Cover Reveal for Bookjoy Wordjoy by Pat Mora and illus. by Raul Colón


We are so excited to host a cover reveal for Lee & Low’s upcoming spring title from two of the biggest names in the Latinx children’s book community: Pat Mora and Raul Colón. Their new book, called Bookjoy, Wordjoy is the third collaboration between these two award-winning book creators. First, let’s take a quick look at their two previous collaborations. Click on the cover images for more information:

Dona Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart   


Now, here’s some information about their new book, which releases May 15, 2018:

Whether we are collecting words, reading favorite books in the library, celebrating holidays, writing poems, sharing secrets, or singing a jazzy duet, words and books can take us on wonderful adventures and bring us joy. Poet Pat Mora has brought together a collection of her poems that celebrates engaging with words and books in all these ways and more. Vivid illustrations by Raul Colón bring the poems to life and interpret the magic of the language with captivating images in a style influenced by Mexican muralists. Together the poems and illustrations are sure to inspire creative wordplay in readers of all ages.

We can read, you and I,
see letters become words,
and words become books . . .
You and I read, round and round,
bookjoy around the world.

Before we reveal the cover, the wonderful crew at Lee & Low have provided us with some insight on how Raul Colón created his illustrations. ARTISTS: This is for you! Insight from one of the greatest Latinx illustrators!

Raul Colón worked with watercolors on paper and Prismacolor pencils to complete these illustrations. He started the visuals with a light yellow watercolor wash on white paper. When it dries, he pencils in the full drawing, then continues with a watercolor that’s usually applied in sepias and golden brown tones. The next step is to etch a few lines onto the paper in the proper areas. Finally, the “real” and final colors are rendered with multiple layers of color pencils.


Now for the cover reveal!

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 And here’s a bonus inside illustration:

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Bookjoy, Wordjoy releases May 15, 2018 (Lee & Low). You can pre-order it at IndieboundAmazon, and Barnes & Noble, among other places.


Pat MoraABOUT THE AUTHOR (From her website): 2018 promises to be a happy poetry year for Pat. Lee and Low Books is publishing her fourth poetry collection for young readers, Bookjoy, Wordjoy, illustrated by the talented Raúl Colón. The University of Arizona Press will publish her seventh adult poetry collection, Encantado: Desert Monologues. Pat’s other poetry collections for children are This Big SkyConfetti, and Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico! Pat also wrote two collections for young adults, Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love written in the voices of teens, and My Own True Name.

Pat has published more than thirty-five award-winning children’s books. Her recent books include The Remembering Day, El Día de los Muertos and Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube. Among her other children’s books, many available in Spanish or bilingual editions, are Doña Flor: A Tall Tale about a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart and Tomás and the Library Lady.

She has published three books of adult nonfiction Zing! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators and Students, a writing memoir and innovation guide; House of Houses, a family memoir; and Nepantla: Essays from the Land in the Middle. Her adult poetry inclues six collections.

Pat’s honors include the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and she delivered the May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture. She’s a lifetime member of the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY), an honorary member of the American Library Association, received National Leadership (Kellogg Foundation) and Poetry Fellowships (NEA), and honorary doctorates from North Carolina State University and SUNY Buffalo.

With her daughter, Libby Martinez, Pat wrote I Pledge Allegiance and Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo! A literacy advocate excited about sharing what she calls “bookjoy,” in 1996, she founded Children’s Day, Book Day, in Spanish, El día de los niños, El día de los libros, “Día.” Pat and her partners including the American Library Association and First Book nationally promote this year-long initiative of creatively linking all children and families to books and establishing annual April Children’s Day, Book Day celebrations. Pat’s Book Fiesta captures this bookjoy spirit. April 30, 2018 is the 22nd anniversary of this initiative.

Born in El Paso to a loving, bilingual family, Pat lives in Santa Fe. She’s grateful for her three children, her enthusiastic four-year-old granddaughter, her husband, anthropology professor Vern Scarborough, and her readers. A former teacher, university administrator, museum director, and consultant, Pat is a popular speaker about creativity, inclusivity and bookjoy. She is always working on new books.


