by Stephanie C., Main Library
It's Hispanic Heritage Month! ¡Viva!
"Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America." - https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov
Don't let the word "citizens" fool you. Hispanic Heritage Month is for all Hispanic peoples to celebrate and be recognized, no matter their documentation status.
At the library we try to incorporate diverse stories into all library displays and booklists, but sometimes we get the opportunity to highlight books by one community and its intersecting family.
This list is just a sampling of the fiction titles we carry by Hispanic authors. You can find all of these books in our library catalog, some in print and some digital. You'll find a variety of stories including contemporary realism, fantasy, sports, romance, LGBTQIA+, and more. Some of these books fit into multiple categories. Synopsis excerpts are borrowed from publisher descriptions.
The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez (teen fiction)
On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process.
Gabi a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (teen fiction)
Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy's pregnancy, Sebastian's coming out, the cute boys, her father's meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (teen fiction)
Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (teen fiction)
Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (teen fiction)
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez (teen fiction)
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family.
The Education of Margot Sanchez by Liliam Rivera (teen fiction)
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.
Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez (teen fiction)
In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life. At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father. On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
Running by Natalia Sylvester (teen fiction)
Senator Anthony Ruiz is running for president. Throughout his successful political career he has always had his daughter’s vote, but a presidential campaign brings a whole new level of scrutiny to sheltered fifteen-year-old Mariana and the rest of her Cuban American family, from a 60 Minutes–style tour of their house to tabloids doctoring photos and inventing scandals. As tensions rise within the Ruiz family, Mari begins to learn about the details of her father’s political positions, and she realizes that her father is not the man she thought he was.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (teen fiction)
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.
Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.
Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (adult fiction)
Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. She is a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will probe the family ties that bind and rend him, and he will discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past-a mythic legacy as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world...and will nurture the birth of his soul.
The Liars of Mariposa Island by Jennifer Mathieu (teen fiction)
Every year, summer begins when the Callahans arrive on Mariposa Island. That’s when Elena Finney gets to escape her unstable, controlling mother by babysitting for their two children. And the summer of 1986 promises to be extra special when she meets J.C., the new boy in town, whose kisses make Elena feel like she’s been transported to a new world....The Liars of Mariposa Island follows siblings Elena and Joaquin, with flashbacks to their mother's experience as a teenage refugee fleeing the Cuban revolution.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno -Garcia (adult fiction)
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (short stories)
Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become.
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (teen fiction)
Juliet Milagros Palante is a self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx. Only, she's not so closeted anymore. Not after coming out to her family the night before flying to Portland, Oregon, to intern with her favorite feminist writer--what's sure to be a life-changing experience. And when Juliet's coming out crashes and burns, she's not sure her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan--sort of. Her internship with legendary author Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women's bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff, is sure to help her figure out this whole "Puerto Rican lesbian" thing. Except Harlowe's white. And not from the Bronx. And she definitely doesn't have all the answers . . .In a summer bursting with queer brown dance parties, a sexy fling with a motorcycling librarian, and intense explorations of race and identity, Juliet learns what it means to come out--to the world, to her family, to herself.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (teen fiction)
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can't get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (teen fiction)
In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante (teen fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol's mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber's, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as "an illegal", but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi's, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn't be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn't have been caught crossing the border.
But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She's asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It's a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (teen fiction)
Alex is a bruja and the most powerful witch in her family. But she's hated magic ever since it made her father disappear into thin air. So while most girls celebrate their Quinceañera, Alex prepares for her Deathday―the most important day in a bruja's life and her only opportunity to rid herself of magic.
But the curse she performs during the ceremony backfires, and her family vanishes, forcing Alex to absorb all of the magic from her family line. Left alone, Alex seeks help from Nova, a brujo with ambitions of his own.
To get her family back they must travel to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland. And while she's there, what she discovers about herself, her powers, and her family, will change everything...
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (teen fiction)
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.
Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.
And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.
Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez (teen fiction)
Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight
Dealing in Dreams by Liliam Rivera (teen fiction)
At night, Las Mal Criadas own these streets.
