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Writers Against Racism: Alex Sanchez

Alex Sanchez is the author of the Rainbow Boys trilogy, as well as the Lambda Award-winning middle-grade novel So Hard to Say. His latest novel is Bait.

Briefly describe the impact racism had on you as a young person.

When my family immigrated from Mexico to the U.S., I experienced prejudice for the first time. In order to pass as white, I quickly learned English, stopped speaking Spanish, and didn’t tell anyone I was from Mexico. I sacrificed a part of my self-identity, replacing it with a sense of shame. Only after I had grown into an adult did I begin to speak Spanish again, reclaiming my Mexican heritage and a fundamental part of who I am.


Has your personal experience of racism impacted your professional work as a writer?


Definitely, in that I make a point of including ethnically diverse characters in my novels. I remember when I was growing up, how hard it was for me to find books that included non-white American people like me. Now, when I hear from readers of my novels, they tell me how validating it is to read about characters who, like them, are ethnically diverse.


In what way can literature be used to combat the effects of racism and promote tolerance?


The opposite of racism and bigotry is empathy. By allowing readers to step into the shoes of a character who is racially or ethnically different and see the world through that character’s eyes, literature inspires empathy and promotes tolerance. 

Visit Alex at


  1. George Edward Stanley says:

    Alex, not only did you have to sacrifice your self-identity, the people who created that kind of atmosphere for you missed out on learning about your Mexican heritage. Of course, the really sad part of this is that they probably had absolutely no idea of how much more “civilized” they would have become learning what you could tell them. I agree with you about literature. Only positive things can come from young people of one culture reading about young people of other cultures – or about young people from different culture groups interacting with each other.

  2. Every time I see a picture of Alex Sanchez with his winning smile, or see his kindness and sensitivity through the characters he writes, I am again reminded that we miss so much when we allow books to be challenged and banned and authors voice to be silenced. Especially this week, I’m reminded of that, and glad Alex shared his comments.

  3. I’m so glad to be introduced to Alex and his books–I was just moved to tears reading about a straight teen standing up for his gay friend (Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood), and realize I need to keep looking for sensitive, thoughtful, complex representations of young men. My TBR pile grows again…

  4. Wonderful post and all of Mr. Sanxhez’s books are in my tbr pile. Especially becuse while reading Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole, I realized that I have read far to few books about LGBTQ teens.
    I definitely agree that literature can inspire empathy!

  5. Mayra Lazara Dole says:

    Hola Alex, so glad you made it! : ) Ari, you’ll love all of Alex’s books. Alex, gracias once again for the blurb on my book. cuidate mucho!

  6. Alex was recently kind enough to do an interview on my blog, Crazy Quilts. In pulling together information to support the interview, I visited Alex’s own blog and the depth and quality of all the information he provides to nurture young people indicates how much he really cares about his readers. I was/am very impressed!

  7. Jacqueline says:

    well hello..well…i’m 13 years old and i read ur book “so hard to say” and i think is a really good book ..iit’s one of my favorite ..i love that book