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“Love Sugar Magic” Is The Book For Young Latinx Readers You Totally Would Have Wanted As A Judy Blume Fan

For Latina Millennials and members of Gen X, there were only a few places we could find representations of ourselves in the media when growing. Latinas were not often represented in T.V. and books. Caricatures that relied on stereotypes instead of true Latina representation were more often what we saw. Books like “The House on Mango Street” and “How the García Girls Lost Their Accents” were the closest images of ourselves in literature. Though these books are still valuable reads, it’s painful not seeing ourselves more represented in the world around us. It limits the scope of our world. It tells young Latinas that they are only destined for so many narratives.

Still, our potential is as boundless as the personalities in our Latinidad. Our media should reflect it. That’s why books such as Anna Meriano’s “Love Sugar Magic” are such important reads and why we need more Latinas telling our stories.

The first book in “Love Sugar Magic” series, “A Dash of Trouble,” introduces readers to Leonora Logroño and her magical family bakery. Growing up as the youngest in a family full of sisters, Leo constantly feels like she doesn’t always measure up. However, when her friends are in need of some help, Leo bends the rules of her family’s Brujeria in order to save the day. In an interview with FIERCE, Meriano dove into concepts regarding the need for Latina storytellers and the magic of authentic representation.

“A Dash of Trouble” is Meriano’s debut book. The story’s creation was a collaborative effort between the author and CAKE Literary, a book developing company focused on releasing diverse and high-concept stories. Meriano first became involved with the developing company while in the middle of a two year MFA program. When she discovered CAKE was interested in the concept of a magical bakery in Texas, the writer embraced it.

Meriano drew from her personal life. She incorporated her own experiences as a Latina into the development of Leo’s world.

“They were very open to me bringing my own ideas and experiences into the story,” Meriano explained about the process. “It gave me a lot of room to show things that are so real in Texas, like Latinx folks who aren’t Mexican, white-passing people who speak Spanish, and all the different kinds of insecurities my friends and I have about our Latinx identities.”

She had plenty of material for the real world aspects but got creative with the supernatural ones. A big fan of fantasy books as a girl, Meriano wanted to create an imagined magic that has roots in cultural magic— essentially a brand of Brujeria solely found in the pages of “A Dash of Trouble” and its February 2019 follow up, “A Sprinkle of Spirits.”

Meriano is skilled at utilizing the diversity of the Latinidad within her uniquely crafted realm. This enables her to create genuinely relatable characters. The Logroño family alone features five sisters and these girls definitely aren’t carbon copies of the same Latina stereotypes. Though they are alike in their connection to family magic, each girl is utterly unique in personalities and motivations.

In creating the Logroño family, Meriano went for authentic representation over perfection.

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Diverse Fantasy in the Real World #KidLitCon2019 Panel with Zetta Elliot (@zettaelliott), Anna Meriano, Rajani LaRocca (@rajanilarocca), and moderated by S. R. Toliver. Middle grade fantasy set in the real world can be a great escape for young readers, but just as importantly, it can offer new ways of seeing what is “real,” bringing attention to critical issues and making visible histories that maybe aren’t part of the standard curriculum. And of course it’s important that we have books with diverse protagonists to reflect the diversity of the real world; every kid should have the chance at magic! As well as addressing diversity gaps in fantasy, and how to fill them, this panel considers what makes good real world fantasy—how much magic do kids want? What stories resonate, and with whom? And how do gatekeepers know when the fantastical elements in a story warrant putting the little unicorn sticker on the spine, or when the magical realism of a particular culture falls on the side of realistic fiction? #middlegrade #kidlit #fantasy #ownvoices #zettaelliott #annameriano #rajanilarocca #srtoliver

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“If I thought of them as an ‘ideal of a Mexican American family,’ then I would get stressed out that I was getting everything wrong,” the author explained. “So, I had to really focus on what made them specific and real and who they were as people.”

Due to this attention to characterization, you’re likely to see a lot of parallels between your family and the Logroño. The oldest who sometimes serves as a surrogate parent in their maturity. The sibling who acts like they’re too cool for the family. The youngest who wants to be included in every bit of family chisme. There is just about every family; especially the Logroños.

Representing such universal themes with a Latinx family is especially important in the current social and political climate. During this time, our people are being horrifically slandered. Having Latinx characters present unifying themes is essential to combating this violent rhetoric.

