Writers Mando Rayo and Suzanne García-Mateus came together to talk about their new book “Vitamina T for Tacos” on Sept. 17.
The children’s book goes through the entire Spanish alphabet, with each letter representing different foods and places tied to Mexican culture.
Mando Rayo, a taco journalist from “The United Tacos of America,” and a street ethnographer strongly believes in the importance of understanding the community one is part of. Rayo gets to speak to different people about the connection between food and culture.
The importance of this book for him is to empower children to embrace their Latinx heritage through the foods and culture that he and García-Mateus grew up around, using both English and Spanish languages, also referred to as “Spanglish.”
García-Mateus is an educator at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), a writer and an immigration activist/advocate. García-Mateus says she wants to engage children growing up in households, similar to the ones both authors were raised in as Chicanos, by producing books targeted towards them.
While there’s a growing number of books written in Spanglish, there still aren’t many.
Rayo and García-Mateus want to contribute to the increase of bilingual childrens’ literature, and put something out there that will be enjoyed by young readers in libraries and homes.
The alphabet book was illustrated by Martha Samaniego Calderón, and the trio currently have two other books in the works that are set to be published and released next year.
“Vitamina T for Tacos” is available for purchase online on jadepublishing.org or at a bookstore near you.