Growing up, reading never interested me. Until I found poetry, which saved my life. It gave me hope. I came across Erika L. Sánchez’s poetry book Lessons on Expulsion through one of my coworkers at the Mission Library who happens to help coordinate the authors at the Library’s Nuestras Raíces stage at the Tucson Festival of Books. Reading Lessons on Expulsion reminded me that I am not alone. That, we, as a Latino community are not alone. Erika not only wrote an amazing book, but she made it relatable to the reader.
After reading this amazing work of art, I wanted more and quickly found I Am Not your Perfect Mexican Daughter. This is the first fiction book that I have finished in three years! It was the small things that made these books so relatable. For example, when she brought up the fact that the rudest thing you can do to a Mexican lady is refuse her food, “might as well spit on a picture of La Virgen de Guadalupe or turn the TV off during Sábado Gigante (variety show previously on Univisión),” my mind lost it because it is a true solid fact. Heaven forbid you turn off or change the channel during Sábado Gigante. If you are brave enough to do something like that, hopefully you run faster than the chancla they are about to throw at you. The feeling of having an author write a beautiful work of art and having that one-on-one connection with the reader really makes a difference.
After being blessed by Erika’s two amazing books, I had to be a fangirl and follow her on social media. One day I had the courage to comment on one of her pictures on Instagram and she responded. ¡Sentí que mi alma se salía de mi cuerpo! I swear - my soul left my body when I saw that notification.
This will be my first year attending the Tucson Festival of Books and I still cannot believe I will be able to meet this wonderful woman that is a voice for many of us that do not have the platform to speak up.
--Kenia G., Library Technical Assistant at Mission Library
A few more recommendations from panelists at the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books: