Ni de aquí, ni de allá: Mexican-American Children’s Books

“Ni de aquí, ni de allá” is a saying I learned at a young age, growing up in a border town with Mexico. Whether in public or in private, I was reminded daily, “you are neither from here (US) nor from over there (Mexico).” I didn’t have to think hard to understand the meaning of these words, either. I just had to listen, and listening was one lesson mi abuelita drilled in to me. (La chancla does wonderful things.) She taught me to appreciate what was around me and to realize that I was not from “here” or “over there” but from both worlds.

Children are going to have fun reading about Mexican-Americans in these picture books, and they will have fun talking about the colorful illustrated stories that complement the narratives. The wide and diverse experiences – from Tomás Rivera’s library visits and Emma Tenayuca’s labor struggles to Pat Mora’s lyrical reflections and Juan Felipe Herrera’s poetic depictions – which these books convey will invite children, as well as adults, to learn more about the history of Mexican Americans. 

These lists of books express a world where Mexican and American cultures, traditions, and values coexist. You just have to listen. 

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