Summer Vacation Plans & Giving Thanks

As of today, we are on summer vacation! When we return in September, we’ll celebrate our second Blogversary, the release of Ashley Hope Pérez’s new young adult novel, Out of Darkness, and much more. We’ll keep in touch by tweeting past posts through the summer for our new followers. You please keep in touch, too. If you would like to contribute a blog post or you have a book with Latin@ characters that you’d like listed on our site and/or reviewed, please contact us through the form on the blog or by emailing: latinosinkidlit@gmail.com. We don’t guarantee a review for every book, which will be outlined in our new reviewing policy. Below are news items and special thanks to all who have worked with us so far.

What we’re doing with our time off:

Cindy L. Rodriguez: I will be attending the International Literacy Association conference in St. Louis next weekend for both my day job as a reading specialist and to promote When Reason Breaks. I have a few more book events through the summer, and I plan to read and write as much as possible before school begins again in the fall. In August, I will get away with my daughter and friends, spending a week on the beach in Rhode Island.

Sujei Lugo: As a children’s librarian at a public library I’ll be immersed in our summer reading program, which includes: summer reading bingo, bilingual story time, comics workshop, an art program with Growing up Pedro author and illustrator Matt Tavares, music programs, and more! I also plan to find time to continue writing my dissertation proposal and get ready for my August trip to Puerto Rico to visit my family and friends.

Lila Quintero Weaver: Lila recently wrapped up a big project. She plans to clear her mind by reorganizing closets and computer files. Travel plans are on hold until autumn when Gulf Coast beaches are blissfully quiet.

BackYardFamPhotoAshley Hope Pérez is enjoying quality time with her family in Columbus, Ohio, where she, husband Arnulfo, and 5-year-old Liam Miguel welcomed baby Ethan Andrés on June 10. Ashley is spending most of her time nursing the new baby and catching up on YA reading. She’s also looking forward to the release of her third novel, Out of Darkness, in September. Keep an eye out for an August Out of Darkness blog tour!

 

Zoraida Córdova: This summer I’ll be working on my third romance novel, Life on the Level. Also, I’ll be working on my tan.

Marianne Snow: I’m preparing for my comprehensive exams (three 20-page papers yaaay), attending several weddings, and taking my first ever trip to Canada.  Plus, I’m gearing up to teach a course on children’s literature to undergraduate pre-service teachers in the fall.

Cecilia Cackley: At the moment I’m teaching play writing at a summer camp in Montgomery County, MD and in August I’ll be traveling to Ilobasco, El Salvador and Chichicastenango, Guatemala to teach two weeks of puppetry workshops.

Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez: Having recently completed a PhD in English, Sonia looks forward to relaxing and reading as much as possible. She will also be teaching poetry and spoken word to a group of elementary school students from the Chicago area.

Thanks!!

We’d like to thank the following people for contributing to our site this past year. We appreciate that you took the time to share your expertise and opinions with us as part of our collective effort to celebrate Latin@s in children’s literature. ¡Muchas gracias!

Kimberly Mach

Eileen Fontenot

Adriana Dominguez

Adrienne Rosado

Amy Boggs

Sara Megibow

Kathleen Ortiz

Laura Dail

Arte Público Press

René Saldaña, Jr.

Cathy Camper

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez

Scholastic’s Club Leo en Español

Heather Marie

Kelly Jones

Erin Entrada Kelly

A.L. Sonnichsen

Anna-Marie McLemore

Ronald L. Smith

Kerry O’Malley Cerra

Dhonielle Clayton

Holly Bodger

Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung

Carrie Firestone

Noemi Gamel

Patrick Flores-Scott

Robert Trujillo

Rachel Manija Brown

Sherwood Smith

Mary Louise Sanchez

Heather Harris-Brady

Chris Day

Venessa Ann Schwarz

Tiffany Soriano

Richard Almaraz

Clarissa Hadge

Alex Yuschik

Alexandra Townsend

Marisol La Costa

Monica Sanz

Elizabeth Arroyo

Monica Zepeda

Patricia Toney

Lettycia Terrones

Margarita Engle

Shelley M. Diaz

Libertad Araceli Thomas

Guinevere Zoyana Thomas

Crystal Brunelle

Kimberly Mitchell

Robin Herrera

John Parra

Raúl the Third

Ana Crespo

Jacqueline Jules

José Mélendez

David Bowles

Angie Manfredi

Melissa Grey

Cinco Puntos Press

Diana Lee Santamaria

Kim Baker

Jill Brazier

Anna Banks

Sofia Quintero

Marilisa Jiménez García, Ph.D.

