Voces Sin Fronteras

'Voces sin Fronteras' is a graphic novel-style book of 32 short stories documenting hardships Latinx Immigrants faced in their home countries, as well as in the United States.

Ranging from the loss of family members who leave home for a better life, whether for employment or educational opportunities or to be closer to family members, they are the true stories of people who participated in the Latino Youth Leadership Council, part of the Columbia Heights-base nonprofit organization, the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC).

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Voces Sin Fronteras

"Issues about immigration and its impact on families have been prominent in the current US political scene, with a gross amount of injustice and racism cast toward many people seeking asylum. This book is an excellent entry into this political conversation, with sixteen true accounts from the lives of young people who have come over from Latin American countries to live and find a better life in the United States. These adolescents are the Latino Youth Leadership Council of the Washington DC-based Latin American Youth Center, founded in 1968.”

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Our Lives Matter

See! This book right here demonstrates how a movement should be constructed. Instead of focusing on the negative people within a community who often times get the publicity for their actions, it's best to demonstrate to others, especially minorities and those of low economic status, that there are individuals out there who are trying their best to change their outcome. Our lives matter showed me, a fellow African, that there are kids in inner cities who are going against the status quo of doing or selling drugs, getting pregnant or just not caring about life. It was refreshing and sad to see that some of these teens had to grow up quickly because of their parents and their situations.

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Out of Breath

I felt so sad for the kangaroo – it is hard to keep a secret, especially one that has potential to embarrass you or negatively impact others and yourself. I was so glad she had found a trusting adult, her coach, to tell, and that she had one close friend to keep her going. I think this is a great book for pointing out ways to cope with stressful, maybe dangerous, situations.

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The Day Tajon Got Shot

This is a powerful and unusual compilation of viewpoints about the intersection of race and criminal justice from the pens of these ten female teen authors. If it is not already, their conversation should be our conversation, as we support this new generation’s fight for civil rights in 21st century USA.

It is an ambitious, book told by multiple authors in different literary forms (Prose, tweets, poetry…) and POV from people all sides of the discussion. It is heart-stoppingly powerful in places and so very timely. Because of the multiple teen voices it also feels very present, in the now, as though I am on the street listening in on conversations. With such a charged topic they achieve that fine balance of the complexity of perspectives while honoring the loss of the innocent, and the righteous anger of the bereaved.

In all the pain of racial injustice and the call to social change, this book celebrates courageous writing, and the voice of teens everywhere. We need to listen to them. I look forward to more stories from this publisher.

-Joanna Marple, book blogger

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The Day Tajon Got Shot

When I opened the envelope and saw the book that I was to review, my immediate response was “yes.”  The Young Adult novel, “The Day Tajon Got Shot,” is why I have been involved with Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) for the past three years.  

The story, written during the onset of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, has the readers journey with Tajon on the day he was shot and killed by a police officer. Over eight days, we see the impact that the shooting has on Tajon’s family, his best friend, the police officer and his family, and the actual eyewitness.  It highlights issues of race relations, domestic violence, drug abuse, and poverty to make us realize that everyone is impacted when a life is taken.

The collaboration between the coaches and mentors at Beacon House, Shootback and Shout Mouse Press, is an impressive model on how to provide children and teens a safe space and avenues to express themselves.  As you turn the pages of the book, you can feel in their words, art work, poetry and photography that they have been empowered to share their voices in the midst of societal chaos.  I love the way the book reads and feels like a graphic novel.

I would recommend this book as required reading for teachers, students, parents, community leaders, or anyone who wants to foster a conversation about strengthening their communities.   After a destructive night protesting, Kayla, one of the characters in the book and who is Tajon’s best friend, realizes that anger may have gotten the best of her. She “decided to take the next sunrise as a rebirth, to show myself as someone who helps the community, not hurts it.” (page 61)

After reading the book, these young people have challenged me as writer to strive to always have my authentic voice on, so others can #ReadYourWorld and defy silence.

-Phyllis Cremer, reviewer for Multicultural Children's Book Day

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The Day Tajon Got Shot

I think this has been one of my favorite books in the past seven months, because when I picked it up to read, back in September, it was right before grad class and so good, I couldn't stop the sneaky reading throughout class. When class was over, I literally set in the parking garage and finished the story because I probably would have pulled off the highway to finish the book, I was so stoked. The hooks to this story hypnotized me!

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The Day Tajon Got Shot

While police brutality catches peoples attention, the young girls that wrote this book use the opportunity to get justice and stop police brutality.This is set by 2017 or even this year, The Day Tajon Got Shot is like being a witness of that day being told by these amazing storytellers and just the reality of the gun violence and with the timing like the other day the March for our Lives it puts me in the scene of just seeing something like this happen last year or even yesterday.

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Time for Change

I like the dedication, because it shows that this book meant to give people courage. I like that Asia, the hyena, said they have to work together to escape. I like that they used persistence to get out and to get the lion pack to not kill the hyenas. I like the hyenas peacefully protesting. The most meaningful line of the book is: “Mya stood up on her back legs and said ‘I might be young, but my voice matters.'” The other most meaningful line is: “We are tired of fighting all the time. It is not benefiting anyone, we need to come in peace.”

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Time for Change

I thought the best part was when they stood together against the elders. We all hear a lot about working together and seeing people for who they are, but less about how hard it is to defend someone who is different than you to a group with known strong, dissenting opinions. Research says that bullying can be minimized if other kids try to stop it; that would certainly be easier to do if you were a united front as Asia and Mya are.

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Out of Breath: Kendra's Big Secret

This is a wonderful story with a crazy cast of characters that emphasizes the importance of healthy self-esteem, and not putting yourself at risk out of fear of what others may say. This book fills a gap by addressing the topic of asthma, which has a higher prevalence in low-income communities and among children of color. The authors recognize that children are often ashamed of health conditions and by writing this story, they encourage children not to shy away from talking about their own health conditions. Readers can learn that you shouldn’t assume or judge the words or actions of others.

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