom by Ana Veciana-Suarez; and The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph.

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Adrian | 15 comments As far as Latina AND lesbian, I just thought of Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole. I know there are more I have read (although, sadly not that many more), but that's the only one I can think of off the top of my head.

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Noemi Mendez (divinemsn) | 2 comments A few months ago I read The Madonnas of Echo Park. It's about the Mexican community in Los Angeles and revolves around a high school girl.

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The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco Stork. Such a good book!

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Jason (foreverjuly) | 176 comments I guess this would be more of a favorites, but the stories of Jorge Luis Borges. Mindbending stories like "The Garden of Forking Paths." He really was brilliant.

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R (betsyrae) | 3 comments The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez
Mexican Whiteboy
Romiette and Julio
Once Upon a Quinceanera
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

For Gary Soto, my kids love Taking Sides, especially the boys, good for reluctant readers who like basketball
Also, they love Accidental Love
The Circuit by Francisco Jiménez
First Crossing: Stories about Teen Immigrants

Can you tell what the demographic of my school is? :)

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Isamlq | 177 comments Simone Elkeles' Rules of Attraction..

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Claudia (claudialefeve) | 2 comments J-Lynn - thanks for starting this thread. I am publishing my first book, but it's not about Latinos.

As a Latina author (don't let my name fool you) I would like my writing to reflect my upbringing a little bit more. In fact, I am working on an idea for a book about a dystopian society that does not allow people to speak Spanish (perhaps even all other languages).

message 15: by Heidi (last edited Dec 21, 2010 02:53PM) (new)

Heidi Isamlq wrote: "Simone Elkeles' Rules of Attraction.."

Don't shoot me, but I thought this was a little too stereotypical.

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Alyssa (shyluck13) | 124 comments Coming out next year: What Can't Wait by Ashley Hope Perez and then there's The Confessions by J.L. Powell or something like that. Also Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles was fantastic.

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Heidi I meant the Latino characters were a little too stereotypical - sorry!

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) Heidi I wrote: "Isamlq wrote: "Simone Elkeles' Rules of Attraction.."

Don't shoot me, but I thought this was a little too stereotypical."

Don't feel too bad. When I finished it I had the overwhelming urge to throw it against the wall. It definitely got my EPIC FAIL award, LOL.

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Heidi Glad to know I was not alone Vixenne. I just don't get the love! It was a total West Side Story rip off without the cool songs.

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Rachelle (awaken80) Hi J-Lynn, I'm going to suggest two very well-known latino authors to you. Sorry if you know about them already, I certainly wouldn't be surprised at that! Gabriel García Márquez and José Saramago

I've read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez by Garcia Marquez and honestly didn't really like it, but it is a highly acclaimed book.

I'm really excited to read Death with Interruptions by José Saramago by Saramago, but have never read any of his books so I can't exactly vouch for them, though they look really good!

Anyway, you might be interested in reading works by these authors :-)

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) Maybe it's just me, but enough with all the heavy, literary books, LOL. What about the paranormal, urban fantasy and other genres that YA's are really reading (and not for school either)? If there aren't, then Houston, we have a problem!

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Rebecca Burke | 16 comments I'm excited to read all the books here that I have not yet read. I'm going to plug my new book with a Latina heroine; it is in the vein of Gary Soto and Francisco Jimenez (think The Circuit with a female main character):
When I Am Singing to You
Ebook 50690 words. Fiction by Rebecca Burke (available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords)
Fourteen-year-old Carmen Delgada, the daughter of migrant workers, ends up living with other homeless teens at an urban YWCA after her jealous mother kicks her out of the house. When Carmen learns that her new friend Hazel is pregnant, she vows to help her—a decision that results in tragedy.

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Rebecca Burke | 16 comments I'm reading a fantastic YA Latino novel right now: Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood by Benjamin Alire Saenz from cinco puntos press, the publisher David mentioned in this thread. Thank you, David!

Saenz's coming-of-age book has lots of well-drawn characters, with a hugely sympathetic main character, Sammy. The Hollywood of the title is not the famous celebrity enclave in CA, but instead is a poor barrio in NM. It's beautifully written, socially astute, and very, very funny (told my daughter who's in Spanish III its use of swear words in Spanish is one of the joys of reading it).

