Latinx Summer Reads 2019 (or, #ReadLatinxFive)

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[ID: banner with a beach, clip arts of a palm tree and a cute red crab, on the sand there’s 8 books– Gods of Jade and Shadow, while they sleep (under the bed is another country), My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, Shades: Detroit Love Stories, Exile, Where are You From?, The Grief Keeper, and A Crash of Fate]
The sun’s out and blazing hot, the beach is crowded, but there’s a bit of shade under the umbrella. Or perhaps you’re in the Southern hemisphere, dealing with the cold and bundling up before leaving your home. It’s a good thing there are books for every occasion!

It’s been a full year since I started the #ReadLatinx project, and it’s been such an amazing ride! Thanks to this project, I’ve been able to meet new people, readers, writers, and industry folks who had been searching for this kind of work and have been incredibly supportive throughout this whole endeavor. I appreciate and I’m grateful to all of you! You all keep cheering me on, especially when I start doubting whether or not my work is done in vain. I also want to take a moment to say THANK YOU because I now have over 1000 (!!!!!!!) FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER! I also have 60 followers on here which is unbelievable as well! I only hope to keep growing my platform so I can continue shining a light on Latinx creators.

If you’re interested in reading the past #ReadLatinx posts, scroll to the end for a list of them. I dub this list #ReadLatinxFive.

In any case, I’m proud to present over 40 books that will be releasing between June 1st and August 31st, 2019. This list consists of books written and/or illustrated by Latinx authors. The list will be divided by age category (Picture Books, MG, YA, or Adult) as well as genre (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Anthology) and subgenres in certain cases (Literary, Contemporary, Fantasy, etc.). Each of the books listed will have the title, the name of the author/illustrator, its release date, and a short description written by yours truly. Each category is sorted by release date. Books marked by an asterisk (*) are ones I don’t know their official release date or don’t have enough information about.

Disclaimer: This compilation is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive; it only contains titles I’ve been able to find through extensive research. If you know of a book I didn’t list, or have a correction to make, don’t hesitate to let me know! I also add books at my own discretion, as I have no intention of boosting sexual harassers, racists, homophobes or transphobes. Continue reading “Latinx Summer Reads 2019 (or, #ReadLatinxFive)”

Third Time’s The Charm: Three Reviews, One Post

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[image description: yellow and orange gradient background, title “Third Time’s The Charm: Three Reviews, One Post” centered on top, covers for I’m Baked Potato, Where Are You From?, and My Papi Has a Motorcycle]
Hello! There are times when you feel down in the dumps and you need something to lift your spirits. I was in the middle of reading a book but it bummed me out so I decided to delve into Edelweiss in search of ~something~ and I ended up striking (book) gold. In my search, I found three amazing picture books, all with either a Latinx author and/or illustrator.

In this post, I’ve united the reviews I’ve done for three upcoming picture book releases I loved, since they’re short and I thought it would be best to have them all together and give them all a collective shout-out.


My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, ill. by Zeke Peña

Description:

A celebration of the love between a father and daughter, and of a vibrant immigrant neighborhood, by an award-winning author and illustrator duo.

When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her.

But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there.

With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl’s love letter to her hardworking dad and to memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Review:

In this singular book, Isabel Quintero narrates an afternoon between Daisy and her Papi. They zoom around the city of Corona, California, pointing out the places they know and love. It’s a vibrant tour of tortillerías, churches, and markets, of la casa de abuelita, the construction site where Papi works. Succinctly, it’s home.

An ode to the author’s father and family, with its lyrical style that keeps your eyes glued to the page to the details she talks about. Add to that the colorful nod to the illustrator’s heritage in the way the art style’s full of love and appreciation. The book kept a smile on my face, even in the face of the book’s commentary on how communities of color adapt to a changing socio-economic landscape; it felt like a warm hug from your parents and a loving tribute to a hometown.

Thank you to Edelweiss and the team at Kokila for providing an advance copy!