Image result for raul colon illustrator biographyABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR (From The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature website): Colón was born in New York City in December of 1952 and moved with his parents in the 1960s to Caguas, Puerto Rico, where he studied commercial art. In 1978 Colón made Florida his home, working at an educational television center designing everything from puppets to short animated films. In 1988 the artist settled with his family in New City, New York and began a freelance career. Today, Colón continues to be a versatile and acclaimed illustrator whose work has appeared in important national publications.

An award-winning illustrator of over thirty books for children, Colón was chosen to illustrate Dr. Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops as well as Frank McCourt’s bestselling Angela and the Baby Jesus, both from Paula Wiseman Books. The industry has recognized Colón with a Golden Kite Award, two Pura Belpré Award, a gold and silver medal from the Society of Illustrators, included twice in the NY Public Library’s 100 titles for Reading and Sharing; and been a two-time recipient of The Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Award.

Colón uses very unique techniques in his artwork to create texture and rich, deep colors. The illustrations are done on watercolor paper and combine watercolor washes, etching, and the use of colored pencils and litho pencils. Colón himself explained his technique for the illustrations in Angel and the Baby Jesus. “I began with textured watercolor paper. I added a wash of golden undertone watercolor. On top of that I drew the image – sketched it – and then added the middle tones. There are about 5 to 8 washes on top of each other. I then used colored pencils to make the texture of the paper come out. I also use a scratchboard instrument appropriately called a “scratcher” to draw down through the layers.”

Colón currently resides in New City, NY with his family.

Congratulations to the ALA Youth Media Awards Winners and Honorees

A huge CONGRATULATIONS to the Latin@ authors and  books that were recognized at this year’s ALA Youth Media Awards.


Here are the winners and honor books:

Pura Belpré Award (Illustrator) honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.



Honor Books:

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Pura Belpré Award (Author) honoring Latino authors whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience:


Honor Book:


William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens:


Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children. The Caldecott Honor Books included:

18967185 20518948

 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children. The Sibert Honor Books included:


2016 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site.

Winner: Pat Mora: “Pioneering author and literacy advocate Pat Mora has written more than three dozen books for young people that represent the Mexican American experience.”

Book Review: Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico!: Americas’ Sproutings by Pat Mora

largeBy Sujei Lugo

DESCRIPTION FROM THE BOOK JACKET: Peanuts, blueberries, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and more—here is a luscious collection of haiku celebrating foods native to the Americas. Brimming with imagination and fun, these poems capture the tasty essence of foods that have delighted, united, and enriched our lives for centuries. Exuberant illustrations bring to life the delicious spirit of the haiku, making Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico! an eye-popping, mouth-watering treat.

MY TWO CENTS: Beware: This book will make you feel hungry!

Through Pat Mora’s wonderful haikus (a traditional and very popular form of Japanese poetry) and Rafael López’s vivid illustrations, we are introduced to a wide variety of foods from the Americas. From blueberries and papaya, to pumpkin and vanilla, readers will have the opportunity to discover and learn about crops that have been growing in our lands for centuries.

Mora uses this opportunity to present us with 14 different types of foods accompanied by a haiku, an illustration, and an informational paragraph for each. This combination effectively makes this book a fun, poetic, and informational read. Mora’s short poems strive to capture the various feelings and sensory experiences we encounter when we eat and enjoy these foods. The informational paragraph provides us with the etymology, origin and uses for each food, and some of them even include national holidays across the region that celebrate them.

Even though food is the main character of the book, children and nature are presented throughout each page, as they interact with the food that is being discussed. Through cheerful and colorful illustrations, López supports Mora’s words with lively anthropomorphic foods, suns and moons, friendly animals, and picturesque landscapes. The book also embraces the real diversity of the Americas, giving us multiethnic and multiracial children and their families enjoying and being part of this magic realism journey of foods and words.