Sixteen-year-old Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That role brings with it violent throwdowns and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but Nala quickly grows weary of her questionable lifestyle. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live. To make it to the Mega Towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search of the mysterious gang the Ashé Riders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles crews and her own doubts but the closer she gets to her goal the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone—she cares about.
Did we miss any of your favorites? Comment below with your favorite suggestions.
Click the button below to search for these books in the library catalog and place holds to pick them up at the library.
by Claire, Anderson-Foothill Branch
Happy Banned Books Week!
Banned Books Week is the week that Librarians across the United States celebrate your right to have access to read what you want! Libraries display proudly books that were Banned or Challenged at other libraries.
A Challenged Book is a book that someone believes others should not have access to and challenges its place in a library. The goal of challenging a book is to remove it from a library shelf, making what is inside the book, unknown to everyone.
A Banned Book is where a library chooses to remove an item from their shelves, denying access to the information or enjoyment contained in that book to people.
Banning and Challenging the ideas or stories in books (or other things!) is a form of Censorship. Censorship is the removal or denial of access to information.
Teen and Children’s books are often the most banned and challenged books. Check out the American Library Association list of The Top Ten Banned and Challenged Books by year.
For the 2019 year, 9 out of 10 of the most frequently banned and challenged books were for kids or teens!
What Types of Books get Banned or Challenged?
ALL types for ALL types of reasons!
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, a children's picture book about real penguins at the Central Park Zoo, was challenged for being: “anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. And because it “promotes the homosexual agenda”.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, the now almost 15 year-old teen vampire love story, is often banned and challenged for “religious viewpoint, and violence”.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, the runaway bestseller about a Black teen whose childhood friend was killed by a police officer, was on the National Book Award long list. It is banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references.
Why Does This Even Matter?
There are many different viewpoints, thoughts, opinions, interests ideas as there are people in the world. The right to think for yourself and obtain information you want is called Intellectual Freedom. The idea of Intellectual Freedom is old! So old that it is in the Bill of Rights, supported by the First Amendment!
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791.
The hard part about Intellectual Freedom is that there are so many different types of people in the world with different ideas and beliefs. Some of those beliefs and ideas may be disliked by others, and some may even be offensive. But that’s how Intellectual Freedom works it for everyone.
A great librarian I once knew once told me “Were the public library. We serve everyone if we don’t have something that offends you. Were not doing our job.”
If you ever experience book banning, challenging or censorship, report it to the Office of Intellectual Freedom.
If you have any thoughts or questions about banned books week, ask your librarian, or put something in the comment section below!
"Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists", American Library Association, March 26, 2013.
http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10 (Accessed August 31, 2020)
Document ID: 8417fa9e-ceff-4512-aca9-9fbc81b8bd81
by Stephanie C., Main Library
You may not know this, but Utah is home to a lot of Young Adult authors. Did you know that authors Ally Condie, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Mackenzi Lee all live here? They do! And there are so many more!
A pretty great perk of living in Salt Lake City is that just about every month there is a young adult author hosting a book launch, signing, or reading. In some cases the events require a paid ticket, but many events are free.
If you like hearing authors speak, the King's English Bookshop hosts several author events throughout the year, and they haven't stopped just because of the pandemic. Their next exciting virtual event is tomorrow night, with YA author Yamile Saied Méndez! Yamile also lives in Utah and has just released the Young Adult book Furia. You can hear all about Furia by watching this review video by Yoli from the Marmalade Branch.
To attend the virtual event, visit the event page on the King's English website and click the registration link in red.
Yamile will be in conversation with another YA author, Ann Dee Ellis, author of The End or Something Like That and other books.
You can request a library copy of Furia from the City Library catalog by clicking here.
by Maddie, Main Branch
Tuesday November 3rd is Election Day! Whether you turn 18 this year or have been eligible to vote for a few years, here’s your guide to Election Day 2020!
More than just the President...
In addition to voting for President of the United States, here are just a few of the many seats you’ll see on the Salt Lake County ballot this year: Utah Governor, US House of Representatives, Utah Attorney General, State Senators, State House Representatives, School Board, County Mayor, Judges, and more!
Step One: Register!
In order to vote, whether by mail or in person, everyone needs to register. You qualify to vote if you:
There are several ways you can register to vote:
Step Two: Educate Yourself!
There are a lot of options on the ballot and you have a right to educate yourself and make informed decisions.
Step Three: Vote!
CONGRATS! YOU VOTED!
by Maddie, Main Branch
Sometimes books get damaged and we can't loan them out at the library anymore. In the spirit of recycling, we've found some fun uses for damaged books over the years, including Blackout Poetry - a fun and easy way to try your hand at creating poems.
You will need a permanent marker and pages from an old book, magazine, or newspaper.
Scan the page, choosing words you want to include in your poem.
Blackout all the other words with your permanent marker.
Once your poem is finished, you can frame it, send it to a friend, cut it up for a collage, or recycle the paper and start another one.
If you like drawing you can also add images to your page as another way of blacking out unwanted words. You can find lots of examples of this online.
Have fun making poems and, if you feel like sharing, consider submitting your creations to our
Local Teen Art Collection.
by McKelle, Day-Riverside Branch
First, what is D&D?
Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG). One of the great things about D&D is that you only really need a copy of the rules (which has been made available online for free for new players), some pencils and paper, a set of dice, and your imagination.
D&D allows each player to create their own character to play, and these characters embark upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting. A Dungeon Master (DM) serves as the game's referee and storyteller, while maintaining the setting in which the adventures occur, and playing the role of the inhabitants of the game world. The characters form a party and they interact with the setting's inhabitants and each other. Together they solve dilemmas, engage in battles, explore, and gather treasure and knowledge. In the process, the characters earn experience points (XP) in order to rise in levels, and become increasingly powerful over a series of separate gaming sessions.
D&D famously uses a bunch of weird-looking dice, which some players collect like they’re Pokémon cards. For most people, a standard set of polyhedral dice works just as well. There are premade character sheets available (though you often have to purchase them), but if you want to create a character from scratch, you can do that too. The website D&D Beyond offers a character creator tool that can help.
Once you have everything you need, you’re ready to play!
Traditionally, D&D is played on . . . you guessed it, a tabletop.
But the internet has now made it remarkably easy to play a D&D campaign with your friends online—which is also useful when you’re trying to social distance. Knowing how to play D&D online is also a low-effort way of getting into Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. It's easy, and anyone with a mobile device, laptop, or computer can get involved. Because D&D can be a real pick-me-up in times of social distancing, that's no bad thing.
Step One: Pick the Right “Virtual Tabletop” for Your Group
A virtual tabletop is the software you’ll actually use to do all the planning for your digital campaign, as well as where you’ll gather to roll, play, and role play. D&D is all about immersion and cooperative storytelling, so you have to be able to chat with each other. While there are many modules that you can pay for that might make gameplay easier, it’s not necessary. Basically, if you can hear the voice of another human being you can play D&D.
Roll20 is an amazing, free to use piece of software that provides interactive and intuitive battlemaps. You can also import tokens and maps from premade modules, if you run them.
Tabletop Simulator is a physics engine that allows you to play virtually any board game online. Although it takes a fair bit of work to set up correctly for DnD, it is easily the closest you can get to playing in person. However this one costs money to use, so if you’re short on cash, Roll20 is the way to go.
Step Two: Choose a Voice Chat:
There are a number of video chat platforms out there, most notably:
Zoom - Most reliable, but only free for 40 minutes.
Google Hangouts - Can get laggy, but free and user friendly.
Discord - The free and favorite option for most gamers, but it doesn’t have a pop-out video panel, which makes it a tough choice for online sessions if you want to see each other.
Step Three: Get Digital Copies of Books and Materials
This step is not strictly necessary. As we mentioned before, if you’re an experienced RPG player and feel comfortable designing your game and your characters from scratch, that is totally an option. But if you’re more of a newbie, it will be easier to have the handbook and modules to work from. Again, DnD Beyond is the best online resource for everything you might need.
Step Four: Have fun and be flexible!
There will always be some bumps and hurdles with playing a tabletop game online, but the great thing about RPG is being able to improvise new solutions and roll with the punches (pun intended).
Have fun out there, and beware of the smiling dungeon master.
Blog posts are written by our Teen Librarians and, in some cases, teens like you. Visit your About page to learn more about our Teen Librarians.