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If You Are Looking To Grow Culturally, Here Are 23 Books Worth A Good Read

"Corazón." Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018. / epicreads / Instagram

When powerful, influential people try to write Latino stories for us, we rise up. Not only is it important to support Latino writers, but reading the words and alchemy they put down is truly a gift for us. There is nothing more profound that being able to deeply relate to the struggle to be seen, to feel different, to celebrate our curves, to unlearn religious-driven lessons of shame around sex, and to fill in the gaps of our white-washed history, told in full-color by Latinos, for Latinos.

Por favor, disfrute our round up of Latino authored books to feed your soul throughout 2019.

1. “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo

CREDIT: @epicreads / Instagram

This young adult fiction book has only been on the shelves since March 6th and it’s topping chart. Renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo tells the story of a young Afro-Latina girl growing up in Harlem and discovering her world and voice through slam poetry.

Follow @acevedowritesis on Instagram to see her actually perform!

2. “Getting Off” by Erica Garza

CREDIT: @ericadgarza / Instagram

Erica Garza’s memoir is at the top of my list. This Mexican-American author shares her candid experience of understanding how girls are disproportionately taught shame around sex from a young age and how it led her down a path of porn addiction. This one seems like a life-changer.

3. “You Have the Right to Remain Fat,” by Virgie Tovar

CREDIT: “You Have The Right To Be Fat.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Preach. Set your countdown for August 2018, when #bopo activist Virgie Tovar will be feeding brown round girls’ souls with her Mexicana guide to unlearn fatphobia, dismantle sexist fashion and reject diet culture. Because we’re more than our friggin bodies (and our bodies are fine as hell as is).

4. “Goddess of Anarchy: The Life and Times of Lucy Parsons, American Radical,” by Jacqueline Jones

CREDIT: “Goddess of Anarchy.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

When white male property-owners write most of the history we learn about in school, we don’t hear our ancestors stories.

That’s why award-winning Jacqueline Jones does some digging to uncover the stories of Texas’ most mysterious activsts: Lucy Parsons. She was African American, Native American and Mexican and she made waves for labor, women’s, racial and prison movements.

5. “The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary,” by NoNieqa Ramos

CREDIT: “The Disturbed Girls Dictionary”. Digital Image. ReadDisruptRepeat.com. 4 April 2018.

Another YA fiction to add to your list (no me importa how old you are, k?). The Puerto Rican writer follows Macy, a normal Bronx girl dealing with your not-so-average incarcerated father issues, your brother being kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and all the other joys of being a teenager in America. Spoiler alert: you’ll want to beg her school to stop calling her “disturbed” already.

6. “Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World,” The Women’s March Organizers and Condé Nast

CREDIT: “Together We Rise.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

On it’s one year anniversary, Chicana Carmen Perez and Colombian Paola Mendoza teamed up with Condé Nast to publish never-before-seen images of the largest protest in U.S. History: The Women’s March. And yes, you’ll find essays from activists America Ferrera, Roxane Gay, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and more. Let this baby carry you through 2019.

7. “Bruja Born,” by Zoraida Cordova

CREDIT: “Bruja Born.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

If you haven’t read the first YA installment, “Brooklyn Brujas,” you have until June 5, 2018 until “Brujas Born” comes out. Ecuadorian author focuses on two teen bruja sisters living in the Bronx.

I swear this sounds like all our tias own memoirs.

8. “Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century,” by Iris Morales

CREDIT: “Latinas: Struggles & Protests in the 21st Century.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Edited by Puerto Rican activist, Iris Morales, “Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century” aims to collect the voices and experiences of today’s leading Latina voices, including Aurora Levins Morales, Jennicet Gutíerrez, Ariana Brown and mitú’s very own Raquel Reichard.

Get this anthology of poetry and prose and prepare to feel rooted in this bat-shit crazy world.

9. “The Line Becomes the River” by Francisco Cantú

CREDIT: “The Line Becomes a River.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

The true life story and memoir of Francisco Cantú’s employment with Border Control and ethical dilemma of when doing his job causes so much personal harm.

You can also listen to an excerpt on This American Life’s “OK, I’ll Do It” Act One: “Line in the Sand.”

10. “Blanca & Roja,” By Anna-Marie McLemore

CREDIT: “Blanca Roja.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Prepare yourselves: this is the dark Latina retelling of the classic fairytale “Swan Lake” and it’s coming out October 9, 2018. Mexican-American award winner Anna-Marie McLemore shares your classic story of two sisters haunted by a curse that will force one of them to live as a swan if they can’t break the hex. Bless.

