For kids who loved the movie Coco and want to learn more about topics covered in the movie
Quick Things You Need To Know:
- Our PTO asked the racial justice group in our elementary school (FORJ – families organizing for racial justice) for a family movie night recommendation. Since I don’t watch many movies but had both seen Coco and had heard good things from the Latinx community about it, I suggested that as a decent choice. To accompany it, our group created a set of questions for families to take home with them, and I also cobbled together a quick reading list.
- I focused on topics covered in the movie (see below categories).
- I intentionally did NOT focus on themes that US-centric books tend to force Latinx characters and storylines into. I would REALLY LOVE to read more books about Mexicans and Latinx people outside the narrative of immigrant struggles, violence and poverty, with Mexico as a place full of close communities and rich music, art, and traditions
- I recently learned that Matt de la Peña (an author whose books are listed below AND all over the BFL website) was accused of sexual misconduct in the #metoo movement. I wasn’t able to verify any of this. I’ve found twitter threads and an article referencing the fact that he was one of the male kidlit authors caught up in the #metoo movement, but not any of the accusations themselves. When I dig deeper into these resources, they just circle back to the same three sources citing the fact that he’s been accused, but no primary sources or anything other than “someone else said he got accused.” Which is…weird? So I’m putting a pause on recommending his books without comment and keeping people aware in new posts that something is up.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR LATINX REPRESENTATION IN KIDLIT
De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children focuses on #OwnVoices reviews and critiques. It’s like BFL, but laser-focused on Raza representation and there are several people who contribute. They are all fantastic and insightful. decoloresreviews.blogspot.com
Pura Belpré Award Winners – annual awards focused on Latinx authors and illustrators who affirm and celebrate Latinx culture. I keep meaning to check out the archives, but haven’t done that yet. http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/belpremedal/belprepast
Quick & Messy Book List:
ART & ARTISTS
Abecedarios – Weill & Jiménez
Funny Bones – Tonatiuh
Frida And Her Animalitos – Brown & Parra
Frida – Winter & Juan
DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS
Día de los Muertos – Greenfield Thong & Ballesteros
Remembering Day – Mora & Casilla
Día de los Muertos – Eliot & Gutierrez
Prietta And The Ghost Woman – Anzaldua & Gonzalez
Sing, Don’t Cry – Dominguez
When We Love Someone, We Sing To Them – Maya & Matthew
FAMILY & HONORING ELDERS
Alma And How She Got Her Name – Martinez & Neal
Family Poems For Every Day of The Week – Alarcón – I haven’t read this yet, but it seems like it might be appropriate?
I Remember Abuelito – Levy & Lopez
My Abuelita – Johnston & Morales
EL SANTO THE LUCHADOR
El Santo briefly makes a cameo, but they don’t talk about him or lucha in the movie. But I feel like lucha belongs in this list.
Lucia The Luchadora & the sequel, Lucia The Luchadora And The Million Masks (which is not as good as the first)
I DIDN’T INCLUDE THESE IN OUR SCHOOL LIST BUT YOU MIGHT LIKE THEM
- Elena’s Serenade – Geeslin & Juan – I’m conflicted on this for reasons we can get into later – mostly because the authors are not Mexican, and I found one reviewer who felt this fed into too many stereotypes. Normally I take reviews from people with lived experience and immediately reject books, but this particular reviewer didn’t notice that the book is set in Monterrey, and was not intended to be a pan-Mexican story. The book itself seemed accurate for Monterrey, specifically (existence of desert, burros) and didn’t contain some things that the reviewer complained about (lazy, drunk characters.) So I need to get another set of eyes on this who have experience and knowledge of Monterrey. IF it is okay – this story is gorgeous, featuring an adipositive character (normalizing her gorgeous chubbiness), validating frustrations with sexism and childism, and including a sense of the magical realism that Mexican stories are so good at.
- The Dead Family Diaz – Bracegirdle & Bernatene – Again, haven’t been able to verify, but I’m pretty sure these are NOT Latinx authors and I want to make sure they didn’t mess stuff up. It’s just a silly, fun story, taking place during Día de los Muertos. The Earthquakes really like it.
- Miguel And The Grand Harmony – De la Peña & Ramírez – This is just the pre-movie book version of Coco. I found it underwhelming. But it’s gorgeously illustrated
- Round is a Tortilla and all those books illustrated by John Parra. I find them a little boring, and the age range is too young for Q’s elementary school. I really want to like them, but didactic counting/shapes/letter books just make me want to set my face on fire.
- What Can You Do With a Paleta – This seems nice, I just haven’t had a chance to read it yet.