Tag Archives: mexican culture

They Call Me Güero; A Border Kid’s Poems

Written by: David Bowles

Cover Art by: Zeke Peña

For ages: YA upper elementary/middle grades

Language: English & Spanish

Topics Covered: Growing Up, Mexican-American Experience, Immigration, Prejudice, Culture & Traditions, Poetry, Own Voices, Latinx. 

Summary: Our narrator is a twelve year old boy known only as Güero, a slang term/nickname for a person with red hair and freckles.  He lives near the border of Mexico, and goes on the weekends to the market to buy groceries and visit family.  This book of poetry gives short snippets and vignettes in the life of Güero, including his introduction to poetry from his seventh grade teacher.  Bowles skillfully interjects these light topics of life in Texas with more introspective and difficult subjects such as immigration, racism, and prejudice.  This book is excellent, it’s great to see a main character’s perspective that is often underrepresented, especially in poetry. Güero’s life experience is a very specific area of the country, and we don’t know enough about it from a young person’s perspective.

About the Author & the Cover Artist:

David-Bowles-cpp-CROPPED-lo-res-768x679David Bowles is a Mexican-American author from south Texas, where he teaches at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley. He has written several titles, most notably The Smoking Mirror (Pura Belpré Honor Book) and They Call Me Güero (Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, Claudia Lewis Award for Excellence in Poetry, Pura Belpré Honor Book, Walter Dean Myers Honor Book).

His work has also been published in multiple anthologies, plus venues such as Asymptote, Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, Metamorphoses, Rattle, Translation Review, and the Journal of Children’s Literature.

In 2017, David was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.

David’s literary representation is Taylor Martindale Kean and Stefanie Von Borstel of Full Circle Literary. His Hollywood representation is Sandra Ávila of Inclusion Management.

J1400x933-13422+copyZeke Peña makes comics and illustrations as an accessible way to remix history and explore complex issues. He was born in Las Cruces, NM and grew up in El Paso, TX. He has a degree in Art History from the University of Texas, Austin and is self-taught in drawing and painting. He has published work with VICE.com, Latino USA, The Believer Magazine, The Nib, Penguin Random House, Holt/Macmillan and Cinco Puntos Press. In 2018 he received the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for a graphic biography he illustrated titled Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide. His first children’s book My Papi Has a Motorcycle, written by author Isabel Quintero was published in 2019 by Kokila, a Penguin Young Readers imprint.

Sound Off Saturday Featuring: Dr. Meza!

TTA: Introduce yourself!

Dr. M: Dr. Rocio Rosales Meza, I am a Xicana Feminist Psychology Professor and Mother. I am a proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, a native Spanish speaker, and a first generation college student.

TTA: What are you passionate about?

Dr. M: I am passionate about liberation and social justice and gentle, feminist parenting. My mission is to create a liberated, conscious, peaceful community in the now and for future generations.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!

Dr. M: I am currently working on setting up a Patreon community to share resources related to the intersections of liberation, parenting, psychology, education, and social justice. I’ve received so many requests for resources and from folx wanting to hear more and learn more from me, so I’m finally in the process of getting this together for our IG community. I’m excited about all the possibility to connect and create!

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

Dr. M: Folx can support me and my work by engaging with me on Instragram, joining my email list to learn about the things I’m working on and resources I’m sharing, and eventually joining my Patreon community to make my work sustainable. I am honored to be of service.

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2018?

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines

Dr. M: My favorite book in 2018 was Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines. It speaks so much to my experience as a Mother of color and how motherhood has liberated me. It inspires me to continue to be revolutionary in my mothering, resisting compartmentalizing, hiding my motherhood and child, my life. It encourages me to continue to show up as my full self to resist the patriarchy as both a woman of color and mother of color. A must read for all.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

Dr. M: I’m looking forward to building a community of folx that want to raise conscious, liberated children and selves. I am looking forward to encouraging more mothers, mothers of color, women of color to show up as their full selves…to step into their power, to know they deserve to be well, at peace, free, and to not just survive but thrive. I believe our children, the world will benefit when womxn, mothers, especially womxn of color and mothers of color are liberated. Social justice and equity is important, but even more than that is our liberation…freedom to unlock our every potential, our every strength, our every dream…IMAGINE alll the possibilities! We already accomplish so much in the face of the patriarchy, imagine how much more we can accomplish in liberation, in peace, in wellness, together…thinking of that is just awe inspiring!

