Chicana Portraits: Critical Biographies of Twelve Chicana Writers, Norma E. Cantú (Editor)
This innovative collection pairs portraits with critical biographies of twelve key Chicana writers, offering an engaging look at their work, contributions to the field, and major achievements.
Artist Raquel Valle-Sentíes's portraits bring visual dimension, while essays delve deeply into the authors' lives for details that inform their literary, artistic, feminist, and political trajectories and sensibilities. The collection brilliantly intersects artistic visual and literary cultural productions, allowing complex themes to emerge, such as the fragility of life, sexism and misogyny, Chicana agency and forging one's own path, the struggles of becoming a writer and battling self-doubt, economic instability, and political engagement and activism.
Arranged chronologically by birth order of the authors, the book can be read cover to cover for a genealogical overview, or scholars and general readers can easily jump in at any point and read about an individual author, regardless of the chronology.
Biographies included in this work include Raquel Valle-Sentíes, Angela de Hoyos, Montserrat Fontes, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Norma E. Cantú, Denise Elia Chávez, Carmen Tafolla, Cherríe Moraga, Ana Castillo, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Sandra Cisneros, and Demetria Martínez.
We Don't Swim Here by Vincent Tirado
New from the 2023 Pura Belpré Award-winning author of Burn Down, Rise Up!
She is the reason no one goes in the water. And she will make them pay. A chilling new novel for fans of Tiffany D. Jackson, Lamar Giles, and Ryan Douglass.
Bronwyn is only supposed to be in rural Hillwoods for a year. Her grandmother is in hospice, and her father needs to get her affairs in order. And they're all meant to make some final memories together.
Except Bronwyn is miserable. Her grandmother is dying, everyone is standoffish, and she can't even go swimming. All she hears are warnings about going in the water, despite a gorgeous lake. And a pool at the abandoned rec center. And another in the high school basement.
Anais tries her hardest to protect Bronwyn from the shadows of Hillwoods. She follows her own rituals to avoid any unnecessary attention--and if she can just get Bronwyn to stop asking questions, she can protect her too. The less Bronwyn pays attention to Hillwoods, the less Hillwoods will pay attention to Bronwyn. She doesn't get that the lore is, well, truth. History. Pain. The living aren't the only ones who seek retribution when they're wronged. But when Bronwyn does more exploring than she should, they are both in for danger they couldn't expect.
Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea
In 1943, Irene Woodward abandons an abusive fiancé in New York to enlist with the Red Cross and head to Europe. She makes fast friends in training with Dorothy Dunford, a towering Midwesterner with a ferocious wit. Together they are part of an elite group of women, nicknamed Donut Dollies, who command military vehicles called Clubmobiles at the front line, providing camaraderie and a taste of home that may be the only solace before troops head into battle.
After D-Day, these two intrepid friends join the Allied soldiers streaming into France. Their time in Europe will see them embroiled in danger, from the Battle of the Bulge to the liberation of Buchenwald. Through her friendship with Dorothy, and a love affair with a courageous American fighter pilot named Hans, Irene learns to trust again. Her most fervent hope, which becomes more precarious by the day, is for all three of them to survive the war intact.
Slash and Burn by Claudia Hernández
As a girl she sees her village sacked and her beloved father and brothers flee. Her life in danger, she joins the rebellion in the hills, where her comrades force her to give up the baby she conceives. Years later, having outlived countless men, she leaves to find her lost daughter, traveling across the Atlantic with meager resources. She returns to a community riven with distrust, fear and hypocrisy in the wake of the
Hernández's narrators have the level gaze of ordinary women reckoning with extraordinary hardship. Denouncing the ruthless machismo of combat with quiet intelligence, Slash and Burn creates a suspenseful, slow-burning revelation of rural life in the aftermath of
Corazón by Yesika Salgado
Corazón is a love story. It is about the constant hunger for love. It is about feeding that hunger with another person and finding that sometimes it isn't enough. Salgado creates a world in which the heart can live anywhere; her fat brown body, her parents home country, a lover, a toothbrush, a mango, or a song. It is a celebration of heartache, of how it can ruin us, but most importantly how we always survive it and return to ourselves whole.
Plantains and Our Becoming: Poems by Melania Luisa Marte
Poet and musician Melania Luisa Marte opens PLAINTAINS AND OUR BECOMING by pointing out that Afro-Latina is not a word recognized by the dictionary. But the dictionary is far from a record of the truth. What does it mean, then, to tend to your own words and your own record--to build upon the legacies of your ancestors?
In this imaginative, blistering poetry collection, Marte looks at the identities and histories of the Dominican Republic and Haiti to celebrate and center the Black diasporic experience. Through the exploration of themes like self-love, nationalism, displacement, generational trauma, and ancestral knowledge, this collection uproots stereotypes while creating a new joyous vision for Black identity and personhood.
Moving from New York to Texas to the Dominican Republic and to Haiti, this collection looks at the legacies of colonialism and racism but never shies away from highlighting the beauty--and joy--that comes from celebrating who you are and where you come from.
