July-December 2018 Latinx Book Deals

 

Compiled by Cecilia Cackley

This is a series keeping track of the book deals announced by Latinx writers and illustrators. The purpose of this series is to celebrate book deals by authors and illustrators in our community and to advocate for more of them. If you are an agent and you have a Latinx client who just announced a deal, you can let me know on Twitter, @citymousedc. If you are a Latinx author or illustrator writing for children or young adults, and you just got a book deal, send me a message and we will celebrate with you! Here’s to many more wonderful books in the years to come.

July 3

Stacy Whitman at Lee & Low/Tu Books has bought 2014 New Visions Award finalist On These Magic Shores by Yamile Saied Méndez. The middle grade novel is about Minerva, who wants to be a normal kid and grow up to be the first Latina president of the U.S. But with her mother missing and no family to help her, she fights to keep her sisters safe and out of foster care—with the help of a friend and some fairy dust. Publication is planned for 2020. Author agent: Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.

 

Sylvie Frank at S&S/Wiseman has bought a middle grade novel, provisionally titled Santiago, by 2017 Pura Belpré Honor author Alexandra Diaz. The story is about a boy’s search for a family and a home as he navigates the perilous border between the U.S. and Mexico. Publication is slated for spring 2020. Author agent: Sarah Davies at Greenhouse Literary.

July 10

None.

July 12

Hannah Allaman and Emily Meehan at Disney Hyperion have acquired world rights to the graphic novel adaptation of Melissa de la Cruz’s The Isle of the Lost, book one of the Descendants series, adapted by Robert Venditti, illustrated by Kat Fajardo. Publication is planned for fall 2018. Illustrator agent: Linda Camacho at Gallt and Zacker Literary Agency.

 

Kristine Enderle at Magination Press has acquired world rights to Pat Mora‘s (l.) Singing Nana, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez. The picture book, about a Latina grandmother who is showing early signs of dementia, has sprinklings of Spanish and a recipe for cherry empanadas. The book will release in September 2019. Author agent: Elizabeth Harding at Curtis Brown. Illustrator agent: Claire Easton at Painted Words.

July 17

None.

July 19

Ashley Hearn at Page Street has acquired Isabel Ibañez‘s debut fantasy, Woven in Moonlight, an #OwnVoices Bolivian-inspired political fantasy. In the book, a magically gifted weaver plays the role of double agent to restore her queen to a troubled throne, but upon confronting a masked vigilante and a warm-hearted princess, she discovers that corruption comes in all forms. Publication is set for fall 2019. Author agent: Mary C. Moore at Kimberley Cameron & Associates.

 

Ada Zhang at Sterling has acquired Serena Williams—G.O.A.T: Making the Case for the Greatest of All Time by Tami Charles (Like Vanessa), a nonfiction sports biography of Serena Williams that makes the argument that she is the greatest tennis player of all time, and aims to show readers how to make a clear, well-researched argument themselves. Publication is scheduled for spring 2019. Author agent: Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

July 24

None.

July 26

Shana Corey and Maria Modugno at Random House have bought world rights to Who Took My Nap? by Chris Grabenstein (l.), illustrated by Leo Espinosa. The debut picture book by Grabenstein, author of the Mr. Lemoncello’s Library series, tells the story of an energetic toddler who vehemently resists taking a nap until all the naps are used up and a spare one needs to be found. Publication is set for spring 2020.

July 31

None.

August 7

Monica Jean at Delacorte has acquired Lisa Allen-Agostini‘s Home Home, the story of a Trinidadian girl’s journey to recovery from a mental illness after she is sent to live with her estranged, lesbian aunt and removed from anything and everyone she knows to be home. Publication is set for spring 2020. Author agent: Margot Edwards at Rights Consultancy.

 

Tracey Keevan and Esther Cajahuaringa at Disney-Hyperion have acquired world rights to XO, Exoplanet by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Jorge Lacera, a picture book told partly in letters between the planets of our solar system and an exoplanet. Publication is scheduled for summer 2020. Illustrator agent: John Cusick at Folio Literary Management/Folio Jr.

August 9

None.

August 16

Stephanie Owens Lurie at Disney-Hyperion/Rick Riordan Presents has bought world rights to Tehlor Kay Mejia‘s Paola Santiago and the Drowned Palace, about a 12-year-old aspiring scientist who begins to suspect that the infamous La Llorona is responsible for her best friend’s disappearance, and she must venture into an underwater world to prove it. Publication is scheduled for fall 2020. Author Agent: Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.

 

Ellen Cormier at Dial has bought at auction author-illustrator Zara Gonzalez Hoang‘s picture book, A Piece of Wild, about Ren, who moves from the forest to the city, and Ava, who takes on the challenge of helping him find magic in his new environment. The story was inspired by the author’s father and his move from Puerto Rico to New York City. Publication is slated for spring 2020. Author agent: Andrea Morrison and Steven Malk at Writers House.

August 23

None.

August 30

Jill Santopolo at Philomel has preempted world rights to Tami Lewis Brown’s (l.) I Really [Don’t] Care, illustrated by Tania de Regil. Inspired by current events, the story is about a child whose selfishness turns into empathy when he discovers that our similarities matter more than our differences. Publication is set for fall 2019. Illustrator agent: Adriana Dominguez at Full Circle Literary.

