October 2021 Latinx Book Releases!

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We are an affiliate with Indiebound and Bookshop. If If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission.

In addition to listing 2021 titles by/for/about Latinx on our master list, we will remind readers of what’s releasing each month. CONGRATULATIONS to these Latinx creators. Let’s celebrate these October book babies! Please let us know in the comments if we are missing any.

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Cover for Everything Within and In Between

EVERYTHING WITHIN AND IN BETWEEN by Nikki Barthelmess (Harper, October 5, 2021). Young Adult.

For Ri Fernández’s entire life, she’s been told, “We live in America and we speak English.” Raised by her strict Mexican grandma, Ri has never been allowed to learn Spanish.

What’s more, her grandma has pulled Ri away from the community where they once belonged. In its place, Ri has grown up trying to fit in among her best friend’s world of mansions and country clubs in an attempt try to live out her grandmother’s version of the “American Dream.”

In her heart, Ri has always believed that her mother, who disappeared when Ri was young, would accept her exactly how she is and not try to turn her into someone she’s never wanted to be. So when Ri finds a long-hidden letter from her mom begging for a visit, she decides to reclaim what Grandma kept from her: her heritage and her mom.

But nothing goes as planned. Her mom isn’t who Ri imagined she would be and finding her doesn’t make Ri’s struggle to navigate the interweaving threads of her mixed heritage any less complicated. Nobody has any idea of who Ri really is—not even Ri herself.

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Cover for Punching Bag

PUNCHING BAG by Rex Ogle. (Norton Young Readers, October 5, 2021). Young Adult. Punching Bag is the compelling true story of a high school career defined by poverty and punctuated by outbreaks of domestic abuse. Rex Ogle, who brilliantly mapped his experience of hunger in Free Lunch, here describes his struggle to survive; reflects on his complex, often paradoxical relationship with his passionate, fierce mother; and charts the trajectory of his stepdad’s anger. Hovering over Rex’s story is the talismanic presence of his unborn baby sister.

Through it all, Rex threads moments of grace and humor that act as beacons of light in the darkness. Compulsively readable, beautifully crafted, and authentically told, Punching Bag is a remarkable memoir about one teenager’s cycle of violence, blame, and attempts to forgive his parents—and himself.

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Cover for Dinner on Domingos

DINNER ON DOMINGOS by Alexandra Katona, illustrated by Claudia Navarro (Barefoot Books, October 11, 2021). Picture Book. “This magical home turns a normal Sunday into domingo: the best day of the week.” Warm memories wash over a first-generation Latinx American girl as she experiences a typical Sunday night dinner at her Abuelita’s house. Readers are immersed in the rich ways love is expressed within this home: the delicious smells of Ecuadorian home cooking, dancing, hugging and playing games with aunts, uncles and cousins. As Alejandra thinks about all the good times her family has had there, she decides that she wants to be brave and try speaking Spanish with Abuelita so that they can deepen their bond. Based on the author’s own life, this timely tale reflects the experience of many families.

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¡VAMOS! Let’s Cross The Bridge by Raúl The Third (Versify, October 12, 2021). Picture Book. Little Lobo and Bernabe are back in this joyful story about coming together and celebrating community. People are always crossing the bridge for work, to visit family, or for play. Some going this way; others going that way. Back and forth they go. With friends on foot and in bicycles, in cars and trucks, the bridge is an incredibly busy place with many different types of vehicles.
 
Little Lobo and his dog Bernabé have a new truck and they are using it to carry party supplies over the bridge with their pals El Toro and La Oink Oink. The line is long and everyone on the bridge is stuck. How will they pass the time?   Eventually everyone comes together for an epic party on the bridge between two different countries. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go gets  Mexican American makeover in this joyful story about coming together.

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ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DIVE INTO THE WATERS OF THE WORLD by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, October 12, 2021). Young Adult. In Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, two boys in a border town fell in love. Now, they must discover what it means to stay in love and build a relationship in a world that seems to challenge their very existence.

Ari has spent all of high school burying who he really is, staying silent and invisible. He expected his senior year to be the same. But something in him cracked open when he fell in love with Dante, and he can’t go back. Suddenly he finds himself reaching out to new friends, standing up to bullies of all kinds, and making his voice heard. And, always, there is Dante, dreamy, witty Dante, who can get on Ari’s nerves and fill him with desire all at once.

The boys are determined to forge a path for themselves in a world that doesn’t understand them. But when Ari is faced with a shocking loss, he’ll have to fight like never before to create a life that is truthfully, joyfully his own.

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THIRTY TALKS WEIRD LOVE by Alessandra Narváez Varela (Cinco Puntos Press, October 12, 2021). Young Adult. Out of nowhere, a lady comes up to Anamaria and says she’s her, from the future. But Anamaria’s thirteen, she knows better than to talk to some weirdo stranger. Girls need to be careful, especially in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico–it’s the 90’s and fear is overtaking her beloved city as cases of kidnapped girls and women become alarmingly common. This thirty-year-old “future” lady doesn’t seem to be dangerous, but she won’t stop bothering her, switching between cheesy Hallmark advice about being kind to yourself, and some mysterious talk about saving a girl.

Anamaria definitely doesn’t need any saving, she’s doing just fine. She works hard at her strict, grade-obsessed middle school–so hard that she hardly gets any sleep; so hard that the stress makes her snap not just at mean girls but even her own (few) friends; so hard that when she does sleep she dreams about dying–but she just wants to do the best she can so she can grow up to be successful. Maybe Thirty’s right. Maybe she’s not supposed to be so exhausted with her life, but how can she ask for help when her city is mourning the much bigger tragedy of its stolen girls?

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Cover for Concealed

CONCEALED by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Scholastic Press, October 19, 2021). Middle Grade. Katrina believes that she and her parents are part of the Witness Protection Program. That’s why they keep switching towns, and names, and identities… right?

But when her father disappears, Katrina learns that she’s the reason they’ve been hiding all these years. And it’s not just her identity that is called into question-but her very humanity.

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SCI-FU: IT TAKES 2 written and illustrated by Yehudi Mercado (Oni Press, October 19, 2021). Graphic Novel. Wax, aspiring DJ and sci-fu master-in-training, made it back safely from the alien robot planet of Discopia, where he defeated the Five Deadly Dangers and became the rightful king of Discopia. He doesn’t want the crown, though. He just wants things to go back to normal. Wax and his crew thought the robot trouble was behind them, but strange creatures have been showing up in Brooklyn, and Wax is determined to take care of them once and for all. Little does he know, there’s a new villain in Discopia, and she’ll do anything to take the crown from Wax. Wax starts to worry he doesn’t have what it takes to protect his family, friends, and all of Brooklyn from the new threats. Wax will need to kick his hip-hop and sci-fu training into high gear—and learn to rely on his family and friends for help—if he’s going to have a shot at saving his neighborhood.

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Cover for The Witch Owl Parliament

THE WITCH OWL PARLIAMENT by David Bowles and Raúl the Third. (Tu Books, October 19, 2021). Graphic Novel. Discover a graphic novel unlike any other–a brilliant steampunk reimagining of Frankenstein set in colonial Mexico.

In the Republic of Santander, non-Christian magic is frowned upon, if not outright prohibited. But when Cristina Franco, an apprentice shaman, is killed by witch owls, her brother Enrique cannot let her go. With forbidden alchemy and engineering, Enrique brings her back to life: part human, part machine. Though her very existence is an abomination to Santander’s citizens, Cristina vows to use her new abilities to protect her country from attack.

With help from a handsome skinwalker named Mateo, Cristina and Enrique track down the witch owl coven and uncover a sinister plot to bring Santander under the rule of the Witch Owl Parliament, whose legendary cruelty would dismantle the country’s hard-won freedoms. At the same time, Indigenous folks and immigrants are disappearing from Santander–including Enrique’s beloved, Gaspar. Could the attacks and the disappearances be related? As the witch owls attack more trains and more refugees go missing, the trio must uncover the witch owls’ origins to understand their weakness.

