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3 Books With Neil Pasricha

May 26, 2021

“The Ys sounds like Js,” Yuyi Morales tells me when I ask for the correct way to pronounce her name. It’s embarrassing to ask but my detective work online resulted in a half dozen different options.

Yuyi is a Mexican-American children’s book author and illustrator. She was born in Mexico and raised amongst giant grandmothers, mossy house walls, and rampaging feral gardens, fostering a strong bond with magical stories that ran in her family as a child.

Today she is known for her incredible children’s books which combine powerful spare language and sumptuous complex imagery.

She has written books like, Dreamers, Niño Wrestles the World, Just a Minute, Viva Frida, Little Night, Just In Case and her brand new book coming out in September called, Bright Star (I suggest you pre-order it!). It tells the story of a fawn making her way through a border landscape, teeming with flora and fauna native to the region. A gentle empowering voice encourages her to face her fears when she comes across an obstacle in the form of an insurmountable barrier.

A lot of her work has these themes running through it — immigration, pilgrimage, journeying, discovery. It’s no wonder she is one of the most decorated children’s books author in the world. At last count she’s won twenty-nine awards including the Pura Belpré Medal, the Americas Award for Children and Young Adult Literature, the California Book Award, the Tomas Riviera Award and the Caldecott Honor. For those of you who know the children’s books world well, the Caldecott is the top prize! She is the first Latina to ever be a Caldecott recipient.

Let’s strap in to talk about the burdens of colonialism, Mexican artistry, introducing books to book deprived communities, magic realism, community feminism, teen prostitution, dirty cops, living in books, making the world a better place, and, of course, the wonderful Yuyi Morales’s three most formative books.

Let’s head down to Veracruz, Mexico. Feel that sun on your face, picture yourself on a beach, grab a drink, lay out a towel, and stare into the sea and the surf with me.

Let’s flip the page into Chapter 79 …

What You'll Learn:

  • What is Xalapa like?

  • What is the state of Mexico today?

  • What are the burdens of colonialism?

  • What is community feminism? 

  • What is the cost of a book in Mexico?

  • How can magical realism still be familiar?

  • What motivated the student uprisings of 1968 in Mexico City?

  • What was La Noche de Tlatelolco?

  • Why do Mexican students feel criminalized?

  • What must we change in our culture to allow children to  thrive?

  • Why must we change our paternalistic views on immigration?

  • What can we learn from children?

  • What toxins do we absorb when we eat animals that have been slaughtered cruelly?

  • How can we organize books by our emotional state?

  • What is storytelling?

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: 

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3 Books is a completely insane and totally epic 15-year-long quest to uncover and discuss the 1000 most formative books in the world. Each chapter discusses the 3 most formative books of one of the world's most inspiring people. Sample guests include: Brené Brown, David Sedaris, Malcolm Gladwell, Angie Thomas, Cheryl Strayed, Rich Roll, Soyoung the Variety Store Owner, Derek the Hype Man, Kevin the Bookseller, Vishwas the Uber Driver, Roxane Gay, David Mitchell, Vivek Murthy, Mark Manson, Seth Godin, and Judy Blume. 3 Books is published on the lunar calendar with each of the 333 chapters dropped on the exact minute of every single new moon and every single full moon all the way up to 5:21 am on September 1, 2031. 3 Books is an Apple "Best Of" award-winning show and is 100% non-profit with no ads, no sponsors, no commercials, and no interruptions. 3 Books has 3 clubs including the End of the Podcast Club, the Cover to Cover Club, and the Secret Club, which operates entirely through the mail and is only accessible by calling 1-833-READ-A-LOT. Each chapter is hosted by Neil Pasricha, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Awesome, The Happiness Equation, Two-Minute Mornings, etc. For more info check out: