2024 Latino/a/x Books Month Reading List

Latino/a/x Books Month celebrates Latino/a/x authors, illustrators, and texts that highlight Latino/a/x culture and Latin American identity and promote literacy. Let’s dig in with some of our newest and well-loved books and featured journal articles!

Chicana Liberation: Women and Mexican American Politics in Los Angeles, 1945-1981

Marisela R. Chávez

Vivid and compelling, Chicana Liberation reveals the remarkable range of political beliefs and life experiences behind a new activism and feminism shaped by Mexican American women.

Journal of Mormon History 

The Literary Landscape for Twentieth-Century Spanish-Speaking LDS Poets” by Gabriel González Núñez 

Surveys of Mormon literature rarely consider the writings produced by Spanish-speaking Latter-day Saints, despite the language being the second-most prominent within the faith. This essay analyzes the history informing a growing trend for US-based and international Spanish-language Mormon works. Gabriel González Núñez discusses the role of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in contributing to the growth of Mormon literature in Latin America during the twentieth century, and his analysis especially considers how outlets were provided for literary authors and poets to circulate their Spanish texts through Mormon church publications. 

Strangers No Longer: Latino Belonging and Faith in Twentieth-Century Wisconsin

Sergio M. González

Perceptive and original, Strangers No Longer reframes the history of Latinos in Wisconsin by revealing religion’s central role in the settlement experience of immigrants, migrants, and refugees.

May’s free e-book is here! Check out Building Sustainable Worlds: Latinx Placemaking in the Midwest edited by Theresa Delgadillo, Ramon H. Rivera-Servera, Geraldo L. Cadava, and Claire F. Fox before the month is over! 

Sign up for your free e-book here.

Forever Familias: Race, Gender, and Indigeneity in Peruvian Mormonism

Jason Palmer

Peruvian members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints face the dilemma of embracing their faith while finding space to nourish their Peruvianness. Forever Familias draws on eight years of fieldwork to provide an on-the-ground look at the relationship between Peruvian Saints and the racial and gender complexities of the contemporary Church.

American Literary Realism 

María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, ‘White Slaves,’ and Mexican Representation in the American Realist Chronology” by Alicia Contreras 

For almost thirty years since the 1992 republication of María Amparo Ruiz de Burton’s The Squatter and the Don (1885)—the only known Mexican-authored novel written in English and published in the U.S. during the last quarter of the nineteenth century—scholarship has openly and obliquely addressed the significance of this recovered novel written by a Mexican author who identified as white and penned racist ideas. In this essay, Alicia Contreras contemplates the novel’s accomplishments and drawbacks and ultimately argues for giving undergraduate students a chance to weigh in on teaching the novel. 

Playful Protest: The Political Work of Joy in Latinx Media

Kristie Soares

Daring and original, Playful Protest examines how Latinx creators resist the idea that joy only exists outside politics and activist struggle.

Journal of American Folklore 

10 Lessons in Community Love” by Selina Morales and Maribel Alvarez 

This conversation engages one of folklore’s foundational tasks: the recording, archiving, and sharing of the diversity of experiences and points of view that shape human experience. Modeling the practice of collaboration they advocate for the folklorist/documentarian, the authors Selina Morales and Maribel Alvarez explore through conversation a pedagogy of documentation from a critical racial justice lens. This article is part of a special issue on “Redirecting Currents: Theoretical Wayfinding with Latinx Folkloristics and Women of Color Transnational Feminisms.” 

Making the MexiRican City: Migration, Placemaking, and Activism in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Delia Fernández-Jones

Groundbreaking and revelatory, Making the MexiRican City details how disparate Latino communities came together to respond to social, racial, and economic challenges.

The Pluralist 

A Unique Response to Death: Day of the Dead Fiestas and Communal Articulations of Resistance” by Denise Meda-Lambru 

In this essay, Denise Meda-Lambru examines Mexican critiques of death and, in particular, utilizes Octavio Paz’s work on Day of the Dead fiestas to study communal practices and theorize the ritual dimensions of the life and death relationship. Incorporating additional, contrasting perspectives from Mexican philosophers (such as Emilio Uranga and Carlos A. Sanchez) who theorize colonial dynamics of life and death, Meda-Lambru contends that rituals of death help locate the non-dominant social logics that engender resistant activity and cultivate a distinct interconnected communal relation. 

Queering Mesoamerican Diasporas: Remembering Xicana Indígena Ancestries

Susy J. Zepeda

A fascinating exploration of hidden Indígena histories and silences, Queering Mesoamerican Diasporas blends scholarship with spirit practices to reimagine the root work, dis/connection to land, and the political decolonization of Xicana/x peoples.

Journal of American Ethnic History 

Under the Canopy: Finding Belonging at the San Fernando Swap Meet, 1976–2019” by Julia Brown-Bernstein 

Emerging in the post–World War II suburban boom, the outdoor swap meet has long been an economic and cultural institution in Southern California. Since the late 1960s, as an influx of immigrants, especially Latinx migrants, settled in Southern California, the outdoor swap meet has become not just a cornerstone of working-class community but also a site of migrant belonging. One of just a few scholarly studies to explore this dynamic space and industry, this article explores how immigrants, predominantly undocumented migrants, have forged strong ties to one another and adapted to life in metropolitan Los Angeles during the neoliberal age. 

Disrupting Colonial Pedagogies: Theories and Transgressions

Edited by Jillian Ford and Nathalia E. Jaramillo

Powerful and interdisciplinary, Disrupting Colonial Pedagogies challenges colonialism and its influence on education to advance freer and more just forms of knowledge making.

Anniversaries We’re Celebrating

This series documents the histories, challenges, and contributions of Latinos to Chicago and the Midwest. It promotes an understanding of regional and historical differences in Latino communities and of the ways in which Latinos in Chicago and throughout the Midwest construct their own sense of Latinidad and cultural difference.

About Kristina Stonehill