Energetic illustrations by Pura Belpr Award winner Ra l the Third bring to life the words of award-winning author and poet David Bowles. Don’t miss this amazing first volume of the Clockwork Curandera trilogy.

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Cover for I'll Hold Your Hand

I’LL HOLD YOUR HAND by Maggie C. Rudd, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri (Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR, October 26, 2021). Picture BookI’ll Hold Your Hand celebrates the unbreakable bond of family, and all the ways our actions can say “I love you” louder than words.

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Cover for Miosotis Flores Never Forgets

MIOSOTIS FLORES NEVER FORGETS by Hilda Eunice Burgos (Tu Books, October 26, 2021). Middle Grade. Miosotis Flores is excited about three things: fostering rescue dogs, goofy horror movies, and her sister Amarilis’s upcoming wedding. School? Not on that list. But her papi cares about school more than anything else, so they strike a deal: If Miosotis improves her grades in two classes, she can adopt a dog of her own in the summer.

Miosotis dives into her schoolwork, and into nurturing a fearful little pup called Freckles. Could he become her forever dog? At the same time, she notices Amarilis behaving strangely–wearing thick clothes in springtime, dropping her friends in favor of her fianc , even avoiding Miosotis and the rest of their family.

When she finally discovers her sister’s secret, Miosotis faces some difficult choices. What do you do if someone is in danger, but doesn’t want your help? When should you ask for support, and when should you try to handle things on your own? And what ultimately matters most–what Miosotis wants, or what’s right for the ones she loves?

Cover for Broken Butterfly Wings / Alas de Mariposa Rotas

BROKEN BUTTERFLY WINGS / Alas De Mariposa Rotas by Raquel M. Ortiz, illustrated by Carrie Salazar (Piñata Books, October 31, 2021). Picture Book. Gabriela is super excited when her gift from Titi Sylvia finally arrives. She loves the colorful, glittery butterfly wings! She stands in the middle of her room and flaps and flaps her new wings, but nothing happens. She jumps off her bed, vigorously moving the wings up and down, but again, nada. She hops down the hallway and the stairs, but she still can’t fly!

Disappointed, Gabriela goes to the garage, digs into her father’s toolbox and sets about trying to fix the broken butterfly wings. Maybe she can add a battery or an engine. Her father has a better idea, though, and encourages her to close her eyes and think about where she would like to fly. Soon she is envisioning El Yunque, a rainforest on the island of Puerto Rico that is full of tall green trees, humming waterfalls and chattering birds. She can even hear the coquí, a tiny tree frog that lives only on the island, singing its special song: coquí-coquí.

Demonstrating the joy found in using one’s imagination, this bilingual picture book depicts a young girl drawing on her senses—smell, hearing, sight—to return to a beloved place. Kids will appreciate the beauty of the rainforest’s birds, frogs and other natural wonders while admiring a strong girl willing to create solutions to problems.

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Cover for Josefina's Habichuelas / Las Habichuelas de Josefina

JOSEFINA’S HABICHUELAS / Las Habichuelas De Josefina by Jasminne Mendez, illustrated by Flor de Vita, translated by Adnaloy Espinosa (Piñata Books, October 31, 2021). Picture Book. Like all kids, Josefina loves to eat sweets. She loves warm chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven, cupcakes and candy! One night, while eating a piece of flan, Mami asks her to consider giving up sweets for Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. “That’s impossible!” Josefina says. When Mami promises to teach her how to make her favorite dessert, habichuelas con dulce, she agrees to give it a try.

Josefina can’t wait to end her fast and eat the delicious sweet cream beans, her family’s traditional Easter dessert. While she and her mom, tías and abuela prepare the dish, they dance to merengue music and tell stories about life back in the Dominican Republic. The kitchen fills with the aromatic smells of cinnamon and sugar, but it’s the feelings of love and happiness Josefina will never forget. On Easter Sunday, when the family eats the special dessert she prepared, the girl’s grandmother proclaims, “It’s the best pot of habichuelas con dulce I’ve tasted in my life!”

This heart-warming, bilingual picture book for children shares a universal story all kids can relate to—learning about one’s culture through food, music and family stories—while focusing on a cultural tradition specific to the Dominican Republic. As a bonus, the book includes the recipe for this special dessert—in both English and Spanish!

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Cover for La Llorona Can't Scare Me / La Llorona No Me Asusta

LA LLORONA CAN’T SCARE ME / La Llorona no me asusta by Xavier Garza (Piñata Books, October 31, 2021). Picture Book. Little Damian is getting ready for bed, and the spooky monster called La Llorona is hollering up a storm outside his bedroom window. But he’s not afraid. “You can’t scare me, silly Llorona,” says Damian, “and neither can your monster friends!”

When evil-looking witch owls fly around his room and little green duendes, or goblins, make creepy noises under his bed, he’s still not frightened. Not even a little bit. The Donkey Lady, a chupacabras and even some little devils parade through his room, but Damian still isn’t afraid. A witch casting spells, a ghost rattling its chains, a cucuy with a burlap bag to catch him … nada. None of them can terrify brave little Damian. How can a little boy like him be so fearless?!?

No one knows it, but Damian has a secret weapon: a night light shaped like a mighty wrestler wearing a silver mask. When he plugs it in, its bright light terrifies all the monsters and sends them running for a place to hide! Touching on issues such as bedtime rituals and nighttime terrors, children ages 4-8 will enjoy this entertaining story that features creepy creatures familiar to many Hispanic kids.

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VINCENT VENTURA AND THE CURSE OF THE WEEPING WOMAN / VINCENT VENTURA Y LA MALDICIÓN DE LA LLORONA by Xavier Garza ((Piñata Books, October 31, 2021). Middle Grade. Vincent Ventura, monster fighter extraordinaire, can’t believe the house at 666 Duende Street has attracted yet another creepy creature! In fact, this time there are several unusual beings, including two boys who disappear and reappear—are they ghosts?!? And the lady in white with fiery glowing eyes who calls out for them? Is she … La Llorona?!? And who is the other young woman?

The next day at school, Vincent and his cousins Bobby and Michelle meet a new substitute teacher, Ms. Malin Che, who just moved into the haunted house. What is her connection to La Llorona and the unusual children? At least this time, the kids have new friends to help solve the mystery: Sayer, who they helped in a previous battle with trolls, or duendes, and Zulema, a witch owl who was the target of evil witches.

As the relationship between Vincent and Zulema evolves, becoming more complex and exciting, so too does the current case! Two new beings turn up: a hideous figure dressed as a Mexican cowboy whose face is devoid of flesh and a second spooky woman! Ms. Che, a Latin American folklore expert, tells them about el Charro Negro and the weeping women collectively called Cihuateteos. This bilingual book for intermediate readers, the fourth installment in Garza’s Monster Fighter Mystery series, follows the nail-biting battle for the souls of two boys! Will Vincent and his friends be able to save them from the monsters’ clutches?!?

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CHRONICLES OF A LUCHADOR by Ray Villareal (Piñata Books, October 31, 2021). Young Adult. Jesse Baron, the son of the American Championship Wrestling star known as the Angel of Death, is about to graduate from high school. His parents expect him to attend the University of Texas and study mechanical engineering, something he’s not interested in.

The young man knows he would be a natural at professional wrestling, and with his father’s help he might even reach the same level of fame and success. But the Angel of Death, retired from the ACW and running a wrestling promotion and school, refuses to train his son for fear he will choose sports entertainment over a college degree. Jesse decides that once he gets settled at UT, he’s going to look for another place to wrestle. To keep his father from finding out, he’ll promote himself as a masked luchador from Oaxaca, Mexico, named Máscara de la Muerte. When no one will hire him, Jesse reluctantly considers joining a lucha libre organization, even though he doesn’t speak Spanish. Will the fans and his fellow wrestlers see him as a luchador—or just a gringo with a mask?

In this stand-alone sequel to his acclaimed novels, My Father, the Angel of Death and Body Slammed!, Ray Villareal continues his exploration of a teenager growing into manhood against the backdrop of the wrestling world.

