• Actually read books by Latinx authors and then review them. There are some really great books by and about latinx people and here are a few of my favorites that appeal to teens.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina – One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz-Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fukœ-the curse that has haunted the Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older – Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “Lo siento” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrerro – Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.

More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera – In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

 

  • Join United We Dream – United We Dream is the biggest organization comprised of Dreamers and their allies. You can follow them and learn how to better advocate for undocumented young people living in the United States. Get statistics on how undocumented people contribute to this great country and then share them with everyone in your network. You don’t know how far your small gesture can go to change a person’s mind.

 

  • Show Students the Money – If you or a student you know is undocumented, be sure to share this list of scholarships that do not require a social security number with them. There are options and information is power.

 

  • Learn More About the Contributions of Latinx people – The National Park Service has a decent website with information about Latino Heritage in the US, but don’t stop there. The Smithsonian has also put together some good resources here. There is also the great documentary, Black in Latin America by Henry Louis Gates. Latinx culture encompasses people of all colors from countries and islands that cover half the globe.

 

  • Support a Latinx business – Knowledge is power, but money makes the world go round. People with economic power are better able to support themselves and impact the larger culture in which they live. So in light of the dust up around the “brodega” and the increasing marginalization of Hispanic neighborhoods, go put some money into the pockets of those entrepreneurs that feed their communities.

 

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