The Americas, conquered by violence and hook or crook by Europeans and in the Southern Hemisphere, primarily by the Spanish and Portuguese. But there were indigenous people who lived there long before the Spanish and Portuguese arrived. Their descendants are now known as Latinx or Hispanic, depending on who is applying the labels. Here is where authors share their visions of the future, alternate histories and fantasy that feature Latinx and/or Hispanic main characters.
Click on the image to order your book online!
Click on the image to order your book online!
Andrea L. Bell and Yolanda Molina-Gavilan
Cosmos Latinos: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Latin America and Spain (Early Classics of Science Fiction) (Ages 15+)
"Opening a window onto a fascinating new world for English-speaking readers, this anthology offers popular and influential stories from over ten countries, chronologically ranging from 1862 to the present. Latin American and Spanish science fiction shares many thematic and stylistic elements with anglophone science fiction, but there are important differences: many downplay scientific plausibility, and others show the influence of the region's celebrated literary fantastic. In the 27 stories included in this anthology, a 16th-century conquistador is re-envisioned as a cosmonaut, Mexican factory workers receive pleasure-giving bio-implants, and warring bands of terrorists travel through time attempting to reverse the outcome of historical events.
"The introduction examines the ways the genre has developed in Latin America and Spain since the 1700s and studies science fiction as a means of defamiliarizing, and then critiquing, regional culture, history and politics--especially in times of censorship and political repression. The volume also includes a brief introduction to each story and its author, and an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary works. Cosmos Latinos is a critical contribution to Latin American, Spanish, popular culture and science fiction studies and will be stimulating reading for anyone who likes a good story." Some themes may be disturbing to young teens and their parents.
This is yet another book that I've added to my wish list while asking myself , "Why isn't this book on my shelves?" (RDJ)
Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Taco Del and the Fabled Tree of Destiny (Ages 13+)
From the author: "Some wizards have staffs, wands, or mediums. Taco Del has a tree…
"The Kingdom of Embarcadero is under siege. King Elvis wants to steal its secrets, mysterious outsiders want to expel its citizens, an ancient and sinister Force threatens to devour their souls. Salvation rests on the slender shoulders of a young wizard named Taco Del and his unlikely allies — a red-haired Chinese girl, a ghostly tribe of Mission Indians and a small fir tree named Doug
"I first met Taco Del in a dream, sitting pretty much as you see him on the cover, in quiet company with the Fabled Tree of Destiny (aka, Doug). Just a boy and his tree. I first heard his very distinctive voice as I was driving home from work one day and he began telling me his story. 'Hello, I’m Taco Del and this is my story: You see, Lord E Lordy wanted the Wiz. That’s where the Last Little War got started.'
"No, I am not kidding. And I am not alone in this. Ask Ursula. She’ll tell you that some characters are quite assertive. I managed to keep Del talking until I got home and was able to write down everything he had to tell me. In a sense, I did not write this novel alone. My collaborator’s byline is in the title."
Matt de la Peña
The Living (Ages 12-18+)
"Shy took the summer job to make some money. In a few months on a luxury cruise liner, he'll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out with the bills. And how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two—every cruise has different passengers, after all.
"But everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy's only weeks out at sea when an earthquake more massive than ever before recorded hits California, and his life is forever changed.
"The earthquake is only the first disaster. Suddenly it's a fight to survive for those left living."
The Living is included on the American Library Association's 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults, http://www.ala.org/yalsa/2014-best-fiction-young-adults, and Matt was recognized by the Pura Belpre committee at this year’s ALA awards ceremony.
NPR Weekend Edition, November 23, 2013: "A disaster epic, a survival story, and a coming-of-age novel filled with the life of a young man who's becoming aware of class, prejudice, and romance." - Scott Simon
The sequel, The Hunted, is scheduled for Fall 2014
Like Water for Chocolate (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. The classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother's womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef. She shares special points of her favorite preparations with listeners throughout the story. The Spanish language edition of the best-selling Like Water For Chocolate is a remarkable success in its own right. Now, in this mass market edition, thousands of new readers will be able to partake in the sumptuous, romantic, and hilarious tale of Tita, the terrific cook with an extra special something in her sauce."
