This month our librarians weigh in on their favorite media that are by Latinx & Hispanic creators or about Latinx & Hispanic characters!
I loved season one of Jane the Virgin. Set in Miami and parodying the telenovela style, it is fast-paced and funny, but what I liked most about it was that, even as plot lines become seriously convoluted, Jane, her mother, and her abuela remain the heart of the show. There is romance, sure, but it’s a bit like Gilmore Girls in that it keeps the female characters front and center – it passes the Bechdel-Wallace test every two minutes. (And Miami is much, much more colorful than Stars Hollow.)
I loved Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina. The sense of place (New York) and time (summer, 1977) is so palpable.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez. Teenage Julia is the daugher of undocumented Mexican parents living in Chicago. Her family is grieving the loss of her sister, who was killed in an accident. The book deals with racial, economic and cultural differences with her family, friends and school, depression and the fear of deportation.
Also, Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper. Friends work together to win the lowrider competition, aiming for a look that is “bajito y suavecito”. Funky, funny and inventive.
Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall – This Odyssean tale follows 5 young Mexican-American sisters who are attempting to return a drowned man’s body to his family in Mexico, and is steeped in Mexican folklore. Along the way the sisters encounter supernatural heroes and creatures, including their guide La Llorona, and end up discovering secrets about their family’s history.
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera – Juliet is Puerto Rican, a lesbian, and trying to figure herself out. She admires Harlow Brisbane, author & authority on all thing feminist, but doesn’t completely see herself in the white-centered feminism Harlow writes about. To help her figure everything out she takes an internship with Harlow, moves across the country, and sets out on an adventure of self-discovery.
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris – 10 year old Karen Reyes life is not easy. She’s queer, obsessed with monsters, & growing up in the civil rights era in Chicago. When her upstairs neighbor dies & nobody seems to suspect foul play, she takes it upon herself to find the truth. Drawn in a sketchy, intricate, ballpoint pen art style, this hefty graphic novel is incredibly engrossing.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – Set in the 80’s, Saenz tells the story of a friendship between two boys, Ari & Dante. Ari is angry and lashes out, Dante is a sensitive free spirit. The two don’t seem to have much in common aside from the fact that they’re both loners, but over the course of their friendship they discover a great deal about themselves, the world, and forge and unbreakable bond.
Also, the web series Brujos follows a coven of queer latinx witches trying to survive grad school & witch hunters alike.
Share your favorite Hispanic & Latinx authors in the comments below!