A year ago, The New York Times wrote about the lack of Latin@ literature in classrooms, which leaves the youngest members of the largest ethnic or racial minority in the U.S. with little chance to “see themselves in books.” The School Library Journal countered that the literature is there but needs to be promoted.
We believe both statements and would like to see more all around, meaning: more Latin@ children’s literature on bookshelves and in libraries and classrooms, more titles by and for Latin@s on year-end “Best of” lists and best-seller lists, more people buying, reading, and writing about Latin@ children’s literature.
We cannot control publishing and marketing, but we can read and write about Latin@s in children’s literature. So, as the new year approaches, we invite you to participate in our 2014 Reading Challenge. This would be a great way to diversify your reading lists and support already established and emerging writers who include Latin@s in their books. One of the best ways to express that diversity in kid lit is important is to buy, read, and write about these titles.
Here are the Guidelines:
- This challenge will run from January 1, 2014-December 31, 2014.
- The goal is one book per month. You may post reviews on GoodReads (use a shelf dedicated to 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Facebook, or wherever else you post your reviews. Again, link back to the challenge. Each month, we will check up on participants, but you can also send a direct link to our email at: firstname.lastname@example.org whenever you read and review a book. We will have a monthly round-up post that lists all reviews available online.
- Re-reads and crossovers from other challenges are fine.
- You may select books as you go.
- You can join at anytime during the year. Any books you have read in 2014 can be added.
- Prizes will be given to those who stick with it through the year!
- Any format, level (children’s, MG, or YA), or genre is welcome. The book, however, must be written by a Latin@ author and/or include Latin@ characters, settings, themes, etc.
“How will I find such books?” you ask.
“No problemo,” we say. Here are some suggestions:
- Browse our book lists and “Great Resources” tab for possibilities.
- Read School Library Journal’s Top 10 Latino-themed Books of 2013.
- Latinas 4 Latino Lit put out its own list of Remarkable Latino Children’s Literature of 2013 when the annual New York Times Notable Children’s Books list failed to honor a single book by or for Laint@s. They also offer book suggestions throughout the year.
- Search through the Pura Belpre Medal winners.
- Check out the winners of the International Latino Book Awards. The SLJ has a list of top prizes in various categories here.
Also, these titles were on “Best of” 2013 lists:
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina; SLJ, Kirkus
From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos: PW
Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario, Kirkus
Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez, Kirkus
Niño Wrestles the World written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, Horn
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Kirkus
If you’re like us, then you will be reading anyway because you’re a person who loves books and children’s literature, in particular. Why not challenge yourself to add some Latin@ literature to your TBR pile? We hope you join us!