I’m thrilled to share some exciting news with you all – I’ve recently become a part of Moms Rising’s Story Shapers parent ambassadors program. This program brings together parent leaders like myself who are passionate about promoting diverse books, addressing book bans, and advocating for the freedom to read in our communities. Together, we’re taking action to spread awareness not only during Banned Books Week but throughout the year.
Given that it’s still Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, which runs until October 15th, I thought it would be fitting to shine a spotlight on banned books that celebrate the rich and diverse culture of Hispanic and Latinx communities. These books, despite their invaluable contributions to literature, have faced censorship and bans in various parts of the world.
Before we dive into the list of banned Hispanic and Latinx books, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the significance of Banned Books Week and our mission as Story Shapers. Banned Books Week, held annually, is a crucial event that aims to raise awareness about the freedom to read and the challenges posed by censorship.
As part of the Story Shapers Diverse Books for All cohort, in collaboration with the Diverse Books for All Coalition and Moms Rising, we are actively working to address book bans and ensure that diverse voices are heard and celebrated in the literary world.
It’s disheartening to see that these incredible books, which celebrate the diversity and cultural richness of Hispanic and Latinx communities, have been subjected to bans and censorship. However, it’s heartening to know that as part of Moms Rising’s Story Shapers program, we are taking collective action to address these issues and promote diversity in literature.
During Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month and beyond, let’s stand together to support these authors and their books. By doing so, we can continue the fight against book bans and ensure that diverse voices are not silenced but celebrated and heard. Together, we can make a difference and pave the way for a more inclusive literary world where everyone’s story is valued.
Note: The books featured here have been pulled from a comprehensive database from Pen America. Pen America is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to raise awareness for the protection of free expression in the United States and worldwide.
“I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika L. Sánchez: This novel explores themes of identity, family, and mental health as it follows the journey of a young Mexican-American girl, Julia, who grapples with the expectations placed upon her.
“The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo: In this novel-in-verse, the protagonist, Xiomara, uses poetry to navigate the challenges of her Harlem neighborhood, confront her strict mother, and discover her own voice.
“Before We Were Free” by Julia Alvarez: Set in the Dominican Republic, this book tells the story of a young girl, Anita, during a time of political turmoil and her family’s fight for freedom.
“The Moon Within” by Aida Salazar: This coming-of-age novel explores gender identity and menstruation as Celi, a young Mexican-American girl, navigates her way through the changes in her life and body.
“Too Many Tamales” by Gary Soto: A heartwarming children’s book that centers around a young girl who helps her family make tamales for Christmas, but an accident involving her mother’s ring creates a humorous and suspenseful situation.
“Separate Is Never Equal” by Duncan Tonatiuh: This non-fiction picture book tells the true story of Sylvia Mendez, a young Mexican-American girl who played a pivotal role in the fight against school segregation in California in the 1940s.
“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros: This iconic coming-of-age novel has been challenged in several school districts for its exploration of sensitive topics, making it even more essential for readers seeking to understand the experiences of young Latinx girls in America.
“Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya: A beautifully crafted novel about the clash between cultures and beliefs, “Bless Me, Ultima” has faced bans for its depiction of spiritual and cultural diversity within the Mexican-American community.
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