Oh, What Fun: December Releases 2018

Whether your December consists of curling up by a window and enjoying the warmth inside as temperatures drop outside, or admiring the bright lights wrapped around palm trees, few can argue against the fact that this time of year is one of the coziest. No matter what you celebrate, the holiday season is undoubtedly the perfect time to fall in love with new books written by your favorite Latinx authors (though — isn’t that all the time?).

December is the month for Spanish-language translations of our favorite reads like La encrucijada, a Spanish-language translation of The Crossroads by Alexandra Diaz; the story of Jaime Rivera, a young boy brought to the U.S in search of a better life. With his parents and extended family far away from him in Guatemala, the process of adjustment to the U.S for Jaime is anything but easy. The book delves into how Jaime finds hope in unexpected places and what it means to start over somewhere you don’t feel invited.

Luna Fortuna, which will be released on December 26, is the Spanish-language version of the incredibly successful Lucky Luna, by Diana López! Luna Fortuna brings back the tale of Luna and her cousin Claudia that we have come to know and love, all in Spanish this time. When Luna locks her know-it-all cousin in a bathroom at a quinceañera, getting grounded for a month is the least of her worries — it turns out, Claudia is also transferring into her school! Over the course of the novel, Claudia and Luna both come to find out that while friends may come and go, primas are forever. For fans of heartwarming stories revolving around family, this one’s for you.

Yamile Saied Méndez’s Blizzard Besties hits shelves this December, just in time for snow! In this fun novel, Veronica Campos is on the winter vacation of a lifetime — she is more than ready to settle into the Ski lodge and make the most of her fun-filled winter break. Things go haywire, though, when her little brother turns out to be stranded in a blizzard. Determined to save her brother, and with a few new friends by her side, Blizzard Besties promises to be the fun winter read you’ve been looking for.

Last, but certainly not least, Sarai Saves the Music is the third installment in the hit series based on the life of Sarai Gonzalez and written with Monica Brown. In this latest book in the series, Sarai is determined to save her school’s band program after budget cuts threaten to remove it, and a benefit concert is the way to go! Alongside her friends and with the help of the internet, Sarai is willing to do whatever it takes to save the music.

The holidays are the perfect time to sit back and enjoy some new, interesting reads, and December offers a variety of new stories to choose from. Which of these new December reads is your favorite? Tweet us at @LatinxinPublishing and let us know!

Exclusive Cover Reveal: My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, Illustrated by Zeke Peña

A celebration of the love between a father and daughter, and of a vibrant immigrant neighborhood, by an award-winning author and illustrator duo.

My Papi Has a Motocycle
Mi Papi Tiene Una Moto

We are super excited to share the cover for My Papi Has A Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña. Read below for more on the book and check out the duo covers in English and Spanish on the left.

When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she's always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her. 

But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there.

With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl's love letter to her hardworking dad and to memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change.

 The book is available for pre-order now. Click here for more information.

NPH 'The Resolutions' Review


Written by Norma Perez-Hernandez

When adults tend to talk about reading inclusive books written by diverse authors, they (myself included) will say how their younger selves would love the increased representation in the books published for children today.

Still, have you read a new book that makes you feel like you are that kid again, reading it for the first time?

That’s the way I felt while reading The Resolutions by Mia García. Not only do I know that sixteen-year-old me would have loved this story about four best friends who happen to be Puerto Rican, but I could see myself absorbed in this book for my local library’s summer reading challenge, propped up on my mom’s old caramel colored corduroy upholstered loveseat, the fan hitting my face, and a can of Pringles at my side.

The Resolutions is all about the title: the four friends, Jess, Lee, Nora, and Ryan, decide on New Year’s Eve to adhere to the typical New Year’s tradition—except instead of coming up on their own resolutions, the friends write each other’s new year goals for each other. Ryan has to get over his ex and back into his art, Lee needs to decide whether she’ll take the test to know if she has the same disease that took her mother’s life, Nora has to decide if her dreams are tied to her mother’s restaurant, and Jess, the architect of this resolution project, has to say yes—and hopefully learn to say no to—all of the pressure she puts on herself.

At first glance, one may wonder what’s so revolutionary about The Resolutions. There are no dragons to slay, no evil wizards, no marginalized pain in this book’s pages. And that’s what honestly makes The Resolutions so refreshing. It’s a book about four regular teenagers who all just happen to be of Puerto Rican descent. Their pain and conflict comes from other sources than their Latinx identities: breakups, new and changing relationships, anxiety about school and their future, and so on. And if we could have more books like The Resolutions, we can see even more of the rich diversity of Latinx teenagers, their identities, fears, weaknesses, dreams, and triumphs.

