• Gabby Womack

Latinx Heritage Month

September 15 - October 15


Before I dive into my book recommendations, I just want to provide more information on this month and the debates around the name.


Terms may differ

"In the US, the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino" are often used to refer to people of Spanish-speaking or Latin American origin. Though they're often used interchangeably, "Hispanic" refers only to people from Spanish-speaking countries, which includes Latin America and Spain. "Latino" refers to people with roots in Latin America, which includes Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, but excludes Spain. Those two terms describe a very broad group of people, and don't always align with the ways that those populations identify themselves."

What is Latinx?

"It's unclear where and when exactly the term "Latinx" came about, but activists and academics have largely adopted it to be more inclusive of Hispanics and Latinos who don't fit into the male/female gender binary. The term replaces the "o" in "Latino" or the "a" in "Latina" with an "x" to make it gender-neutral. But in doing so, its critics say, English speakers are imposing a term on the Hispanic and Latino population that doesn't make sense for them." - CNN, Why people are split on using 'Latinx'


For more information, look at Latinx: A brief handbook by Arlene B. Gamio Cuervo for the Princeton LGBT Center


Are We Latinx?

Some folx within our community, especially those of us who are also Caribbean, feel like "Hispanic" and "Latinx" attempt to connect folx who descend from those colonized by the Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Thus, making our identities revolve around our colonizers. Others say that this ignores the fact that Caribbean Latinx folx have more in common with the other islands than we do with South Americans, so "Latinx" or "Latino" will always exclude us.


Just like many words throughout history, our understandings of how to accurately identify ourselves is in fluctuation and will continue to be.


 

Book Recommendations


 

Beginner


Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Representation: Dominican & Dominican-American, Queer (WLW)

Genre: YA Fiction

Themes: Grief, Family/Family Secrets, Discovery





Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Representation: Mexican-American, Queer (MLM)

Genre: YA Fiction

Themes: Coming-of-age, Young love, Self-discovery




The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Representation: Brazilian-American

Genre: Romance

Themes: Enemies-to-lovers, Entrepreneurship





Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite

Representation: Haitian & Haitian-American

Genre: YA Fiction

Themes: Family curse, early-onset Alzheimer's, Haitian history & lore, coming-of-age



 

Intermediate


Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Representation: Indigenous-Mexican

Genre: YA Fantasy

Themes: Colorism, Family secrets, Mayan mythology, Adventure, Sexism






Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed: 15 Voices From The Latinx Diaspora edited by Saraciea J. Fennell

(November 2, 2021)

Representation: Afro-Latinx, Indigenous, Queer

Genre: Non-Fiction Anthology

Themes: Belonging, Coming-of-age, Colorism, Garifuna History, Panama Canal, Relationships, Whiteness, Sexuality



 

Advanced


An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz

Genre: History

"Spanning more than two hundred years, An African American and Latinx History of the United States is a revolutionary, politically charged narrative history, arguing that the “Global South” was crucial to the development of America as we know it. Scholar and activist Paul Ortiz challenges the notion of westward progress as exalted by widely taught formulations like “manifest destiny” and “Jacksonian democracy,” and shows how placing African American, Latinx, and Indigenous voices unapologetically front and center transforms US history into one of the working class organizing against imperialism."


An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Genre: History

"In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. As Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and it was also praised in the highest offices of government and the military."


Fantasy Island: Colonialism, Exploitation, and the Betrayal of Puerto Rico by Ed Morales

Genre: History

"Taking readers from San Juan to New York City and back to his family's home in the Luquillo Mountains, Morales shows us the machinations of financial and political interests in both the US and Puerto Rico, and the resistance efforts of Puerto Rican artists and activists. Through it all, he emphasizes that the only way to stop Puerto Rico from being bled is to let Puerto Ricans take control of their own destiny, going beyond the statehood-commonwealth-independence debate to complete decolonization."


 

Books that others have recommended




Other Resources


https://latinxinpublishing.com/

Join Latinx In Publishing In Supporting And Increasing The Number Of Latino/A/X In The Publishing Industry, And Promoting Literature By, For, And About Latino/A/X People.


Creators to follow


@Bookdragon217

@booksteahenny

@bookishwanderess

@missfloresreadsya

@afrolatina_x

@diasporadash @loveroflibros

@hip_latina @tomesandtextiles

@ivanainthecity


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