11. “Broken Beautiful Hearts,” by Kami Garcia

CREDIT: “Broken Beautiful Hearts.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

She’s a New York Times-bestselling author whose latest novel is a mix of romance and mystery when a high school senior athlete learns her boyfriend’s dark secret and coincidentally falls down a flight of stairs, ruining her pro career and begging the question: who pushed her?

12. Corazón by Yesika Salgado

CREDIT: “Corazón.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Description: “Corazón is a love story. It is about the constant hunger for love. It is about feeding that hunger with another person and finding that sometimes it isn’t enough. Salgado creates a world in which the heart can live anywhere; her fat brown body, her parents home country, a lover, a toothbrush, a mango, or a song. It is a celebration of heartache, of how it can ruin us, but most importantly how we always survive it and return to ourselves whole.”

13. “In the Country We Love: My Family Divided” by Diane Guerrero

CREDIT: “In The Country We Love.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

You know Diane Guerrero from “Jane the Virgin” and “Orange is the New Black,” and her new addition to her activism for immigration reform. She was just fourteen years old when she came home from school to find her parents suddenly vanished…deported while she was in school.

14. “Empty Set” by Verónica Gerber Bicecci

CREDIT: “Empty Set.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

A self described “visual artist that writes,” Bicecci writes a beautiful, fragmented story, told with black and white drawings, diagrams and text about loneliness in breakups and families.

15. “The Friend” by Sigrid Nunez

CREDIT: “The Friend.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Your heart will break and fill back up again with this book. Chinese-Panamanian author, Sigrid Nunez, shares the story of a woman mourning her close friend’s suicide and the aftermath of taking in his grieving, massive Great Dane.

16. “Honor Among Thieves,” by Ann Aguirre and Rachel Caine

CREDIT: “Honor Among Thieves.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

If you like sci-fi YA fiction thrillers, then new release “Honor Among Thieves” is for you. The story is about Zara Cole, a petty criminal selected by aliens to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passenger. Difrute!

 17.“Just Sit: A Meditation Guidebook for People Who Know They Should But Don’t,” by Sukey Novogratz and Elizabeth Novogratz

CREDIT: “Just Sit.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

It’s 2018. We all need to work a little extra to find zen this year and Boricua Sukey Novogratz tell us in the lamest terms how to make it happen in our day to day.

18. “Love Poems” by Pablo Neruda

CREDIT: “Love Poems.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

If you weren’t forced to recite Pablo Neruda poetry in front of your class, then I wish I went to your school. This sweet, pocket sized book gives you both the English and Spanish versions of his best love poems.

Life hack: be like my girlfriend and give this to yours so they can hear how much you love them in all the ways. I know, I’m crying.

19. “The First Rule of Punk” by Celia C. Pérez

CREDIT: @girlsreadtheworld / Instagram

Mexican-Cuban author, Celia C. Pérez, shares the untold, yet ubiquitous, story of young punk Latinos in America. Follow the story of 12-year-old María Luia O’Neill-Morales, or as she prefers to be called, Malú. She’s half-Mexican, half-white and she’s angsty af, partly because her mother wants her to be “less punk rocker and more señorita” and partly because…why tf not?

20. “Sabers and Utopias: Visions of Latin America” by Mario Vargas Llosa

CREDIT: “Sabers and Utopias”. Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Ok, so you’ve read through 19 books, and have found another Nobel Prize winning author. This one is a deep dive into Latin American history told by one of the most talented, brilliant Latino minds alive today.

21. “Sidewalks” by Valeria Luiselli

CREDIT: “Sidewalks.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Born in Mexico City, Luiselli, “Sidewalks” is the translation of “Papeles Falsos” and a collection of essays about Mexico City, Manhattan, and a dizzying array of graveyard-esque stories in between. Read it to see what I mean.

22. “A Psalm for Us” by Reyna Biddy

CREDIT: “a psalm for us.” Digital Image. Amazon. 4 April 2018.

Twenty two-year-old Reyna “Biddy” Mays is mitad Mexicana and is gifting us this collection of prose, self-affirmations, spoken word poems, and short stories that question faith, marrying the intellect’s acceptance of feminist principles and dragging her heart to the fullest expression of self worth.

This book will opens your soul up.

23. “Islandborn” by Junot Díaz

CREDIT: “Islandborn | Lola.” Digital Image. JunotDiaz.com. 4 April 2018.

Dominican writer, Junot Díaz, has gifted us all vivid stories intermingled with our own childhood memories. Today, he’s gifting our world’s youngest story-lovers a tale of Lola, a Dominican girl living in the Bronx, asked to share her family’s story. As her imagination and memories swirl together around serious topics (i.e. dictator Rafael Trujillo), she learns about the heroes of her island, and the story of her family.

I’m 100 percent gifting this to my nietos.