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CHANCES IN DISGUISE by Diana J. Noble (Piñata Books, October 31, 2021). Young Adult. In this sequel to Evangelina Takes Flight, the young girl who left her home during the Mexican Revolution to start over in a small Texas border town is now seventeen. She has had several years of medical training with her mentor, Doc Taylor, but when a doctor from a neighboring town finds her helping an Anglo woman in labor, he is enraged. He calls her a dirty Mexican and kicks her out. The next day, Evangelina is arrested for murder.

The racist sheriff and many of the townspeople believe Mexicans are inferior and that Evangelina must be guilty of using witchcraft to kill the pregnant woman. But she isn’t all alone. Doc Taylor believes in her innocence, as does Cora Cavanaugh, the spirited daughter of a wealthy businessman. And there’s Selim Njaim, a young Muslim with whom she has a forbidden relationship. Soon La Liga Protectora Mexicana assigns someone to represent her, but will Joaquín Castañeda be able to convince the jury that Evangelina is not a murderer?

Set in Texas in 1915, this eye-opening historical novel for young adults reveals the racial inequity in the justice system, the discrimination experienced by Mexicans and other non-whites and the limitations placed on women. Teens will relate to the theme of finding confidence and bravery in times of uncertainty, while learning about the harassment, torture and killing of innocent Mexicans and Tejanos in the early part of the twentieth century.

September 2021 Latinx Book Releases!

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We are an affiliate with Indiebound and Bookshop. If If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission.

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In addition to listing 2021 titles by/for/about Latinx on our master list, we will remind readers of what’s releasing each month. CONGRATULATIONS to these Latinx creators. Let’s celebrate these September book babies! Please let us know in the comments if we are missing any.

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Cover for Battle of the Bands

BATTLE OF THE BANDS, edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith (Candlewick, September 7, 2021). YA Anthology. A daughter of rock ’n’ roll royalty has a secret crush. A lonely ticket taker worries about his sister. An almost-famous songwriter nurses old wounds. A stage manager tires of being behind the scenes. A singer-songwriter struggles to untangle her feelings for her best friend and his girlfriend. In this live-out-loud anthology, the disparate protagonists of sixteen stories are thrown together for one unforgettable event: their high school’s battle of the bands. Told in a harmonic blend of first- and third-person narrative voices, roughly chronological short stories offer a kaleidoscopic view of the same transformative night. Featuring an entry from Justin Courtney Pierre, lead vocalist of Motion City Soundtrack, Battle of the Bands isa celebration of youth, music, and meeting the challenges of life head-on.

With stories by Brittany Cavallaro, Preeti Chhibber, Jay Coles, Katie Cotugno, Lauren Gibaldi, Shaun David Hutchinson, Ashley Poston, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Sarah Nicole Smetana, Eric Smith, Jenn Marie Thorne, Sarvenaz Taghavian, Jasmine Warga, Ashley Woodfolk, and Jeff Zentner, and featuring Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Courtney Pierre.

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Cover for Bright Star

BRIGHT STAR by Yuyi Morales (Neal Porter Books, September 7, 2021). Picture Book.

Child, you are awake
You are alive
You are a bright star,
Inside our hearts.

Told with a combination of powerful, spare language and sumptuous and complex imagery that is typical of Yuyi Morales’s work, this is the story of a fawn making her way through a border landscape teaming with flora and fauna native to the region. A gentle but empowering voice encourages her to face her fears when she comes across an obstacle in the form of an insurmountable barrier. Yuyi Morales’ first book since her New York Times bestseller Dreamers is a book for very young children looking for their place in a world full of uncertainty. It is a book with resonance for all children, especially those whose safety is threatened due to the immigration crisis in the US.

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Cover for Hair Story

HAIR STORY by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Keosha Morris (Carolrhoda Books, September 7, 2021). Picture Book. Preciosa has hair that won’t stay straight, won’t be confined. Rudine’s hair resists rollers, flat irons, and rules.

Together, the girls play hair salon They take inspiration from their moms, their neighbors, their ancestors, and cultural icons. They discover that their hair holds roots of the past and threads of the future.

With rhythmic, rhyming verse and vibrant collage art, author NoNieqa Ramos and illustrator Keisha Morris follow two girls as they discover the stories hair can tell.

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Cover for La tierra de las grullas (Land of the Cranes)

LA TIERRA DE LAS GRULLAS, the Spanish edition of THE LAND OF THE CRANES by Aisa Salazar (Scholastic en español, September 7, 2021). Middle Grade. Betita, de nueve años, sabe que es una grulla. Papi le contó la historia desde antes que su familia emigrara a Los Ángeles buscando refugio de la guerra del narco en México. Los aztecas procedían de un lugar llamado Aztlán, en lo que es hoy el sureste de Estados Unidos, cuyo nombre significa “tierra de las grullas”, y establecieron su gran ciudad en el centro del universo: Tenochtitlán, la actual Ciudad de México. Cuenta una profesía que su gente regresaría un día a vivir entre las grullas en la tierra prometida. Papi le dice a Betita que ellos son grullas que han regresado a su hogar.

Un día, el querido padre de Betita es arrestado por el Servicio de Control de Inmigración y Aduanas y deportado a México. Betita y su mamá ingrávida se quedan solas, pero finalmente son también detenidas y deben aprender a sobrevivir en un campamento de detención de familias en las afueras de Los Ángeles. Incluso en estas condiciones crueles e inhumanas, Betita encuentra amparo en su propia poesía y en la comunidad que ella y su madre encuentran en el campamento. Las voces de sus compañeros en busca de asilo vuelan por encima del odio que los mantiene enjaulados y que amenaza cada día con hacerlos caer más bajo de lo que jamás imaginaron. ¿Podrán Betita y su familia volver a ser una sola?

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LOTERÍA by Karla Arenas Valenti (Knof, September 7, 2021). Middle GradeA perilous game of chance. A journey among myths and monsters. A girl whose fate hangs in the balance…It is the hottest hour of the hottest day in Oaxaca City when Life and Death walk into town, ready to begin a new game of la Lotería. But first, they need a pawn, a child whose fate will be determined by the winner of the game: a long and prosperous life or an untimely death. Fate finds this child in a robin-egg blue house, tucked beneath a massive jacaranda tree. And so, the game begins.

Every card reveals a new twist in Clara’s fate: a tree, a scorpion, a fateful arrow, a mermaid, a deer, a treacherous rose. But Clara knows none of this. All she knows is that her cousin Esteban has vanished, and she’ll do whatever it takes to save him, traveling to the mythical Kingdom of Las Pozas in her search. And although it seems her fate was sealed as soon as the cards were dealt, Clara just might have what it takes to shatter the game and choose a new path.

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MISSING OKALEE by Laura Onjeda Melchor (Shadow Mountain, September 7, 2021)Middle Grade. When compared to her nearly perfect little sister, Phoebe Paz Petersen feels she doesn’t measure up in her parents’ eyes. Okalee is smart and beloved for her sunny disposition, which makes it hard for Phoebe to stand out in their small town in Montana. But if she can get picked for the coveted solo in the school choir, she’ll stop being a middle-school nobody and finally get her chance to shine.

Despite her sister’s annoying perfection, Phoebe actually loves spending time with Okalee. They have one very special, secret tradition: River Day–when they hold hands and make their way across the cold, rushing Grayling River, to celebrate the first hint of spring. This year’s River Day crossing, however, goes horribly wrong, and Phoebe’s world is suddenly turned upside down.

Heartbroken and facing life without Okalee, Phoebe is more determined than ever to sing the solo in the school concert as a way of speaking to her sister one last time. But Phoebe’s so traumatized by what happened, she’s lost her beautiful singing voice.

Kat Waters wants the choir solo for herself and is spreading a terrible rumor about what really happened to Okalee on River Day. If Phoebe tells the truth, she believes her family will never forgive her and she may never get to sing her goodbye to Okalee. Even worse, somebody is leaving Phoebe anonymous notes telling her they saw what really happened at the river.

