It all began with a reading list. I had simply been putting together a series of books I was hoping to read in preparation for my degree project. I purposely chose four books written by Latinx authors who were writing about either immigrating to the United States or growing up in the U.S.A. in an immigrant household. As I read, I found myself highlighting intensely. However, what I was highlighting the most were the palabras that I was most familiar with. Words I knew because my abuelita had called me that or I had heard my tía shout them over the phone.
This resulted in a list of over 120 words I knew all my life but never could use them in my daily American life. The Spanish words that made up my list rarely appear in the mainstream. So I thought why not share these words? The words that students should be learning in school and that they could actually use to communicate colloquially.
This word book is not only a learning tool for readers who want to become more familiar with the language; but the main purpose is to celebrate colloquial Spanish and give it a platform it rarely receives. If I had this book when I was 14, I think it would have re-evaluated just how important these words are and that I should incorporate them in my daily life. Even if they may be confusing to others, it’s their job to figure it out, not mine.