Diversity in MG Lit #3 Hispanic American

October is Hispanic Heritage month and we are celebrating a bunch of new MG books featuring Latinx characters and authors
  • Charlie Hernández the league of shadows by Ryan Calejo
    • This debut novel is a fantasy adventure based in central American mythology. Charlie Hernández is a typical Miami middle schooler until his world is rocked by the loss of his home and parents. And then to make matters worse, he starts growing horns and feathers. In time he realizes that he is becoming a creature from his abuela’s stories and that like any other Morphling he’s got the fight of his life on his hands. Short chapters and heaps of action make this a good choice for a reluctant reader. This is Ryan Calejo’s first novel.
  • Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
    • Also set in Florida Merci Suárez is a contemporary 6th grader in a coming-of-age tale. Merci is a scholarship student at a private school and feels keenly her family’s lack of wealth even as she sees the treasure of living in a multigenerational household. This story sensitively addresses her grandfather’s Alzheimer’s disease. Meg Medina is prolific, writing picture books, chapter books, MG and YA novels. Her most recent Burn Baby Burn was long listed for the National Book Award in 2016 Meg Medina also has a story in the Ellen Oh’s short story collectionFlying Lessons.
  • Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya
    • This contemporary coming-of-age story focuses on a fourteen year old boy who is big for his age and something of a trouble magnet. His white mother decides to return to pre hurricane Maria Puerto Rico to find Marcus’s father and help Marcus gain some perspective and connection with his extended family. This is Pablo Cartaya’s second novel for MG readers.
  • The Crossroads by Alexandra Diaz
    • In her 2016 novel The Only Road Alexandra Diaz recounted the tribulations of migrants escaping gang violence in Guatemala. The Crossroads picks up the story for 12 year old Jaime and Angela as they adjust to life in the US.
  • Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older
    • This historical fantasy is set during the American civil war in an alternate history featuring dinosaurs as the domestic servants of men. It is set in the Colored Orphan Assylum and features a group of Cuban children who lived there. It also encompasses imagined events of the New York City draft riots. Short on history but long on heart and daring adventure, this story will appeal to alternate history fans and reluctant readers alike.
  • Dragon Slayer: Folk tales from Latin America by Jaime Hernandez
    • This collection of three folk tales is rendered in appealing graphic novel format giving a contemporary flare to traditional folk tales.
There are of course many other great books about the Latinex experience and by Latinex authors. I’ve chosen these because they are new with a publishing date of September or October of this year. If you have other favorites please mention them in the comments. Independent bookstores and libraries have always been the champions of new and diverse books so please consider rewarding that advocacy by getting your books in person or by mail from your local public library or independent bookstore. You can order ebooks and audio books from an independent bookstore too.
Rosanne Parry
Rosanne Parry is the author of a 4 MG novels and the forthcoming A WOLF CALLED WANDER and LAST OF THE NAME. She is a bookseller at Annie Blooms and teaches in the Masters in Book Publishing program at Portland State. She writes in a treehouse in her back yard.