Release date: May 14th, 2019. You can pre-order both the English AND Spanish versions now: Spanish / English – Kokila


Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez, ill. by Jaime Kim

Description:

A powerful, lyrical debut picture book celebrating diversity for children from all backgrounds and of all colors, especially for kids who have ever felt like they don’t belong.

Where am I from?

You’re from hurricanes and dark storms, and a tiny singing frog that calls the island people home when the sun goes to sleep….

When a little girl is asked where she’s from—where she’s really from—she’s no longer as sure as she was about her answer. She turns to her abuelo for help. However, he doesn’t quite give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Review:

“Where are you from?” A loaded question, usually targeted toward People of Color under the guise of curiosity, but not understanding its effect and casual microaggression. “But where are you really from?” It’s the insistence and entitlement wrapped in the accusation, because you are indeed being pointed out as Other. The fact that we’re Othered from childhood and that it never actually stops is a trauma in and of itself, without even adding the generational trauma we’re carrying depending on what culture we’re from.

The author pokes at the question from the point of view of a young girl asking her abuelo after being hounded by many people with the same interrogative: Where are we from? Abuelo then proceeds to describe where she’s from, all the cultures and all the people that have helped make our protagonist who she is. It’s at once beautiful and real, in the way its lyricism can at once make you fall in love with el coquí puertorriqueño and make your heart break over the Argentinian Madres de Plaza de Mayo. Where Are You From? is a universal story for those who’ve been displaced due to many factors and find themselves in the US, but it favors the Latinx population.

Yamile Saied Méndez pens a heartfelt tribute to those whose identities are questioned every day, and paired with the beautiful earthy tones that South Korean artist Jaime Kim brings to the text, the words come to life in a sunrise of discovery and sunset of self-acceptance.

Thank you to Edelweiss and the folks at HarperCollins for providing a copy for review.

Release date: May 15th, 2019. You can pre-order a copy now in Spanish and English!


I’m A Baked Potato! by Elise Primavera, ill. by Juana Medina

Description:

When a baked potato–loving lady adopts a dog, she adores him unconditionally—and given the pup’s small, round frame and warm, brown coat she can’t help but call him “Baked Potato”! But what happens when a dog who thinks he’s a baked potato gets lost? Will he find his lady? And more importantly, will he find himself? I’m a Baked Potato! is a fun, bighearted story about the names we’re given, the names we choose, and how both can help us find our way home. Full of heart and laugh-out-loud moments, this story will leave readers giggling—and looking at pets in a whole new way.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Review:

A sweet and fun story that brings back memories of ARE YOU MY MOTHER?, in I’M A BAKED POTATO! we see a dog try to find its way home and figure out who he is. When Baked Potato gets lost in the city whilst looking for his owner, he suffers a bit of an identity crisis upon realizing he’s not a baked potato. It’s a whirlwind of discovery and hilarity as Baked Potato jumps from one scene to the next, from one emotion to another. The illustrations by Juana Medina transport us visually, as the lines and swirls make them look like they’re in motion and compliment the writing from Primavera.  

Thank you to Edelweiss and Chronicle Books for the review copy!

Release date: May 7th, 2019. You can pre-order this book now!


That’s all for this post! See you next time!

Upcoming Winter ’18-’19 Book Releases by Latinx Authors and Illustrators

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It’s That Time of the Year!

That’s right, it’s time to put on a Especial de Navidad de  Banco Popular CD (I’m particularly partial to the 2005 one, Queridos Reyes Magos), start making some coquito, pasteles, lechón, and arroz con gandules, and dig into the Winter celebrations. You may have some snow, or you may not (like me); you might put up a Christmas tree, or light up a Menorah, or celebrate Candlenights with the McElroy Brothers.

One thing’s for sure, it’s a time to celebrate with your loved ones, wrap yourself up with warm blankets, and maybe enjoy a nice Winter read.

