Books, and story telling in general, are a central part of childhood. Stories play a central role in developing formative experiences in the lives of many children. “[C]hildren’s books, because of their mythic power, because of their capacity to instill resources that echo throughout our life, are a crucial point of origin for [the] life-long practices [of adult life and law].”
By promoting literature to children at a young age—particularly from the transitional stage of toddler to student—within the private and public sphere encourages the beginning of independent reading. When children experience literature at this transitional stage, they are distinguishing between parental rules and the rules of society, thus they are simultaneously exerting greater influence on their own lives while naturally and forcefully adopting to the existence of social rules.
One source of literature that influenced children’s perception of human rights is Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss would use comic illustrations, nonsense words, and outrageous plot elements to entice children; however, the stories possess real life aspects that children encounter, such as “discrimination, exploitation, loneliness, fear, and abandonment.” Further, Dr. Seuss depicts a child with individual rights as the protagonist rather than as a person attached to a parent. Many of these narratives have reoccurring themes that teach, “Core human rights principles and reinforce the idea that one should respect the rights of others.” But beyond human rights and the “canonized white males,” works by minority authors can “yield valuable contrasting views of cultural artifacts.”
If children’s literature were to use picturesque images of Hispanic characters in real life situations, rather than stereotypical roles such the hot-blooded sexy characters, macho men, gang-members, drug dealers, or illegal immigrants, then perhaps children may not have the false dichotomy of what it means to be Latino. Promoting these stereotypes creates a stigma that signifies that that person "is not quite human." Further, enforcing these stereotypes as the norms carries a deeply negative reaction.
Research suggests that media distortions negatively impact the self-esteem of African-American children from achieving their academic potential in American society. Like Dr. Seuss, the characters in the children’s books can explore real life situations by surveying Latino history, cultural contributions in American society, or important Latino leaders in America, like Cesar Chavez or Nydia Velasquez. By creating picturesque literature for children that promotes Hispanic characters doing non-stigmatic things, the paradigm of the perception of human rights, and the way children view the law, would shift toward an equilibrium that facilitates and promotes participation.
Moreover the dynamic of storytelling between parent and child cannot be undervalued. Studies have shown that parental involvement with a more-involved structure at home correlates with a child’s grade improvement and higher self-esteem. Further, the poverty rates in Latino are high; studies conducted have shown disproportionately high rates of illiteracy linked to children in poverty. Some professionals view a lack of parental involvement by Latino parents as not caring, but other factors, like the parent’s own educational level, language deficiency, or unfamiliarity within the school system, lead to this lack of parental guidance. Therefore the role of the proposed picturesque books should have an emphasis on different languages, such as English and Spanish, which would encourage the reading dynamic at home to continue. But even if only one language is spoken at home, studies have found that “young children who hear more than one language spoken at home become better communicators.”
Ideally, the practicality of picturesque books with minority-driven protagonists should not be exclusively for Latino children. All children should be exposed to different cultures in literature as some authors have suggested that children stories offer a way to imagine other worlds and differing “suppositions.” To children, “the real and the imaginary are not always distinct categories, but rather closer points on a continuum; children easily pass back and forth between real and pretend, factual and fictional.” By exposing all children to these imaginary tales, it enables children to get immersed in alternative realities and emerge as slightly different people. Thus by creating applicable children’s books that enable a different culture could serve as a catalyst to “operate as the origins for social rituals, ideological creeds, and legal principles about justice, legal autonomy, punishment, and rights” among all.
Creating literature tailored for Latino children can alleviate some of the issues that Latino face. But such creation can only exist if the general public is made more aware of Latino literature and movements. The Chicano movement in the 1950s and 1960s was largely successful to the general public directly in part to the influence of the African-American fight for social justice. As Latinos progress in the age of technology and social media, Latinos again have to look at today’s successful movements to make the general public more aware. More importantly, Latinos have to fully understand their identity of “being Latino” and understand how history has hindered and distorted Latinos perception of the law. To get a grasp on such knowledge would not promote Latinos to “overthrow the United States government” or “promote resentment toward a race or class of people”, but encourage Latinos to build a better future for their children.