“We’re in such a strange place with Latinx culture right now. The US is simultaneously really excited to consume Day of the Dead media and also really reluctant to accept immigrants and it’s just very disconcerting,” Meriano admitted. “I hope that we keep getting more Latinx books, especially diverse ones that tell all kinds of stories, and that people keep reading them. We need an antidote to the hate and misconceptions.”

It’s those diverse stories that keep Meriano writing.

It’s knowing that there are still Latinx experiences to still unpack gives her the inspiration for her work.

“I always have moments when I realize that there are so many more experiences I’m not showing,” the Texas author explained. “But I have to keep in mind that no single book or character has to represent everyone. We’re not a monolith.”

It’s a concept that serves as a testament to why we need to be creating media that’s representative of Latinas and Latinos. Instead of packing the plethora of experiences into a few projects, Latinx creatives need platforms to tell our stories. Both the universal tales and those special to our community deserve to be heard.

To see these Latinx-centric projects become a reality, creatives throughout the Latinidad need to feel empowered to tell their stories. For creatives in the process, Meriano suggests surrounding themselves by people on the same path. Whether it’s through school, an online community, or friends, having support keeps goals in perspective when times are hard.

“I think it goes back to what Leo learns as she explores her magic and talks to her family,” Meriano shared, explaining the theme of the series. “I want readers to come away recognizing the power they have, and realizing that they get to define it for themselves.”


Read: A Little Over 27 Million Latinxs Are Eligible To Vote This Year, These Latinas Are Doing Their Best To Make Sure They Do Despite Poor Track Records

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

Fans of magical realism rejoice. On Wednesday, Netflix announced it acquired the rights to Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and will be turning the literary masterpiece into a Spanish-language series.

This is the first time the 1967 novel, considered “one of the most significant works of the 20th Century,” will be adapted for screen. For years, the author, who died in 2014, refused to sell the film rights, believing the story could not be done justice through a two-hour project, according to Deadline.

Rodrigo Garcia and Gonzalo García Barcha, García Márquez’s sons, who are serving as executive producers on the show, believe a series is an appropriate approach to the book.

“For decades, our father was reluctant to sell the film rights to Cien Años de Soledad. He believed that it could not be made under the time constraints of a feature film, or that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice,” Rodrigo Garcia told BuzzFeed News, adding that the “current golden age of series,” with “the level of talented writing and directing, the cinematic quality of content,” changed the family’s mind.

“The time could not be better to bring an adaptation to the extraordinary global viewership that Netflix provides,” he continued.

The series will be filmed in Colombia.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” tells the story of the multi-generational Buendia family, whose patriarch Jose Arcadio Buendia founded Macondo, a fictional town in the South American country.

The book has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 46 languages.

In a statement, Francisco Ramos, Netflix’s vice president of Spanish-language content, said, “We know our members around the world love watching Spanish-language films and series and we feel this will be a perfect match of project and our platform.”

He’s right. Since announcing the adaptation, fans of the magical realism novel have been celebrating the news.

There’s no word yet on when the series will debut and who will star in it.

Read: This Film About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is At The Center Of The Most Expensive Sundance Documentary Deal Of All Time

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Producer Of Selena Show On Netflix Discloses New Details On Another Selena-Inspired Project

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Producer Of Selena Show On Netflix Discloses New Details On Another Selena-Inspired Project

When news broke earlier this year that Netflix would be releasing a show about Selena Quintanilla, well, to put it mildly, people lost their minds. The demand for Selena content — whether through music, fashion, or makeup — is exceptionally high. So it makes sense that a streaming service would want to release something by the late Tejano singer.

The issue remains that the Quintanilla family are incredibly protective of their daughter’s image, music — and overall brand. So, when Netflix secured a deal about Selena and her family, her fans rejoiced.

ABC also said they were interested in a TV-scripted project, inspired by the life of Selena, which also got the seal of approval by her family. Unfortunately, the network ended up turning it down.

We now have more information from the producer responsible for the two Quintanilla family-backed projects.

@vivaestas /Instagram

Jaime Davila runs Campanario Entertainment — a North American media company — and said that despite ABC turning down the Selena-inspired show he’s still developing it.

Davila, who’s also from South Texas just like Selena, understands the importance of getting a story like this right.

@selenaquintanilla46 / Instagram

“I don’t take this lightly…it’s a big deal and I’m excited to really do it justice,” Davila told Deadline. “It’s really taking the time to explore what it was like to be a Mexican American family in the ’80s and ’90s, trying to make it. It’s gonna be great family musical drama.”