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PURA’S CUENTOS: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories by Annette Bay Pimentel, illustrated by Magaly Morales (Abrams Books for Young Readers, September 7, 2021). Picture Book. Pura’s abuela always has a cuento to share. She crows ¡Qui-qui-ri-quí! for Señor Gallo, booms Borom, Borom for Señor Zapo, and tells of a beautiful cockroach who loves a mouse. Pura clings to these stories like coquíes cling to green leaves.

When Pura grows up and moves from Puerto Rico to Harlem, she gets a job at the library, where she is surrounded by stories—but they’re only in English. Where is Señor Gallo? Where is Pérez the mouse? Where is Puerto Rico on these shelves? She decides to tell children the tales of her homeland in English and in Spanish.

Pura’s Cuentos captures the exuberant spirit and passion of Pura Belpré: celebrated storyteller, author, folklorist, and the first Latina librarian in New York City. A pioneer of bilingual storytimes, she welcomed countless new families to the library, formed cultural bridges in her community, and broke the rules by telling stories that weren’t printed in books—at least, not yet.

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Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

SMALL TOWN MONSTERS by Diana Rodriguez Wallach (Underlined, September 7, 2021). Young Adult. Vera Martinez wants nothing more than to escape Roaring Creek and her parents’ reputation as demonologists. Not to mention she’s the family outcast, lacking her parents’ innate abilities, and is terrified of the occult things lurking in their basement.

Maxwell Oliver is supposed to be enjoying the summer before his senior year, spending his days thinking about parties and friends. Instead he’s taking care of his little sister while his mom slowly becomes someone he doesn’t recognize. Soon he suspects that what he thought was grief over his father’s death might be something more…sinister.

When Maxwell and Vera join forces, they come face to face with deeply disturbing true stories of cults, death worship, and the very nature that drives people to evil.

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WHERE I BELONG by Marcia Argueta Mickelson (Carolrhoda Lab, September 7, 2021). Young Adult. In the spring of 2018, Guatemalan American high school senior Milagros “Millie” Vargas knows her life is about to change. She’s lived in Corpus Christi, Texas, ever since her parents sought asylum there when she was a baby. Now a citizen, Millie devotes herself to school and caring for her younger siblings while her mom works as a housekeeper for the wealthy Wheeler family. With college on the horizon, Millie is torn between attending her dream school and staying close to home, where she knows she’s needed. She’s disturbed by what’s happening to asylum-seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, but she doesn’t see herself as an activist or a change-maker. She’s just trying to take care of her own family.

Then Mr. Wheeler, a U.S. Senate candidate, mentions Millie’s achievements in a campaign speech about “deserving” immigrants. It doesn’t take long for people to identify Millie’s family and place them at the center of a statewide immigration debate. Faced with journalists, trolls, anonymous threats, and the Wheelers’ good intentions–especially those of Mr. Wheeler’s son, Charlie–Millie must confront the complexity of her past, the uncertainty of her future, and her place in the country that she believed was home.

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Image result for BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA

BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA by Alda P. Dobbs, illustrated by John Jay Cabuay (Sourcebooks, September 14, 2021). Middle Grade. It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna’s mama has died while the Revolution rages in Mexico. Before her papa is dragged away by soldiers, Petra vows to him that she will care for the family she has left–her abuelita, little sister Amelia, and baby brother Luisito–until they can be reunited. They flee north through the unforgiving desert as their town burns, searching for safe harbor in a world that offers none.

Each night when Petra closes her eyes, she holds her dreams close, especially her long-held desire to learn to read. Abuelita calls these barefoot dreams: “They’re like us barefoot peasants and indios–they’re not meant to go far.” But Petra refuses to listen. Through battlefields and deserts, hunger and fear, Petra will stop at nothing to keep her family safe and lead them to a better life across the U.S. border–a life where her barefoot dreams could finally become reality.

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HELLO, TREE by Ana Crespo, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, September 14, 2021). Picture Book. When a wildfire comes roaring into the forest, all the animals and humans flee. But all the tree can do is wait. Wait until many days and nights pass. Wait until the fire loses the battle. And wait until the forest is still before the forest can be reborn and the animals and the girl can come back.
 
Inspired by the 2013 Black Forest fire and told from the viewpoint of a tree watching its home destroyed, Hello, Tree is about the kinship between humans and nature, and preservation of the environment.

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MIGHTY MILER: Keila Runs America by Keila Merino, illustrated by Ana Aranda (Six Foot Press, September 15, 2021). Picture Book. Feeling shy and uncertain and speaking only a few words of English, Keila finds an unlikely friend in her gym teacher, Mr. Jones. He shouts out instructions to the students as they play kickball and dodgeball, and at first Keila doesn’t understand him and doesn’t know what to do. Finally, he yells out to her, “Just run ” And then Keila starts running . . . and running . . . and running She discovers that she has a natural talent for the sport. Through running, Keila finds inside her a determination that she never knew she had. Learning to run like the wind, Keila bravely adapts to her new life in America and develops a confidence and sense of herself that will stay with her forever.

Mighty Miler is the true story of ultrarunning champion, coach, and New York City schoolteacher Keila Merino. An immigrant from Mexico, she discovered running in the schoolyards of Arizona and has harnessed the sport to hurdle barriers of language, gender, and class. Today she competes around the world and shares a message of optimism, hard work, and kindness that has shaped the lives of her students–many of whom are immigrants–as much as it has her own. Keila’s story shows that by following one’s passion and helping others, one can achieve the American dream.

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CUBA IN MY POCKET by Adriana Cuevas (FSG/Macmillan, September 21, 2021). Middle Grade.

When the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 solidifies Castro’s power in Cuba, twelve-year-old Cumba’s family makes the difficult decision to send him to Florida alone. Faced with the prospect of living in another country by himself, Cumba tries to remember the sound of his father’s clarinet, the smell of his mother’s lavender perfume.

Life in the United States presents a whole new set of challenges. Lost in a sea of English speakers, Cumba has to navigate a new city, a new school, and new freedom all on his own. With each day, Cumba feels more confident in his new surroundings, but he continues to wonder: Will his family ever be whole again? Or will they remain just out of reach, ninety miles across the sea?

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TEEN TITANS: Beast Boy Loves Raven by Kami Garcia, illustrated by Gabriel Picolo (DC Comics, September 28, 2021). Young Adult. It seems like years, but it’s only been a few days since Raven Roth recovered her memories, trapped her demon father, Trigon, into her amulet, and had her heart broken for the first time. But she doesn’t have time to think about the past…she has to focus on finding a way to get rid of Trigon for good.

Garfield Logan still can’t believe he has powers that allow him to change into different animals, but the price of knowing that his parents kept this secret hidden from him just feels too high. And what’s more, his difficulty controlling these abilities could have unexpected consequences.

Both are seeking answers from the one person who seems to have them all figured out: Slade Wilson.

When their paths converge in Nashville, Raven and Gar can’t help but feel a connection, despite the secrets they both try to hide. It will take a great amount of trust and courage to overcome the wounds of their pasts. But can they find acceptance for the darkest part of themselves? Or maybe even love?

August 2021 Latinx Book Releases!

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We are an affiliate with Indiebound and Bookshop. If If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission.

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In addition to listing 2021 titles by/for/about Latinx on our master list, we will remind readers of what’s releasing each month. CONGRATULATIONS to these Latinx creators. Let’s celebrate these August book babies! Please let us know in the comments if we are missing any.

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DRILL TEAM DETERMINATION: A Jake Maddox JV Girls Story text by Cindy L. Rodriguez (Capstone/Stone Arch Books, August 1, 2021). Middle Grade. Thirteen-year-old Aniyah comes from a long line of drill and step team members. Her mom and aunts all competed, so none of them understand why Aniyah doesn’t want to continue the tradition. But Aniyah doesn’t like attention or performing. Then Aniyah’s friend Stacy convinces her to give the team a try. They dance just for fun and they don’t compete, so there’s no pressure. Aniyah discovers she is right—it is kind of fun! But just when Aniyah is starting to get into the groove, the rules change, and the team decides to enter a competition. Can Aniyah overcome her fears and get on board with competition, or will she have to step away from drill team?