Here Are 15 Times That Google Paid Tribute To Latinx Culture With The Google Doodle

Culture

Here Are 15 Times That Google Paid Tribute To Latinx Culture With The Google Doodle

Google

September 22nd marks Doodle Day — yes, it’s a thing! Since 2004 Doodle Day has helped raise funds for epilepsy research. “The tagline ‘Drawing a line through epilepsy’ heads the campaign, and participants take part by submitting their doodle, along with a small donation. The Doodle Day team then judges the doodles and awards prizes accordingly,” according to Days Of The Year

There aren’t many doodles with as much reach as Google doodles, which serve as way to educate and inform people all over the world about global history. Of course, Latinxs have been contributing to arts, science, and culture for centuries. 

Check out these 15 Google Doodles that honor Latinx culture and history. 

Mercedes Sosa

Born in 1936, Argentinian singer Mercedes Sosa was known for being the “voice of the voiceless ones.” Nicknamed “La Negra” her social justice lyrics and traditional folk music allowed her to perform at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Sistine Chapel, and the Colosseum in Rome.

Chile’s National Day

The country’s official flag since 1817 commemorates a multiday celebration known as Las Fiestas Patrias to honor Chile’s eight-year struggle for self-determination from Spanish colonial rule. 

Lupicínio Rodrigues

Lupicínio Rodrigues was born in 1914 in Brazil, today his name is “synonymous with the musical genre samba-canção, also known as samba triste or ‘sad samba.’”

Ynés Mexía

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Mexican American botanist and explorer Ynes Mexia received this tribute. In 1925, Mexía traveled to Sinaloa, Mexico to find rare botanical species. On the trip, she fell off a cliff, fractured her hand and ribs, and still managed to return home with 500 species, 50 of which were undiscovered. 

Tin Tan

The actor, singer, and comedian Tin Tan was born in Mexico City in 1915. Tin Tan helped to popularize pachuco culture with films like The Jungle Book and The Aristocats.

Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar

Born in Pamplona, Colombia in 1922, Villamizar was an innovative painter and sculptor. After traveling to Paris and New York in the 1950s to much acclaim, he became a pioneer of abstract Colombian art. 

Ignacio Anaya García

Ignacio Anaya García’ was born in 1895. In 1943, García invented nachos. What more needs to be said about the magnitude of his culinary contributions? Nachos! 

Arantza Peña Popo  

Afro-Columbian artist Arantza Peña Popo made history when she won Google’s “Doodle For Google” contest in 2019. The art entitled “Once you get it, give it back” features two generations of Afro-Latinx mothers and daughters.

Dr. Matilde Montoya

The first female physician in Mexico, born in 1859, Dr. Matilde Montoya petitioned President Porfirio Díaz to be allowed into medical school. Dr. Montoya had already earned her degree as a midwife at 16, but she wanted more. Dr. Montoya paid her success forward. After her application was accepted, she demanded the House of Representatives to change the rules and permanently allow female students into the School of Medicine.

Lucha Reyes

Born into poverty in 1936, Peruvian singer Lucha Reyes beat the odds by becoming one of the country’s most adored singers. Reyes helped to popularize the Afro-Peruvian genre of music música criolla which blended Creole, Afro-Peruvian, and Andean musical traditions.

Evangelina Elizondo

Mexican actress Evangelina Elizondo was born in 1929. She would become a star of Mexican Cinema’s Golden Age. Fun fact: this Google doodle was created by the Mexican guest artist Valeria Alvarez. 

Abraham Valdelomar

Writer and caricaturist Abraham Valdelomar was born in 1888 in Peru. A humorous prodigy, Valdelomar is remembered for his cuentos criollos. In 1916, he founded the literary magazine Colónida, which helped Peruvians discovered fresh literary talent like José María Eguren.

Raúl Soldi  

Argentinian artist Raúl Soldi was born in Buenos Aires in 1905. Soldi was a painter, costume designer, and even did department store windows.

“Recognized in his country and globally, a 1992 retrospective at Argentina’s Palais de Glace attracted some 500,000 visitors and his work was honored with an award at the 1958 Biennale of São Paulo, Brazil.”

Simón Rodríguez  

Venezuela’s Simón Rodríguez devoted his life to educating others. A scholar, philosopher, and teacher born in Caracas in 1771, he would prove to be a precocious student. As a teacher, among his students Simón Bolivar, he proposed creating well-funded, well-trained schools that included students of all ethnicities and social backgrounds. 

Mexican Independence Day

Mexican guest artist Dia Pacheco created this Google doodle to commemorate Mexico’s Independence Day. Inspired by indigenous Mexican crafts and textiles like Oaxacan embroidery and children’s toys, the animated rehiletes are a beautiful homage.