And thus continues the tradition to post a list of books by Latinx authors and/or illustrators being released during a new season. This time, the Winter reads will encompass books that will be coming out between November 23rd, 2018, and February 14th, 2019. Yes, in my mind Winter starts the day after Thanksgiving and ends on Valentine’s Day.

This list is shorter than past ones, with only 14 titles at the moment of writing this. However, this is by no means comprehensive, and if I see a book that isn’t on this list on time, I’ll be promoting it on Twitter. If it escapes my grasp, don’t worry; I’m working on a separate list of books that I didn’t get a chance to shine a light on during the year.

  1. The Sacred Roots of Ofelia Rosas by Christina Montoya (11/24/2018): A grandmother’s legacy to her grandchildren creates intrigue and an interweaving story about family.
  2. Their Perfect Melody by Priscilla Oliveras (11/27/2018): A woman previously known as the life of the party and has had to become a caretaker. A man determined to bring back her passion for music. Love is in the air! (My review will be out next week)
  3. Reindeer Games: A Holiday Romance Anthology; story by Andie J. Christopher (12/01/2018): A group of people are snowed-in… and they’ll probably be warming each other up **wink wink** In Christopher’s story, Frankie’s stuck with her ex and his new boyfriend… Interesting…
  4. Dance All Night by Alexis Daria (12/11/2018): A novella within the DCLU (Dance Off Literary Universe), Daria’s focusing her matchmaking powers on Nik Kovalenko (you know, Dimitri Kovalenko’s younger brother) who’s been pining after a professional ballroom dancer and certified Scrooge.
  5. Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love
    anthology, feat. pieces by Adi Alsaid, Cristina Moracho, and Ibi Zoboi (12/18/2018): YA Authors pen letters to teens about what love songs don’t usually talk about: what happens when love isn’t enough. Talking about heartbreak, betrayal, cheating, and intimate partner violence, this should heal your heart-shaped wounds.
  6. Sarai Saves the Music by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown (12/26/2018): Sarai’s school’s music program is getting its funding cut, and she decides to unite with her friends to organize a fundraising concert. (Spanish version will be available 02/26/2019)
  7. Blizzard Besties by Yamile Saied Méndez (12/26/2018): Vanesa Campos is determined to not ruin her family’s Christmas vacation at a ski resort. However, her little brother might be determined to do otherwise… (My review will be out at the end of November/beginning of December)
  8. One Night More: A Hotel Arroyo Novella by Sabrina Sol (12/29/2018): Not much is known about what the novella will be about, but if it’s penned by Sol, it’s guaranteed to be steamy.
  9. Exile by Lisa M. Bradley (01/01/2019): What better way to bring in the new year than by reading about toxic spills and a community affected by the state of isolation the government has put them in?
  10. Bicycle in a Ransacked City: An Elegy by Andrés Cerpa (01/08/2019): A collection full of love, loss, and pain, Cerpa’s poetry is a grieving text bursting with life.
  11. Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise; illustrated by Paola Escobar (01/15/2019): A children’s book illustrating the life and work of Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City whose legacy still resonates within the book publishing industry.
  12. Throw by Rubén Degollado (02/01/2019): An upcoming YA novel about warring boys in a South Texas town and the girl in the middle of this battle, who’s taken the moniker of La Llorona.
  13. Love, Sugar, Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits by Anna Meriano (02/05/2019): Following the much acclaimed A Dash of Trouble, Leo must find out what’s bringing spirits back to the material world, all while trying to find a balance between being a good friend and a good bruja.
  14. A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers feat. stories by Lizz Huerta, Malka Older, Daniel José Older, and Gabby Rivera (02/05/2019): A collection of SFF short stories by some of the best writers in the US at the moment. In a publishing industry that says there’s a dearth of SFF authors from different marginalized communities, this collection is a welcome addition to the literary canon.