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GYMNASTICS PAYBACK: A Jake Maddox Mysteries Book text by Cindy L. Rodriguez (Capstone/Stone Arch Books, August 1, 2021). Middle Grade. Mia Hernandez’s gymnastics team is nervous about the upcoming season. However, they’re encouraged when their new coach tells them that she was once a gymnast for their longtime rivals. The coach’s knowledge will be a great advantage during the season. But strange things begin to happen at the competitions. The wrong music is played during some girls’ floor exercises. Itching powder ends up in one team’s chalk. At another meet, the parallel bars fall apart while a competitor performs her routine. Someone is taking dangerous risks to cheat at the competitions. But who could it be, and why? Follow along as Mia discovers the shocking truth behind who’s been sabotaging the competition during the gymnastics season in this Jake Maddox JV Mystery.

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A SONG OF FRUTAS/ Un pregón de frutas by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Sara Palacios (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, August 3, 2021). Picture Book. The little girl loves visiting her grandfather in Cuba and singing his special songs to sell all kinds of fruit: mango, limón, naranja, piña, and more! Even when they’re apart, grandfather and granddaughter can share rhymes between their countries like un abrazo—a hug—made of words carried on letters that soar across the distance like songbirds.

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LIKE A LOVE SONG by Gabriela Martins (Underlined, August 3, 2021). Young AdultFake boyfriend. Real heartbreak? Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star… until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating–it could end her career.

Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy–not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William–and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?

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PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE FOREST OF NIGHTMARES by Tehlor Kay Mejia (Rick Riordan Presents, August 3, 2021). Middle Grade. Six months after Paola Santiago confronted the legendary La Llorona, life is nothing like she’d expected it to be. She is barely speaking to her best friends, Dante and Emma, and what’s worse, her mom has a totally annoying boyfriend. Even with her chupacabra puppy, Bruto, around, Pao can’t escape the feeling that she’s all alone in the world.

Pao has no one to tell that she’s having nightmares again, this time set in a terrifying forest. Even more troubling? At their center is her estranged father, an enigma of a man she barely remembers. And when Dante’s abuela falls mysteriously ill, it seems that the dad Pao never knew just might be the key to healing the eccentric old woman.

Pao’s search for her father will send her far from home, where she will encounter new monsters and ghosts, a devastating betrayal, and finally, the forest of her nightmares. Will the truths her father has been hiding save the people Pao loves, or destroy them?

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GREEN? by Rana DiOrio, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda (Little Pickle Press, August 3, 2021). Picture Book. A young boy and girl explore all the different ways they can be green over the course of a day. Drawing on two sides of your paper instead of just one. Walking to the park instead of getting a ride. Turning off the water while you brush your teeth. They discover lots of amazing facts (like how our food travels an average of 1,500 miles to be on our plate ) and realize there’s so much they–and we–can do to help save our world

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Yamile Saied Méndez - Wish Upon a Stray

WISH UPON A STRAY by Yamile Saied Méndez (Scholastic, August 3, 2021). Middle Grade. María Emilia’s life turns upside-down when she and her family immigrate from Argentina to the US. How can she make new friends when simply speaking English all day is exhausting?

Luckily, she has the company of a stray dog in the neighborhood, who happens to look and act just like her beloved pet cat back home. Eventually, it turns out the pup isn’t a stray after all — she belongs to María Emilia’s new neighbor, Donovan. In order to spend more time with the dog (who totally isn’t her reincarnated cat… right?), she agrees to sing in Donovan’s band. But can Emilia find her new voice without losing herself?

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ALEJANDRIA FIGHTS BACK! / ¡LA LUCHA DE ALEJANDRIA! by Leticia Hernandez-Linares, illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo for the Rise-Home Project (Feminist Press, August 10, 2021). Picture Book. For nine-year-old Alejandria, home isn’t just the apartment she shares with Mami and her abuela, Tita, but rather the whole neighborhood. Home is the bakery where Ms. Beatrice makes yummy picos; the sidewalk where Ms. Alicia sells flowers with her little dog, Duende; and the corner store with friendly Mr. Amir.

But lately the city has been changing, and rent prices are going up. Many people in el barrio are leaving because they can no longer afford their homes, and For Sale signs are popping up everywhere. Then the worst thing happens: Mami receives a letter saying they’ll have to move out too.

Alejandria knows it isn’t fair, but she’s not about to give up and leave. Join Alejandria as she brings her community together to fight and save their neighborhood.

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Boogie Boogie, Y'all - Kindle edition by Esperanza, C. G., Esperanza, C.  G.. Children Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

BOOGIE BOOGIE, Y’ALL written and illustrated by C.G. Esperanza (Katherine Tegan Books, August 10, 2021). Picture Book. A celebratory ode to graffiti and the Boogie Down Bronx. The city is alive with vibrant art in every corner of the parks, the shops, the trains. But most people are too busy to see it—or worse, choose to ignore it! When three children stop to marvel at the art around their community, they realize it’s up to them to show everyone else how truly special it is when art and reality dance together so seamlessly.

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HOW MOON FUENTEZ FELL IN LOVE WITH THE UNIVERSE by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, August 10, 2021). Young Adult. When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible.

Most notable is her bunkmate and new nemesis, Santiago Phillips, who is grumpy, combative, and also the hottest guy Moon has ever seen.

Moon is certain she hates Santiago and that he hates her back. But as chance and destiny (and maybe, probably, close proximity) bring the two of them in each other’s perpetual paths, Moon starts to wonder if that’s really true. She even starts to question her destiny as the unnoticed, unloved wallflower she always thought she was.

Could this summer change Moon’s life as she knows it?

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13th STREET #6: Fight with the Freeze-Ray Fowls by David Bowles, illustrated by Shane Clester (HarperChapters, August 17, 2021). Chapter Book. Cousins Malia, Dante, and Ivan must face off against the evil queen of 13th Street. But she has lots of monsters on her side, including birds that can freeze you with a look! Can the cousins defeat her and shut down 13th Street once and for all?

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BIG APPLE DIARIES written and illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez (Roaring Brook Press, August 17, 2021). Middle Grade. It’s the year 2000 in New York City. For 12-year old Alyssa, this means splitting time between her Puerto Rican dad’s apartment in Manhattan and her white mom’s new place in Queens, navigating the trials and tribulations of middle school, and an epic crush on a new classmate. The only way to make sense of it all is to capture the highs and lows in doodles and hilarious comics in a diary.

Then life abruptly changes on September 11, 2001. After the Twin Towers fall and so many lives are lost, worries about gossip and boys feel distant and insignificant. Alyssa must find a new sense of self and purpose amidst all of the chaos, and find the strength to move forward with hope.

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Cover for Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua

CHILD OF THE FLOWER-SONG PEOPLE: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua by Gloria Amescua, illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh (Abrams Books for Young Readers, August 17, 2021). Picture Book. As a young Nahua girl in Mexico during the early 1900s, Luz learned how to grind corn in a metate, to twist yarn with her toes, and to weave on a loom. By the fire at night, she listened to stories of her community’s joys, suffering, and survival, and wove them into her heart.

But when the Mexican Revolution came to her village, Luz and her family were forced to flee and start a new life. In Mexico City, Luz became a model for painters, sculptors, and photographers such as Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot, and Tina Modotti. These artists were interested in showing the true face of Mexico and not a European version. Through her work, Luz found a way to preserve her people’s culture by sharing her native language, stories, and traditions. Soon, scholars came to learn from her.

The book includes an author’s note, timeline, glossary, and bibliography.

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DEFINITELY DOMINGUITA: All for One by Terry Castasús, illustrated by Fatima Anaya (Aladdin, August 17, 2021). Chapter Book. Dom, Pancho, Steph, and their noble steed, Rocco, are ready for their next adventure! When their beloved El Señor Fuentes asks Dom to run a very important errand—to put the order in at the local butcher shop for his daughter, Leni’s, upcoming quinceañera—Dom is happy to help. But when Señor Fuentes discovers the order was never put in—and the food for the party has been sold to someone else—Dom takes a cue from The Three Musketeers to try and figure out what happened.

