In Side by Side: US Empire, Puerto Rico, and the Roots of American Youth Literature and Culture, author Marilisa Jiménez García focuses on the contributions of the Puerto Rican community to American youth, approaching Latinx literature as a transnational space that provides a critical lens for examining the lingering consequences of US and Spanish colonialism for US communities of color. Through analysis of texts typically outside traditional Latinx or literary studies such as young adult literature, textbooks, television programming, comics, music, curriculum, and youth movements, Side by Side represents the only comprehensive study of the contributions of Puerto Ricans to American youth literature and culture, as well as the only comprehensive study into the role of youth literature and culture in Puerto Rican literature and thought.
Considering recent debates over diversity in children’s and young adult literature and media and the strained relationship between Puerto Rico and the US, Jiménez García’s timely work encourages us to question who constitutes the expert and to resist the homogenization of Latinxs, as well as other marginalized communities, that has led to the erasure of writers, scholars, and artists.
Dr. Marilisa Jiménez García is an associate professor of English and Latinx Studies at Lehigh University and the founding director and principle investigator at the Institute of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. Jiménez García’s research on Latinx literature and education has appeared in Latino Studies, CENTRO: A Journal of Puerto Rican Studies, The Lion and the Unicorn, and Children’s Literature. Jiménez Garcia has worked on projects with Teaching for Change, The Children’s Defense Fund, and Sesame Street.