Daughters of the Stone by Dahlma Llanos
A lyrical powerful novel about a family of Afro-Puerto Rican women spanning five generations, detailing their physical and spiritual journey from the Old World to the New.
It is the mid-1800s. Fela, taken from Africa, is working at her second sugar plantation in colonial Puerto Rico, where her mistress is only too happy to benefit from her impressive embroidery skills. But Fela has a secret. Before she and her husband were separated and sold into slavery, they performed a tribal ceremony in which they poured the essence of their unborn child into a very special stone. Fela keeps the stone with her, waiting for the chance to finish what she started. When the plantation owner approaches her, Fela sees a better opportunity for her child, and allows the man to act out his desire. Such is the beginning of a line of daughters connected by their intense love for one another, and the stories of a lost land.
Mati, a powerful healer and noted craftswoman, is grounded in a life that is disappearing in a quickly changing world.
Concha, unsure of her place, doesn't realize the price she will pay for rejecting her past.
Elena, modern and educated, tries to navigate between two cultures, moving to New York, where she struggles to keep her family together.
Carisa turns to the past for wisdom and strength when her life in New York falls apart.
The stone becomes meaningful to each of the women, pulling them through times of crisis. Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa shows great skill and warmth in the telling of this heartbreaking, inspirational story about mothers and daughters, and the ways in which they hurt and save one another.
Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa by Veronica Chambers (author) and Julie Maren (illustrator)
Everyone knows the flamboyant, larger-than-life Celia Cruz, the extraordinary salsa singer who passed away in 2003, leaving millions of fans brokenhearted. indeed, there was a magical vibrancy to the Cuban salsa singer. to hear her voice or to see her perform was to feel her life-affirming energy deep within you. relish the sizzling sights and sounds of her legacy in this glimpse into Celia's childhood and her inspiring rise to worldwide fame and recognition as the Queen of salsa. Her inspirational life story is sure to sweeten your soul.
Borderless by Jennifer De Leon
Caught in the cross hairs of gang violence, a teen girl and her mother set off on a perilous journey from Guatemala City to the US border in this heart-wrenching young adult novel from the author of Don't Ask Me Where I'm From.
For seventeen-year-old Maya, trashion is her passion, and her talent for making clothing out of unusual objects landed her a scholarship to Guatemala City's most prestigious art school and a finalist spot in the school's fashion show. Mamá is her biggest supporter, taking on extra jobs to pay for what the scholarship doesn't cover, and she might be even more excited than Maya about what the fashion show could do for her future career.
So when Mamá doesn't come to the show, Maya doesn't know what to think. But the truth is worse than she could have imagined. The gang threats in their neighborhood have walked in their front door--with a boy Maya considered a friend, or maybe more, among them. After barely making their escape, Maya and her mom have no choice but to continue their desperate flight all the way through Guatemala and Mexico in hopes of crossing the US border.
They have to cross. They must cross! Can they?
Always a Relic Never a Reliquary by Kim Sousa
WINNER OF THE 2020 ST. LAWRENCE BOOK AWARD
In her debut full-length poetry collection, ALWAYS A RELIC NEVER A RELIQUARY, Brazilian American poet, editor and abolitionist Kim Sousa interrogates inheritance by reaching both backwards and forwards: backwards towards her father's first border crossing and forwards past her own. Centered around a specific personal trauma, a later-term miscarriage, the poems also contain collective trauma: they ask what it means to live in the United States both as immigrant and citizen, addressing State terror and violence as if by megaphone at the protest line. In Sousa's poems, the personal is political: they are anti-racist, ecocritical and proletariat. She sings diasporic resilience as both a horror and celebration. The poems are haunted but hopeful; here, there is always hope in rage and resistance.
The Storyteller's Death: by Ann Dávila Cardinal
Isla Larsen Sanchez's life begins to unravel when her father passes away. Instead of being comforted at home in New Jersey, her mother starts leaving her in Puerto Rico with her grandmother and great-aunt each summer like a piece of forgotten luggage.
When Isla turns eighteen, her grandmother, a great storyteller, dies. It is then that Isla discovers she has a gift passed down through her family's cuentistas. The tales of dead family storytellers are brought back to life, replaying themselves over and over in front of her.
At first, Isla is enchanted by this connection to the Sanchez cuentistas. But when Isla has a vision of an old murder mystery, she realizes that if she can't solve it to make the loop end, these seemingly harmless stories could cost Isla her life.
This is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves
Enrique "Quique" Luna has one goal this summer--get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi by pursuing his other romantic prospects. Never mind that he's only out to his best friend, Fabiola. Never mind that he has absolutely zero game. And definitely forget the fact that good and kind and, not to mention, beautiful Saleem is leaving LA for the summer to reunite with a girl his parents are trying to set him up with.
Luckily, Quique's prospects are each intriguing in their own ways. There's stoner-jock Tyler Montana, who might be just as interested in Fabiola as he is in Quique; straitlaced senior class president, Ziggy Jackson; and Manny Zuniga, who keeps looking at Quique like he's carne asada fresh off the grill. With all these choices, Quique is sure to forget about Saleem in no time.
