Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cinco de Mayo: Books in Mexico

On May 5, 1862, The small rag-tag Mexican army defeated a much larger, better trained, and better equipped French army. The French army was 3 times the size of the Mexican army, but suffered 5 times more causalities.

Today Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday in Mexico, but a pretty big celebration of Mexican culture in the US. To celebrate, here's a list of books that take place in Mexico or are by Mexican authors.


Heart and Salsa by Suzanne Nelson. Cal's new step-father just moved them across the country, so Cal jumps at the chance to do a service project in Oaxaca with her best friend from back home. But, when they arrive in Mexico, Sabrina's attached at the hip to some guy and Cal's host sister assumes Cal's an American princess and won't even give her a chance. This is part of the Students Across the Seven Seas series, which I adore.

Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Filled with magical realism, this book is a contemporary retelling of The Odyssey set on the US/Mexican border.

La Linea by Ann Jaramillo. Almost seven years ago, Miguel's parents left Mexico for the US. Now that Miguel's turning 15, he gets a note saying it's time to join them, but when his younger sister tags along, the two siblings are in for an adventure of survival and heartbreak.


Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico by Malin Alegria. Sofi chafes under the strict rules of her parents and tells a lie and ends up at a party in Tijuana. When she tries to get home to California, she learns the truth-- her papers are fake and she's stuck. While her parents try to sort things out, Sofi moves in with relatives she's never met and discovers a whole new side to herself and her family.

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina. Born during a terrible storm, people thing Sonia has special powers. She knows she is nothing special and after her "powers" fail, she runs away to the city to find her own life-- only to discover more issues there.

Mexican High by Liza Monroy. Mila's mother is a diplomat and Mila finds herself spending her senior year in Mexico City. At least this may give her the chance to find the father she never knew. Set in 1993, Mila's search is less about the father and more about serious partying with the sons and daughters of Mexico's elite and the international community.


The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. Matt's DNA came from El Patron, who rules the country of Opium, on the border between the US and the country formerly known as Mexico. But Matt's days are numbered and the only way to survive is to escape, but life outside of El Patron's house isn't easier, or safer.

From What I Remember... by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas. Valedictorian Kyle wakes up with a hangover, a wedding ring, and the hottest boy in school in bed next to her. Graduation is in 6 hours, and for some reason they're in Mexico. How did they get there, and how are they going to get back?

What are your favorite books set in Mexico. More importantly, I don't know of any Mexican authors whose work for teens has been published in the US. Do you? Please let me know!

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