June 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 June book babies! Please let us know in the comments if we are missing any.

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MILES MORALES: Shock Waves, an original Spider-Man graphic novel by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Pablo Leon (Graphix, June 1, 2021). Middle Grade. Miles Morales is a normal kid who happens to juggle school at Brooklyn Visions Academy while swinging through the streets of Brooklyn as Spider-Man. After a disastrous earthquake strikes his mother’s birthplace of Puerto Rico, Miles springs into action to help set up a fundraiser for the devastated island. But when a new student’s father goes missing, Miles begins to make connections between the disappearance and a giant corporation sponsoring Miles’ fundraiser. Who is behind the disappearance, and how does that relate to Spider-Man?

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STROLLERCOASTER by Matt Ringler, art by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, June 1, 2021). Picture Book. Buckle up as a toddler’s tantrum is cleverly averted when a loving dad transforms an everyday neighborhood stroll into an extraordinary adventure, reminding us that all you need to chase away a bad mood is love and a little bit of imagination.

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PALETERO MAN by Lucky Diaz, illustrated by Micah Player (HarperCollins, June 1, 2021). Picture Book.

Ring! Ring! Ring! Can you hear his call? Paletas for one! Paletas for all!

What’s the best way to cool off on a hot summer day? Run quick and find Paletero José!

Follow along with our narrator as he passes through his busy neighborhood in search of the Paletero Man. But when he finally catches up with him, our narrator’s pockets are empty. Oh no! What happened to his dinero? It will take the help of the entire community to get the tasty treat now.

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SHE PERSISTED: Sonia Sotomayor by Meg Medina (Philomel Books, June 1, 2021). Chapter Book. Inspired by the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger comes a chapter book series about women who stood up, spoke up and rose up against the odds! Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina Supreme Court Justice in the history of the United States, but her road there wasn’t easy. She overcame many challenges along the way, including a diagnosis of diabetes at age seven. But she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her dream and inspiring children all over the world to work hard and believe in themselves.

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SIMONE BREAKS ALL THE RULES by Debbie Rigaud (Scholastic Press, June 1, 2021). Young Adult.

Simone Thibodeaux is about to switch things up.

Check her life: It’s sealed in a boy-proof container. Her Haitian immigrant parents send Simone to an all-girls high school and enforce strict no-dating rules. As for prom? Simone is allowed to go on one condition: Her parents will select her date (a boy from a nice, Haitian immigrant family, obviously).

Simone is desperate to avoid the setup — especially since she has a serious crush on another boy. It’s time to take action. Simone and her fellow late-bloomer friends make a senior year bucket list of all the wild things they haven’t done yet. Like: going out dancing, skipping class (what), and oh yeah — deciding their own prom destinies.

But as the list takes on a life of its own, things get much messier than Simone expected. Can she figure out which rules are worth breaking and which might save her from heartbreak?

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THE COT IN THE LIVING ROOM by Hilda Eunice Burgos, illustrated by Gaby D’Alessandro (Kokila Books, June 1, 2021). Picture Book. Night after night, a young girl watches her mami set up a cot in the living room for guests in their Washington Heights apartment, like Raquel (who’s boring) and Edgardo (who gets crumbs everywhere). She resents that they get the entire living room with a view of the George Washington Bridge, while all she gets is a tiny bedroom with a view of her sister (who snores). Until one night when no one comes, and it’s finally her chance! But as it turns out, sleeping on the cot in the living room isn’t all she thought it would be.

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TWINS VS. TRIPLETS #1: Back-to-School Blitz by Jennifer Torres, illustrated by Vanessa Flores (HarperCollins, June 1, 2021). Chapter Book. David can’t wait to go back to school and get far away from his trickster neighbors. But he’s in for a surprise when a set of equally prank-loving triplets move onto his block—and into his class!

Now the twins and triplets are battling for control of the playground and David is stuck in the middle. Can he end the prank war before recess gets cancelled for the whole year?

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Areli Es Una Dreamer (Areli Is a Dreamer Spanish Edition): Una Historia Real por Areli Morales, Beneficiaria de DACA Cover

ARELI IS A DREAMER: A True Story by Areli Morales, a DACA Recipient (Random House Studio, June 8, 2021). Picture Book. When Areli was just a baby, her mama and papa moved from Mexico to New York with her brother, Alex, to make a better life for the family–and when she was in kindergarten, they sent for her, too.

Everything in New York was different. Gone were the Saturdays at Abuela’s house, filled with cousins and sunshine. Instead, things were busy and fast and noisy. Areli’s limited English came out wrong, and schoolmates accused her of being illegal. But time passed, and Areli slowly became a New Yorker–although not an American citizen. “I could do anything here,” Areli says one day to the city sky. “Someday, I will.”

This is a moving story–one that resonates with millions of immigrants who make up the fabric of our country–about one girl living in two worlds, a girl whose DACA application was eventually approved and who is now living her American dream.

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CURSE OF THE FORGOTTEN CITY by Alex Aster (Sourcebooks Young Readers, June 8, 2021). Middle Grade. Tor is adjusting to life with the power of the Night Witch, especially with his best friends Engle and Melda by his side. But when a mysterious girl washes ashore claiming a band of cursed pirates is on their way to Emblem Island, life changes fast.

The girl, Gemma, is from an underwater city that was destroyed by the terrible Calavera pirates and she warns Tor they are now on their way to his home.

The trio of friends must come up with a plan to stop the pirates from getting an ancient relic that would give them the ability to control the high seas, while also protecting all they love from the new danger.

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FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES FROM THE SUN by Jonny Garza Villa (Skyscape, June 8, 2021). Young Adult. Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life.

Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown–literally–out the closet. The downside: the whole world knows, and Jules has to prepare for rejection. The upside: Jules now has the opportunity to be his real self.

Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable. But when Jules’s fears about coming out come true, the person he needs most is fifteen hundred miles away. Jules has to face them alone.

Jules accidentally propelled himself into the life he’s always dreamed of. And now that he’s in control of it, what he does next is up to him.

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FIRE WITH FIRE by Destiny Soria (HMH Books for Young Readers, June 8, 2021). Young Adult. Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.

Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, each sister will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows.

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MOTH & BUTTERFLY: TA-DA! by Dev Petty, illustrated by Ana Aranda (Nancy Paulsen Books, June 8, 2021). Picture Book. Two caterpillar friends love what they have in common–lots of legs and a talent for chewing leaves into funny shapes. And when it’s time to build cocoons, they hang theirs side by side. “Happy metamorphosis,” says an older, more knowledgeable butterfly. And it is a happy metamorphosis indeed–for when the two emerge from their cocoons, they can fly! But so much else has changed–as one is now a moth, who flies by night, and the other is a butterfly, who flies by day. How will things work now? Fortunately some things never change–like true friends figuring out a way to be together, and happily flying into the sunset and sunrise.

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RAT FAIR by Leah Rose Kesslerillustrated by Cleonique Hilsaca (Pow! Kids Books, June 15, 2021). Picture Book. When a group of industrious, fun-loving rats find letters fallen from an Art Fair sign, they put the sign back together—with one small adjustment—and get to work creating a spectacular RAT FAIR. Their fair is ruined when humans sweep away everything the rats have created. Undaunted, the rats switch  gears and start working on their very own Rat Art Fair. As they are wrapping up their first day of the Rat Art Fair, a human child who has been following their progress from the sidelines catches them red handed, and the rats must decide if they can trust the child.

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SMALL NAP, LITTLE DREAM by Talia Aikens-Nuñezillustrated by Natalia Colombo (Nancy Paulsen Books, June 15, 2021). Picture Book. Young children are busy all day long–running and climbing, looking and laughing–and in the middle of a full day of fun, there’s nothing like taking a break for a small nap. This is the time of day to have a little dream–sueñito–that gives the afternoon some added sweetness.

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THE MORE THE MERRIER by David Martin, illustrated by Raissa Figueroa (Candlewick, June 15, 2021). Picture Book. Some like to kick their feet and bend their knees to the music. Others prefer to slip and slide . . . or swoop down . . . or skip high and low! Bear, Moose, Snake, and other forest animals dance to their own groove in a rhythmic celebration of individuality.

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Zuri Ray Tries Ballet Cover

ZURI RAY TRIES BALLET by Tami Charles, illustrated by Sharon Sordo (Quill Tree Books, June 15, 2021). Picture Book. Meet Zuri Ray. She’s always willing to go the extra mile for family and friends and is up for any challenge. At least, that was before her best friend, Jessie, asked her to join a ballet camp.

Now Zuri isn’t sure if she’s up for everything. While Jessie can’t wait to chassé and plié while wearing tight hair buns and frilly tutus, that doesn’t sound like Zuri at all! But she can’t let her friend down. Maybe classical ballet just needs a new spin.

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CHUNKY written and illustrated by Yehudi Mercado (Katherine Tegen Books, June 22, 2021). Graphic Novel/Middle Grade. Hudi needs to lose weight, according to his doctors. Concerned about the serious medical issue Hudi had when he was younger, his parents push him to try out for sports. Hudi would rather do anything else, but then he meets Chunky, his imaginary friend and mascot. Together, they decide to give baseball a shot. 

As the only Mexican and Jewish kid in his neighborhood, Hudi has found the cheerleader he never had. Baseball doesn’t go well (unless getting hit by the ball counts), but the two friends have a great time drawing and making jokes. While Hudi’s parents keep trying to find the right sport for Hudi, Chunky encourages him to pursue his true love—comedy.