But as the summer heats up and his deep-seated fears and anxieties boil over, Quique soon realizes that getting over one guy by getting under a bunch of others may not have been the best laid plan and living his truth can come at a high cost.
La Quinta Soledad, A Novel by Silviana Wood
La Quinta Soledad is a tour de force of Chicana literature, culture, cuisine, folklore and humor. Silviana Wood is a master storyteller and word-sorceress in love with the beauty, magic and creative possibility of the Chicana language in its glorious multilingualism and ability to navigate multiple realities.
The novel, part fiction /part memoir, is narrated by 62-year-old Quinta Soledad who lives in Tucson, Arizona. It tells a multigenerational Mexicana/Chicana family story that centers on her abuela, Nana Conchita, her mother, Lola, and her four sisters: Dalia (Dolly), Orquidea (Orky), Azucena (Susie Mae), and Magnolia (Maggie).
Bella Collector of Cuentos by Carmen Baca
When she opens an old photo album, Bella falls into a world where the gente of New Mexican folklore are on the verge of disappearing if she, her family, and community forget them: Don Cacahuate y Doña Cebolla, Coyote, duendes, Santa Sebastiana/Santa Muerte, the deadly Malhora, Llorona, and Coco, among others. Ancianos of Bella’s family line teach her what no one else has told her about her culture: the practices of the curandera, the forecasting of the weather through Cabañuelas by the farmer, the history of the Spanish dialect spoken in northern New Mexico and almost nowhere else, and more. But will she survive to pass on the tales?
For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez
The founder of Latina Rebels' "electrifying debut" (LA Times) arms women of color with the tools and knowledge they need to find success on their own terms
For generations, Brown girls have had to push against powerful forces of sexism, racism, and classism, often feeling alone in the struggle. By founding Latina Rebels, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez has created a community to help women fight together. In For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts, she offers wisdom and a liberating path forward for all women of color. She crafts powerful ways to address the challenges Brown girls face, from imposter syndrome to colorism. She empowers women to decolonize their worldview, and defy "universal" white narratives, by telling their own stories. Her book guides women of color toward a sense of pride and sisterhood and offers essential tools to energize a movement.
May it spark a fire within you.
Solito: A Memoir by Javier Zamora
Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago--"one day, you'll take a trip to be with us. Like an adventure."
Javier Zamora's adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone amid a group of strangers and a "coyote" hired to lead them to safety, Javier expects his trip to last two short weeks.
At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents' arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside fellow migrants who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.
A memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito provides an immediate and intimate account not only of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also of the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier Zamora's story, but it's also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.
The Family Izquierdo by Rubén Degollado
The tight-knit Izquierdo family is grappling with misfortunes none of them can explain. Their beloved patriarch has suffered from an emotional collapse and is dying; eldest son Gonzalo's marriage is falling apart; daughter Dina, beleaguered by the fear that her nightmares are real, is a shut-in. When Gonzalo digs up a strange object in the backyard of the family home, the Izquierdos take it as proof that a jealous neighbor has cursed them--could this be the reason for all their troubles? As the Izquierdos face a distressing present and an uncertain future, they are sustained by the blood that binds them, a divine presence, and an abiding love for one another. Told in a series of soulful voices brimming with warmth and humor, The Family Izquierdo is a tender narrative of a family at a turning point. (From Bookshop.org)
How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz
Write this down: Cara Romero wants to work.
Cara Romero thought she would work at the factory of little lamps for the rest of her life. But when, in her mid-50s, she loses her job in the Great Recession, she is forced back into the job market for the first time in decades. Set up with a job counselor, Cara instead begins to narrate the story of her life. Over the course of twelve sessions, Cara recounts her tempestuous love affairs, her alternately biting and loving relationships with her neighbor Lulu and her sister Angela, her struggles with debt, gentrification and loss, and, eventually, what really happened between her and her estranged son, Fernando. As Cara confronts her darkest secrets and regrets, we see a woman buffeted by life but still full of fight.
Structurally inventive and emotionally kaleidoscopic, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water is Angie Cruz's most ambitious and moving novel yet, and Cara is a heroine for the ages. (From Bookshop.org)
Arribada by Estela González
Mariana Sánchez Celis has traveled the world as a pianist trained at the Juilliard School of Music. But when her mother has a stroke and her beloved uncle suddenly disappears, Mariana must put her life on hold to return to her home in Ayotlan, Mexico.
She soon discovers her town is no longer the place she remembers. Ayotlan’s beaches, sea turtle colonies, and historic center are decimated under decades of neglect and abuse. What part did her late father have in this? And could it be related to her uncle’s disappearance?
When Fernanda Lucero, a member of the indigenous Concáac people, convinces Mariana to join her sea turtle and architectural conservation projects, the deepening love between Mariana and Fernanda threatens to put them both further in harm’s way. This, together with the web of secrets Mariana unravels, stands to radically transform her and her family’s fate.
Arribada is the story of a well-to-do woman pushed to confront her role in environmental and social injustice. It is the saga of a family faced with the realization that their comfortable position rests, beyond a strong work ethic, on crimes against what they hold dearest: the natural world, their town, and their loved ones. (From the Publisher)