Earlier this year, the bestselling book American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins caused a large uproar in the book community.
Her novel about a mother and son escaping Mexico after a drug cartel murders their entire family was chosen as an Oprah Book Club pick. However, the book quickly received backlash when folks pointed out that this story about a Mexican woman and her son was written by a white woman. This backlash came from people in the #OwnVoices movement who call on publishers to publish books about diverse characters that have been written by authors from those same groups.
After much prompting, the President of Flatiron Books (the publishing house responsible for American Dirt) issued a statement in response to the book’s release. The response to this statement was mostly negative, however, with most folks claiming that the President, Bob Miller, tried to frame Latinx concerns about the book as violent and scary, rather than writing an apology addressing how they will improve going forward.
Wherever you stand on the response to American Dirt, I always encourage folks to take their reading further and explore books written by Latinx authors that capture the Latinx perspective.