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Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

October 1, 2015

We need diverse books! I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase or seen the hashtag on twitter in the past year. Per statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 36 out of 3,500 children and young adult books published in 2014 were written by Latino authors.

September 15th kicks off the annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and Nashville Public Library is hosting various events this that highlight the literary and artistic contributions of Hispanic and Latino culture.

In honor of this celebration, check out some of my favorite YA libros (books) written by Hispanic authors. Happy Reading!

Zach is an alcoholic. Zach is an addict. Zach doesn’t remember, but his therapist keeps asking him questions. He’s searching for answers to questions that Zach doesn’t want to remember, like how he got to rehab, who is paying for it, and why hasn’t he heard from his mom, dad, or brother? Funny, heart-wrenching, and hopeful, Last Night I Sang to a Monster is about a young man’s struggle to face his troubled past and reconcile the challenges of the present in an uncertain future.

Danny Lopez is too white to fit in with inner-city kids and too brown to fit in with his private school classmates and, on top of that, he doesn’t even speak Spanish. The only thing Danny’s got going for him is his mean fastball, but life on the streets is a bit different than the ball field. Danny’s goal for the summer is to figure out who he is and, hopefully, track down his father in Mexico and find out why he left their family. Mexican Whiteboyaddresses the complexities of racial identity and finding friendship in unlikely places.

*Since it is also Banned Books Week (September 27th-October 3rd), it is interesting to note that in 2012, Mexican Whiteboy was banned for containing “critical race theory”. If you needed (yet) another reason to check out this novel, you should read a banned book. It’s good for your brain.

Who is Yaqui Delgado? Piddy needs to answer this question fast and diffuse the situation before she ends up in a fight with someone she doesn’t even know. Unfortunately, Piddy has a lot on her plate: new school, new apartment, and an absentee father who her mother refuses to discuss. The last thing she wants to deal with is a bully who thinks Piddy doesn’t act Latina enough. A 2014 Pura Belpré Author award winner, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, is a brutally honest depiction of teen bullying.  

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