“American Dirt” is one novel grabbing all of the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The book, written by a Puerto Rican woman, has been dragged for relying on stereotypes and tropes about Mexicans to tell a tale of migrating to the U.S. Several celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, have praised the book sparking a more severe backlash from people. The novel has led to a Twitter trend of Latinos writing their own Latino novels using the same kinds of stereotypes found throughout the book.
Latinos on Twitter are dragging “American Dirt” author Jeanine Cummins.
Social media has been calling out Jeanine Cummins and everyone who has endorsed “American Dirt.” The main complaint has been the insensitive and stereotypical writing trying to tell a Mexican story from a non-Mexican writer.
It wasn’t long until Latino Twitter users took to the micro-blogging site to show how ludicrous the book is.
Several creatives have shared paragraphs playing up tired and offensive stereotypes to shine a light on what they see in “American Dirt.” Some stars, like Salma Hayek, have had to apologize for promoting the book without reading it.
Latinos from all walks, not just Mexican, have joined in on the social media trend.
There have long been discussions about the proper representation of Latinos in media. From books to movies to television to comics, the conversations have long revolved around the lack of the people telling the stories. “American Dirt” is another example of someone not from an experience writing about the experience and totally missing the mark.
Some of the tweets are short and sweet but pack a punch.
The backlash against “American Dirt” has been so strong and sustained that even Oprah Winfrey has had to change her tune. The media megastar has announced a deeper panel discussion about the book to really bring to light the underlying frustrations with the books.
Latinos have long been underrepresented and ignored but it seems critics are on track to win this battle.
What do you think about the controversy around “American Dirt” and the celebrities who praised and promoted it without reading it?
As if marginalized authors didn’t already have their burdens within the publishing industry, the Coronavirus spread is threatening their debuts.
Those familiar with the world of publishing know that houses and agencies continue to struggle to improve diversity within its ranks. Unfortunately, the effects of the new coronavirus pandemic have already begun to take its toll on writers. For veteran authors who’ve been published before, the coronavirus pandemic has delivered real blows. But for emerging ones of color, the spread of the disease has been particularly devastating. Authors can spend years, even decades, pouring their all into writing a book. When it comes to convincing publishers that their stories are important enough to be in print and e-published it can just as long if not more.
With the spread of the virus keeping authors from going out to promote their books in stores and on tours, we wanted to wrangle up a list of POC authors to read while self-isolating. They’re particularly good stories we think you’ll love and they need your support!
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Namina Forna is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter who paints a vivid story inspired by ancient West African-inspired fantasy. It currently has a 4.47 rating on Goodreads.
“Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.” Goodreads
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Maggie Tokuda-Hall weaves a stunning swashbuckling adventure full of Asian folklore in this fantasy tale with a 4.05 rating. It debuts May 5, 2020.
“Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.
Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself. ” – Goodreads
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
From queer, trans, and Latinx debut author Aiden Thomas comes a beautiful story about gender acceptance and family culture. It currently has a 4.58-star rating on Goodreads and is expected to be published on June 9, 2020
“When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.” – Goodreads
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
Bethany C. Morrow’s YA debut isn’t her first book but for fans of POC YA, this one is a first to read. Her book Song of Water has a 4.04 rating on Goodreads and is set for release on June , 2020.
“Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.
But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either. (less)” Goodreads.
This Is My Americaby Kim Johnson
Kim Johnson’s upcoming YA debut examines racial injustice against innocent black men who are criminally sentenced and its effects on their families. Its xpected publication is July 1st 2020.
“Dear Martin meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting YA novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system. Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?” – Goodreads.
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Back in 2017, author Angie Thomas released the YA novel, The Hate U Give. The Black Lives matter book quickly caught attention for its story related to the Black Lives Matter movement and quickly became a success debuting at number one on The New York Times young adult best-seller list where it remained for 50 weeks. Within a year of its publication the book was adapted into a film starring Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, K. J. Apa, Common, and Anthony Mackie.
This week, author Angie Thomas announced that she’s bringing the power of the original story back.
In a post to her Instagram account, Thomas announced that she has written a prequel to the beloved novel. In a post featuring a photo of the new book cover, Thomas shared that her new novel called Concrete Rose that her book is due to be published. “After months of waiting (and trolling on my part), I can finally reveal my third novel, Concrete Rose. Set 17 years before The Hate U Give, it follows young Maverick Carter. A huge thank you to Alison Donalty, Jenna Stempel-Lobell, and artist Cathy Charles for this mind-blowing cover. It’s beyond my wildest dreams,” she wrote in her post.
Speaking to People about her upcoming novel, Thomas explained why she chose to center the book around the father of the protagonist from her first novel.
“Of all characters who really just stayed with me, Maverick was at the top of that list,” Angie explained to People. “And what was fascinating to me was once readers started reading The Hate U Give and then when the film came out, he was the character that I was asked about the most.”
Like Thomas’s last book, “Concrete Rose,” takes its title from a Tupac Shakur title.
The title comes from the Tupac Shakur song “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” and will follow Maverick’s when he is 17-years-old and a young father to Starr’s older brother, Seven.
“The big thing I’m excited for readers to learn about with Maverick, specifically, is that there are things that he has done in his life that his kids don’t even know about,” Angie told People interview. “I’m also excited to show this bonding between father and son… So many people assume that Black kids, especially Black kids in the hood, don’t have fathers. And that’s a lie. So many of them do.”
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