This is a delightful fantasy novel. I wasn't sure I'd like it because I don't like romance novels in any way, shape or form, but this book caught me and drew me into its magical spell. It's beautifully written and I'd highly recommend it to older teens and adults. Some themes are mature, including some romantic sex and infidelity. (RDJ)
Como agua para chocolate (Años 15+)
The Spanish edition of Like Water For Chocolate
The Law of Love (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"...tells a cosmic love story, a Mexican Midsummer Night's Dream that stretches from the fall of Montezuma's Mexico to the 23rd century." Not recommended for young teens.
The House of the Scorpion (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"Fields of white opium poppies stretch away over the hills, and uniformed workers bend over the rows, harvesting the juice. This is the empire of Matteo Alacran, a feudal drug lord in the country of Opium, which lies between the United States and Aztlan, formerly Mexico. Field work, or any menial tasks, are done by "eejits," humans in whose brains computer chips have been installed to insure docility. Alacran, or El Patron, has lived 140 years with the help of transplants from a series of clones, a common practice among rich men in this world. The intelligence of clones is usually destroyed at birth, but Matt, the latest of Alacran's doubles, has been spared because he belongs to El Patron. He grows up in the family's mansion, alternately caged and despised as an animal and pampered and educated as El Patron's favorite. Gradually he realizes the fate that is in store for him, and with the help of Tam Lin, his bluff and kind Scottish bodyguard, he escapes to Aztlan. There he and other "lost children" are trapped in a more subtle kind of slavery before Matt can return to Opium to take his rightful place and transform his country." Controversial issues such as cloning, mind control, organ harvesting, and drugs may be uncomfortable for younger teens and their parents.
Lobizona: A Novel (Wolves of No World (1)) (Ages 12-18+ / Grades 7-9)
"Garber’s gorgeous novel combines the wonder of a Hogwarts-style magic school with the Twilight-esque dynamics of a hidden magical species that has strict rules about interacting with the human world." - BOOKLIST (Starred Review)
"Some people ARE illegal.
"Lobizonas do NOT exist.
"Both of these statements are false.
"Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who's on the run from her father's Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.
"Until Manu's protective bubble is shattered.
"Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past―a mysterious "Z" emblem―which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.
"As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it's not just her U.S. residency that's illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence."
Author Romina Garber is originally from Argentina. A graduate of Harvard College, she is a Virgo to the core. You can visit Garber at her website: www.rominagarber.com.
Parents: There's some violence, language, sexual content (consensual and otherwise), bullying, social commentary and Argentine folklore.
The Islands Where the Moon Is Born: An Adventure in the Galapagos Islands (Grades 3-6 / Age 9+)
This charming book by Ecuadorian children’s author Edna Iturralde was recently reviewed by my friend Alicia over at Library Mix. Please click here to read Alicia's full review.
Until recently, this book was available only through Ecuador’s Libri Mundi in Spanish or English. However, it's due to be released in English in July 2012 through WPR books. Click on the book cover on the right to reach WPR's order page.
y su corazón escapó para convertirse en pájaro (Ages 13+ / Años 13+)
While Iturralde's books are not readily available in the United States, there's a second book that you might be interested in. Although it's not Science Fiction or Fantasy (that I know of), it tells stories of Afro-Ecuadorian children. It is available only in Spanish.
"This is a set of stories about Ecuadorians of African descent from 16th century to the present. Written with meticulous investigation, they have just the right language and writing style to captivate all types of readers, specially the young ones who will vibrate when entering in these stories full of emotion and enthusiasm."
En Español: "Conjunto de relatos sobre el pueblo negro ecuatoriano, desde el siglo XVI hasta nuestros días. Escritos tras una pacienciosa investigación, tienen el lenguaje apropiado para cautivar a todo tipo de lectores, especialmente los jóvenes que vibrarán al adentrarse en estas historias plenas de emoción y dramatismo."