These Día De Los Muertos Inspired Tattoos Will Make You Want To Get Inked Right Away

Fierce

These Día De Los Muertos Inspired Tattoos Will Make You Want To Get Inked Right Away

As Fall begins to slowly cool the weather outside, we begin to think about the spooky season and all the things that come with it. It isn’t just Halloween that we’re looking forward to. We also have Día de  Los Muertos to anticipate. 

Observed by the people of central and south Mexico, The Day of the Dead is a celebration of ancestors and life on the other side of death. It has also become a holiday that has fed into our collective pop culture with images of its sugar skulls, marigolds and monarch butterflies. These images have worked their way into artwork and have especially become popular subjects of tattoos. 

With that in mind, we found some breathtaking Día de Los Muertos tattoos. Maybe they’ll inspire you to get some Day of the Dead ink as well. 

1. This watercolor beauty.

Instagram / @piotr.balcerak.tattoo

What makes this sketchy and bold tattoo brilliant is its watercolor style. Mimicking the freedom and flow that watercolor paintings have, watercolor tattoos venture outside line art to bleed color into the canvass. This intricate skull is a great example of this tattoo style. 

2. The OG skeleton prince.

Instagram / @somozaart

One of the most recognizable skull daddies gets a Día de Los Muertos makeover in this black and white tattoo. Jack Skeleton looks like a natural all decked out with common designs typically seen on sugar skulls. The skeleton might be the Pumpkin King but he looks like the King of the Dead in this tattoo.

3. *Mariachi music intensifies.*

Instagram / @yamambatattooshop

What’s more Mexican than authentic mariachi music? A mariachi skull musician. Dressed as a traditional mariachi, this skull comes complete with a sombrero and a guitar. We can just imagine him yelling a grito as he begins his next song.

4. Hummingbird of the dead.

Instagram / @carinathebarber

This tattoo captures the delicacy of one of Mexico’s most lovely creatures. This hummingbird takes flight on colorful wings and its boldly displayed skeleton against a Mayan background. 

5. Dia de Los Meowtos

Instagram / @necromandi 

Commemorating these cute little toe beans, this tattoo features a small calavera and a Mexican cempasúchil blossom. The Mexican cempasúchil or marigold is used on ofrendas and graves to honor departed ancestors.

6. Skeleton queen.

Instagram / @luckybirdtattoo

Besides calaveras, Día de Los Muertos tats often feature female sugar skulls. This one, for example, shows a skeleton beauty adorned with a crown of skulls, bones and marigold petals. 

7. A Mexican-American beauty.

Instagram /@sasquatch_linked

This sugar skull girl combines two cultures into one to show off a love of both countries. With roses in her hair that are colored to represent the Mexican and United States flags, this tattoo embodies its wearer’s Mexican-American identity.

8. This macabre mandala. 

Instagram / @shane.ryan.ink

Mandalas are a common element in tattoos. It’s a geometric figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism. This mandala got a Day of the Dead upgrade with the addition of identical calaveras. 

9. An undead Disney princess. 

Instagram / @aevrard_

The guaranteed way to make a beloved figure even better is to give them the Día de las Muertos treatment. In this tattoo, Disney beauty Belle becomes a sugar skull girl and is adorned with a crown of flowers.

10. A sacred heart/skeleton combo.

Instagram / @richardpevahouse

The sacred heart is another identifiable subject in tattoos and is meant to symbolize the heart of Christ. This Day of the Dead calavera sports his own sacred heart, positively bursting from his chest in this dynamic piece.

11. Decked out in roses and jewels.

Instagram / @ink848

This tattoo takes a harsh subject matter a skull and makes it delicate and beautiful with the addition of jewelry and roses. The light gray shading gives it an even softer look. 

12. A Day of the Dead matruschka

Instagram / @dappertattoo

Here’s another collab between cultures with a Día de los Muertos matruschka. The Russian nesting doll is painted as an adorable sugar skull in a truly unique piece of artwork. 

13. Dia de Spidey.

Instagram / @gonzoetattoos

We might see this web slinger paroling the streets of Mexico City. Spider Man looks like a regular sugar skull with a few added decorations to his mask. 

14. *A wild Cubone appeared!*

Instagram / @missmarilyn_tattoos

Since this Pokémon already comes with his own skull helmet, it seems only naturally for it to be decorated for Day of the Dead. This tattoo is extremely creative and is definitely an unforgettable bit of art. 

15. A stylized Catrina.

Instagram / @peco_wolftown 

 La Calavera Catrina has become an icon of the Day of the Dead since she was first etched by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada back in 1910. This tattoo offers Catrina a modern makeover. Her blank stare is positively eerie and give us major creepy vibes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ygZXhDiueo