Many inspiring Hispanic authors have chosen to write the stories that aren’t easily found. These authors have expanded the availability of stories that authentically represent Hispanics racially and culturally. Here are three marvelous authors that share their Hispanic upbringing through their works.
Luis Alberto Urrea
Along with being a nominated Pulitzer Prize finalist, Urrea was awarded the Pushcart Prize, Edgar Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Fiction award, to name a few of his accomplishments. Born to a Mexican father and an American mother in Tijuana, Mexico, Urrea was born into a multi-cultural family. However, it wasn’t until his family moved to America that he began to understand the difficulties of being multi-cultural.
To try to fit in he joined a Boy Scouts troop where the other children pelted him with racist anti-Latino slurs. I was like, ‘What just happened?’ That weird wound for me launched me deep into trying to make art” Urrea said.Freeman, Lisa. “Latinx Authors Share How Their Mexican Culture, Family Influences Their Work.” UIC Today, UIC Today, 18 Apr. 2022, https://today.uic.edu/latinx-authors-share-how-their-mexican-culture-family-influences-their-work/. Accessed 23 Sept. 2022.
As a young boy trying to fit in with others his age, Urrea faced racism for coming from a multi-cultural family and being Hispanic. It was this racism that led Urrea to create art. Now, as an acclaimed author, he shares his Hispanic culture with the world through his writing. Whether in his fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, Urrea represents the duality of coming from Mexican and American culture through the stories he has to share.
His Mexican heritage, including the stories he grew up hearing and his own life experiences, is the influence that the celebrated playwright Luis Alfaro draws from when writing. But before he became a playwright, Alfaro worked in politics with the farmworkers union and as an activist
‘For me a story is family, a story is culture, a story is community. I came to the world of art by way of two farmworkers, my mother and father from Delano, California, and really, I came to the world of art through politics’ said Alfaro. ‘I did a lot of what I would call my formative art practice in political work in trying to change the world. I believe art, for me, is a means of creating social shift, social change.’Freeman, Lisa. “Latinx Authors Share How Their Mexican Culture, Family Influences Their Work.” UIC Today, UIC Today, 18 Apr. 2022, https://today.uic.edu/latinx-authors-share-how-their-mexican-culture-family-influences-their-work/. Accessed 23 Sept. 2022.
For Alfaro, who came into the world of art through politics, his art, his writing is his way of helping to bring social change, and with that change, acceptance of his heritage. Through the creation of his plays, Alfaro is helping to change the common stereotypes of his culture and heritage.
Perez has won several awards, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book and the Tomas Rivera Mexican American’s Children’s Book Award, for her work as an author. Her literary work creates a societal change as it challenges the assumptions about growing up Latino. Perez writes stories for young Latinos so they can find themselves within the characters she writes while bringing attention to the misrepresentation of Latinos within media and literature.
I’m always, I think, in part, writing to – for the kid that I was, who was always reading, reading, reading and not seeing characters that look like me in stories. And so when I write now, I think that is usually who I am thinking of as well today – is kids who are looking for stories that represent them, maybe culturally or racially. I don’t know if normalize is the word, but when I write, I think I’m always kind of in the back of my head thinking about normalizing stories that include brown characters but that aren’t necessarily about struggle or about identity specifically.Summers, Juana. “Author Celia Pérez on Challenging Assumptions about What It Means to Grow up Latino.” NPR Wgte Public Media, NPR Wgte Public Media, 16 Aug. 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/08/16/1117762267/author-celia-perez-on-challenging-assumptions-about-what-it-means-to-grow-up-lat. Accessed 23 Sept. 2022.
Each of these authors has challenged the common Latino Stereotypes through their work. Not only do they share the brilliance of their minds but also their cherished cultural heritage within their written works.