Davila had previously said that he was working very closely with Selena’s sister, Suzette, on this show, inspired by the musical legacy of Selena Quintanilla.

@quintanillaperez_1995 / Instagram

“We are excited to come on board as producers on an ABC music driven, Latino family drama that celebrates Selena’s musical legacy with a lead character whose music and career is inspired by Selena,” Suzette Quintanilla Arriaga said in a statement provided to us back in January.

Davila said that while ABC is no longer in the picture, he and Suzette are continuing to collaborate. We’re confident that another network would want to pick this show up asap.

While ABC is no longer in the picture, he and Suzette are continuing to collaborate. We’re confident that another network would want to pick this show up asap.

Back in January, we were informed via a press release that writer Miguel Nolla (who’s worked on “Scandal”) would be serving as writer and co-executive producer. We were also told that the show would focus on “Alex Guerra, a chart-topping, award-winning pop star who has been estranged from her family for five years.” Guerra “tries to pick up the pieces when a crisis forces her to return home. Alex finds herself back in Texas, juggling a love triangle, the demands of her career and the dark secrets of the family that she now desperately wants to win back.”

It’s a great concept, and now we’re just left wondering if that will still be the plotline or if the entire thing will be reorganized. Either way, we’d love to see this Latino representation on TV.

Fans of Selena have done well to honor and pay tribute to Selena in recent weeks as we approach the anniversary of her death.

Tributes to the reina de cumbia have been on full display this month. Earlier this week Dallas-based artists Jeremy Biggers and Hatziel Flores created a ‘Baila esta Cumbia’ mural in honor of the singer. fortunately after the two never recieved permiosion or permits from the city to paint the mural on a building built in 1884. Fortunately the city has offered to have the two artists paint the image on a

Earlier this month, country music star Kacey Musgraves paid tribute to the classic moment during her own performance at the same venue. Musgraves tribute came as part of the multi-day 2019 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo which rapper Cardi B is also set to perform.

The six-time Grammy Award winner’s reverent rendition of the beloved Selena song couldn’t have been performed on a more appropriate day. In keeping with Selena’s performance at the Houston Astrodome, which was song 24 years to the day, Musgraves entered the dome on a horse while wearing a white jumpsuit.

Soon after, Selena’s sister, Suzette Quintanilla, revealed that she had seen Musgraves’ performance and almost cried.

“Awww this makes me wanna shed a tear! Take me back. A Big Big Thank you to Kacey Musgraves for the love at the Houston Rodeo tonite with that Selena y Los Dinos Jam!” she said on Instagram.

Camila Cabello also jumped on the honor-Selena-roll At Houston Rodeo earlier this week.

Instagram/@camilacabello

The Cuban singer showed up in full rodeo attire on Tuesday night, which reminded us a ton of Cardi B’s cowboy outfit that she wore in Houston. However, the “Havana” singer went all black with rhinestones with her outfit. It is definitely giving us the same vibes as Selena’s iconic black and bedazzled bustier that we all remember all these years later.

She looked stunning in her cowboy chaps. Are we sure she isn’t a true Texan?

Instagram/@camilacabello

“Thank you, Houston Rodeo!” Cabello wrote on social media. “I went up there and was so nervous, every time I saw a yellow NBTS hoodie I was so relieved lmao, thank you for always making me feel supported and loved, I love you guys so much!!!!!! PS, how can I sign up to be a cowgirl.”

It’s been interesting to see which song an artist covers and whether they sing in Spanish or English. Cabello did a rendition of Selena’s first English crossover song “Dreaming Of You.” Definitely a good choice to go with a fan favorite that is also one of the most iconic songs of all time.

Here’s Cabello’s cover of Selena’s “Dreaming Of You.”

YouTube/Camila Cabello

Cabello wrote: “55,001 souls dreaming of Selena last night at the Houston rodeo. We love you, Selena ????” Yes, we do. It seems like most of the people at Cabello’s concert felt the same way. Basically, if you are in Texas right now, check out the artist at Houston Rodeo because chances are you will get a great Selena tribute out of the deal. So worth it.

Obviously the Texas fans were here for it because, well, anything for Selenas.

We wish we could have been there to experience the magic. Cabello is Cuban-Mexican-American and it is clear that Selena is one of her inspirations. The way she was able to capture the emotion of the song and give everyone a tearful moment remembering the queen of our childhoods and her iconic music.

READ: Netflix Just Announced That They Are Launching A New Series Based On Selena Quintanilla And Everyone Is Muy Excited

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