Guadalupe Garcia McCall is on a winning streak and quickly becoming a Latina author to watch—and read. In 2012, her debut young adult novel, Under the Mesquite (Lee & Low), won the Pura Belpré Medal and was named a Morris Award finalist. The novel in verse narrates the story of Lupita, a budding actor and poet in a close-knit Mexican-American immigrant family, who comes of age as she struggles with adult responsibilities during her mother’s battle with cancer.
This year, Under the Mesquite received the Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award bestowed by the Texas State University College of Education. The award honor authors and illustrators who create quality literature that depicts the Mexican-American experience.
If this alone isn’t enough to put McCall on your “must-read” list, her latest novel, a remake of Homer’s Odyssey titled Summer of the Mariposas (Tu Books), was placed in the 2013 Amelia Bloomer Project Top Ten List, along with one of this year’s prestigious Printz Honor books, Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity (Hyperion). The Amelia Bloomer Project is a product of the American Library Association’s Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) Feminist Taskforce. According to its site:
The Amelia Bloomer Project List consists of well-written and illustrated books with significant feminist content, intended for young readers from birth to 18 years old. Named for Amelia Bloomer, a pioneering 19th century newspaper editor, feminist thinker, public speaker and suffragist, the list features books about girls and women that spur the imagination while confronting traditional female stereotypes. The bibliography is intended to aid children and teens in selecting high-quality books released over the past 18 months and may be used for a recommended reading list for youth and those who interact with them and as a collection development or reader’s advisory tool for interested librarians.
Being placed on this list is particularly significant to McCall, who says: “I wrote (Summer of the Mariposas) for my girls, to empower them. I am happy that the book has found a home in the Amelia Bloomer Project.”
Mothers of tween and teenage daughters should take note of the Amelia Bloomer Project list, and of McCall’s writing. After all, we all want to raise strong, empowered Latinas, don’t we? Read my full interview with McCall on Summer of the Mariposas and what inspired her to write it.