Let’s create a new world together, for us, and for our children

because they, we, are so worthy.

Stay Connected

with Dr. Meza!

Dr. Meza’s Website

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Lucía the Luchadora

Written by: Cynthia Leonor Garza

Illustrated by: Alyssa Bermudez

For Ages: 3-7 years

Language: English, Spanish

Topics Covered: Self-Expression, Latinx Family Life, Mexican Cultural Tradition.

Summary: Lucía wants nothing more than to be a superhero.  At the park, she jumps and flips off the monkey bars to practice her moves.  Lucía overhears some boys talking to each other, saying that girls can’t be superheroes.  This makes Lucía what she calls “spicy mad” and goes over to her Abuela.  She and Abuela hatch a plan for the next day.  Lucía learns that when her grandmother was young, she was a luchadora!  Lucía’s grandmother tells her all about how a luchadora must be agile and do tricks, but they also must stand up for what is right.  And most importantly, a luchadora never reveals their identity!  The next day, Lucía wears an old mask to the park and prepares to show her tricks.  Soon, everyone is wearing lucha libre masks on the playground.  Lucía is ecstatic to see another luchadora with a pink mask on the playground one morning, but before she can go introduce herself she hears the same boys talking about how girls can’t be superheroes.  The new luchadora looks sad, and Lucía decides she must reveal herself in order to stand up for what is right.  Lucía breaks the luchador #1 rule, and takes off her mask!  Suddenly, others start taking off their masks to reveal there are many girl superheroes.  The book ends with Lucía and her superhero crew playing together on the playground.

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you think Lucía feels when she hears the boys saying that girls can’t do something?
  • Do you think boys and girls can do the same things?
  • How would you feel if someone stood up for you the way Lucía stood up for the luchadora in the pink sparkly mask?
  • When is a time that you stood up for something that was the right thing to do?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • In the back of the book there is a note from the author about some of the terminology used in the book.  Learn more about luchadores culture, and what traditions are still being kept alive today.
  • Decorate your own luchador mask.  What would you have on it?  What colors would you use?  What would you stand up for while wearing the mask?
  • Try and find a local luchador to visit the class, or find multimedia sources.  How does this activity (being a luchador/a) tie-in with Mexican culture?  What are some things in your own culture that is specific to it?  What are some things that are similar between different cultures within the classroom?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

GARZA MUGCynthia Leonor Garza is a writer and she writes all sorts of things. Her debut picture book Lucía the Luchadora was published in March 2017. She has written essays for The Atlantic, commentaries for NPR’s All Things Considered and is an alum of the VONA/Voices writer’s workshop. She is also a journalist and has worked as a reporter for several newspapers including the Houston Chronicle and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She graduated from Rice University and has a Master’s in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She was born and raised in South Texas and currently lives with her husband and two young daughters in Nairobi, Kenya. You can reach her via Twitter or at luchalady [@] gmail.com.

alyssa bermudezAs a born and bred New Yorker, Alyssa Bermudez‘s move to Tasmania has led her to discover a limitless wellspring of inspiration in the form of an urban and rural coalescence.  Her artistic framework stems from her undergraduate and graduate degree courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York where she studied illustration, computer animation and interactive media.  As an art teacher for 7 years, she hopes to encourage her students aged 5-75+ to activate that same artistic channel. She hopes to direct those who view her work into a deeper experience with curated colour, delightful subject matter and professional craftsmanship.