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Texas State Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) poses with children at the Guadalupe Latino Bookstore in San Antonio, Texas, on Oct. 1. Photo: Courtesy of Tony Diaz

Novelist Tony Diaz and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center are bringing books to one of the poorest zip codes in San Antonio, Texas, with the launch of a bookstore.

Why it matters: The bookstore is meant to address book deserts in low-income, Latino neighborhoods and the lack of representation of Latino authors in "existing bookstores across the state and the country," the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center said in a news release.

  • Aside from the newly opened Guadalupe Latino Bookstore, southwest San Antonio has no bookstores.
  • Be smart: A book desert is a geographic region where reading materials are hard to obtain.

The big picture: In a 2016 study, researchers found substantial disparities in access to print material among those living in low-income neighborhoods in the United States.

  • The general lack of reading materials coupled with the high poverty rate in these communities held "profound" academic consequences for the children within them, according to the report.
  • The problem is magnified in low-income regions in Texas, where, there is only one age-appropriate book per 300 children, according to San Antonio Youth Literacy.

What they're saying: "We are in a book desert and just the fact that book deserts exist is proof of structural discrimination," Diaz told Axios.

  • "I think many of us grow up in that setting, and some of us then wind up finding books that reflect our history later on," he added.
  • "I think it'd be nice if we could all unite to deliver that to our youth early on and across the board. We want children to just grow up thinking it rains Latinx poets and writers."

The intrigue: The Chicano and Nuyorican poets and writers of the 1970s strived to build a literary pipeline for Latinos by creating spaces to elevate their work, such as cafes and bookstores.

Get more news that matters about Latinos in the hemisphere, delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sign up for the Axios Latino newsletter.

Go deeper

Latino civil rights group chronicles historical battles

Credit: LULAC

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) published an extensive timeline this month of the legal battles, union formations and political strategies used to advance the civil rights of U.S. Latinos.

Why it matters: The organization’s timeline comes amid a broader discussion of the marginalization Latinos still face across the United States, including health care inequities and structural racism.

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
60 mins ago - Economy & Business

Philanthropy in the age of crypto

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The best charities are increasingly effective. That's the clear message sent by Open Philanthropy, the think tank that doubles as the grant-making vehicle for Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna.

Why it matters: With tech and crypto wealth becoming a fast-growing part of the philanthropic pie, there's more of an emphasis than ever on effectiveness — what the newly-divorced Melinda French Gates, in her recent Giving Pledge update, characterizes as giving as "impactfully as possible."