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The 'Not New York Times' summer reading list for TEENS

School's out. Which means about four or five hours after the final bell, kids are going to start complaining about being bored. The answer, of course, is books…


Cuisine as a Social Weapon

August 17th, 2022

The Magic of Life

August 11th, 2022

Childhood Memories

August 10th, 2022

A Date with Literature

August 8th, 2022

'Mambo Kings'

August 8th, 2022

'Animal Siege'

August 1st, 2022

A refreshing Summer read

July 28th, 2022


School's out. Which means about four or five hours after the final bell, kids are going to start complaining about being bored. The answer, of course, is books. (Is there any question that can't be answered that way?) 

Like The 'Not New York Times' summer reading list we published at the end of May for non-teens, all of the books on this list are written by Latinos, and encompass of range of styles and voices; some will appeal more to younger teens, others to older young adults. 


The Smoking Mirror (Garza Twins Book 1) by David Bowles

"Carol and Johnny Garza are 12-year-old twins whose lives in a small Texas town are forever changed by their mother's unexplained disappearance. Shipped off to relatives in Mexico by their grieving father, the twins soon learn that their mother is a nagual, a shapeshifter, and that they have inherited her powers. In order to rescue her, they will have to descend into the Aztec underworld and face the dangers that await them."

Author Guadalupe García McCall calls it: "A wild, magical adventure into an ancient world."

David Bowles resides in the Río Grande Valley of south Texas with his wife and children. His collection of Mesoamerican verse Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry won the 2014 Soeurette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translation.  You can read an AL DÍA News Q & A with Bowles here.

The Smoking Mirror has been available from Amazon since March 2015. 


Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

"Paint a mural. Start a battle. Change the world. Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of  making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears... Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on. With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one -- and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family's past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come."

"It's funny and wise and keeps you turning pages and the prose is truly fresh. It's so rare to read something that doesn't sound like anything you've read before, and so invigorating," said John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, about Older's Salsa Nocturna.

Daniel José Older is the author of Half-Resurrection Blues (book one of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series from Penguin's Roc Books). Publishers Weekly hailed him as a "rising star of the genre" after the publication of his debut ghost noir collection, Salsa Nocturna. You can read an AL DÍA News Q & A with Older here.

Shadowshaper will be available from Amazon June 30, 2015. 


The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

"A world made by the Eight Creators on which to play out their games of passion and power, Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often brutal place. Men and women live on Paradise as do dogs, cats, ferrets, goats, and horses. But dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden-and of war. Colossal plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus; terrifying meat-eaters like Allosaurus, and the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex. Giant lizards swim warm seas. Birds (some with teeth) share the sky with flying reptiles that range in size from bat-sized insectivores to majestic and deadly Dragons."

George Martin himself called it a combination of Game of Thrones and Jurassic Park.

Milán has published almost 100 novels and numerous short stories, including the Prometheus Award-winning The Cybernetic Ssmurai and is a founding member of the long-running Wild Cards shared-world project.

The Dinosaur Lords will be available from Amazon July 28, 2015


Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano

"Set in the 1950s in the Bronx, this is the story of a girl with a dream. Emmy award-winning actress and writer Sonia Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving--and troubled. This is Sonia's own story rendered with an unforgettable narrative power. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors. Each day she is glued to the TV screen that blots out the painful realities of her existence and also illuminates the possibilities that lie ahead. But--click!--when the TV goes off, Sonia is taken back to real-life--the cramped, colorful world of her neighborhood and an alcoholic father. But it is Sonia's dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times. Spiced with culture, heartache, and humor, this memoir paints a lasting portrait of a girl's resilience as she grows up to become an inspiration to millions."

Kirkus review calls it: "In stark and heartbreaking contrast to her Sesame Street character, Manzano paints a poignant, startlingly honest picture of her youth." 

Manzano is one of the most influential Latinas in the U.S. Remembered as Maria from Sesame Street, Manzano has written numerous childrens picture books, as well as the young adult book The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano,which is a Pura Belpre Honor winner.

Becoming Maria will be available from Amazon Aug. 25, 2015.


Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

"'This is East Texas, and there's lines. Lines you cross, lines you don't cross. That clear?' New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. They know the people who enforce them. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive. Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion the worst school disaster in American history as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people."

"The beauty of Perez's prose and her surefooted navigation through the dangerous landscape of the East Texas oil field in the late 1930s redeem the fact that anyone who dares read this agonizing star-crossed love story will end up in about six billion numb and tiny pieces. Absolutely stunning," said Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity.

Ashley Hope Pérez is the author of the YA novels Out of Darkness (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), The Knife and the Butterfly (Carolrhoda Lab, 2012), and What Can't Wait (Carolrhoda Lab, 2011).

Out of Darkness will be available from Amazon Sept. 1, 2015.

Latinas for Latino Lit (L4LL) also offers a  Summer Reading Program for 4 to 18 year olds  specifically designed to reach, engage and improve literacy rates. The L4LL website includes downloadable resources, including a 2013 Día Blog Hop ebook with first-person accounts by Latino writers and illustrators centered on their own reading memories and experiences.


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