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Julissa Arce. Photo: Bustle
Julissa Arce. Photo: Bustle

Literature: Chicana writers you CAN'T miss this August

Clean your eyeglasses well, dust off your library, because the new generations of Chicano authors are coming in strong.

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The recent death of Rudolfo Anaya, the father of Mexican American literature, left us with a bitter taste in our mouth, but it has also made us think about the great quarry of women writers who create new worlds in a country that does need them, and a lot. 

Heirs to great authors like Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherrie Moragas and Ana Castillo, the three writers we're going to talk about should be a MUST on your to-read list this August.  

Alex Temblador

A travel writer, novelist and contributor to such media as HuffPost and Womanista, Trembler won over young readers with her book Secrets of the Casa Rosada, about Martha, a teenager whose unstable mother leaves her in the care of a grandmother she didn't even know and so begins an exploration of her family roots and a new life so different from hers, her language, and what she even knew about herself. 

Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Activism, travel, and cultural identity are the themes Elizondo explores. Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Chicano author and journalist, winner of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Gold Prize and the Richard Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting, has documented border lives for media outlets such as The New York Times, as she has done in her books. 

In Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines, half memoir and half travel book, she invites us to accompany her in the search for her roots to find something much bigger, a true social movement. In All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands, she chronicles seven years of reflections on the impact of international borders on the people who live there.

Julissa Arce

An advocate for social justice, as well as a writer, lecturer and contributor to CNBC, Arce came to the United States from Mexico at age 11 as an undocumented immigrant. That was her status for more than a decade, until she became a citizen in 2014. 

A life lived through her experience has led the author to devote herself to giving voice to the undocumented people in books such as My (Underground) American Dream, where she recounts her journey from Mexico to Texas and her experiences as an executive on Wall Street, or in the youth novel Some Like Me, which focuses on the process of assimilation into a new culture of migrant children. 

Julissa Arce is also co-founder of the Ascend Education Fund, a scholarship and mentoring program that helps students go to college regardless of their legal status.

Erika L. Sánchez 

Born in Illinois and the daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants, the Chicano poet, essayist and novelist was a finalist for the National Book Award for I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican, where she recounts with a lot of humor, but also realism the vicissitudes of a young Mexican American to overcome stereotypes and the multiple pressures of her origin and age. How should a perfect Mexican daughter behave? Or rather, how should she NOT behave? 

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