Entertainment

Get On It: 13 Books By Latino Authors You Should Have Read By Now

Summer is around the corner, and it’s time to come up with a reading list.  Don’t forget to include these incredible books from your favorite — and soon-to-be favorite — Latino authors.

Brida

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Credit: Harper Perennial/Amazon

You expected The Alchemist to be first on the list, didn’t you? We’ll get to that later, worry not. In true Coelho style, this story tells of a mystical pilgrimage. The titular, Brida, struggles to find the balance between her destiny of becoming a witch (relatable) and her modern relationships, offering a powerful exploration of choice versus destiny in the form of a fable.

Labyrinths

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Credit: New Directions/Amazon

This collection offers 23 of Jorge Luis Borges’ stories, literary essays and short parables. Of particular note is “The Library of Babel,” one of his most famous works, which imagines the universe as a massive library that contains every book imaginable — written and yet to be written — and the madness it all inspires. Who doesn’t want a little madness mixed in with their summer reading?

The Sound of Things Falling

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Credit: Riverhead Books/Amazon

In this novel, Juan Gabriel Vásquez tells a tale set in both ’90s Bogotá (the novel’s present day) and at the height of the nation’s drug boom. True events are woven through the narrative, in an amazing mix of magical realism and heart-pounding action.

The Dreamer

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Credit: Scholastic/Amazon

Pam Muñoz Ryan presents a fictionalized, poetic biography of poet Pablo Neruda as a child, dreaming of becoming a poet despite his strict, unyielding father. The beautifully written tale is heartfelt and inspires young readers (and slightly older ones, too) to embrace one’s gifts fully.

Inés of My Soul

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Credit: Harper/Amazon

Isabel Allende tells the story of Inés de Suárez, the real-life mistress of Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, weaving real historical events into a compelling love story you will not be able to put down. The events are framed as the memories an aging Inés, from her early years as an impoverished seamstress in Spain to her lover’s horrific, ruthless struggle to establish Santiago.

The Darling

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Credit: University of Arizona Press/Amazon

Lorraine M. Lopez writes the story of Caridad, a bibliophile obsessed with Russian literature.  The protagonist educates herself on matters of romance through reading and refuses to believe in the all-too realistic loves and losses she witnesses her mother and sisters experience.

The Alchemist (of course)

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Credit: HarperOne/Amazon

Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist should be re-read once a year because of all the rich life lessons it imparts. It’s the ultimate guide to navigating the universe, folded into the story of a shepherd quite literally following a dream in order to pursue his Personal Legend.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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Credit: Simon & Schuster/Amazon

Benjamin Alire Sáenz writes the beautiful story of two very different Mexican-American teens, Aristotle and Dante, who form a deep bond despite their different personalities. It’s a must-read for anyone who has 1) been a teenager and who has 2) been overjoyed/saddened/deeply perplexed by matters of love and identity. (So, all of us.)

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

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Credit: Vintage/Amazon

Here, Gabriel Garcia Márquez presents a captivating metaphysical murder mystery truly unlike any other. In a small South American village, a young bride is found to have lost her virginity before her wedding night. Her brothers decide they must kill the man responsible. And, as if the story itself wasn’t fascinating enough, there’s the matter of the lawsuit surrounding its origin.

The People of Paper

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Credit: Mariner/Amazon

Salvador Plascencia’s work of experimental fiction centers around the idea of an author’s relationship to his creations. Plascencia places himself into his characters’ world, even going to war with them, and utilizes the literal page in innovative ways, playing with text, spacing and literally cutting a specific name completely out of the book. You won’t just read this book; you’ll experience it.

Ways of Going Home

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Credit: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Amazon

In Ways of Going HomeChilean author Alejandro Zambra blurs the lines between the author and narrator to tell the story of a breakup, Chile’s history and two highly metaphorical earthquakes.

This Is How You Lose Her

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Credit: Riverhead Books/Amazon

Junot Diaz writes a fantastically twisted tale of love, love lost and the weakness of the human heart when it comes to loving.  In this collection of short stories, the Pulitzer Prize winner uses Spanglish and colloquial language to help create a fully believable world and characters. We’re insist you read all of his books, but definitely start with this one.

READ: These Latino Authors Will Help Get You Through a Breakup

Think we missed a book by your favorite Latino author?  Share your favorite, below.

White Students Burned A Book After A Latina Called Them Privileged, Not Realizing That Burning Books Is A Privilege

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White Students Burned A Book After A Latina Called Them Privileged, Not Realizing That Burning Books Is A Privilege

lina Kapyro / EyeEm / getty images

Truth hurts, white privilege exists and it’s beyond toxic. Students at a predominantly white university in Georgia took umbrage with this truth however when a Latina author delivered a lecture at their school about the issue. In protest of the notion that they were privileged, several students who had attended the lecture committed one of the most privileged acts of all time and burned her book.

Jennine Capó Crucet spoke at Georgia Southern University on Wednesday night about her book “Make Your Home Among Strangers.”

Her novel is a fictional piece about a young Latina from a lower-middle-class family living in Miami. The book follows her journey as she attends school at a prestigious college in New York state and struggles to keep up both socially and academically in the new “predominantly white” school setting. According to Georgia Southern University, the book was required reading for some of its First-Year Experience classes.

After speaking about the book at Georgia Southern University’s Performing Arts Center on Wednesday she opened up her lecture to audience questions.

According to GSU’s school newspaper the George-Anne, the question and answer section of the lecture quickly turned into a rush of questions about her criticisms of white people.

“I noticed that you made a lot of generalizations about the majority of white people being privileged,” one student said to Capó Crucet, according to the school paper. “What makes you believe that it’s okay to come to a college campus, like this, when we are supposed to be promoting diversity on this campus, which is what we’re taught. I don’t understand what the purpose of this was.”