The Fever King (Feverwake) (Ages 16+)
"In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
"The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
"Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good." Parents, the book is set in a post-nuclear dystopian world and features an undocumented bisexual Latinx-Jewish protagonist. Cross-posted on the Middle-Eastern and LGBTQ pages.
Julián is a Mermaid (Ages 4 - 9)
"A glimpse of three women dressed as mermaids leaves one boy filled with wonder and ready to dazzle the world.
"'Every choice Jessica Love makes imbues the story with charm, tenderness and humor' New York TImes Book Review
"While riding the subway home with his Nana one day, Julian notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train carriage. When Julian gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies and making his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Nana think about the mess he makes – and even more importantly – what will she think about how Julian sees himself?" A lovely picture book filled with images of an imaginative child who loves mermaids and his abuela's acceptance and love.
Starfields (Grades 4-8 / Ages 10+)
"Rosalba is a nine-year-old Mayan girl living in rural Mexico. Like her mother and grandmother, she weaves stories of her people onto blouses, ensuring that the age-old traditions continue. But new influences are entering her life. A ladina girl from the city, visiting with her scientist father, passes on the astonishing news that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world in 2012. Rosalba knows nothing about that, but her village is faced with a bulldozer tearing through the forest, dying wildlife, and cornfields in danger. Rosalba’s new friend tells her she must do something to help, but what? As she ponders, she dreams of an ancient Mayan boy, eyes bound in a shamanistic ritual, who hints at a way she can make her voice heard. Interweaving a contemporary story with a mythical dream narrative, Carolyn Marsden spins a gripping tale of friendship, cultural identity, and urgent environmental themes."
Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Summer of the Mariposas (Grades 8+ / Ages 13+)
"When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero’s journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. But returning home to Texas turns into an odyssey that would rival Homer’s original tale.
"With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona via a magical earring, Odilia and her little sisters travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother’s house. Along the way, they must outsmart a witch and her Evil Trinity: a wily warlock, a coven of vicious half-human barn owls, and a bloodthirsty livestock-hunting chupacabras. Can these fantastic trials prepare Odilia and her sisters for what happens when they face their final test, returning home to the real world, where goddesses and ghosts can no longer help them?
"Summer of the Mariposas is not just a magical Mexican American retelling of The Odyssey, it is a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love."
When the Moon Was Ours (Ages 12-18+ / Grades 7-9)
From the author of The Weight of Feathers comes a young adult novel about a girl hiding the truth, a boy with secrets from his past, and four sisters who could ruin them both.
Recipient of a Stonewall Honor and longlisted for the National Book Award, McLemore delivers a second stunning and utterly romantic novel, again tinged with magic.
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
Atmospheric, dynamic, and packed with gorgeous prose, When the Moon Was Ours is another winner from this talented author.
Cross posted in Asian & Pacific Islander and LGBTQI
Parents: Contains transgender characters, gender identities, and scenes of transphobia, possible self harm and child abuse
Rebecca Moesta & Kevin J. Anderson
Crystal Doors series - Island Realm, Ocean Realm, and Sky Realm (Grades 6+ / Ages 12+)
"Fourteen-year-old cousins Gwen and Vic have lived together ever since the mysterious deaths of Gwen's parents and disappearance of Vic's mother--until Vic's father accidentally transports them through a magical doorway to the island of Elantya. Vic and Gwen are soon caught in a tempest of ancient magic, vicious creatures, and fierce battles--all connected to a territorial feud with the sea-dwelling merlons, an age-old conflict between the bright and dark sages...and the cousins' own mysterious roots."