Have a wonderful rest of the summer!

See you in September!

 

 

 

Reflections on the Children’s Literature Association’s Annual Conference

 

By Marilisa Jiménez García, Ph.D.

The Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) meets for its annual conference every June. Founded in 1973, ChLA seeks to advance scholarship and criticism of children’s and young adult literature, particularly as a field of literary study. Academic associations, journals, and conferences provide scholars with an opportunity to organize and disseminate research. They also provide spaces for rethinking the purpose of a field more broadly with established and up and coming scholars. After years of attending ethnic studies and general literature and literacy conferences, I was invited to form part of a Latin American Children’s Literature panel chaired by Ann González at ChLA 2015 in Richmond, Virginia.

I arrived at ChLA 2015 hoping to reconnect with a group of scholars and educators that inspired my intellectual pursuit of children’s and young adult literature. ChLA 2009 was the first conference I attended as a University of Florida graduate student in Charlotte, North Carolina. My colleagues and professors said I would find a supportive and friendly scholarly community, something I immediately confirmed. I was thrilled to find others who valued the artistic, creative, and historical value of children’s and young adult texts and media, something which might be hard to find in English departments. Yet, from the outset, I also noticed I was one of the only, if not the only, Latino/as at the conference. I was on a panel about language in children’s literature chaired by my dissertation director, Kenneth B. Kidd. By that point, I had found my dissertation research on Puerto Rican children’s literature and its representations of U.S. colonialism, nationalism, race, and gender. After I delivered my paper, “Language Borders and the Case of Puerto Rican Children’s Literature,” which was later published, several people in the audience waited to speak to me about my research. I felt a sense of validation. This was also one of the first times people referred to my research as “brave.” I still wrestle with seeing this as a compliment in terms of the work I do, whether I was brave for presenting Latino/a culture and Spanglish as belonging in a tradition of American writing or if my presence as an underrepresented minority seemed somehow exceptional. Even considering the underrepresentation of Latino/as in American children’s literature and the overall sparse numbers of Latino/a faculty, was I brave for presenting what I knew?

Me and Kenneth Kidd, photo by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Me and Kenneth Kidd, photo by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas

Being the only Latina in an academic environment was not a new experience for me, but as someone who studied Victorian and American children’s literature, what was new was my realization of how often the depictions of Anglo-British and Anglo-American children and childhood are presented as central, and even universal. The terms “the child” and “children’s literature” seemed reserved for these portrayals. Progressing into my doctoral career, within the context of groups such as ChLA, I found that my work was often greeted with questions such as, “What does this have to do with children’s literature?” or “How is this about childhood?” In part, my dissertation in 2012, which won an award in Puerto Rican Studies, addressed the centrality of Anglo culture in children’s literature. I now realize that even in my position as a very junior scholar, I was perhaps one of the first to begin probing at the systemic diversity issue in kid lit, which today, though certainly not new predicament, has reached the forefront. Realistically, it was not until Robin Bernstein’s important study Racial Innocence (2013) that the field more holistically and publicly began to underline how representations of childhood and innocence are coded white.

My movement into ethnic studies and organizations like the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) provided a space for me to develop the kinds of conversations I wanted to have about race, nationality, and the study of children’s literature in the academy, including its branches into education and library science. Truthfully, those of us who work in Latino/a children’s literature owe a great debt to education scholars, such as Sonia Nieto, whose foundational work on the subject in the 1970s and 1980s parallels with the work of Rudine Sims Bishop in African American children’s literature. Yet, I always kept my eye on ChLA, and was excited to hear that diversity and the lack of minority representation in children’s books would be the theme of ChLA 2014 (“Diverging Diversities: Plurality in Children’s and Young Adult Literature”). I could not attend ChLA 14, though my paper on Latino/a young adult (YA) literature was read by Kidd.