In response, Capó Crucet explained that she had been invited to the university to speak about white privilege “It’s a real thing that you are actually benefiting from right now in even asking this question,” she reportedly replied.

It didn’t take long for her response to spur more questions about race and white privilege from students present. According to Buzzfeed News, students became upset when the author asserted that most white people “needed to be removed from authority positions because two-thirds of people in high positions should not be white.”

That evening a group of students organized a burning of her book on campus.

According to reports, some students also gathered outside of the hotel that she had been staying at.

“Last night’s discussion with the author devolved into accusations of her demonstrating racism against white people. Some students burned copies of Crucet’s book and even gathered outside her hotel. We assert that destructive and threatening acts do not reflect the values of Georgia Southern University,” Dr. Russell Willerton, the department chair, said in a statement.

In response to the burning, Capó Crucet tweeted “This is where we are, America.”

In response to the book-burning incident that took place on their campus, the university’s vice president for Strategic Communications and Marketing John Lester said the school is “not planning any actions against any of the students involved in this incident… While it’s within the students’ First Amendment rights, book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values nor does it encourage the civil discourse and debate of ideas.”

Truth is that whatever you think of white privilege and the contents of this author’s book is never really a good look.

READ: A Viciously Racist Video Has Gone Viral In Which Two Girls Call For The Return Of Slavery And The KKK

Lupita Nyong’o Wrote A Children’s Book About The Prejudice In Favor Of Lighter Skin Color And It’s Out This Month

Entertainment

Lupita Nyong’o Wrote A Children’s Book About The Prejudice In Favor Of Lighter Skin Color And It’s Out This Month

“Black Panther” and “Us” star Lupita Nyong’o keeps wowing audiences and critics with every performance. She stunned the whole world with her interpretation of Patsey in “Twelve Years a Slave” which earned her an Oscar—making her the first African woman to ever win an Academy Award for acting. Her performance in “Us” made us all shift in our seats watching her amazing portrayal of “Red” the creepy anti-hero of the film. 

She speaks four languages, has a graduate degree from Yale, won an Academy Award for her debut performance, has covered fashion magazines and newspapers around the world and has every film critic in her pocket, what else could she possibly do next? 

Write a book. 

The Kenyan-Mexican actress is debuting her first book this month.

credit Instagram @lupitanyongo

Inspired by the lack of diversity in the books she read growing up, the actress turned author, decided to do her part by creating a children’s book that tackles colorism and representation. “Sulwe” which means “star” in Luo, Lupita’s native language, is a children’s picture book that’s all about a girl whose skin is “the color of midnight”, who is “darker than everyone in her family”, according to its official synopsis by publishing house Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and is described by the publisher as “a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem and learning that true beauty comes from within.”

Nyong’o first announced the news of the book on her Instagram page back in January. 

“Sulwe is a dark-skinned girl who goes on a starry-eyed adventure and awakens with a reimagined sense of beauty. She encounters lessons that we learn as children and spend our lives unlearning. This is a story for little ones, but no matter the age I hope it serves as an inspiration for everyone to walk with joy in their own skin.” The Kenyan-Mexican actress told Marie Claire that she hopes Sulwe will offer inspiration to young readers, saying, “In no way do I imagine a child will read this and never have a problem with the world discriminating against their skin or themselves discriminating again their skin. But at least you have a foundation. You have something that reminds you that you are enough.”

The book is illustrated by artist, filmmaker and bestselling author Vashti Harrison, a fervent activist for racial equality herself.

credit www.vasthiharrison.com

The book is illustrated by Vashti Harrison, the author and illustrator of New York Times bestselling book “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History”. Nyong’o said in a statement that she’s loved having Harrison on board, “Sulwe is a character near and dear to my heart, and seeing her brought to life through Vashti’s illustrations is thrilling.” Vashti, an artist, slash filmmaker, slash author, revealed that she wanted the art for “Sulwe” to be eye-catching, magical and whimsical, “The story has an incredibly moving and powerful message, while at the same time shares a fun and whimsical adventure. I wanted to infuse every page with as much elegance and thoughtfulness, as much magic and wonder, so readers would want to come back again and again.”

credit Instagram @lupitanyongo

The 48-page book is aimed at children as young as four, through to the age of eight. Executive Editor at “Sulwe”‘s publishing house Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, said in an interview: “Lupita is outspoken on the issue of colorism, and gave a moving speech about the subject at the Essence Awards in 2014. Colorism is the theme that she’s chosen to expand on for her first picture book. In Sulwe, Lupita Nyong’o shines a light on the prejudices of skin color honestly and unflinchingly but in a way that is also accessible for even the youngest readers. Sulwe introduces an unforgettable character whose journey in the night sky is magical, empowering, and full of whimsy. This story is a beautiful celebration of learning where your strengths lie and discovering the beauty within that kids from all backgrounds can relate to. The story takes place in Kenya, a country not often represented in picture books, and the culture and setting are integral to the story.”

This week, Lupita took to Twitter to share some thoughts on the importance that representation has on young black children like her, when she was growing up.

credit Twitter @lupita_nyongo

On a lengthy post on Twitter, Lupita Nyong’o shared that the book is a love letter to her younger self and to black children around the world. She wrote about how growing up, she never saw girls and women like her represented in the books she read. She went on to say how she was given a glimpse, “a window”  into the lives of people who looked nothing like her, and how that made her yearn for a black role model, “I didn’t have any mirrors”, “mirrors help us develop our sense of self”.

“Colourism, society’s preference for lighter skin is alive and well. It is not just a prejudice reserved for places with a largely white population. Throughout the world, even in Kenya, even today, there is a popular sentiment that lighter is brighter.” “Sulwe” is released online and in bookstores everywhere October 15.