There is a before and after Coco. The movie that broke records and put cultural representation back on the map is an example of the diversity and richness of Mexican culture and how Latinos and Hispanics look forward to the elimination of tropes and stereotypes in our representation.
According to a 2014 study conducted by Columbia University, only 1.4% of films released in the United States featured Latinx actors in the lead roles. This trend was smashed when DisneyPixar’s animated feature Coco demonstrated not only how a movie about Mexican traditions should be made, but also the positive and astronomical impact Latinos and Hispanics have in the economy.
Hollywood watched and learned and now is focusing on creating material about Latinos. One of them is Explore Mexico, a new book from Disney Publishing and Lerner Books that illuminates Mexico’s geography, culture, and celebrations. The publication is an extension of the film and uses Miguel, Dante, Hector, and the rest of the characters from Coco, to illuminate Mexico’s most important customs and places.
The author Diana Lopez wrote Coco: A Story about Music, Shoes, and Family. The hardcover book retells the story of Miguel’s daring adventure and celebrates family. The middle-grade novel takes readers to the very beginning and expands on Mamá Coco’s life as a girl, and as a young woman.
Coco: Miguel and the Grand Harmony is another book inspired in the movie. Written by Matt de la Peña, the publication features a beautiful original story based on the characters of the film and keeps the candy-colored palette, an important characteristic of the movie, as a way to appeal to readers of all ages.
With so many accents and even languages, traditions, flavors and colors in Latin America and the Caribbean, publishers also have the option of creating diverse content. This is what author Yamile Saied Mendez offers in her book Where Are You From? Described as “an enchanted, hand-in-hand odyssey [and] opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the many, many backgrounds, roots, histories” of Latinos, this great conversation starter publication covers self-acceptance, identity, and home and will resonate with readers that have been asked the same question before.
Luckily, with the fast-growing market and the interest in cultural representation in the United States, soon our kid’s bookshelves will be packed with relatable and well-constructed stories. Parents who are raising their kids in a bilingual household will be able to share the best of both cultures and most importantly have handy material to remind them of their heritage.