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For the past five years, I have hosted or helped coordinate the #LatinxBookstagramTour. I’ve written before about the tour and my complicated feelings surrounding hosting it during Latine/x Heritage Month. As if we don’t celebrate Latine/x stories all year long!

I’ve thought often about spreading the tour throughout the year instead of reducing it to a single four-week stretch. Yet here I am hosting it again during Latine/x Heritage Month.

The thing is, we’ve seen how corporations and American culture at large celebrate the month — with stereotypical email ads decorated with sombreros and pitching coupons for things like tequila (made by someone who isn’t even Latine/x). But the Latine/x community is so much more than our food and drinks. We are also our stories.

Something the Latine/x Bookstagram Tour does is show how diverse those stories and their readers are. How we in the Latine/x community don’t exist as a monolith; we are forever evolving. But that isn’t the point of the tour; it doesn’t exist to give non-Latine/x people reading recommendations or connect them with Latine/x authors and creators. Its purpose is to help Latine/x readers and writers build a community around something that connects us: Latine/x-authored books.

I’ve had the honor, through the tour, of building a bookish community I didn’t have before. I’ve met folks like Karen from @idleutopia_reads, who participated in the tour during its second year and whom (though we haven’t met in person) I often text or chat with about books and life. It’s this sort of thing I want for others: for the tour to help us form a community that validates our thoughts and struggles.

Adri from @_perpertualpages_ kicked off this year’s tour, which began on September 15th, with this post:

“Latine stories have given me the permission I’ve needed to see myself and love myself as I am — as a non-fluent Spanish speaker, a queer transmasc person, a recovering ex-Catholic, an eternal seeker of homeland, a disruptor of intergenerational trauma, a hero in my own story, a triumph that my ancestors would not even have the vocabulary to articulate.”

I felt their words in my bones because reading Latine/x stories has given me the same permission. If you’re on Instagram, I hope you’ll amplify the #LatinxBookstagramTour, too. You never know who out there is looking for community, who needs community.

We all do, and we shouldn’t have to struggle to find it.

Lupita Aquino — better known as Lupita Reads — is the co-founder and current lead of LIT on H St. Book Club at Solid State Books. She is a passionate reader active in both the local and online book community through her Instagram blog, @Lupita.Reads. You can also catch her tweeting about books over at @lupita_reads.

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