With the help of Pancho and Steph, Dom discovers the dastardly Bublassi brothers have big plans to sabotage Leni’s party. Keeping in mind the famous motto All for One and One for All, Mundytown’s own Three Musketeers are determined to make sure Leni has a party she’ll remember for all the right reasons!

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LIVING BEYOND BORDERS: Growing up Mexican in America edited by Margarita Longoria (Philomel Books, August 17, 2021). Young Adult Anthology. Twenty stand-alone short stories, essays, poems, and more from celebrated and award-winning authors make up this YA anthology that explores the Mexican American experience. With works by Francisco X. Stork, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, David Bowles, Rubén Degollado, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Diana López, Xavier Garza, Trinidad Gonzales, Alex Temblador, Aida Salazar, Lupe Ruiz-Flores, Sylvia Sanchez Garza, Dominic Carrillo, Angela Cervantes, Carolyn Dee Flores, René Saldaña Jr., Justine Narro, Daniel García Ordaz, and Anna Meriano. In this mixed-media collection of short stories, personal essays, poetry, and comics, this celebrated group of authors share the borders they have crossed, the struggles they have pushed through, and the two cultures they continue to navigate as Mexican American.

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MY TWO BORDER TOWNS / MIS DOS PUEBLOS FRONTERIZOS by David Bowles, illustrated by Erika Meza (Kokila, August 24, 2021). Picture Book. Early one Saturday morning, a boy prepares for a trip to the Other Side/el Otro Lado. It’s close—just down the street from his school—and it’s a twin of where he lives. To get there, his father drives their truck along the Rio Grande and over a bridge, where they’re greeted by a giant statue of an eagle. Their outings always include a meal at their favorite restaurant, a visit with Tío Mateo at his jewelry store, a cold treat from the paletero, and a pharmacy pickup. On their final and most important stop, they check in with friends seeking asylum and drop off much-needed supplies.

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BRAINS! NOT JUST A ZOMBIE SNACK by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Matthew Rivera (Henry Holt and Co. BYR, August 31, 2021). Picture Book. Brains. 78% water, 100% delicious. A zombie chef who has sworn off eating brains salivates over this super powerful organ in this funny and fact-filled picture book. From learning about how the brain processes messages from our five senses, to learning why wrinkly human brains are so much more powerful than smooth mouse brains, this is a hilarious introduction to the organ that does it all.

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Latinx Book Deals: June 2021

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Compiled by Cecilia Cackley

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This is a monthly series keeping track of the book deals announced by Latinx writers and illustrators. The purpose of this series is to celebrate book deals by authors and illustrators in our community and to advocate for more of them. If you are an agent and you have a Latinx client who just announced a deal, you can let me know on Twitter, @citymousedc. If you are a Latinx author or illustrator writing for children or young adults, and you just got a book deal, send me a message and we will celebrate with you! And if I left anyone out here, please let me know! Here’s to many more wonderful books in the years to come.

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June 1

Kate Fletcher has signed graphic novelist Mel Valentine Vargas to create a graphic novel interpretation of award-winning YA novel Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina, about a Latina teen who is targeted by a bully at her new school and must discover resources she never knew she had. Publication is planned to coincide with the book’s 10th anniversary in 2024. Illustrator agent: Elizabeth Bennett at Transatlantic Agency. Author agent: Jen Rofé at Andrea Brown Literary.

Neal Porter at Holiday House/Neal Porter Books has bought world rights to A-M-O-R Spells L-O-V-E by Michael Genhart, author of Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music. The picture book, illustrated by three-time Pura Belpré Honor artist John Parra, is about a boy competing in the National Spanish Spelling Bee who learns of his own abuela’s childhood experience when she was banned from speaking Spanish at school. Publication is slated for summer 2023. Author agent: Nicole Geiger at Full Circle Literary. Illustrator agent: Adriana Dominguez and Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary.

Katherine Harrison at Knopf has acquired at auction world rights to Esperanza Caramelo by Lotería author Karla Arenas Valenti, illustrated by Pura Belpré Honor artist Elisa Chavarri. In the vein of the Nutcracker or Doña Flor, this is a tale of spun-sugar ornaments come to life and cake catastrophe averted on the eve of Nochebuena. Publication is scheduled for fall 2023. Author agent:  Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator agent: Claire Easton at Painted Words.

June 3

Christy Ottaviano at Little, Brown/Ottaviano has bought, in an exclusive submission, North American rights to No Going Back by Patrick Flores-Scott, the author’s third YA novel. It’s the Friday after being released from a year of juvenile detention, and biracial Antonio Sullivan is heading home for a fresh start. His parole terms state he can’t drink, can’t break the law, can’t see his father, and he must be on time to meet his parole officer on Monday before school, or else he’s headed back to detention. Antonio has one weekend, one crazy friend, one old flame, and a dad who won’t give up. What could go wrong? The book is set for spring 2023. Author agent: Steven Chudney at the Chudney Agency.

June 8

Luana Kay Horry at HarperCollins has acquired, in a preempt, the early reader graphic novel series Super Serious Mysteries by Josh Crute, illustrated by James Rey Sanchez, in a two-book deal. In the first book, The Untimely Passing of Nicholas Fart: A Who-Dealt-It Mystery, detective-in-training Penelope Whiff must catch the culprit of a very mysterious and stinky crime. The first book is set for summer 2023, and the second for summer 2024. Illustrator agent: Alex Gehringer at the Bright Agency.

Sophia Jimenez at Atheneum has acquired world rights to Veo, Veo, I See You, a picture book by Pura Belpré Award Honoree Lulu Delacre. While out running errands with their mami during the Covid-19 pandemic, Marisol and Pepito play a game of Veo, Veo (I Spy) that helps them see how the workers in their neighborhood are, and will always be, essential. Publication is planned for fall 2023.

Jessica Echeverria at Lee & Low Books has bought world rights to Still Dreaming/Seguimos soñando by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez (Not a Bean), illustrated by Magdalena Mora. This bilingual picture book tells the story of a child wishing for a life without borders after he and his parents are forced to leave their home during the Mexican Repatriation. Along their journey they meet others with similar stories. Publications is slated for fall 2022. Author agent: Adriana Dominguez at Full Circle Literary. Illustrator agent: Steven Malk at Writers House.

June 10

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June 15

Stacey Barney at Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books has bought middle grade debut Rostam and the Red Dwarf by Olivia Abtahi (Pefectly Parvin), a space opera inspired by The Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings, in which 12-year-old Rostam accidentally plunges his entire planet into darkness and must now defeat the demon king Zahhak to save their sun. Publication is slated for spring 2023. Author agent: Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret.

Luana Kay Horry at HarperCollins has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to Phenomenal AOC: The Roots and Rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, written by Pura Belpré Honor author Anika Aldamuy Denise (Planting Stories) and illustrated by Loris Lora (Legendary Leaders Who Shaped the World). From her earliest days in the Bronx, to her electrifying primary win, to the halls of Congress—the phenom known to her family as Sandy and to the world as AOC proves what’s possible when you speak truth to power and aren’t afraid to shake the table. Publication is slated for fall 2022. Author agent: Emily van Beek at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management. Illustrator agent: Sally Heflin at Heflinreps.

Janine O’Malley at FSG has acquired world rights to On the Fourth of July by Maggie Rudd in a two-book deal, both illustrated by Pura Belpré Honor artist Elisa Chavarri. This picture book celebrates the joy of being an American on the Fourth of July as the daytime fun of picnics and swimming gives way to wonder and delight at a night of fireworks. Publication is scheduled for spring 2023. Illustrator agent:  Claire Easton at Painted Words

June 17

Luana Kay Horry at HarperCollins has bought world rights, at auction, in a two-book deal, to Abuela’s Super Capa by Ana Siqueira, illustrated by Pura Belpré Honor artist Elisa Chavarri. It’s an intergenerational story about love and remembrance in which Luis and Abuela put on their super capas and save the world, until one day when Abuela must hang up her capa. Publication is slated for winter 2023, and simultaneously in Spanish. Author agent: Andrea Walker at Azantian Literary represented the author while at Olswanger Literary. Illustrator agent:  Claire Easton at Painted Words.

