MARCH’S THEME: Kids Books Featuring Strong Latina Women
Some people have asked how I settle on the books that I select for the Atlas Book Club Boxes. It may sound odd but… the books lead me and I simply follow. I do have a set of criteria that I am looking for in a book, one of which is that it must showcase different aspects of the featured country. After all, our goal here at Atlas Book Club is to shatter “the single story.” However, at the end of the day, it must be a truly engaging read. With that in mind, it is always a delightful coincidence when a theme emerges from the books selected.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, all four book selections honor Latin American women in one form or another. One celebrates Mexican girls and women in folklore and legends, another highlights a tradition passed down through generations of Guatemalan women, the third illustrates the important roles women play in a Latin American family, and the last features a popular Mexican woman in the arts! Can you guess who?!
While you wait for your March box to arrive, check out more wonderful children’s books with strong Latina women and girls we love.
Sign up for our March Box today if you don’t want to miss out!
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
In 1994, Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the US with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn’t come empty-handed.
She brought her strength, her work, her passion, her hopes and dreams. . . and her stories. Caldecott Honor artist and six-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales’s gorgeous picture book Dreamers is about making a home in a new place. Yuyi and her son Kelly’s passage was not easy, and Yuyi spoke no English whatsoever at the time. But together, they found an unexpected, unbelievable place: the public library. There, book by book, they untangled the language of this strange new land, and learned to make their home within it.
Dreamers is a celebration of what migrantes bring with them when they leave their homes. It’s a story about family. And it’s a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own gifts wherever we roam. Beautiful and powerful at any time but given particular urgency as the status of our own Dreamers becomes uncertain, this is a story that is both topical and timeless.
The lyrical text is complemented by sumptuously detailed illustrations, rich in symbolism. Also included are a brief autobiographical essay about Yuyi’s own experience, a list of books that inspired her (and still do), and a description of the beautiful images, textures, and mementos she used to create this book.
My Name Is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada & K. Dyble Thompson (illustrator)
For María Isabel Salazar López, the hardest thing about being the new girl in school is that the teacher doesn’t call her by her real name. “We already have two Marías in this class,” says her teacher. “Why don’t we call you Mary instead?”
But María Isabel has been named for her Papá’s mother and for Chabela, her beloved Puerto Rican grandmother. Can she find a way to make her teacher see that if she loses her name, she’s lost the most important part of herself?
Who Was Selena? by Kate Bisantz & Max Bisantz
As a young girl, Selena Quintanilla sang in a band called Selena y Los Dinos with her brother and sister. The family performed at fairs, weddings, quinceañeras, and on street corners in their native Texas. Selena learned how to sing in Spanish and soon became hugely popular within the Latino community–so much so that she became the best-selling Latin artist of the 1990s. Selena was poised to be a great success, but her life was cut short after being fatally wounded by the president of her fan club. Selena’s contributions to music and fashion during her life made her one of the top Latin musicians in the 1990s, and readers will want to know more about the woman who introduced the world to Tejano music.
The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.
Things/People Margot Hates:
Mami, for destroying her social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.
With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…
Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.