DREAMers vs. Reality

Latinx immigration in books for children and young adults

  • Liliana Santos Faculty of Humanities, University of Coimbra
Keywords: Children’s Literature, Young Adult Literature, Latinx, Immigration, Critical Race Theory


Using Rudine Sims Bishop’s concept of “Mirrors and Windows” (1990) to prove that children’s and young adult (YA) literature underline how imperative it is to expose young readers to several representations of identity and life experiences, the corpus of this paper is comprised by different Latinx (im)migration stories to the United States (U.S.), such as Yuyi Morales’s picture book Dreamers, Elisa Amado’s graphic novel Manuelito, Margarita Engle’s poetry memoir Enchanted Air and Jacqueline Woodson’s YA novel Harbor Me. Having Critical Race Theory (CRT), Latino-critical (LatCrit) and Critical Multicultural Analysis as theoretical framings, the aim of this paper is to analyze the Latinx (im)migration experience portrayed in children’s and YA books of different genres, as well as to confront the expectations of Latinx (im)migrant characters with the reality they encounter in the U.S..