Cousins Gwen and Vic's fathers were identical twins. While working in the Yucatan Peninsula at an archaeological dig, the brothers met two mysterious sisters who walked out of the jungle and into their lives. The twins marry the sisters and the cousins are born on the same day. After the death of Gwen's parents and the disappearance of Vic's mother, Uncle Cal and the cousins live together as a family until the teens walk into the middle of Uncle Cal's experiment. Transported to a magical realm, the "twin" cousins are caught in the middle of a war and must solve the riddle of their family before they can go home.
"Gwen and Vic are still celebrating their victory in the battle with the merlons when they learn that Vic's father has finally made it through the crystal doors to the magical island of Elantya. However, their victory is short-lived when they and their friends are kidnapped by their underwater enemies and taken beneath the sea. They soon learn of a scheme that could bring Elantya to ruins. Can they escape in time to save the island from destruction?"
"The thrilling conclusion to Kevin Anderson and Rebecca Moesta's Crystal Door's trilogy finds cousins Gwen and Vic and their three friends forging the magical Ring of Might and defending all of the worlds beyond the crystal doors in their final battle with the dark sage, Azric. When their friend Sharif is called back home by his father, the Sultan, Gwen, Vic and their friends travel to the flying city of Irrakesh. When they return, they find that the Sultan is dying, with Sharif the next in line to be Sultan. Soon he will have to choose between duty and destiny, but before he can do so, Irrakesh is attacked and the city is taken hostage by dark wizards evil army. In their previous battles, they faced Azric by land and sea, now they take to the skies for the climactic showdown with the evil wizard and all of his dark forces."
Daniel José Older
Shadowshaper (Grades 7+ / Ages 12+)
"Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes their first party. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep tears... Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.
"With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one. Now Sierra must unravel her family's past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come."
Shadowhouse Fall (Grades 7+ / Ages 12+)
"The stunning sequel to the New York Times bestseller Shadowshaper is daring, dazzling, defiant."A magical revolution on the page." -- Leigh Bardugo"[Older] leaves us openmouthed and speechless, asking "What just happened to me?!" -- Jacqueline Woodson
"Sierra and her friends love their new lives as shadowshapers, making art and creating change with the spirits of Brooklyn. Then Sierra receives a strange card depicting a beast called the Hound of Light -- an image from the enigmatic, influential Deck of Worlds. The shadowshapers know their next battle has arrived.Thrust into an ancient struggle with enemies old and new, Sierra and Shadowhouse are determined to win. Revolution is brewing in the real world as well, as the shadowshapers lead the fight against systems that oppress their community. To protect her family and friends in every sphere, Sierra must take down the Hound and master the Deck of Worlds . . . or risk losing them all."
Anna Meriano / Mirelle Ortega (Illustrator)
Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble (Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12)
"'A charming and delectably sweet debut. Mischief, friendship, and a whole lot of heart—Love Sugar Magic has it all.' —Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of the Brooklyn Brujas series
"Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.
"Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.
"Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.
"And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?
"Debut author Anna Meriano brings us the first book in a delightful new series filled to the brim with amor, azúcar, y magia."
Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Maya: The Great Classic of Central American Spirituality, Translated from the Original Maya Text by Allen J. Christenson (Translator) (Grades 9+ / Ages 16+)
"The Popol Vuh is the most important example of Maya literature to have survived the Spanish conquest. It is also one of the world’s great creation accounts, comparable to the beauty and power of Genesis.
"Most previous translations have relied on Spanish versions rather than the original K’iche’-Maya text. Based on ten years of research by a leading scholar of Maya literature, this translation with extensive notes is uniquely faithful to the original language. Retaining the poetic style of the original text, the translation is also remarkably accessible to English readers.
"Illustrated with more than eighty drawings, photographs, and maps, Allen J. Christenson’s authoritative version brings out the richness and elegance of this sublime work of literature, comparable to such epic masterpieces as the Ramayana and Mahabharata of India or the Iliad and Odyssey of Greece."
Not a science fiction or fantasy story per se, but an important translation of the K’iche’-Maya creation story. In my opinion, if your child is old enough to read the Bible, then he/she is old enough to read this wonderful translation of Mayan literature. RDJ
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