CFP: Critical Anthology on Outsiders in Chican@/Latin@ YA Literature

Nerds, Goths, Geeks, and Freaks:
Outsiders in Chican@/Latin@ Young Adult Literature

Editors: Trevor Boffone and Cristina Herrera

In Guadalupe García McCall’s debut young adult text, the Pura Belpré winning novel in verse, Under the Mesquite, the teenage protagonist, Lupita, struggles to negotiate her talent and love of dramatic arts with her bicultural Chicana identity amidst accusations by high school classmates who taunt her with the following lines: “You talk like / you wanna be white…you think you’re / Anglo now ‘cause you’re in Drama? / You think you’re better than us?” (80-81). In the classmates’ accusations that Lupita must “wanna be white” because she enjoys studying drama, Lupita is rendered an outsider, not a “real Mexican.” These hurtful accusations undoubtedly stem from mainstream myths of Chican@/Latin@ intellectual inferiority, sentiments that are unfortunately internalized by Lupita’s classmates. Although Lupita is shamed for her interest in so-called “white” academic pursuits, she insists on her right to create, to act, to be Chicana on her own terms.

This edited volume seeks submissions that address themes of outsiders in Chican@/Latin@ children’s and young adult literature. In recent years, the field of Latin@ children’s and YA literature has exploded with new imprints specifically dedicated to the field, such as Piñata Books from Arte Público Press and mainstream publishers such as Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, as well as Lee and Low Books, that have consciously made efforts to publish Latin@ texts. Despite the achievements of award-winning authors, such as Guadalupe García McCall, Meg Medina, Margarita Engle, Matt De La Peña, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, etc., scholarship on Latin@ literature has overwhelmingly ignored texts written for younger audiences. Esteemed journals on the study of children’s literature have published few scholarly articles examining Chican@/Latin@ children’s and YA texts. As the Latin@ population in the United States approaches becoming the majority by 2043, the need for scholarship centered on Latin@ children’s and young adult writing has become more pressing.

In particular, the editors welcome scholarly chapters that engage with the following themes that may include, but are not limited to:

  • Outsiders in children’s and YA texts: nerds, non-chol@s, bookworms, artistic adolescents, goths, “emos,” etc.
  • Critical perspectives of authors, such as Pam Muñoz Ryan, Guadalupe García McCall, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, José Cruz González, Meg Medina, Juan Felipe Herrera, Margarita Engle, Matt De La Peña, and others
  • Latin@ theatre for young audiences
  • Pedagogy/teaching children’s and YA writing in the “adult” college classroom
  • Queerness and sexuality in children’s and YA writing
  • Gender in children’s and YA writing
  • Representations of reading/writing/science/math/art in children’s and YA writing
  • Comparative analysis of multiple Latin@ children’s and YA texts
  • Disability in children’s and YA writing
  • Bullying and violence
  • The Politics of children’s and YA Publishing

For this scholarly volume, we seek chapters of 4,000-6,000 words that engage with nerds, goths, geeks, freaks, and other outsiders in Chican@/Latin@ children’s and young adult (YA) literature. How does Chican@/Latin@ children’s and YA literature represent, challenge, question, or expand discussions surrounding identities that have been deemed outsiders/outliers? How have Chican@/Latin@ children’s and YA writers contributed to these thematic and theoretical discussions?

Interested contributors should send a 300-word abstract with title and brief biography to the editors by October 15, 2017. If accepted, we will request completed chapters of 4,000-6,000 words in MLA format by April 1, 2018.


Trevor Boffone, Adjunct Professor of Spanish and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; University of Houston,

Cristina Herrera, Associate Professor and Chair of Chicano and Latin American Studies, California State University, Fresno,