 See Johnson, supra note 1, 5, 5 n.12; see also e.g., Paulo Freire, The Importance of the Act of Reading, 165 J. Educ. 1, 8 (Loretta Slover trans., 1983) (reflecting on the “importance of the act of reading” in shaping one’s development).
 Id. at 14; see also Desmond Manderson, From Hunger to Love: Myths of the Source, Interpretation, and Constitution in Children’s Literature, 15 Law & Literature 87, 95 (2003).
 Id. at 16
 Id. at 15.
 Id. at 2.
 David Ray Papke, Problems With an Uninvited Guest: Richard A. Posner and the Law and Literature Movement, 69 B.U.L. Rev. 1067, 1086-87(1989) (reviewing Richard A. Posner, Law and Literature: A Misunderstood Relation 1989)).
 Ediberto Roman, Who Exactly Is Living La Vida Loca ?: The Legal and Political Consequences of Latino-Latina Ethnic and Racial Stereotypes in Film and Other Media, 4 J. Gender Race & Just. 37, 39-40(2000).
 See Johnson, supra note 1, 46; quoting Erving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity, 2 (Simon & Schuster 1986).
 See Roman, supra note 178, at 64.
 Veronique de Miguel, 5 Hispanic Leaders That Everyone Should Know, Huffington Post (Oct. 15, 2003 9:49 PM), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/15/hispanic-leaders_n_4100409.html.
 See Tinkler, supra note 66, at 3.
 Jann Ingmire, Children exposed to multiple languages may be better natural communicators, UChicago News, (May 11, 2015), http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/05/11/children-exposed-multiple-languages-may-be-better-natural-communicators.
 See Johnson, supra note 1, at 39.
 Id. at 41.
 Ian F. Haney Lopez, Protest, Repression, & Race: Legal Violence and The Chicano Movement, 150 U. Pa. L. Rev. 205, 214 (2001).
 See Salinas, supra note 60, at 301-03.
In 1973, an officer observed David and Santos Rodriguez hanging out behind a gas station. The officer called in the description and two officers, Roy Arnold and Darrell Cain, entered the Rodriguez house and arrested the two brothers. David Rodriguez, Jr, the older brother of Santos testified that the officers handcuffed them behind their backs and that Santos was placed in the front seat of the patrol car with Officer Arnold. Then they were taken back to the gas station where Santos was asked a series of questions.
Officer Cain was in the backseat with David when he took out his pistol, opened the cylinder, and twirled it. David stated that he could see bullets in the cylinder and saw no empty chambers.Cain shut the cylinder and aimed it at Santos’s head, who remained in the front seat. Cain told Santos to tell them if he and his brother had burglarized the service station in which Santos denied. Cain then clicked the pistol, stated that he had a bullet in it and that Santos needed to “tell the truth.” Cain then clicked the gun and the gun fired, striking Santos in the head. Cain jumped out of the patrol vehicle and stated, “Oh, my God.”
At trial, Cain asserted that he unloaded the weapon and tried to “make him tell the truth,” but this was disputed by David who never saw Cain unload the weapon. After the shooting, Cain stated that he reloaded the pistol before another officer took the pistol from him. But the officer, who grabbed Cain’s pistol within eight to ten seconds of shots being fired, unloaded the weapon and found five live rounds and stated he never saw Cain put the bullets back in the pistol. After the shooting, the gas station was dusted for fingerprints and “neither the fingerprints of the deceased nor those of David Rodriguez were found.” Santos and David were most likely innocent, but a twelve-year old, unarmed, handcuffed child was murdered, while his brother, a mere few feet away, watched a police officer carry out the execution.
Protests erupted, one march particularly turned violent, five officers were injured, and more than 30 people arrested. The low sentence—a five-year sentence—for a murder with malice charge of Santos Rodriguez was another stain within the criminal justice system towards the Latino community. Again, the message was clear to many within the community: Latinos, including children, do not have much personal worth.
