Growing up as the daughter of Mexican immigrants in Chicago in the '90s, Erika L. Sánchez was a self-described pariah, misfit, and disappointment--a foul-mouthed, melancholic rabble-rouser who painted her nails black but also loved comedy and dreamed of an unlikely life as a poet. Twenty-five years later, she's now an award-winning novelist, poet, and essayist, but she's still got an irrepressible laugh, an acerbic wit, and singular powers of perception about the world around her. In these essays about everything from sex to white feminism to debilitating depression to the redemptive pursuits of spirituality, art, and travel, Sánchez reveals an interior life that is rich with ideas, self-awareness, and perception--that of a woman who charted a path entirely of her own making. Raunchy, insightful, unapologetic, and brutally honest, Crying in the Bathroom is Sánchez at her best: a book that will make you feel that post-confessional high that comes from talking for hours with your best friend.
Quiara Alegría Hudes was the sharp-eyed girl on the stairs while her family danced their defiance in a tight North Philly kitchen. She was awed by her mother and aunts and cousins, but haunted by the unspoken, untold stories of the barrio--even as she tried to find her own voice in the sea of language around her, written and spoken, English and Spanish, bodies and books, Western art and sacred altars. Her family became her private pantheon, a gathering circle of powerful orisha-like women with tragic real-world wounds, and she vowed to tell their stories--but first she'd have to get off the stairs and join the dance. She'd have to find her language. Weaving together Hudes's love of music with the songs of her family, the lessons of North Philly with those of Yale, this is a multimythic dive into home, memory, and belonging--narrated by an obsessed girl who fought to become an artist so she could capture the world she loved in all its wild and delicate beauty.
"Gentefication" nuances Latinidad as not just an immigration question, but an academic one. It deals with Latinx death not as the literal passing of bodies, but as first tied with language. It asks, what are the hauntings of a tongue that is repeatedly told, 'one must learn English in order to succeed in this country'? What is the psychological trauma deployed not by right-wing bigots, but of white liberal institutions that give scholarships to Latinx students, but nevertheless prop up white supremacy by viewing their payments as charity? How do Latinx students become complicit in this tokenizing? "Gentefication" wrestles with this 'survivor's guilt' of higher education, of feeling as if you're the only one among your homies that 'made it.' And in an American moment dealing with scandals across multiple universities this work is a timely intervention that advocates for first-generation audiences, for readers of color, and for all those vested in the protracted struggle for our fair shot.
Latinos across the United States are redefining identities, pushing boundaries, and awakening politically in powerful and surprising ways. Many-Afrolatino, indigenous, Muslim, queer and undocumented, living in large cities and small towns-are voices who have been chronically overlooked in how the diverse population of almost sixty million Latinos in the U.S. has been represented. No longer. In this empowering cross-country travelogue, journalist and activist Paola Ramos embarks on a journey to find the communities of people defining the controversial term, "Latinx." She introduces us to the indigenous Oaxacans who rebuilt the main street in a post-industrial town in upstate New York, the "Las Poderosas" who fight for reproductive rights in Texas, the musicians in Milwaukee whose beats reassure others of their belonging, as well as drag queens, environmental activists, farmworkers, and the migrants detained at our border. Drawing on intensive field research as well as her own personal story, Ramos chronicles how "Latinx" has given rise to a sense of collectivity and solidarity among Latinos unseen in this country for decades. A vital and inspiring work of reportage, Finding Latinx calls on all of us to expand our understanding of what it means to be Latino and what it means to be American. The first step towards change, writes Ramos, is for us to recognize who we are.
Javier Zamora's adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone amid a group of strangers and a "coyote" hired to lead them to safety, Javier expects his trip to last two short weeks. At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents' arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside fellow migrants who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family. A memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito provides an immediate and intimate account not only of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also of the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier Zamora's story, but it's also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.
In Paper Cadavers, an inside account of the astonishing discovery and rescue of Guatemala's secret police archives, Kirsten Weld probes the politics of memory, the wages of the Cold War, and the stakes of historical knowledge production. After Guatemala's bloody thirty-six years of civil war (1960-1996), silence and impunity reigned. That is, until 2005, when human rights investigators stumbled on the archives of the country's National Police, which, at 75 million pages, proved to be the largest trove of secret state records ever found in Latin America. The unearthing of the archives renewed fierce debates about history, memory, and justice. In Paper Cadavers, Weld explores Guatemala's struggles to manage this avalanche of evidence of past war crimes, providing a firsthand look at how postwar justice activists worked to reconfigure terror archives into implements of social change. Tracing the history of the police files as they were transformed from weapons of counterinsurgency into tools for post-conflict reckoning, Weld sheds light on the country's fraught transition from war to an uneasy peace, reflecting on how societies forget and remember political violence.
PZ5 .L7295 2021
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, Ruben Degollado, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Diana L pez, Xavier Garza, Trinidad Gonzales, Alex Temblador, Aida Salazar, GuadalupeRuiz-Flores, Sylvia Sanchez Garza, Dominic Carrillo, Angela Cervantes, Carolyn Dee Flores, Rene Saldana Jr., Justine Narro, Daniel Garcia 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 Americans. Living Beyond Borders is at once an eye-opening, heart-wrenching, and hopeful love letter from the Mexican American community to today's young readers. A powerful exploration of what it means to be Mexican American.
In November 2008, 37-year-old Marcelo Lucero, an unassuming worker at a dry cleaner's and an undocumented Ecuadorean immigrant, was attacked and murdered by a group of teenagers as he walked the streets of the Long Island village of Patchogue accompanied by a childhood friend. The attackers were out "hunting for beaners." Some of the kids later confessed that chasing, harassing, and assaulting defenseless "beaners"--their slur for Latinos--was part of their weekly entertainment. In recent years, Latinos have become the target of hate crimes as the nation wrestles with swelling numbers of undocumented immigrants. Public figures fan the flames and advance their careers by spewing anti-immigration rhetoric. In death, Lucero became a symbol of everything that was wrong with our broken immigration system: fewer opportunities to obtain travel visas to the United States, porous borders, a growing dependency on cheap labor, and the rise of bigotry. Drawing on firsthand interviews and on-the-ground reporting, journalist Mirta Ojito has crafted an unflinching portrait of one community struggling to reconcile the hate and fear underlying the idyllic veneer of their all-American town. With a strong commitment to telling all sides of the story, Ojito unravels the engrossing narrative with objectivity and insight, providing an invaluable look at one of America's most pressing issues.