Happiness as a Social Justice Issue in Latin@ Kid Lit

Latinxs in Kid Lit

By Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez

In the years that I’ve been researching and writing about Latina/o kid’s literature, I’ve gone back and forth about the impact that “happy endings” have on the stories and young readers. Because I focus specifically on realistic fiction, narratives that capture lived experiences, I found the happy endings to be a bit misleading. Real stories on deportation and family separation, for example, do not always get a happy ending and especially not as immediately as books make it seem. In general, happy endings are an essential component of children’s illustrated texts. That is, picture books for children tend to have happy endings because a book that tells children, for example, that “life sucks” and encourages them to give up would probably not fare well in the industry. Within this genre, happy endings also function as a way to preserve a child’s innocence. There is something both beautiful…

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