June 22

Anne Heltzel at Abrams has bought debut YA novel Lightlark by Alex Aster (Emblem Island), an untitled sequel, and an untitled graphic novel. Lightlark is a twisty fantasy that features six rulers competing in a high-stakes game set on a lush magical island, with 100 days to break the deadly curses that have plagued their realms for centuries. The first book is set for fall 2022. Author agent: Katelyn Detweiler at Jill Grinberg Literary.

Anna Roberto at Feiwel and Friends has acquired world rights to Painting the Sky with Love by Mary Baca Haque, illustrated by Tatiana Gardel. In this picture book, a child “paints” the sky with love; hearts cascade and bounce down, while people looking up open their hearts to love. Publication is planned for fall 2023. Illustrator agent: Jemiscoe Chambers-Black at Andrea Brown Literary.

June 24

Sophia Jimenez at Atheneum has bought Free to Learn: How Alfredo Lopez Fought for the Right to Go to School by Cynthia Levinson (The Youngest Marcher), a picture book based on the true story of a boy whose family was part of Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court case that won access to education for undocumented immigrant children in the U.S., illustrated by Mirelle Ortega (Small Rooms, Big Dreams: The Journey of Julian and Joaquin Castro). Publication is planned for spring 2024. Illustrator agent: James Burns at the Bright Agency.

June 29

Kate Jacobs while at Roaring Brook acquired world rights to Lily and the Other Guy by Shelley Tougas, illustrated by Sara Palacios; Emily Feinberg will edit. Lily is not sure about the new guy her Mom is seeing, and she misses Dad, but with a little patience and humor she learns that having fun with a new step-parent doesn’t mean forgetting Mom or Dad, and that letting someone new into your life means more love all around. Publication is set for summer 2022. Illustrator agent: Minju Chang and Kendra Marcus at BookStop Literary Agency.

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cecilia-02-original

Cecilia Cackley is a Mexican-American playwright and puppeteer based in Washington, DC. A longtime bookseller, she is currently the Children’s/YA buyer and event coordinator for East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. Find out more about her art at www.ceciliacackley.com or follow her on Twitter @citymousedc

July 2021 Latinx Book Releases!

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We are an affiliate with Indiebound and Bookshop. If If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission.

In addition to listing 2021 titles by/for/about Latinx on our master list, we will remind readers of what’s releasing each month. CONGRATULATIONS to these Latinx creators. Let’s celebrate these July book babies! Please let us know in the comments if we are missing any.

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MUSE SQUAD: THE MYSTERY OF THE TENTH by Chantel Acevedo (Balzer + Bray, July 6, 2021). Middle Grade.

Callie Martinez-Silva is finally getting the hang of this whole goddess within thing. Six months after learning she was one of the nine muses of ancient myth, she and the other junior muses are ready for new adventures. Except first Callie has to go to New York City for the summer to visit her dad, stepmom, and new baby brother.

Then the muses get startling news: an unprecedented tenth muse has been awakened somewhere in Queens, putting Callie in the perfect position to help find her. And she’ll have help—thanks to a runaway mold problem in London, Muse Headquarters is moving to the New York Hall of Science.

But balancing missions and family-mandated arts camp proves difficult for Callie, especially once mysterious messages from spiders (yikes!) begin to weave a tale of ancient injustice involving Callie’s campmate Ari.

Now Callie and her friends have to make a choice: follow orders and find the tenth muse or trust that sometimes fate has other plans.

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SING WITH ME: THE STORY OF SELENA QUINTANILLA by Diana Lópezillustrated by Teresa Martinez (Dial Books, July 6, 2021). Picture Book. From a very early age, young Selena knew how to connect with people and bring them together with music. Sing with Me follows Selena’s rise to stardom, from front-lining her family’s band at rodeos and quinceañeras to performing in front of tens of thousands at the Houston Astrodome. Young readers will be empowered by Selena’s dedication–learning Spanish as a teenager, designing her own clothes, and traveling around the country with her family–sharing her pride in her Mexican-American roots and her love of music and fashion with the world. This book is being released simultaneously in Spanish.

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SUMMER IN THE CITY OF ROSES by Michelle Ruiz Keil (Soho Teen, July 6, 2021). Young Adult. All her life, seventeen-year-old Iph has protected her sensitive younger brother, Orr. But this summer, with their mother gone at an artist residency, their father decides it’s time for fifteen-year-old Orr to toughen up at a wilderness boot camp. When he brings Iph to a work gala in downtown Portland and breaks the news, Orr has already been sent away. Furious at his betrayal, Iph storms off and gets lost in the maze of Old Town. Enter George, a queer Robin Hood who swoops in on a bicycle, bow and arrow at the ready, offering Iph a place to hide out while she figures out how to track down Orr.

Orr, in the meantime, has escaped the camp and fallen in with The Furies, an all-girl punk band, and moves into the coat closet of their ramshackle pink house. In their first summer apart, Iph and Orr must learn to navigate their respective new spaces of music, romance, and sex work activism—and find each other to try to stop a transformation that could fracture their family forever.

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SWIMMING WITH SHARKS: Wild Rescue #2 by Melissa Cristina Márquez (Scholastic, July 6, 2021). Middle Grade. Twelve-year-old Adrianna Villalobos and her older brother Feye travel the globe with their parents, the hosts of a suspenseful nature show called “Wild Survival!” The show features daring animal rescues and the work the family does at their animal sanctuary.

Their latest adventure takes them to the coast of Sri Lanka. There they must rescue an injured tiger shark– before it’s too late!

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TIME VILLAINS by Victor Piñeiro (Sourcebooks Young Readers, July 6, 2021). Middle Grade. Javi Santiago is trying his best not to fail sixth grade. So, when the annual “invite any three people to dinner” homework assignment rolls around, Javi enlists his best friend, Wiki, and his sister, Brady, to help him knock it out of the park.

But the dinner party is a lot more than they bargained for. The family’s mysterious antique table actually brings the historical guests to the meal…and Blackbeard the Pirate is turning out to be the worst guest of all time.

Before they can say “avast, ye maties,” Blackbeard escapes, determined to summon his bloodthirsty pirate crew. And as Javi, Wiki, and Brady try to figure out how to get Blackbeard back into his own time, they might have to invite some even zanier figures to set things right again.

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ALL THESE WARRIORS by Amy Tintera (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 13, 2021). Young Adult. When the world was crumbling, seventeen-year-old Clara fought back. She escaped her abusive home and joined Team Seven, a monster fighting squad of runaways and misfits formed to combat the scrabs terrorizing the planet. And after nearly dying in Paris, Clara and Team Seven discovered the sinister truth behind the scrab invasion. Scrabs aren’t just mindless monsters set on destruction. They’re being trained and weaponized by MDG, a private security firm hired by the government. 

Now Clara and the rest of Team Seven have made it their mission to expose MDG. But no one said fighting for the truth would be easy. And as Clara and Team Seven find themselves at the center of a global conspiracy, they must face their biggest threat yet: their own demons.

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BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS by Ana Siqueira, illustrated by Geraldine Rodriguez (Beaming Books, July 13, 2021). Picture Book. Bella wants to find out what she’s good at. But she quits everything she (barely) tries because she’s a desastre. Her somersaults are like jirafas rolling downhill, her piano playing like elephant feet. When she decides to learn how to bake with her abuela, her first attempt at dulce de leche frosting looks like cocodrilo skin. She must learn it’s okay to try again or she won’t be good at anything.

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EL CUCUY IS SCARED, TOO! by Donna Barba Higueraillustrated by Juliana Perdomo (Abrams Books for Young Readers, July 13, 2021). Picture Book. Ramón is a little boy who can’t sleep. He is nervous for his first day at a new school. And El Cucuy is the monster who lives in Ramón’s cactus pot. He can’t sleep, either. It turns out that El Cucuy is scared, too!

