These New Books Are Like ‘A Latinx Stranger Things’ For Kids. And They’re Set In South Texas.

The sounds of Texas.

By Laura RiceOctober 16, 2020 11:02 am, ,

David Bowles is an author, translator and an associate professor of English at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. His new chapter book series is “13th Street.” It’s aimed at kids 5 to 9 years old.

“Basically, the story centers on three Mexican-American cousins from South Texas, from the little town of Nopalitos, who spend the summer with their aunt in Gulf City, which is some kind of hybrid of Houston and Corpus. And they are taking a trip to the municipal pool when they take a shortcut and wind up in the alternate world called 13th Street, which is literally one long, never-ending street that is populated by monsters. And so they’ve got to figure out a way to defeat the monsters and get back home.”

“Most of my work is centered in the borderlands, especially in the Mexican-American community, just trying to kind of fill in the gaps in the stacks of our libraries and bookstores and classrooms with the literature that reflects the identity and culture and history of this region.”


“I didn’t shy away from using [Spanish] in really authentic ways. And one of the catchphrases of one of the kids is, ‘uy cucuy’ it’s like a little thing that kids used to say when I was little. And so, you know, using that, using ‘y’all’ a lot. I just wanted it to feel like South Texas.”


“The three cousins are all from a Mexican-American family. Their mothers are sisters, but each one of their moms has married somebody from a slightly different culture. … Each of them brings something unique. And by the end of the series, they’ve found a way to combine their abilities and use the love they have for one another as a way to defeat the bad guys.”

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