I'm overwhelmed with things I want to read from the cinco puntos catalog. Anyone looking for YA Latina/o lit has no further to go if they just look at their website. They've got chicano, bilingual, border, translation, and YA lit, children's picture books, memoirs, history, you-name-it. It's just a wonderful resource.

Thank you so much for bringing this press to my attention, David, I've already ordered books from them.

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Elaine Pelton (elainegabrielle) | 2 comments I am going to agree with Kelly and Ms. Norris. Gary Soto's books are well-written, light-hearted, and accessible for reluctant readers. I am particularly fond of Accidental Love

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Regina (reginar) I have shelf here with some great authors. Feel free to browse. Recently, there have been more authors writing, which is great.

My favorites are Ana Castillo and Julia Alvarez

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Rebecca Burke | 16 comments I've been meaning to read this book and now I know I need to. The following is quite an honor, an award given to an outstanding Latino/a author in honor of the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library.

2012 Pura Belpre Author Award Winner

Under the Mesquite, by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, published by Lee and Low Books Inc.

In “Under the Mesquite,” Garcia McCall, writing in emotionally riveting free verse, gracefully manages to convey the experience of growing up in a bicultural community in Texas with geographical accuracy and a radiating authentic voice for its main protagonist fourteen-year-old Lupita, the oldest of eight children who is dealing with her mother’s terminal illness.

“Garcia McCall deftly communicates not only the experience of a youth losing her mother to cancer but that of a child surrounded by siblings embracing and discarding their Mexican roots in various degrees,” said Naidoo [one of the contest judges].

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Regina (reginar) I read that in December and loved it. It is one of my all time favorite books. Here is my review.
Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

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Rebecca Burke | 16 comments Regina, I just looked at your list and saw that you loved the Garcia McCall book (see my comment above). Looking forward to reading that, especially since it's in my area, YA.

Another book you might be interested in is a book of short stories, The Bolero of Andi Rowe, by Toni Margarita Plummer (I think I got that right). It's not YA, but sophisticated and older YA readers should love it because the bulk of the stories are about coming of age between two cultures (Mexican and Irish) in LA and Mexico. The setting is mostly a working-class, immigrant neighborhood. It starts off quietly but gets better and better as you become familiar with the characters, who can be very, very funny. Religion, sex, teen angst...what's not to like! Recommended read.

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Regina (reginar) I have not read that -- thank you for the rec! I am definitely going to look into it.

I really would love for McCall to get more exposure. Her work deserves to be read. I am glad you posted her work.

message 31: by Chris (last edited Feb 09, 2012 10:54AM) (new)

Chris (chrismd) | 4 comments i'll throw one out that there I enjoyed a lot
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
Great story about a teenage girl in a small Mexican town who realized there are no men left because they've all gone to "el norte." So she decides to pull off her own version of The Magnificent Seven movie by taking a ragtag bunch of friends on an (illegal) road trip into the U.S. to try to convince some of the men to come home. Great writing. Funny in places and very thought provoking in others. I'm looking forward to reading more of his books.

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Regina (reginar) I have that on my too read list and the author lives local to me. I am so glad to hear it is good! I keep looking and looking at it, but I haven't pulled the trigger. Maybe I will now. :) Luis Alberto Urrea has some other good books.

message 33: by Rebecca (last edited Mar 01, 2012 01:21PM) (new)

Rebecca Burke | 16 comments Chris, thanks for the suggestion--love the premise!

You probably all know this, but it's so helpful for books like this to get reader reviews to keep them "fresh and alive" for possible buyers, which in turn makes it likely more books from Latinos/as and/or with Latino/a themes get published. It's one of my personal missions, which is why I always mention Benjamin Alire Saenz's books (among others') whenever I get the chance.

I see that Esmeralda Santiago has a new novel out. It looks like an historical, family saga, with Puerto Rico one of the main settings. Can't remember the title, but look forward to eventually reading it.

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) I've bookmarked most of the suggestions here, but I have to ask AGAIN, where are the action/adventure/paranormal/romance books featuring latina/latino teens? Just as I've said for African-American teens, not everything is about struggle, sacrifice and family drama. For example: Fat Hoochie Prom Queen by Nico Medina featuring the oh-so-fabulous Margarita "Madge" Diaz. My review:

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