A Boyle Heights children’s storytelling hour resulted from a collaboration between six UCLA researchers and Libros Schmibros, an independent bookstore and lending library in Boyle Heights, which took place over four months in 2016. The project explored how small-scale staged literary interventions like a storytelling hour could have a productive impact on a community. The initiative came about as a way to promote something called “literary justice,” which is premised on the idea of a culture that embraces stories as a part of life as part of a community-building effort. It is achieved when all members of a community have equal access to books and stories, stemming from numerous studies that demonstrate that a person’s access to literature is a strong indicator for a host of quality-of-life measures. This effort in Boyle Heights aimed to show what happens when, instead of going to a public library to make use of it, here the public library comes to the people.
Seeking Literary Justice: La Caja Mágica in Boyle Heights
Maricela Becerra is a Ph.D. student in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the post-memories of the Tlatelolco massacre in contemporary Mexican authors, and the exchanges between the Chicano student movement in Los Angeles and the Mexican student activists in 1968.
Alejandro Ramirez Mendez is a Ph.D. student in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at University of California, Los Angeles. He studies the representation of space in Mexican and Chicano/a narratives of the twentieth and twenty-first century and their importance in the construction of identity.
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Maricela Becerra, Cat Callaghan, Will Davis, Grace Ko, Benjamin Kolder, Alejandro Ramirez Mendez; Seeking Literary Justice: La Caja Mágica in Boyle Heights. Boom 1 September 2016; 6 (3): 89–93. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2016.6.3.89
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