Among the food, colors, and haikus there is an important aspect that is constant throughout Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué rico!, although featured discreetly: a strong sense of how vital sharing is–sharing the land with nature, humans, and animals, as well as sharing the products of our land with others. It stresses the need to understand the importance of a non-exploitative relationship with nature and our role in taking care of our land. We can see this aspect clearly with López’s constant use of images of children and families, seen either eating or preparing food together, planting seeds, and picking crops, as well as images of nature watering our soil. There’s no doubt that this book will encourage children to eat fruit, vegetables, and other natural foods. At the same time, it will help them to recognize the work that needs to happen to enjoy those foods.

Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! America’s Sproutings was the first collaboration between Pat Mora and Rafael López. Published in 2007, the book won several awards such as Bank Street Children’s Books of the Year (2008), Américas Award (2007) and American Library Association (ALA) Notable Books (2008). It was also included in the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List (2008-2009), Great Lakes Great Books Award Master List (2008-2009) and ALA’s Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. 

TEACHING TIPS: The book works well for children in grades K-6. At home, kids can read it with adults and learn about haikus and how to incorporate some of the foods into their diet. They can do fun cooking activities, such as making fruit faces or fruit kabobs, and even make ice cream, like in this activity shared by the book’s publisher Lee and Low Books.

The content of the book provides librarians, teachers and educators the opportunity to create cross-curricular activities in subjects such as language arts, social studies, art, and health. Students may even become inspired by Pat Mora’s haikus and write their own pieces about the foods they’ve just learned about, and how they feel by eating them or sharing them. The book incorporates a few words in Spanish, such as luna and dulces, teaching children new words as well as showing them they can incorporate words in other languages in their writing. For activities related to social students, art, and health, Lee and Low Books provides a great classroom guide.


AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR: Pat Mora (author) is a writer, speaker, multicultural literacy advocate, and founder of Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). A former teacher, university administrator and consultant, Mora has dedicated her life to spread her “bookjoy” to children and adults. She is the recipient of various awards and honors such as Honorary Doctorates from North Carolina State University and SUNY Buffalo, Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, National Endowment of the Arts Poetry Fellowship, Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, Honorary Membership in the American Library Association, Lifetime Membership in the United States Board on Books for Young People and several Southwest Book Awards.

She was written books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. Some of her children’s books are: Listen to the Desert/Oye al Desierto (1994); Tomás and the Library Lady (1997), winner of the 1998 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award; The Bakery Lady (2001); Doña Flor: A Tall Tale about a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart (2005), winner of the Pura Belpré Author Honor and Illustrator Awards (2006) and Golden Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators; Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day/Celebremos El Día de los Niños/El Día de Los Libros (2009), a Junior Library Guild selection and Pura Belpré Illustrator Award (2010) winner; Gracias/Thanks (2009), recipient of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor (2010); A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas (2009), Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love (2010) and The Beautiful Lady: Our Lady of Guadalupe (2012).

Rafael López (illustrator): Rafael López is a Mexican award-winning illustrator and artist, whose work is influenced by his cultural heritage, colors of Mexican street life, and Mexican surrealism. In addition to children’s books, Rafael López has created illustrated posters and United States Postal Service stamps such as the Latin Music Legends series. He also launched street art projects to revitalize urban neighborhoods such as the Urban Art Trail Project.

He is the recipient of various Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration awards, for books such as: My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/Me Llamo Celia: La Vida de Celia Cruz (2006), Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day/ Celebremos El Día de los Niños/El Día de Los Libros (2010), The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred (2012) and Tito Puente: Mambo King/Rey del Mambo (2013). He also received two Américas Awards for Children’s and Young Adult Literature for My Name is Celia (2006) and Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico! Americas’ Sproutings (2007).

FOR MORE INFORMATION about Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico!: Americas’ Sproutings (2007) visit your local library or bookstore. Also, check out