This Instagram is Creating a Stunning Treasury of Latinx-Authored Books

This Instagram is Creating a Stunning Treasury of Latinx-Authored Books

Growing up in a Jewish neighborhood in Queens, New York, Sabrina Rodriguez often felt disconnected from her Latindidad. Hoping to get in tune with her roots, the Puerto Rican-Cuban-Italian turned to stories written by, for and about Latinxs.

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“Reading nurtures the soul, heals (sometimes breaks!) our hearts and opens our minds. Being able to experience different lives and different adventures through literature is so powerful, and no history textbook or salsa lesson can do that,” Rodriguez, a 19-year-old student at Baruch College, told us.

The avid reader soon began logging the books she read on LatinxReads, an Instagram account featuring photos of classics like Julia Alvarez's "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents" and Sandra Cisneros' "The House on Mango Street" as well as more recent releases like Erika L. Sanchez's "I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter" and Diane Guerrero's "In the Country I Love" – all adorned with colorful Frida Kahlo-inspired floral crowns.



"The Education of Margot Sanchez" - Lilliam Rivera Latino Characters in NYC {Things/People Margot Hates: Mami, for destroying her social life Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal The supermarket Everyone else After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts. With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal… Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.} My first read for the month of March! What's on everyone's tbr this month? #latinx #latinos #latina #bookstagram #latinxscreate #booklover #tbr #fridakahlo #bibliophile #lit #diverseathon #flor #comolaflor #bookishfeatures #bookstagramfeature #weneeddiversebooks #nyc #thebronx #southbronx

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Something unexpected happened, however. LatinxReads, created in January, quickly garnered thousands of followers.

“As the Instagram gained followers, I realized that there are so many people out there who feel that same disconnect. So I began posting books every day and grew it into a community where authors, readers and Latinxs of any kind can join to take a look at a book they may be interested in,” Rodriguez, whose personal fave is Esmeralda Santiago’s “When I Was Puerto Rican,” said.

In an effort to keep up with demand, Rodriguez now takes book recommendations from her followers.

“There are books on the Instagram that I personally disliked but others rave about – and that's amazing! I love that it opens conversation and wouldn't want to change that,” she said.

LatinxReads, a treasury of Latinx-authored books that can help people reconnect with their culture, history and land, also aims to accomplish another giant feat: diversify the representation of Latinidad.



"How to Leave Hialeah" - Jeanine Capó Crucet Cuban CharactersLatino Characters{In this engrossing collection—sometimes intense, at other times darkly humorous—debut author Crucet portrays the daily challenges, heartbreak and family ties that penetrate Hialeah, a working-class Cuban-American neighborhood in Miami. In El Destino Hauling, a young girl pays witness to a night-long family funeral for a father who was run over by his son, perhaps by intent. The Next Move follows a grandfather left to struggle through the day without his wife while she's visiting family in Cuba. In Men Who Punched Me in the Face, a woman repeatedly drawn to abusive men convinces herself she enjoys being hit. A story set in the Cuban countryside finds a young woman struggling to make ends meet with just three prized possessions: a rooster, a bar of soap and Kotex maxi pads. Crucet details vividly the daily struggle that leads Cubans to prize their heritage above much else, but also illuminates a powerful need to escape the past.} Has anyone read this ?? This sounds amazing #latinx #latinos #latina #bookstagram #latinxscreate #booklover #tbr #fridakahlo #bibliophile #lit #diverseathon #flor #comolaflor #bookishfeatures #bookstagramfeature #weneeddiversebooks #cuba #miami

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Some texts are about protagonists who are longing, and having difficulty, to fit into U.S. culture, while others take a look at the struggle foreigners have to hold on to the language and people they left back home. Some leads are U.S.-born and others are immigrants. Some are first-generation with parents who have been deported and others have long histories in this country. They’re from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. They’re queer, straight, Black and light skinned.

“There is no such thing as a ‘stereotypical Latinx.’ If we don't raise our voices to express that to people – even our own people – we will continue to find ourselves stuck in this never-ending cycle of soul/identity-searching that so many of us experience,” Rodriguez said.

PLUS: 6 Latina Book Characters You Could Relate to Growing Up

Peruse through LatinxReads for some lit inspo that’ll feed your soul.