The Resolutions by Mia García came out on November 13, 2018 from Katherine Tegen Books. For more information, click here.

Friendship, Growing Up and Unsung Heroes: November Releases 2018


As the days get shorter, the nights longer, and the year begins to wrap up, there is no better feeling than getting cozy with a good book. ‘Tis the season of hot chocolate and comfort after all, isn’t it? This year has brought incredible books by Latinx authors month after month, and November is no exception. Happy reading!

If you’re looking for a heartwarming, coming of age story about a group of friends then look no further — Mia Garcia’s The Resolutions, published by HarperCollins, is hitting shelves this November with exactly that. When best friends Jess, Lee, Ryan and Nora realize that their upcoming senior year and the changes that will follow loom over them, they decide to rekindle their friendship by doing what any average friend group would do: create New Year’s Resolutions — yeah, those.

These four take it to the next level, challenging each other with different New Year’s Resolutions that will push them to discover things about themselves. The book then follows the friends throughout the next year, as they explore their friendship, relationships, and themselves. Each of these characters compliment each other as they learn more about themselves and the world around them.

Also coming to a bookstore near you this month is The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just, written by Mélina Mangal and illustrated by Luisa Uribe. The charming picture book tells the story of Ernest Everett Just, an African-American scientist in the early 1900s that broke down barriers and led to incredible breakthroughs in modern cell science. Told against a backdrop of gorgeous illustrations, the book highlights Just’s persistence in the face of adversity and how his success changed science forever. If you’re looking for a great picture book to add to your collection, this is it.  

Whether you’re looking for a plucky coming-of-age story centered around authentically written Latinx teens, or a picture book about an unsung hero, November’s releases are here to deliver.

Meg Medina on Flying Lessons & More!


Happy New Year, Meg! Do you have any book-related New Year’s resolutions you’d like to share?
Happy New Year! I’m usually bad at resolutions, but this year is going to be different. I think it’s urgent that we continue to produce work that names the widely diverse and beautiful experience of Latino kids and their families, particularly now, when there is so much anxiety about what the future holds. I’ve received several invitations in the last three months that have a variation of this message: Please can you come. Our students are feeling afraid. Our students don’t want to say they’re Latino. It’s heartbreaking, and it has to be addressed with a huge input of love and respect. 

To that end, I am promising to read even more new authors and to share my discoveries wherever I go. As a publishing community, we have to keep expanding the ranks of Latino authors so that there are many, many options of things to read and authors to invite. I also want to take better care of my own creative life this year. That means carving out quiet and stillness to produce new work and to try new forms.  So, if I seem quiet, don’t worry. Be happy for me. It means I’m working.  
It’s so exciting to kick off the New Year with this great anthology, Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh with We Need Diverse Books! You and nine authors contributed short stories. What is your story about? What made you want to tell that story?
Thanks. I really like this anthology too, and I feel so fortunate to be part of the lineup. My story is called “Sol Painting, Inc,” it features 12-year-old Merci Suarez, who is about to begin middle school at the same elite private school that her genius older brother (Roli) attends. The story opens on the day that Merci, Roli, and their dad arrive at the school to paint the gymnasium in exchange for a tuition break.  

It’s a story about school achievement, class differences, and the unspoken sacrifices families make for their children. It’s also about rotting corpses and dirty swimming pools, but you’ll have to read it to find out what happens! I wanted to tell [this story] because it felt so familiar to me. Among my mother’s friends, who were all immigrants, their children were the joy and the hope. Despite their own terrible jobs and financial difficulties, they always looked to their children’s successes as their ultimate affirmation. I believe that endures. Parents often make unthinkable sacrifices to come to the US because they want hope and opportunity for their children. And kids in this circumstance face their own brand of pressure and confusion. When you’re twelve, you might not completely realize what’s happening, but eventually it crystallizes. I wanted to capture that moment of understanding.   
I love that this is a middle grade anthology! Why was it important to you and other writers to create an anthology for middle grade readers specifically? 

WNDB will have this collection and, in 2018, a Young Adult anthology, too. Ellen Oh provides a terrific introduction in the anthology that handles that exact question for her.
The draw for me was clear—I am happy to lend my efforts to anything that helps kids connect with one another across their differences. Second, I love the voice that’s possible in middle grade fiction: equal parts goofy and worldly.  Lastly, I think it makes good sense to provide short reads that can be used in classrooms as conversation starters.
Middle school can be a tricky time in terms of how we form our identity—and in terms of how accepting we are of other’s identities. Face it; we are rarely our best selves in the seventh grade. Books can help, though. They give young readers (and teachers, for that matter) a way to reflect and navigate the terrain with deeper understanding and compassion.  Like kids in the classroom today, the characters in these stories within Flying Lessons & Other Stories are diverse along many lines. This anthology is going to feel familiar and interesting to them—but best of all, it will be fun.


