Putting the magic in Latino Picture Books!

Magic goes so well in Latino cultural picture books. Perhaps, its because our abuelitas allowed us to dream out loud, maybe because of our oral culture, that we have some many ‘tales’ that reality becomes a constant re-telling. Magical Realism is a favorite of our Latino picture book authors. It’s used so well for illustrators and the possibilities are endless. I like it from an academic standpoint because it goes counter to the messages of defeat that children hear at school, home and else where. Magical realism in our culture was born out of necessity in order to deal with hard realities much like fairy tales of old.

Magic is every where. Take for instance, a reality based picture book like Luis Rodriguez’s picture book “It doesn’t have to be this way” The book is based on the initiation of children into gangs but there is a moment that you have to believe in miracles: why else did Mochy not die when she got shoot? Magic on the ‘streets’ is often excused as a ‘close call’ or a milagro. For me when I hear these stories in real life or in a book it’s the magic of children.  Children need to believe that Monchy lived and that her cousin turned away from gangs. The magic of hope gave the children reader hope for Monchy and for her cousin. The magical theme of Latino picture books is what makes for a strong and great Latino/Chicano picture book stories. (Even when you don’t think it’s magic- it’s there!) 

There are many magical realism Latino picture books that I could quote or use, but my point of writing about it is because I wanted to bring attention of building with the scenery of Latino culture and then sprinkling some magic! What stories can you create from going to La tienda or al Panaeria o a la casa de abuelita? Possibilities are limitless!!! If you have AbFab Latino Magical Realism book Share it below! Happy star dusting!


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