This story explores the worries that can accompany moving to a new place and beginning a new journey—and reveals how comfort, bravery, and strength can be found through even the most unexpected of friendships.

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THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS illustrated by Jeannette Arroyo (Disney Classic & Little Golden Books, July 13, 2021). Picture Book. Tim Burton’s classic film The Nightmare Before Christmas-retold for the first time as a Little Golden Book. Jack Skellington is the King of Halloween Town… but after so many years of the same spooky thing, he’s become bored of scaring. When Jack accidentally discovers Christmas Town, he hatches a crazy scheme to take over a new holiday for the year. But can the master of monstrous scares spread Christmas cheer like jolly old Saint Nick? And what will Halloween Town’s power-hungry Oogie Boogie do when he discovers Jack’s plan?

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PARANORTHERN: And the Chaos Bunny A-hop-calypse by Stephanie Cookeillustrated by Mari Costa (Etch/HMH Books for Young Readers, July 13, 2021). Graphic Novel/Middle Grade. It’s fall break in the supernatural town of North Haven, and young witch Abby’s plans include pitching in at her mom’s magical coffee shop, practicing her potion making, and playing board games with her best friends—a pumpkinhead, a wolf-girl, and a ghost. But when Abby finds her younger sister being picked on by some speed demons, she lets out a burst of magic so strong, it opens a portal to a realm of chaos bunnies. And while these bunnies may look cute, they’re about to bring the a-hop-ocalypse  (and get Abby in a cauldronful of trouble) unless she figures out a way to reverse the powerful magic she unwittingly released. What’s a witch to do?

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ISABEL AND HER COLORES GO TO SCHOOL by Alexandra Alessandri, illustrated by Courtney Dawson (Sleeping Bear Press, July 15, 2021). Picture Book. Isabel doesn’t speak much English, preferring the colors and comfort of Spanish, yet she still finds creative ways to communicate when words won’t work.

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Latinx Book Deals: May 2021

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Compiled by Cecilia Cackley

This is a monthly series keeping track of the book deals announced by Latinx writers and illustrators. The purpose of this series is to celebrate book deals by authors and illustrators in our community and to advocate for more of them. If you are an agent and you have a Latinx client who just announced a deal, you can let me know on Twitter, @citymousedc. If you are a Latinx author or illustrator writing for children or young adults, and you just got a book deal, send me a message and we will celebrate with you! And if I left anyone out here, please let me know! Here’s to many more wonderful books in the years to come.

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May 4

Jenny Bak at Viking has acquired, at auction, Up in Flames, a contemporary retelling of Gone with the Wind by debut author Hailey Alcaraz. Pitched in the vein of diverse retellings like Anna K, the privileged and irrepressible Ruby Ortega vies to win the heart of her best friend while fighting to save her family’s home and the local Latinx community from the California wildfires, all while avoiding the help of a young, annoyingly attractive entrepreneur. Publication is set for spring 2023. Author agent:  Amy Stapp at Wolfson Literary.

Liza Kaplan at Philomel has bought world rights, at auction in a two-book deal, to picture book A Girl Can Build Anything by Pat Zietlow Miller and E. Charlton-Trujillo, illustrated by Keisha Morris, an affirmation of the power of vision and persistence. Publication is set for spring 2023. Author agent: Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

May 6

Connie Hsu at Roaring Brook has acquired, at auction, world rights to the picture book Until Someone Listens by 11-year-old Estela Juarez, illustrated by Teresa Martínez, which follows the true story of how Estela’s mother, Alejandra, was deported to Mexico when Estela was eight years old. Focused on getting her mother back, Estela wrote letters to Congress, to the president, and to many others, which culminated in a powerful video shared at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. After three years of separation, last week Alejandra was granted a one-year parole to return to the U.S.; this Mother’s Day Estela will spend it with her mother. Publication is slated for fall 2022. Author agent: Johanna Castillo at Writers House. Illustrator agent: Christine Hong at Astound US.

May 11

Ashley Hearn at Peachtree Teen has acquired The Ghosts of Rose Hill by YA debut author R.M. Romero (The Dollmaker of Kraków). The magical realism verse novel follows Latina violinist, Ilana, whose parents send her to her aunt’s house in Prague to witness the humble life of an artist. There she meets the ghost of a boy in an abandoned Jewish cemetery and, as she restores his grave, is tempted by the dark magic that binds him to the city. Publication is slated for summer 2022. Author agent: Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency.

Kate Meltzer at Roaring Brook has bought at auction Hedgehogs Don’t Wear Underwear by Marissa Valdez, a debut picture book about a tighty-whitey-wearing hedgehog named Jacques who’s afraid to go public with his secret love of underwear. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022, with a second untitled picture book to follow in fall 2023. Author agent: Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary.

May 13

Joanna Cárdenas at Kokila has bought, in an exclusive submission, reprint rights for They Call Me Güero, the award-winning middle grade novel in verse by David Bowles, as well as They Call Her Fregona, a companion novel in verse that follows the budding relationship between narrator Güero and his girlfriend Joanna Padilla. They Call Me Güero is set for August 2021, and They Call Her Fregona is planned for fall 2022. Author agent: Taylor Martindale Kean and Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel.

Courtney Fahy at Yellow Jacket has bought Pauli Murray: The Life of a Pioneering Feminist and Civil Rights Activist, a middle grade biography in verse about the queer civil rights and women’s rights activist who conceptualized the arguments that would win Brown v. Board of Education and in 1964, the arguments that won women equality in the workplace, written by her niece Rosita Stevens-Holsey and Terry Catasús Jennings. Publication is set for spring 2022. Author agent: Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary.

May 18

Erin Siu at Feiwel and Friends has acquired debut picture book The New Favorite Thing by author-illustrator Olga Herrera, about an anxious dog whose daily routine is disrupted when he encounters a monstrous new thing in the living room. Publication is slated for winter 2023. Author agent: Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary Agency.

Andrea Hall at Albert Whitman has bought world rights to Santiago’s Dinosaurios by debut author Mariana Ríos Ramírez, illustrated by Udayana Lugo. When Santiago moves from Mexico to the United States, he doesn’t understand English. On his first day in his new school, how will he communicate with his peers? While they all may not speak the same language, they do all speak dinosaur! Publication is slated for fall 2022. Illustrator agent:Christina Doffing at Astound US.

May 20

Simon Boughton at Norton Young Readers has acquired Todo Sobre Mi Abuela, a YA memoir-in-verse by YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Winner Rex Ogle, and a second untitled memoir. The story is centered on the author’s relationship with his grandmother. Publication for the first book is slated for summer 2022, with the second to follow in fall 2023. Author agent: Brent Taylor at Triada US.

May 25

Maria Barbo at HarperCollins has acquired The Keeper by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, a middle grade horror/mystery about a brother and sister who move to a seemingly idyllic neighborhood in the Pacific Northwest only to get threatening letters from a mysterious stranger who calls himself The Keeper. Publication is set for January 2022. Author agent: Andrea Cascardi at Transatlantic Agency.

Neal Porter at Holiday House/Neal Porter Books has acquired world rights to Song for Jimi by Coretta Scott King Award winner Charles R. Smith, Jr., illustrated by Society of Illustrators Gold Medal winner Edel Rodriguez, a meditation on the life of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix. The book is scheduled for fall 2021. Illustrator agent: Holly McGhee at Pippin Properties.

Luisa Beguiristain at Roaring Brook has bought, in a two-book deal, world rights to Monster Baker by Laura Lavoie. This pun-filled picture book follows overeager monster baker Tillie as she tries to make her Grandmonster the best birthday treat, with a little inspiration from her idol, famous baker Pierre du Monstère. Vanessa Morales will illustrate the first book; publication is set for spring 2023. Illustrator agent: Natascha Morris at the Tobias Literary Agency.

May 27

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cecilia-02-original

Cecilia Cackley is a Mexican-American playwright and puppeteer based in Washington, DC. A longtime bookseller, she is currently the Children’s/YA buyer and event coordinator for East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. Find out more about her art at www.ceciliacackley.com or follow her on Twitter @citymousedc