Latina writer of books for kids of all ages.

Buttons of the winning titles. Thank you, Celia Perez!

Buttons of the winning titles. Thank you, Celia Perez!

I got home last week from the ALA conference, an experience that still makes me daydream, especially when I think of the energy and passion in the room at the Pura Belpré awards. You can find my speech and Yuyi Morales’s speech here, but the truth is that the text doesn’t replicate the emotion that was in the room. All of us receiving recognition were teary and humbled –and not just by the honor being extended to our books. A good part of our emotion stemmed from the unspoken presence of people who were not actually in the room with us.

This summer, our news outlets have exploded with accounts of the nearly 40,000 unaccompanied childrenwho have arrived on our border to find themselves not only exhausted, afraid and alone, but also the target of explosive rage. Whatever your view on immigration policy, I hope you can agree that what we’re seeing is a human tragedy on the backs of the weakest and smallest among us.

All of us writers on that stage work for young people because we respect them and treasure what should be a sacred time for all children. All of us on that stage have been touched by migration, either directly or indirectly, in our own families. All of us have been the recipients of our parents’ most ardent hopes for our futures, sometimes at the expense of their own. It is heartbreaking, then, for us to see children so completely lost and in need of help.

As Javier and I traveled back home, the TV monitors overhead in the airport  flashed with images of sign-wielding protestors and supporters, with images of children handing over their birth certificates or chugging water from empty milk jugs, with shots of them sleeping on the floors like inmates.

The difficult story of migration is the Latino story, and it is the human story since time began. It can’t be captured in two-minute news clips and it can’t be screamed and shouted down.

Here for you, then, in honor of these children, I offer a short summer reading list to add to your thinking on this issue. It’s by no means a complete bibliography of what’s out there, but it’s a start…

Picture book Rene Colato Lainez

Picture book
Rene Colato Lainez

Duncan Tonatuih Pura Belpré honor for writing and illustration, 2014

Duncan Tonatuih
Pura Belpré honor for writing and illustration, 2014

 

 

Adult fiction by Cristina Henríquez, one of my favorite reads this year

Adult fiction by Cristina Henríquez, one of my favorite reads this year

My 2012 release: A look at migration through  magical realism Finalist International Latino Book Awards, 2014

A look at migration through magical realism
Finalist International Latino Book Awards, 2014

Comments on: "Where books meet disaster: A brief reading list about kids and migration" (12)

  1. Linda Mitchell said:

    ? about secret side of empty….at my book vendor it’s listed as Juvenile Fiction….but the main character is HS student. I select carefully for 11-14 y.o. students. Would this sit best on a middle school or high school shelf ?

    • To me, the world of the novel is firmly in high school.

    • Linda, as the author of TSSoE (and a mom to a 14-year-old and a 13-year-old) I’d concur with Meg. I have known some middle schoolers to enjoy it, so it could be of value to mature 13 and 14-year-olds. But it has some subject matter that’s a bit serious for younger kids and at 336 pages it’s long for the younger side of your scale.

  2. Congratulations, Meg, on this award and the International Latino awards!

  3. My friend Nylce asked me to add Milagros: Girl from Away.Here’s Amazon link:

  4. Gail Shepherd said:

    This is very timely. You should also add Cristina Gonzalez’s excellent The Red Umbrella.

  5. What a great list. Didn’t realize how timely your books are to what is happening. Definitely will check out your novels. Perfect subject for me. Powerful post.

  6. […] Click here to see this important list. […]

  7. Thank you, Meg, for writing on this important topic on migration, a subject that is very close to my heart…that is why I wrote, My Diary from Here to There/Mi diario de aqui hasta alla (Children’s Book Press 2002). Immigration was hard for me even if I experienced it with both my parents and all my brothers and with our legal green cards…I can only imagine doing it alone as children and being treated as criminals by angry protesters…Pobrecitos. Congrats on your awards and your fine books.

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