As the summer comes to a close, Hispanic Heritage Month will quickly be upon us. It lasts from September 15 to October 15 every year. It’s good to take the time to pause and recognize this underrepresented group of people, but this work should be done throughout the year—not just for a month. To help you do that, I put together a list of organizations or groups that promote Latinx literature.
But first, a word about terminology.
There are several terms to describe people in the U.S. who are descended from a country in Latin America. For example, there’s Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx. The latter is the gender-neutral way to say Latino, and is my preferred term to use.
A Hispanic person comes from a Spanish-speaking country, but doesn’t automatically come from a Latin American country. Also, you can identify as Latino or Latinx, but not speak any Spanish.
People connect with different terms in this ongoing debate. So, it’s not surprising that some of the organizations’ names below reflect that, even when they seem to refer to the same group of people.
Latinx in Publishing
Latinx in Publishing is an organization founded by publishing professionals. According to their mission, they are “committed to supporting and increasing the number of Latino/a/x in the publishing industry, as well as promoting literature by, for, and about Latino/a/x people.”
Per their site, Latinx in Publishing’s work includes:
- creating community and opportunities for professional development
- engaging in outreach and advocacy
- running a writers mentorship program
Las Comadres Para las Americas
Las Comadres seeks to connect Latinas around the world through a love for literature with numerous resources for readers and writers alike. This includes their Conversations with Las Comadres teleconference series; the next session will take place on September 28 and features a conversation with Running author Latalia Sylvester!
Las Comadres has also published Count on Me: Tales of Sisterhood and Fierce Friendships, a collection of stories that explore the role of the comadre. In Spanish, the term “comadre” is traditionally used to refer to your child’s godmother, and the mother of your godchild. The comadre relationship is considered to be a close one.
The Las Musas group showcases the work of “women and non-binary (identifying on the female spectrum) Latinx middle-grade, picture book, and Young Adult authors” and also provides mentorship opportunities for those authors.
Since 2018, authors featured by the group include: J.C. Cervantes, author of The Storm Runner series; Mary Louise Sanchez, author of The Wind Called My Name; Isabel Ibanez, author of Women in Moonlight; and Zara González Hoang, author of A New Kind of Wild.
Latinxs in Kid Lit
Latinxs in Kid Lit is an organization dedicating to promoting literacy in the Latinx community and promoting the world of Latinx YA, middle grade and children’s literature. Their work includes writing books reviews, sharing information on getting published, and hosting a monthly book club, which you can sign up for here.
Hispanic Heritage Literature Foundation
“Hispanic literature is a legacy for younger generations,” according to the Hispanic Heritage Literature Organization. Founded by Pilar Vélez, the foundation is comprised of a group of Goodwill Ambassadors from different Latin American countries. Their initiatives include hosting fairs like the Hispanic Heritage Book Fair and producing several creating writing and poetry publications.
We Need Diverse Books
We Need Diverse Books isn’t dedicated specifically to Latinx literature like the other organizations on this list. But notably, it includes Latinx Literature as part of their work.
Founded in 2014, the organization is a nonprofit. Its current CEO and President, author Ellen Oh, is one of the co-founders. Their mission is to support, and call for, more diversity in children’s books. Their work includes:
- Mentorship programs, grants, and awards to recognize diverse literature, like the Walter Grant and Walter Awards
- An internship grant to assist unpublished authors from diverse backgrounds
- The OurStory app, an accessible resource for kids, teens, parents, and educators that highlights diverse books
These are just some of the groups advocating for Latinx literature; surf the internet, and ask around. Think of this as a starter list. Happy reading!