Thanks so much for chatting with us Meg! I’m sure there are many readers, young and old, who will feel like your story is their story, as well as the others featured in this anthology. Flying Lessons & Other Stories is definitely on the top of my to read pile. And reading as many books from Latino authors as I can get my hands on is a New Years resolution that won’t be hard to keep.

Review: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

I first learned about The Education of Margot Sanchez at the inaugural meeting of a grassroots group of publishing professionals who identify as people of color. We were all asked to bring a book to swap, and when I saw the cover of that ARC, featuring an illustration of what was clearly a teenage Latina girl with thick curly hair, I knew I had to have it. I wasn’t alone: many people in the group also clamored for the book, excited for a rarely seen contemporary young adult novel starring a Latina protagonist.

When I saw the cover of that ARC, featuring an illustration of what was clearly a teenage Latina girl with thick curly hair, I knew I had to have it.

My interest in the book was very personal. Margot Sanchez, the titular character, is a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx who lives in the neighborhood of Riverdale. I am also a curly-haired Puerto Rican woman who went to school in the same Bronx neighborhood. Growing up as a Bronx bookworm, it was next to impossible to find books with Latinx characters from my city… that I actually wanted to read. Sure, there were some books about first generation kids struggling to adapt to American life, but I was a fourth generation kid on my father’s side of the family. Then there were the YA books set in the hood, where Latinx kids described the darkness they experienced in gritty urban areas. Even though I was born and raised in the Bronx, gang violence, and baby mama drama wasn’t part of my adolescent experience. Most of my teenage years were spent writing poetry at my local library, rehearsing for high school musicals, and pining after emo rock singers.

There were countless books about suburban white teenagers, and the everyday problems they faced–but I could never quite find a single book that spoke to my experience growing up.

There were countless books about suburban white teenagers, and the everyday problems they faced–but I could never quite find a single book that spoke to my experience growing up.Luckily, writers like Lilliam Rivera (along with Zoraida Córdova,Daniel José OlderGabby Rivera, and more!) are filling that void. 

The Education of Margot Sanchez follows Margot during the summer after her freshman year. After she steals her father’s credit card to impress her prep school friends, Margot now has to work off her debt at one of her father’s supermarkets. At first, all Margot can think about are her friends’ poolside text messages while she’s stocking shelves. But as the summer passes, Margot soon discovers that she can’t continue to compartmentalize her Bronx life from her prep school life. Especially after family secrets threaten to tear everything apart.

When seeing words like “bonchinche” and “alcapurria,” I was able to connect deeper to the story than if I were reading “gossip” or “fritter.”

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Reading The Education of Margot Sanchez was in some ways like returning home. When seeing words like “bonchinche” and “alcapurria,” I was able to connect deeper to the story than if I were reading “gossip” or “fritter.” While I read plenty of books that utilized slang from the Midwest or southern California, I never got the chance to read a book that used the same kind of words I’d hear from my own family. Margot’s interactions with her coworkers at the supermarket reminded me of my former neighbors and classmates in the best possible way. Having read so many renderings of Manhattan, and Brooklyn, the Bronx has often eluded my literary grasp. The author’s take on the Bronx was revelatory to me. Seeing my neighborhood from Margot’s eyes offered a fresh new perspective, and now I’m hungry for more of them.

The novel’s description as “Pretty in Pink comes to the Bronx” is spot-on. Margot’s struggle to accept her identity—including her humble background and her own personal quirks—mirrors Andie Walsh’s conflicts in the classic ‘80s film. I was also reminded of Ned Vizzini’s novels, where his protagonists often deal with finding their place in a world that doesn’t seem to have a space for them. Margot says, “I don’t even know what I am yet. I’m just maintaining” early on in the novel. As she gets an idea of who she is and connects to her friends in a more tangible way, I couldn’t stop rooting for her—and I know that many readers will, too.

Now there will be plenty of Latinx teenagers, who maybe for the first time, will see themselves in a book. I hope they feel the same excitement I did when I saw The Education of Margot Sanchez. And I’m so happy they now have the opportunity to do so.

Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of The Education of Margot Sanchez, a contemporary young adult novel from Simon & Schuster available now in bookstores everywhere.

NORMA PEREZ-HERNANDEZ is an acquiring editorial assistant at Kensington Publishing Corp. She has worked on a variety of projects, including fiction, romance, mysteries, thrillers, and non-fiction. A New York City native, Norma studied English literature at the Macaulay Honors College at The City College of New York and is a graduate of the Publishing Certificate Program at City College. She is thrilled to build a list with diverse authors and books.  @normajeanesays

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