Injustice in the criminal system is nothing new for Latinos, traffic stop data in 2001 indicated Hispanic drivers in San Diego had a thirty-seven percent greater chance of being stopped compared to white drivers. Further, the study indicated Latino’s success rates for warrants were thirty-six percent whereas whites had a success rate of fifty-three percent. But despite the large difference, Latinos were search warrant subjects in forty-three percent of the cases compared to whites, who were subjects of search warrants in only thirty-five percent of the cases.
Predictably, a 2001 study of the U.S. penal system indicate that Latinos also represent the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. prison population and that Latino men are four times as likely to be sentenced to prison during their lifetime compared to non-Hispanic white males. Further, a study of twelve counties in Texas found that Hispanics represented forty percent of the juvenile population and that forty-three percent of the juveniles had cases adjudicated by the court.
Moreover, Hispanic juveniles were more likely to stand trial as an adult than Whites—even if they were disposed for the same offense, were the same age, and had a similar record in the juvenile system. Most of the juvenile offenders surveyed faced barriers within the school system and half of the offenders experienced hardship within their homes or community. Low educational attainment and high poverty, precursors to hardships within the home and community create a greater likelihood of contact within the criminal justice system. This data conclusively demonstrates that Latinos are facing a discriminatory criminal justice system within their community that needs criminal justice reform.
In Dallas, city and police officials have dramatically reformed the police department’s practices in response to the shooting of Santos Rodriguez. For example, questioning of juveniles now requires a magistrate judge’s approval and in 2013, almost half of the 3,485 sworn police officers are minorities. But changes to the overall police department are not enough, states with a significantly large Latino population that share the overall population like Texas, must shift their focus to Latino children, since these children will someday be the state’s future workers and taxpayers.
 Cain v. State, 549 SW 2d 707, 710 (Tex. Court of Criminal Appeals 1977).
 Id. at 711
 See Silverman, supra note 13.
 Donna Coker, Foreword: Addressing the Real World of Racial Injustice in the Criminal Justice System, 93 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 4 827, 835-837 (2003).
 Michael J. Coyle, Latinos and the Texas Criminal Justice System, National Council of La Raza Statistical Brief, 1-2 (2003) (downloaded at research.policyarchive.org).
 Id. at 10.
 Id. at 3.
 See Silverman, supra note 13.
 See Coyle, supra note 161, at 16.
There is no denying that the rhetoric on Mexican-Americans has elevated in our political circles the last few years on many issues such as immigration, language, and residency; particularly with our undocumented counterparts. Many Mexican-Americans have since been homogenized with undocumented immigrants and have been mocked, ridiculed, and held responsible for the issues above. As a result, some Mexican-Americans have blamed undocumented immigrants for the nasty rhetoric they've heard instead of blaming those who continue to harass all Latinos, documented or not. However, what's important is for Mexican-Americans to understand their history in this country and how it impacts them and every other American or non-American.
Here is a brief history not taught at our schools:
The Spanish conquest of Texas in the 1500s included the dissemination of the Spanish language and Christianization among the many Native tribes in Texas. This “Hispanicization” of the native population was facilitated by the intermarriage of Spaniards and Natives, adoption of Native children by "Spanish" families, and the capture of Native slaves. Eventually this mixed race known as “Mestizos,” treated as second-class citizens by the Spanish, revolted and eventually obtained independence from Spain in 1821.
Soon after, Anglos migrated to Texas, partly because the Mexican government encouraged migration. Racial-cultural tensions developed and Mexican-Anglo relations broke down, eventually leading the Anglos to declare war against the Mexicans. The Anglos were victorious, but the Mexican government never formally recognized Texas Independence. In 1846, President Polk, wanting to expand the U.S. and annex Texas formally, invaded and occupied Mexico, forcing Mexico to formally give up what is now known as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and California through the Treaty of Guadalupe (Treaty).
The Treaty’s intended purpose was to give Mexico money for half of the land that was taken, Mexican’s full U.S. citizenship, and the right for Mexican citizens to keep their land. As a result, 75,000 Mexicans stayed to become U.S citizens. Unfortunately this treaty was not honored and many Mexican-Americans lost their homes because the courts, law enforcement, and government officials willfully ignored their pleas. For example, the Texas Rangers often terrorized the Latino population, earning a reputation for shooting first and determining later if Mexican’s were ever armed. Moreover, national leaders often warned against letting Latinos join in the ranks of White America.
Borderlands: La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua is a book consisting of poems and historical reference to Latinos internal and external struggles in the U.S. The author describes the U.S. Southwest as “Aztlan,” the true homeland for Chicanos.
“This is my home
this thin edge of
but the skin of the earth is seamless.
The sea cannot be fenced,
el mar does not stop at borders.
To show the white man what she thought of his
Yemaya blew that wire fence down.
This land was Mexican once,
was Indian always
And will be again.”
The context of the poem describes a border between Mexico and the U.S. that is arbitrary because of the historical implications and the right of first possession. Here, the author makes the claim that the Chicano was here first; therefore, the land is the land of her people. She explains, “the oldest evidence of humankinds in the U.S.—the Chicanos’ ancient Indian ancestors—[were] found in Texas and has been dated to 35000 B.C.” Further, the author describes the border as an unnatural boundary, one created by the “Gringo” that considers inhabitants as aliens—whether they possess documents or not. But the poem goes beyond describing a border; the poem expresses anger, pain, and sorrow. She describes the retaliation of Mexican-American resisters who robbed a train in Brownsville, Texas, but only further increased the violence against Latinos. Vigilante Anglo groups started lynching and murdering Latinos and thousands of Mexican-Americans fled to Mexico, leaving their only homes known behind.
The historical context of Latinos in America serves as an outline to understand the early beginnings of discrimination against Latinos. Further, the colonization of the Natives by the Spanish and then eventual colonization of the Mestizos by the Americans provide a roadmap to the complexity of the Latino identity. Borderlands serves as a voice of the “Chicano,” expressing the injustices of Anglos on the Latinos native land. The social injustices of Latinos in its early beginnings continued to exist in the 1900s. Schools, a component of the bureaucratic system, were routinely segregated, racial identities stripped, and ethnic studies dismissed.
Just something to think about it in today's current climate about us as Natives, Mexicans, and Mexican-Americans.
 Jose Roberto Juarez, Jr., The American Tradition of Language Rights: The Forgotten Right to Government in a Known Tongue, 13 Law & Ineq. 443, 470-472 (1995).
 See Salinas, supra note 7, at 272; citing Samuel Harman Lowrie, Culture Conflict In Texas, 1821-1835 59-60 (1967).
 Id. Other factors were involved; Anglos encountered largely Catholic population, repealed slavery by the Mexican government, and the language barrier between the two.
 Id. at 273.
 Id.at 274, 274 n.26. The Treaty of Guadalupe was to give Mexican’s who chose to stay in the U.S. full U.S. citizenship and fifteen million dollars for the land taken.
 Id. at 274.
 Id. at 279.
 Id. at 274.
 See Anzaldúa, supra note 8, at 23. The author explains that the Aztecas del Norte, the largest single tribe in the United States, often identify as Chicano and see the U.S. Southwest as their true homeland (Aztlan).
Id. at 25.
 Id. at 25, 114 n.3; citing John R. Chavez, The Lost Land: The Chicano Images of the Southwest, 9 (University of new Mexico Press, 1984).
 Id. at 25. A “gringo” is a Spanish term used by Latinos to describe non-Latinos, usually White.
 Id. at 30.
 See Juarez, supra note 30; see also Salinas, supra note 33.
 Lupe S. Salinas & Dr. Robert H. Kimball, The Equal Treatment of Unequals: Barriers Facing Latinos and the Poor in Texas Public Schools, 14 Geo. J. Poverty Law & Pol'y 215, 221 (2007).
The Complexities of Being Latino
Civil Rights in America is usually portrayed as a Black and White issue, but Latinos have engaged and transformed Civil Rights in ways not known to the general public. But even though Latinos have a rich history of creating change in our nation, why is it not widely known or celebrated? Why can't we name off several prominent leaders of the Latino community like we can in regards to the African-American community? And where is the unity at compared to other cultures? The question lies in the many barriers and complexities of what it actually means in being considered "Latino."
LACK OF UNDERSTANDING THE LATINO CULTURE
The history of Latinos in America is multilayered and rich; however, the Latino image is often portrayed as a “homogenized population,” negating the different linguistic, racial and ethnic distinctions within the Latino population.  For example, Latinos with “brown-skin,” prompt many Whites to think of Latinos as "members of the Mexican race," but being called “Mexican” is equivalent to calling someone an “American.” However, the misconception of Latinos does not apply to just Whites, even Latino Americans themselves have failed to understand their own cultural and ethnic background. In America, roughly 52% of Mexican-Americans have identified as White, whereas in Mexico, only 9% identify as White. The majority in Mexico identify as Mestizo—meaning that they are of European and Native American descent. However, genetic studies performed in the general Mexican-American and Mexican populations have shown that Mexicans residing in Mexico consistently have a higher European admixture in average than Mexican Americans. Clearly, the identity of Latinos has created confusion among the general population—Latinos included—and as a result, has inhibited the growth of the culture in America.
Many of the issues surrounding identity have came down to determining if “being Latino” is a cultural, racial, or national origin distinction. For example, there have been calls to action to eliminate racial classifications because the classification destroys the distinction between race and national origin. Overall, some have argued that the terms “Latino” or “Hispanic” creates a category that is too broad, in which the legal system and its actors “conceptualize race.” To elaborate, Latino discrimination has not been clearly identified among the general population on a large scale, partly because the media, courts, and politicians have framed civil rights as an almost exclusively black and white issue. For example, the Texas Supreme Court declared in 1951, that the Fourteenth Amendment did not apply to Mexican-Americans, but only to Blacks and Whites. Further, the African-American community has experience more success because their interethnic relations has not diminished their movement. Nonetheless, the complex racial identity—in conjunction within a legal system comprised of actors that marginalize Latino’s rights—has continued to downplay discrimination among the general population.
As a result of these identity issues and the lack of understanding of what it means to be "Latino", the general population is more likely aware of African-American literature and its movements rather than that of Latinos.
 Gloria Sandrino-Glasser, Los Confundidos: De-Conflating Latinos/as’ Race and Ethnicity, 19 Chicano-Latino L. Rev. 69, 71, 150, (1998).
 See Salinas, supra note 7, at 286. “Mexican” is a nationality like “American,” and not a race, there are different races in the Mexican nationality.
 U.S. Census Bureau, Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010, Table 2 (2010); Id. at 286 n.16, the Mexican population is currently listed as being sixty percent mestizo citing The World Almanac and Book of Facts 538 (Erik C. Gopel ed., World Almanac 2005).
 Jeffrey C. Long, et al, Genetic variation in Arizona Mexican Americans: estimation and interpretation of admixture proportions, 84 Am. J. of Physical Anthropology 2, 141, 144 (1991); see also Joke Beuten, et al, Wide Disparity in Genetic Admixture Among Mexican Americans from San Antonio, TX., 75 Annals of Hum. Stud. 4, 529, 535 (2011). Genetic studies performed in the general Mexican-American and Mexican populations have shown that Mexicans residing in Mexico consistently have a higher European admixture in average (with results ranging from 37% to 78.5%) than Mexican Americans (whose results, range from 50% to 68%).
 See Sandrino-Glasser, supra note 19, at 75-76.
 . Ian F. Haney Lopez Race, Ethnicity, Erasure: The Salience of Race to LatCrit Theory, 85 Calif. L. Rev. 1143, 1149 (1997).
 Id. at 1145-47.
 Id. at 1143-1145. In 1954, lawyers with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), took up a case where a Mexican-American (Pete Hernandez) was convicted by an all-white jury. The Texas Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed the protection of only the White and Black class. The case was taken to the United States Supreme Court where the court delivered a unanimous opinion in extending equal protection to Pete Hernandez and reversing his conviction. The reasoning was not based on race alone, but that Hernandez belonged to a class distinguishable on some basis "other than race or color" that nevertheless suffered discrimination as measured by "the attitude of the community."
 Kevin R. Johnson, Civil Rights and Immigration: Challenges for the Latino Community in the Twenty-First Century, 8 La Raza L.J. 42, 64 (1995).
Benny's Books is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization that creates diversity in children's fiction and gives out children's books for free.