Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I am no longer updating this blog. It took a while for me to admit that to myself, but there it is. Since I started this a few years ago a number of other awesome blogs and online resources have been created. I added a few to the list of links on the right side of the page. I'm working on a Website where I will continue to write about Latinos in kid lit in addition to other topics dear to my heart including my own writing process, zine news, kid lit in general, and more. Will post the link here when it's ready.

I'll be at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Pura Belpré Award at this summer's ALA conference in Orlando (details below). Everyone is invited to join the celebration so please come out if you're in the area. It's going to be great! Thanks for following this blog!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Katie Scherrer who won the copy of Pig Park I was giving away. Hope you enjoy the book! I feel bad when not everyone wins so will have another give away soon.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

2015 Youth Media Awards, Belated Congratulations and a Giveaway!

Obviously, I am the worst blogger ever. I blame it on being in hibernation mode. In case you get your news strictly from this blog (dude, what's wrong with you), the 2015 winners of the Pura Belpré Award were announced on February 2 in Chicago at the Youth Media Awards. If you weren't able to attend and want to live the excitement of the ceremony, you can watch the webcast. This is pretty sweet. Despite living in Chicago, I wasn't able to attend so it was nice to still be able to watch it live. You can scream for joy and curse in disappointment in the privacy of your own home.

Big felicidades to the winners and honorees!

Marjorie Agosín - Pura Belpré Author Award for I Lived on Butterfly Hill
Juan Felipe Herrera - Author Honor for Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes
Yuyi Morales - Pura Belpré Illustrator Award for Viva Frida
Susan Guevara - Illustrator Honor for Little Roja Riding Hood
John Parra - Illustrator Honor for Green is a Chili Pepper
Duncan Tonatiuh - Illustrator Honor for Separate is Never Equal: Silvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation

An additional congratulatory shout out to Pat Mora who was awarded the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, to Isabel Quintero who won the Morris Award for Gabi, A Girl in Pieces and to Yuyi Morales who won a Caldecott Honor for Viva Frida. 

This was probably the most diverse year to date at the awards, right? Give yourselves a pat on the back! This was definitely a result, in part, of the more open and honest discussions that have been taking place in public forums. The hope is that talking about uncomfortable topics will lead to accountability and change. Lots more to say about awards and dissatisfied grumblings, but I'll save that for another entry.

Speaking of awards, Isabel Quintero and Duncan Tonatiuh were also honored with the Tomás Rivera Book Award (among numerous other awards) for Gabi, A Girl in Pieces and Separate is Never Equal. Right on!

In case you missed it, the Cooperative Children's Book Center released their annual report, Children's Books By and About People of Color Published in the United States. This year they are planning to publishing title lists as well, a really great addition to this already useful and important resource. I'm looking forward to the release of the list of books by / about Latinos.

Last thing for now, I'm doing the We Need Diverse Books resolution and pledged to read at least 25 diverse books this year. I'm documenting this year's reading on my tumblr page if you're interested in seeing what I'm reading. Take the challenge!

To get you started with your challenge, I'm doing a giveaway! I have one copy of Claudia Guadalupe Martinez's Pig Park up for grabs. Just leave a comment on this post. Recommend a diverse book to read in 2015 if you feel inclined. Drawing will take place next Thursday, March 5. If you enter, please include your email address or be on the look out for drawing results so I don't have to hunt you down to send your book if you win.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

We Need Diverse Books

The cool kids over at We Need Diverse Books are running a fundraising campaign on indiegogo. They are planning to use the money raised to fund a variety of initiatives focused on providing kids of all ages greater access to diverse books. The planned projects include developing educational kits, bringing diverse authors to schools and starting a kidlit diversity festival. All of this sounds awesome, and I cannot wait to see what starts to roll out in the coming months. They're offering a bunch of sweet perks too if you need some instant gratification.

If you believe it's important that the books our kids have access to reflect the diversity of our world (and who doesn't), please consider backing this important campaign. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: Pig Park

I confess. I'm a glutton. This book had me at the cover. That image of a delicious marranito? I can imagine the moist cake-like center, the smell of molasses. I love this cover. I want to eat this cover. 

Between those yummy covers is an equally delicious book. Pig Park (Cinco Puntos Press, 2014) is Claudia Guadalupe Martinez's second novel following her 2011 debut, The Smell of Old Lady Perfume, also published by Cinco Puntos. Masi Burciaga's Chicago neighborhood has become a virtual ghost town since the American Lard Company packed up and moved its business overseas. The lard company was such a central part of the area's economy and livelihood that the neighborhood park got the name Pig Park because of it. When Jorge Peregrino, the one person in the neighborhood who seems to still be doing well for himself, comes to the people of Pig Park with what sounds like a far-out idea to keep the neighborhood alive--building a pyramid that will attract tourist--Masi and her friend jump on board to help. Masi figures even if they can't save the neighborhood she can at least spend her last summer outdoors hanging out with her friends instead of working in the stifling heat of her family's bakery. 

I admit, at first I was like huh? Wait, what's going on here? How is no one skeptical of this pyramid idea? What are you Pig Park people doing?! But everything falls into place as you read your way through Masi's story. As the plan unfolds the reader can't help asking a number of timely and relevant questions. What causes neighborhoods to decline? How can declining neighborhoods be revitalized? What happens to local economies when large companies move overseas? Early in the novel the story of "The Devil and Daniel Webster" is referenced, and the novel tackles that age-old question of how far, how much, what exactly would you do for something that matters to you? The Pig Park residents are faced with two significant issues. How far are they willing to go to save their home, and how important is it to maintain the cultural integrity of their neighborhood?

But it's not all about the struggle to revive a neighborhood. An attractive and mysterious young college student blows into town to help the residents with their revitalization plans, and Masi can't help being drawn to him. On the home front, Masi struggles to understand the growing tension in the relationship between her parents. This storyline ties in nicely with the neighborhood revitalization plot as it also addresses the importance of being able to change and evolve in order to survive.

This would be a great book to tie in with social studies units on neighborhood studies, learning about how outsourcing affects cities, and community activism. I love Claudia's use of simile and especially enjoyed the very detailed scene in which a few of the teens make capirotada. Mmm mmm. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thanks for Playing!

Lesson learned after this first giveaway: ask for email addresses to be left in comments. Ladies who won the posters, please claim them by the end of this coming week (Sunday, August 25). Otherwise, they'll be up for grabs again. Thank you!

I had the young man of the house pick out three names from a bowl this morning. Congratulations to Karina, Stacey and Sally! Please send your email address in a comment, and I'll be in touch. Thanks to everyone who left a comment. I wish I could send a poster to each of you!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fwap! Pura Belpré Poster Giveaway!

Oh lookee! There's the front of the program I neglected to post an image of last time around. Isn't that a beautiful portrait of la Señora Belpré created by Yuyi Morales? This would look amazing in your library, classroom, living room, etc. I have about two, maybe three, extra program / posters to give away. If you're interested in being entered in a drawing leave a comment below. Have a favorite picture book or novel featuring a Latino protagonist? Doing some fun stuff in your classroom or library with Latino children's books? Just want to say howdy? Drop me a comment. Let's see, we'll wrap this up by Wednesday of next week. Cool? Cool.