Thursday morning at ChLA 2015 found me a bit anxious. Walking into the Omni Hotel Richmond on the first day of the conference, I was still attempting to process the tragic shooting at a Charleston church the night before. As someone who spent quite a bit of my life in the context of the South and the sway of the Confederate flag, the grim headlines seemed to frame everything I saw, even the 2015 conference theme: “Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death.” Once in the reception area, I met a Twitter friend, master’s student, Cristiana Rhodes of Texas A&M University, Corpus Christie, who approaches children’s literature through Chicano/a epistemologies. We discussed our work and perspective on being Latino/a in a field which sometimes struggles to see us as part of “English.” I was so encouraged to see a young Latina chairing a panel at ChLA and presenting her research on resisting stereotypical depictions of the Day of the Dead. Rhodes shared similar feelings to what mine had been as a graduate student. Later on, she said, “As a Latina, one of my primary goals in presenting at any academic conference is visibility–to let other academics know that we’re here and we’re doing good, valuable research. I think our place in ChLA, in particular, is to further solidify that diversity is an integral part of children’s literature, and without diverse perspectives the field would lose something.

“I think children’s lit scholars are beginning to understand that the field shouldn’t just be dominated by (white) hegemonic perspectives, and that’s really encouraging for someone like me who is new to the field. However, I still firmly believe that diversity shouldn’t be tokenized by the association (and I feel it often is) and I feel like the only thing we can do to remedy this is to stay visible and keep our research relevant. That’s my goal as a member of ChLA.”

Rhodes, who plans to pursue a doctorate, also said, “I think, as a whole, the children’s literature community [and ChLA] is really welcoming for new scholars regardless of their race, gender, education-level, etc. I’m always sort of constantly afraid that my age, coupled with my race, will inevitably exclude me from certain spaces within academia, but I’ve never felt left out or ignored because of these things while in the company of other children’s literature scholars.”

Rhodes’ comments continued to impress me as I had lunch with Casey Alane Wilson, Rebekah Fitzsimmons, and Mariko Turk, doctoral students from the University of Florida. Wilson and Fitzsimmons, who presented a paper on the construction of the YA genre, including how YA is used as a platform for diverse writers, helped me see that our field is at a moment of transition and restructuring, a moment in which those of us entering the academy are also questioning the history, structures, and key terms which formed and continue to guide our fields. This urge to question is something we were nurtured as scholars to do. My doctoral training under Kenneth Kidd in particular placed me in a position to think about how children’s literature developed as a field and how it is valued by the different branches, in part because of Kidd’s own against the grain perspective on kid lit. Kidd, a founding member of ChLA’s diversity committee, encouraged me to participate in the membership meeting and the coming year’s diversity committee.

Wilson, who is writing her dissertation on the dynamics of young adult literature, commented on her assurance that ChLA has evolved as a space for confronting these issues, conversations that she said “we, as scholars, have a responsibility to have…But I would also say that I’d like to see more of these conversations that aren’t limited specifically to panels about race — these questions should come up and be discussed in so-called ‘regular’ panels, too.”

The panel I presented on in Latin American children’s literature was well-attended. My panel chair, Gonzalez wrote Resistance and Survival (2011), an important study on Latin American and Caribbean children’s literature, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in learning more about the roots of Latin American cultures and kid lit, including Latino/a. During my presentation on race and nationality in Puerto Rican textbooks, which were used in Puerto Rico and New York City schools during the 1950s, I understood why it was important for me to continue attending ChLA. The research and perspective I brought to ChLA meant that even if Latino/as and people of color in general were underrepresented, my presentation and any conversations it inspired, raised the visibility of these groups in the field. In particular, by retracing the history of Latino/as in children’s literature, I hope to present how people of color form part of the foundation of children’s literature, and not the margins.

In terms of diversity, one of the conference highlights was a panel on Black Lives Matter featuring Katherine Capshaw Smith of the University of Connecticut, Michelle Martin of the University of South Carolina, and Myisha Priest of New York University, and chaired by Richard Flynn of Georgia Southern University, who drew a parallel to the Charleston shooting in his introduction. Together, these scholars underlined the importance of children’s literature and the tensions between innocence and criminality in terms of narrating the public deaths of black children, including Emmit Till, Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, and Kalief Browder. Another panel, “Illustrating African American history,” focused on how race and racism is depicted in children’s literature, and there was a panel titled “American Indians and Indianness,” which I was unable to attend.

Rhodes, Sonia Rodríguez (who could not attend), and I were the only scholars focusing solely on Latino/a children’s literature. Lilian B.W. Feitosa read one paper on Brazilian children’s literature and Renee Lathman read on poverty and marginality in Puerto Rican children’s literature. Also, Rhonda Brock-Servais and Aslyn Kemp from Longwood University delivered a great presentation on gender in Meg Medina’s work. The panel I presented on encompassed my perspective of Latin American and Latino/a children’s literature. In the future, I hope to organize a panel on Latino/a kid lit and hope it will not be seen as a an international panel since Latino/a is indeed a U.S. formation. The international panels at ChLA provide a great opportunity for diverse perspectives on children’s literature, but some scholars, such as Wilson, note that scheduling the international panels concurrently limits the opportunities for exchanges.

ChLA is an organization which has historically been committed to social justice. Overall, I think it would benefit from relationships with scholars doing ethnic studies and education research, an initiative listed in their Diversity Committee Plan 2009-2013. Collaboration with these fields would enable exchanges from the perspective of theories such as critical race theory (CRT) and Latino critical theory (LatCrit). I would also encourage children’s illustrators and authors to attend the conference to see how their work is impacting future frameworks and interpretations. ChLA is still a smaller and more manageable conference than meetings such as American Library Association (ALA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and/or National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE). It’s smaller, welcoming environment perhaps makes it more suitable for increasing the participation of scholars of color through mentoring events or spaces designed to nurture the needs of future faculty. Katherine Slater of Rowan University and chair of the Membership Committee said that ChLA plans to incorporate activities, including panels, speakers, and discussion groups that nurture diversity.

After Saturday’s membership meeting, I spoke to Ebony Elizabeth Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania and Kidd about my intentions to return to ChLA and get more involved in the planning and leadership. I felt incredibly supported during my conversations with Kidd, Thomas, Martin, and Capshaw, and by the ChLA community. Given the social movements and narratives of race overlapping with the narratives of the academy, I also felt that change was impossible to avoid. While preparing this reflection, I spoke with other scholars of color about how entering these spaces where we are the only ones makes us feel overwhelmed at times. Because for us, “diversity” is a term used to describe our lives and very beings, and not a theme. Perhaps, that is why when we choose to come to these places, and in my case return, we seem brave.

 

Marilisa_Jimenez-Garcia

Marilisa Jiménez García is a research associate at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY. She works at the intersections of Latino/a Studies and childhood and children’s literature studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript on the history of Latino/a children’s and young adult literature and an essay on the Latino/a “YA” tradition. She is conducting a survey of NYC teachers on teacher education and the use of diverse lit. in the classroom.

Libros Latin@s: Surviving Santiago

 

23013839By Cindy L. Rodriguez

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: Returning to her homeland of Santiago, Chile, is the last thing that Tina Aguilar wants to do during the summer of her sixteenth birthday. It has taken eight years for her to feel comfort and security in America with her mother and her new husband. And it has been eight years since she has last seen her father.

Despite insisting on the visit, Tina’s father spends all his time focused on politics and alcohol rather than connecting with Tina, making his betrayal from the past continue into the present. Tina attracts the attention of a mysterious stranger, but the hairpin turns he takes her on may push her over the edge of truth and discovery.

The tense, final months of the Pinochet regime in 1989 provide the backdrop for author Lyn Miller-Lachmann’s suspenseful tale of the survival and redemption of the Aguilar family, first introduced in the critically acclaimed Gringolandia.

MY TWO CENTS: As part of her parents’ divorce agreement, Tina Aguilar must travel from Madison, Wisconsin to Santiago, Chile, to spend the summer with her father, Marcelo, a leader of the democracy movement who was previously imprisoned and tortured by the government. The experience left him with permanent physical disabilities. He is also suicidal and an alcoholic.

At first, Tina’s summer is uneventful. She stays mostly in the house with her aunt and father, who barely pays attention to her. She decides she wants to go home early, but then she meets Frankie, a motorcycle delivery boy who gives her plenty of swoony reasons to stay in Chile. Tina and Frankie fall in love, but later–without giving too much away–she discovers he can’t be trusted and that she and her father’s lives are in danger.

Lyn Miller-Lachman does a beautiful job with creating a multi-layered narrative. The romance, family drama, and political intrigue are woven together seamlessly and each of the characters are fully developed. Because of Miller-Lachman’s extensive research and personal travel experiences, the descriptions of Chile are vivid. She captures both the physical landscape and the tense emotional atmosphere during the last months of the Pinochet regime.

One thing I especially appreciated was that Miller-Lachman allows the story to unfold. In other words, I have read so many young adult novels that literally start with a bang, following the “drop the reader right into the action” formula, that reading a narrative that didn’t start this way was a relief. I got to know Tina at home in Wisconsin before she started her journey, which allowed me to connect and sympathize with her before her struggles began.

TEACHING TIPS: This novel would obviously work well in an English classroom if the focus is historical fiction, stories from Latin America, and/or themes about survival or relationships in times of political strife. Surviving Santiago would also work well in cross-curricular way, with students analyzing it as literature in English class and then discussing the historical and political aspects in history class. Teachers could also use it as an option during literature circles with a focus on multi-generational or bicultural experiences. Surviving Santiago could be one of several books offered to students in which the protagonist has to return to her homeland or a parent’s homeland, which allows the main character the opportunity to reconnect with their culture or experience it for the first time.

An image posted by the author.ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her website): I grew up in Houston, Texas but left at age 18 to attend Princeton University, where I met my husband, Richard Lachmann. After living in Connecticut, Wisconsin, upstate New York, and Lisbon, Portugal, we recently settled in New York City. We have two children, Derrick and Maddy Lachmann.

I received my Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and edited the journal MultiCultural Review for 16 years. In 2012, I received my Masters in Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

I love teaching as much as writing and have taught both middle and high school English, social studies, and Jewish studies. Before moving to New York City, I taught American Jewish History to seventh graders at Congregation Gates of Heaven in Schenectady, New York and ran a playwriting elective for fourth to seventh graders.

I have lots of different hobbies because I love trying new things. In 2007, I became the assistant host of “Los Vientos del Pueblo” a bilingual program of Latin American and Spanish music, poetry, and history that currently airs on WRPI-FM, the radio station of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, on Sundays from 2-6 pm ET. I have also built a LEGO town, Little Brick Township, and create stories with my minifigures that I photograph and post on Instagram and my blog.

My husband and I enjoying traveling around the world. If I put a pin on a map for every place I’ve been, the map would have lots of pins. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in another place and time, and that’s one of the reasons I write historical fiction.

Lyn Miller-Lachman is also the author of Gringolandia and Rogue and the editor of Once Upon a Cuento, an anthology of short stories by contemporary Latin@ writers. She is also a team member for We Need Diverse Books.

FOR MORE INFORMATION about Surviving Santiago, check your local public library, your local bookstore or IndieBound. Also, check out GoodreadsAmazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Libros Latin@s: Signal to Noise

 

22609306By Eileen Fontenot

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City.

Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends — Sebastian and Daniela — and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love…

Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?

MY TWO CENTS: This is an intimate tale that, while telling us both the story of teenage Meche and how she has grown up – and not – in the intervening 20 years, has its foundations in a pure coming-of-age romance.

Teens today should be able to relate to 15-year-old Meche, who is equal parts charismatic and surly. Growing up in Mexico City in the 1980s with an alcoholic father and an overbearing mother, she protects herself from the indignities of teenagehood in the earphones of her Walkman. (For those born after the 1980s, Walkmans are the precursors to our wonderful digital devices that can sync up with iTunes.) One day, she discovers that the power of her records can make magic–literal magic, just like her grandma, Mama Dolores says exists.

She convinces her best pals, Sebastian, a literature-loving pseudo-punk, and Daniela, who dresses all in pink and still has a soft spot for her Barbie collection, to help her use magic to meddle in romantic matters and take revenge on those who wrong her and her friends. Classic rock beloved by her father and artists like Miguel Bose and Duncan Dhu spur on her magic, which becomes dangerous as she gets deeper and deeper. Until the bonds between her and those closest to her are stretched to the utmost limit.

We hop back and forth in time from the ‘80s to 2009, when Meche, a successful professional living abroad, returns to Mexico City for her father’s funeral. We find out that they’ve been estranged, which is a surprise, since we know how much Meche’s father (through passages in his book in his point of view) adored her. Much as she did as a teen, adult Meche feels out of place in her old neighborhood. Will she find a place for her in her old neighborhood or is the magic gone forever? Sebastian may have something to say about that.

TEACHING TIPS: Much like the books that have won Alex Awards, Signal to Noise has appeal for both teens and adults. The universal themes of alienation and parental discord are emotions that anyone of any age can relate to. Modern teens may find themselves fascinated by the description of life in Mexico City nearly 30 years ago and discover it’s not so different from their lives today. Teens in local book clubs could compare and contrast how they think teens in the ‘80s would have communicated with their friends (with no fancy technology, horror!) or completed homework assignments (studying honest-to-God paper books at the library, anyone?). A fun craft that librarians could work into a book club discussion is decorating T-shirts with neon puffy paint or stylishly shredding an old pair of jeans. I know of several people who still have records (and one public library as well), so perhaps an old-fashioned listening party is in order?

Book club facilitators could also prompt teens to imagine what their lives will be like in 20+ years. What sort of technology may we see in 2035? What sort of social progress may we have made, if you’d like a deeper discussion? What sort of things have their parents seen happen in the past few decades that seems like no-brainers to youth of today. (Gay marriage and women’s rights come to mind. However, groups may want to explore how much advancement we’ve made regarding racial equality in light of the recent Charleston shooting and the events of Baltimore and Ferguson.)

S_Moreno_20150516_0492_print-1020x1530AUTHOR (DESCRIPTION FROM HER WEBSITE): Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination. Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s debut novel, Signal to Noise, about music, magic and Mexico City, was released in 2015 by Solaris. Silvia’s first collection, This Strange Way of Dying, was released in 2013 and was a finalist for The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Her stories have also been collected in Love & Other Poisons. She has co-edited the anthologies Sword & Mythos, Historical Lovecraft, Future Lovecraft, Candle in the Attic Window and Fungi. Dead North and Fractured are her solo anthologies. Silvia is the publisher of Innsmouth Free Press, a Canadian micro-publishing venture specializing in horror and dark speculative fiction.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT Signal to Noise visit your local public library, your local bookstore or IndieBound. Also, check out GoodreadsAmazon, and Barnes & Noble.

 

Eileenfontenot headshot Fontenot is a recent graduate of Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Boston. She works at a public library and is interested in community service and working toward social justice. A sci-fi/fantasy fan, Eileen was formerly a newspaper writer and editor.

 

Latino Intl

The 2015 International Latino Book Awards Winners!

Below are the first place winners of the 17th Annual International Latino Book Awards in the children’s, youth, and young adult categories. If you click on the images, you will be taken to Indiebound, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble for more information. The Awards are produced by Latino Literacy Now, an organization co-founded by Edward James Olmos and Kirk Whisler, and co-presented by Las Comadres para las Americas and Reforma, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos. The Awards were announced this past weekend, in San Francisco as part of the ALA Conference. For the complete list, which includes adult fiction, nonfiction, and second place and honorable mention winners, click hereCONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF THE WINNERS!!

Best Latino Focused Children’s Picture Book: English

18465502

Best Latino Focused Children’s Picture Book: Spanish or Bilingual

20640741

Best Children’s Fiction Picture Book: English

20759593  18106361

Best Children’s Fiction Picture Book: Bilingual

18654384

Best Children’s Fiction Picture Book: Spanish

22750429

Best Children’s Nonfiction Picture Book: English

18405521

Best Children’s Nonfiction Picture Book: Spanish or Bilingual

Best Educational Children’s Picture Book: English

18465502

Best Educational Children’s Picture Book: Bilingual

23173378

Best Educational Children’s Picture Book: Spanish

Most Inspirational Children’s Picture Book: English

18465502

Most inspirational Children’s Picture Book: Spanish or Bilingual

23058499

Best Youth Latino Focused Chapter Book

21928995

Best Youth Chapter Fiction Book

18166935

Best Educational Youth Chapter Book

Most Inspirational Youth Chapter Book

 

Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book: English

IslandCover.png

Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book: Spanish or Bilingual

 Micaela, Adalucía, Cholita Prints and Publishing Company

Best Young Adult Fiction Book: English

18048909

Best Young Adult Fiction Book: Spanish or Bilingual

 Micaela, Adalucía, Cholita Prints and Publishing Company

Best Young Adult Nonfiction Book

Best Educational Young Adult Book

 Micaela, Adalucía, Cholita Prints and Publishing Company

Most Inspirational Young Adult Book

The Sparrow and The Frog

Best Book Written by a Youth

Best Children’s Picture Book Translation: Spanish to English

Best Children’s Picture Book Translation: English to Spanish

Best First Book: Children’s and Youth: English

22174131

Best First Book: Children’s and Youth: Spanish or Bilingual

Libros Latin@s: Shadowshaper

 

22295304By Cecilia Cackley

DESCRIPTION: (from Goodreads): Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future. Shadowshaper releases June 30, 2015.

MY TWO CENTS: Sierra Santiago is one of my new favorite heroines. She makes plans and follows through, is clear-eyed about the shortcomings of people she loves and takes charge with attitude. As Sierra follows her grandfather’s direction to find Robbie and fix the murals in her neighborhood, more and more secrets keep coming to light and she discovers an entire spirit world that has been hidden to her, but to which she is strongly connected. Older weaves in many great discussion points among the action and supernatural fighting, including colorism, gender expectations, ethics (or lack thereof) in anthropology and handling difficult family members. The Brooklyn setting and Sierra’s group of friends add realism and humor to the story, making this fresh, exciting adventure a must read for YA fans.

TEACHING TIPS: There are many different ways this title could fit into the classroom. The themes of appropriation and anthropology would fit nicely into a history or sociology classroom. Librarians will want to recommend this to teens who love fantasy or adventure stories with urban settings. Art teachers could also add this title to a list of books involving murals and large scale public art projects, as well as discuss the tradition of honoring the dead in art or have students design their own murals.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel José Older is the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, which began in January 2015 with Half-Resurrection Blues from Penguin’s Roc imprint. Publishers Weekly hailed him as a “rising star of the genre” after the publication of his debut ghost noir collection, Salsa Nocturna. He co-edited the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History and guest edited the music issue of Crossed Genres. His short stories and essays have appeared in Tor.com, Salon, BuzzFeed, the New Haven Review, PANK, Apex and Strange Horizons and the anthologies Subversion and Mothership: Tales Of Afrofuturism And Beyond. Daniel’s band Ghost Star gigs regularly around New York and he facilitates workshops on storytelling from an anti-oppressive power analysis. You can find his thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as a NYC paramedic and hear his music at ghoststar.net/ and @djolder on twitter.

RESOURCES:

Interview from Source Latino: http://thesource.com/2015/06/08/source-latino-interview-with-shadowshaper-author-daniel-jose-older/

Review from Debbie Reese about overlap with Indigenous history: http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2015/04/daniel-jose-olders-shadowshaper.html

Interview from School Library Journal: http://www.slj.com/2015/06/interviews/qa-urban-fantasy-counter-narrative-daniel-jose-older-on-shadowshaper/#_

Interview from The Rumpus: http://therumpus.net/2015/05/the-rumpus-interview-with-daniel-jose-older/

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT Shadowshaper, visit your local library or bookstore. Also, check out WorldCat.orgIndieBound.orgGoodreadsAmazon, and Barnes & Noble.

 

Cackley_headshotCecilia Cackley is a performing artist and children’s bookseller based in Washington DC where she creates puppet theater for adults and teaches playwriting and creative drama to children. Her bilingual children’s plays have been produced by GALA Hispanic Theatre and her interests in bilingual education, literacy, and immigrant advocacy all tend to find their way into her theatrical work. You can find more of her work at www.witsendpuppets.com.