But when Hudi’s dad loses his job, it gets harder for Hudi to chart his own course, even with Chunky’s guidance. Can Chunky help Hudi stay true to himself or will this friendship strike out?

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Spotlight on Latinx Illustrators: Magdalena Mora, Gaby D’Alessandro, and Fátima Anaya

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By Cecilia Cackley

This is the seventh in a series of posts spotlighting Latinx illustrators of picture books. Some of these artists have been creating children’s books for many years, while others will have their first book out soon. They come from many different cultural backgrounds, but all are passionate about connecting with readers through art and story. Please look for their books at bookstores and libraries!

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Magdalena Mora

Magdalena Mora is a Minneapolis-based illustrator. Her debut picture book Equality’s Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America (Beach Lane Books), written by Deborah Diesen, was released in February 2020. Her upcoming picture book, I Wish You Knew (Roaring Brook Press), written by Jackie Azúa Kramer, will be out in May 2021. 

Magdalena grew up in Chicago and graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English. She is a 2019-2020 Loft Literary Center Windows and Mirrors Fellow. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter. 

Q: What or who inspired you to become an artist? 

A: I grew up in a family of would-be artists. Though no one in my immediate family made art themselves, they all participated in the arts in some form. My dad, with his love of books, music, and crude cartoon drawings on napkins. My mom had an eye for interior design and filled our home with the most beautiful colors and textiles and my grandparents were vivid storytellers. All together, these gave me a deep appreciation and understanding of the value of art. 

As far as specific artists, I loved the books of Shel Silverstein and Bill Waterson (Calvin and Hobbes) and the artwork of Carmen Lomas Garza, whose work resonated with me as a young Latina growing up in Texas. 

When I was a teenager, my family also lived a few blocks away from the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, and I would go there a few times a month or whenever there was a new exhibition. Those museum trips were incredibly formative.

Q. Tell us something about your favorite artistic medium–why you like it, when you first learned it, etc. 

A. I like to dabble in a bit of everything: watercolor, gouache, ink, pastels, charcoal, digital. I didn’t go to art school and so I feel like I’m constantly trying to make up for it by experimenting with every medium possible.

My favored medium can change according to the project I’m working on, and I often use several mediums in an illustration. But overall I still love pencil. It’s how I begin every illustration and the simplicity of it allows me to best capture an idea. As much as I admire the looseness and spontaneity of watercolors and inks, I’m still drawn to the control that you get with a pencil. It’s also useful that I can erase it when I make mistakes – which is often!

Q: Please finish this sentence: “Picture books are important because…”

A: They can help kids imagine different worlds and possibilities. And we’ll need an abundance of imagination and creativity in the future.

Books illustrated by Magdalena Mora. Click on the book covers for more information.

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Gaby D’Alessandro

Gaby D’Alessandro is a Dominican illustrator based in Brooklyn. Her clients include The New York Times, The Library of Congress, and New York City’s MTA. Gaby’s work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, and American Illustration. She illustrated the upcoming books The Cot in The Living Room and Stolen Science

Q: What or who inspired you to become an artist? 

A: I’m very introspective and I’ve always enjoyed telling stories as a way to express myself and connect with others. When I was in high school, I did it through theatre, and a few years before going to college I discovered I also had an affinity for drawing and I learned that I could communicate via illustration.

Q: Tell us something about your favorite artistic medium–why you like it, when you first learned it, etc. 

A: Lately, my favorite medium has been my iPad. I’ve had it for two years and it has changed the way I work, freeing me from my desk and allowing me to take my studio anywhere. This has made my job feel much more playful and enjoyable. 

Q: Please finish this sentence: “Picture books are important because…”

A: They expand our imaginations, invite us to view the world from other perspectives, and can be a source of endless knowledge and entertainment.

Books illustrated by Gaby D’Alessandro. Click on the book covers for more information.

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.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org  Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

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Fátima Anaya

Fátima Anaya is a graphic designer and children illustrator based in El Salvador. She loves working on projects about diversity, family, love, and friendship. The Bright Agency has represented her since 2016, working on various books, magazines, and projects for kids.

Q:  What or who inspired you to become an artist?

A: When I was a child, my brother and I used to play with two pumpkin plushies, and we eventually started to draw “comics” based on them. Playing with my younger brother inspired me to become an illustrator to tell other people’s stories and make kids happy as I was when I used to be a little girl.

Q:  Tell us something about your favorite artistic medium–why you like it, when you first learned it, etc. 

A: I used to love colored pencils until I got my first digital tablet. I guess I love digital techniques because they are a little bit cheaper than buying papers, pencils, and all the traditional tools. Here in El Salvador is very limited in that way as well.

Q: Please finish this sentence: “Picture books are important because…”

A: Picture books are important because it makes us live different adventures every day.

Books by Fátima Anaya. Click on the book covers for more information.

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.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

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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