That’s it for right now! I hope you enjoyed this list of books. As a part of my #ReadLatinx campaign, it’s important to celebrate the upcoming books being written by Latinx. Wanna read more of these lists? Check out my Summer and Fall 2018 lists. If you’re interested in supporting me, please make sure you follow me here for more posts like this, rec listsreviewsedits, and more! You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

My Amazon Wishlists with some of these books on it so I can continue supporting these wonderful creators. I do this for free but if you so wish you can also donate to my PayPal or buy me a cup of coffee on Ko-Fi.

Until next time!

Latinx Book Bingo 2018 Wrap-Up

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all doing fantastic. Today marked the end of Latinx Heritage Month, which means I will no longer be exclusively reading works by Latinx authors. I probably will continue reading mostly books by authors of color, but I feel a little burned out at the moment.

I feel like I started Latinx Heritage Month quite strong and held a steady pace, but right now I’m just not in the mood to read anything, which sucks. I love reading but I think I’m a little hyper-focused on certain things, and I’m not giving the books I wanna be reading the love and attention they deserve.

If you wanna read what my TBR looked like for this challenge, you can go to this link and read all about the books. I’ll recap what they were and what I accomplished during this month-long event.

Here’s the list of books I wanted to read with their authors and the genre they were in:

Here was my progress during the month:

  1. Read The Moon Within by Aida Salazar (Middle Grade Contemporary), which I know wasn’t on the TBR, but I received it and I devoured it immediately. My full review will go up sometime in January, but for now, know that I loved it with my whole heart and it was 5/5 Stars.
  2. Finally finished Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. It was pretty exposition heavy, but it had a great cast of characters and when the plot decided to move along it MOVED THE FUCK ALONG. 4/5 Stars.
  3. Read Night and Day by Andie J. Christopher. You can read my full review of it here. 4.5/5 Stars.
  4. Read about 60% of Delicious Complication by Sabrina Sol before I had to DNF it due to Brandon being The Worst. Daisy deserved better.
  5. Read Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, which rapidly became one of my favorite reads of 2018. You can read my full review here. 5/5 Stars.
  6. Read The Resolutions by Mia Garcia, another strong contender for a favorite 2018 book. Full review here. 5/5 Stars.
  7. Currently 39% into The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes, which was also not on the TBR.
  8. Also I’m about 21% into the ARC of We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia.

So that was my Latinx Book Bingo! The boxes in the bingo I marked were:

  • SF/F (Shadowshaper)
  • MC with Menta Illness (The Resolutions)
  • On Cover Rep (all of the books actually!!)
  • F/F relationship (The Resolutions)
  • Contemporary/Romance (all of them were contemporary books, Night and Day was Romance)
  • M/M relationship (The Resolutions)
  • Fat Rep (Night and Day)
  • Afro Latinx MC (The Moon Within, Shadowshaper, The Resolutions, and Merci Suarez all had this rep)
  • Classic Latinx Author (Meg Medina is considered one already right???? yeah she better be)
  • Poetry (The Moon Within is a novel in verse)

I think that’s it? There’s a Trans/GQ secondary character in The Moon Within, and I’m not counting the books I’m currently reading into the final tally (I would’ve had Disabled/Chronic Pain rep crossed with The Storm Runner).

At the end, I think I got too in my head over how fast I was supposed to be reading. I read a book every six days and that’s taking out the DNF’d book and those in progress. I think that was pretty solid.

Overall, I thought the challenge was exciting, especially since I hadn’t really done one beyond my Goodreads Reading Challenge. It felt nice to do something online that I felt I could be a part of. Even though I didn’t completely adhere to my TBR, it was still good to know I had this list to fall back on in case I faltered when reading something. I only deviated from my Latinx Authors Only mandate once, when I read issue #1 of House of Whispers by Nalo Hopkinson, which was still fun to read and it gave me a visual respite from all the words I’d read. I might get into that series because it was intriguing.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this post. If you took part of the Latinx Book Bingo, link me to your wrap-up posts or videos. I’d love to see what others were reading while I read these books. Did you have a favorite read this month? A least favorite one? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!