April 23, 2022 marks author Alex Sanchez’s 65th year on the planet. Happy Birthday, Alex Sanchez! Sanchez is a Mexican American author who has written the award winning young adult books Rainbows Boys and Getting It, as well as a middle grade novel So Hard to Say. Sanchez also collaborated with DC comics and illustrator Jul Maroh on You Brought Me the Ocean, which is a reimagining of the story of Aqualad for a modern teen audience. His most recent work The Greatest Superpower (2021) is about twin boys whose dad comes out as transgender.
He was born in Mexico City to parents of German and Cuban descent and moved to Texas as a child. He received a master’s in guidance and counseling from Old Dominion University and has worked with many families in the US and overseas in addition to his work as a writer. He studies writing in Provincetown, Massachusetts at the Fine Art Work Center under such greats as Michael Cunningham, Richard McCann, Allan Gurganus, Peter Ho Davies, Michael Klein, Elizabeth McCracken, and Jacqueline Woodson. Sanchez is known for highlighting the experience of LGBTQ youth in his writing.
Rainbow Boys, Sahcez’s first and most well known book, has encountered a handful of challenges since its publication in 2001. Following its release Linda P Harvey from Mission America wrote an article criticizing PFLAG and cited Rainbow Boys being included in PFLAG’s outreach materials as one of the many problematic aspects of the organization. In 2005, there was a challenge to Rainbow Boys at the Owen-Withee Junior and Senior High School. The school kept the book on their shelves but the superintendent did call for requiring parental permission for middle school students to borrow the book. In the same year the Montgomery County Memorial Library System in Montgomery Country, Texas received challenges to 16 LGBTQ books including Rainbow Boys. In 2006, the Webster New York Central School District received a complaint regarding Rainbow Boys being included on the school summer reading list. After outcry from students, parents, librarians, and community members which included organized protests, the book returned to the summer reading list the following year. In Charlotte County, New Brunswick, in 2008 the superintendent of the school system canceled a planned speaking engagement with Alex Sanchez after objections from a handful of parents. After hearing Sanchez present at another event the superintendent reconsidered his decision to cancel the speaking event and said that he would recommend Sanchez as a speaker to others.
Thank you Alex Sanchez for writing books that affirm the experiences of young people and get them excited about reading!
Tayla Cardillo is the Branch Librarian of the Oak Lawn Branch Library in Cranston, RI. Before her current position she was a YA librarian. She completed her MLIS at the University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English at Rhode Island College. Tayla has known that she wanted to be a librarian since she was 17 years old. When not doing library wizardry, she enjoys playing tabletop games and cosplaying.