Monday, January 23, 2012

Promoting the Reading of Banned Ethnic Books

In Arizona the Tucson Ethnic Studies Program  has removed certain books deemed 'divisive' from classrooms due to a state ban of Mexican American ethnic studies.  Like many I am appalled and disgusted to the learn how Arizona has legalized racism by banning ethnic studies in state schools.

So you know me, always looking for a way to support those fighting against inequality ...
Here is a list of resources and ways for you to help:

In Arizona tomorrow:
Students are planning a to stay home on Jan. 24 to protest the district’s decision. The date is the 100th school day this academic year when schools count the number of students enrolled in order to determine state funding.

Houston writers are organizing a caravan to Tucson to smuggle banned Latino books back into Arizona!The caravan will be filled with authors and activists leaving Houston on Monday, March 12 and culminating in Tucson, Arizona Saturday, March 17.

The easiest thing you can do to help is sign these online petitions: or the one on

Banning History in Arizona
A blog started by Gina Ruiz and Cynthia Martinez with the specific purpose of getting as many video submissions as possible of people reading passages from the books that Arizona is banning. Click on the link to submit your video.

You can find the long list of banned books here.
Some of which include:

Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006), by F. A. Rosales 
Loverboys (2008), by A. Castillo 
Women Hollering Creek (1992), by S. Cisneros 
Mexican WhiteBoy (2008), by M. de la Pena 
House on Mango Street (1991), by S. Cisneros 
Nobody’s Son: Notes from an American Life (2002), by L. A. Urrea 
Zoot Suit and Other Plays (1992), by L. Valdez 
The Tempest, by W. Shakespeare
and one of my personal favorites

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel 

One of my favorite books is Like Water for Chocolate by Mexican author Laura Esquivel. A romantic tragedy where magical elements blend with the real world.

The novel tells the story of fifteen year old girl Tita who longs her entire life to marry her one true love, Pedro. But old fashioned traditions stand between them. As the youngest daughter of a well to do family, Tita must remain single to care for her aging mother and family. Things get worse when her domineering mother tyrannically dictates Tita's older sister, Rosaura, must marry Pedro. Pedro agrees only so he can stay close to Tita.

Trapped by tradition, the only place Tita has any control is in the kitchen and she begins to find freedom and express her emotions thru cooking. Twelve chapters cleverly named for every month of the year each begin with a Mexican recipe. The chapters outline the preparation of the dish tied to an event in the protagonist's life.

The video is a short passage from the book.

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