Life-Changing Teachers: On Juan Felipe Herrera’s Reading in Chicago

The notes from his harmonica carried us from poem to poem as he recounted stories of his childhood and brought us to the present and the tragic realities of Ayotzinapa and Sandy Hook. On October 7th, 2015 Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Latino US Poet Laureate, read from his most recent book of poems, Notes … Continue reading Life-Changing Teachers: On Juan Felipe Herrera’s Reading in Chicago

“I’m okay”: Resilience & Depression in Cindy L. Rodriguez’s When Reason Breaks

I’m guilty of always saying “I’m okay,” even when I know I am not. Often times, it seems easier to lie than to explain the depths of what hurts. It also seems more appropriate to suck it up than to admit I’m not as strong as I appear. Saying “I’m okay” when I am not … Continue reading “I’m okay”: Resilience & Depression in Cindy L. Rodriguez’s When Reason Breaks

5 Reasons to Love Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (2012) opens in the summer of 1987 in El Paso, Texas and follows Aristotle Mendoza’s journey toward self-discovery. Fifteen year old Ari is smart and witty but quite isolated from other boys his own age. However, after meeting Dante Quintana at the pool he begins to … Continue reading 5 Reasons to Love Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

YA Latina Lesbians: On Mayra Lazara Dole’s Down to the Bone

In Mayra Lazara Dole’s[1] Down to the Bone (2012) Laura, a Cuban-American high school junior, is forced to come-out when her Catholic school teacher reads Laura’s private texts to her girlfriend aloud to the entire class. As a result, Laura is humiliated, kicked out of school, and asked by her mother to leave their home. … Continue reading YA Latina Lesbians: On Mayra Lazara Dole’s Down to the Bone

Happiness as a Social Justice Issue

In the years that I’ve been researching and writing about Latina/o kid’s literature I’ve gone back and forth about the impact that “happy endings” have on the stories and on children readers. Because I focus specifically on realistic fiction, narratives that capture lived experiences, I found the happy endings to be a bit misleading. Real … Continue reading Happiness as a Social Justice Issue

“A poet, América knows, belongs everywhere”: Healing & Latina/o Children’s and Young Adult Literature

As a child what I desired most was to be rescued from the violence I experienced at home. I was undocumented and domestic violence was far too common. While I now know that these are real experiences for many Latino homes, these were secrets that I walked around with for fear that my family would … Continue reading “A poet, América knows, belongs everywhere”: Healing & Latina/o Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Resilient Butterflies: On Rigoberto Gonzalez’s The Mariposa Club

Rigoberto González’s[1] The Mariposa Club (2009) is the first novel in a three part series followed by Mariposa Gown (2012) and Mariposa U (forthcoming 2014). The series stands out as the first of its kind because it’s the first to center queer Latino youth characters. The series is a part of a growing genealogy of … Continue reading Resilient Butterflies: On Rigoberto Gonzalez’s The Mariposa Club