September 6

Jennifer Ung at Simon Pulse has acquired North American rights, at auction, to Raquel Vasquez Gilliland’s debut, Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything. Pitched as a Mexican Jessica Jones racing through a David Arnold novel with a pitstop in Roswell, the story centers on a Mexican-American girl who discovers that her mother was abducted by aliens. Publication is planned for summer 2020. Author agent: Elizabeth Bewley at Sterling Lord Literistic.

 

Eileen Rothschild at Wednesday Books has acquired world English rights to Francesca Flores‘s debut YA novel, Diamond City. In a city full of half-constructed subway tunnels, hidden magical dens, secret weapons markets, and wolf-sized spiders, a young assassin unravels a conspiracy that could rewrite her city’s history and—if it isn’t stopped—sink her country into a catastrophic war. Publication is set for winter 2020. Author agent: Pete Knapp at Park Literary & Media.

 

Kate Fletcher at Candlewick has bought world rights to Pura Belpré Author Award winner Meg Medina‘s (l.) new picture book, Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away, in which two best friends must say goodbye to each other when one of them moves away. Sonia Sánchez will illustrate; publication is slated for fall 2020. Author agent: Jennifer Rofé at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

 

Candice Keimig at ABDO has acquired world rights to the hi-lo adventure series Gavin McNally’s Year Off by Emma Bland Smith (l.), illustrated by Mirelle Ortega. Gavin spends a year traveling the country with his family in an RV, a trip that provides action, adventure, and even danger, including racing from a wildfire, getting lost in a spooky mountain lodge, and saving baby alligators from poachers. Publication for the set of four books is planned for September 2019. Illustrator agent: Lucie Luddington at the Bright Agency.

 

Rotem Moscovich at Disney-Hyperion has bought The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi (l.), author of Some Bugs and Just Add Glitter. The book is about the special creature that accompanies each child and helps them accomplish the things they haven’t been able to accomplish—yet. Lorena Alvarez Gómez will illustrate. Publication is set for summer 2020. Illustrator agent: Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency.

September 11

None.

September 13

Nick Thomas at Scholastic/Levine has acquired The Moon Within author Aida Salazar‘s novel, The Land of the Cranes, a story inspired in part by her own childhood as an undocumented immigrant. The free verse middle grade novel tells the story of nine-year-old Betita, who believes that she and other migrants follow an Aztec prophecy to fly as free as cranes. When her father is deported to Mexico and she and her mother are detained by ICE, she turns to writing picture poems as her own way to fly above the deplorable conditions that she and other cranes experience while they are caged. Publication is set for spring 2020. Author agent: Marietta B. Zacker at the Gallt and Zacker Literary Agency.

 

Lisa Rosinsky at Barefoot Books has acquired the picture book That’s Not My Bed by debut author Erin Gunti (l.). Pitched via #KidPit on Twitter, the book is about a girl who is spending her first night at a homeless shelter with her mother, and who takes comfort in imagining they are on a fantastical adventure. Gunti drew on her experience as a child abuse and neglect investigator. Mexican artist Esteli Meza will illustrate; publication is set for fall 2019.

September 18

Alexis Orgera and Chad Reynolds at Penny Candy Books have signed a deal with debut picture book author Dani Gabriel and artist Robert Liu-Trujillo (Furqan’s First Flat Top) for world rights to Sam Not Samuel, a picture book about a transgender boy and his family’s journey through his transition. The book was inspired by the author’s son’s story, and will be published on September 10, 2019.

September 20

Liza Kaplan at Philomel has acquired Jenny Torres Sanchez‘s new book, In Exile. Told from the alternating points of view of four immigrant teens and the infamous death train known as La Bestia that carries them across the Mexican-U.S. border, the book charts the emotional and physical struggles of being forced to leave behind everything and everyone you’ve ever known in search of survival and a better life. Publication is slated for spring 2020. Author agent: Kerry Sparks at Levine Greenberg Rostan.

 

Nikki Garcia at Little, Brown has bought Jennifer Torres‘s The Fresh New Face of Griselda, a middle grade novel about Griselda’s struggles with the changes in her family after they lose their home, and her plan to fix their problems by selling makeup at school. Publication is planned for fall 2019. Author agent:  Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

September 25

Connie Hsu at Roaring Brook Press has bought world rights to Kevin Noble Maillard‘s Fry Bread, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. Told in verse, the book explores the culture and history surrounding this Native staple, and how it brings together family and community through love and tradition. Publication is scheduled for fall 2019. Illustrator agent:Stefanie Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary.

 

Karen Boss at Charlesbridge has acquired world rights to co-authors Jessica Betancourt-Perez (l.) and Karen Lynn Williams‘s (center) picture book, A Thousand White Butterflies, illustrated by Gina Maldonado. Isabella is new to the United States from Colombia, and she misses her papa; a snow day delays her starting school, but then she makes a new friend. Publication is planned for summer 2020. Illustrator agent: Lisa Musing at Advocate Art.

September 27

Karen Lotz at Candlewick Press has acquired, in a seven-house auction, librarian and Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs John Schu‘s debut pictdure book, This Is a Story. The story is an exploration of books, humanity, and the need for connection. Caldecott Honor artist Lauren Castillo (Nana in the City) will illustrate; the book is set to publish globally in 2022. Illustrator agent: Paul Rodeen at Rodeen Literary Management.

October 2

Jes Negrón at Kane Press/StarBerry Books has acquired world rights to debut author Valerie Bolling‘s (l.) Let’s Dance!, illustrated by Maine Diaz. The picture book showcases dances from all over the world, with rhythmic prose that encourages readers to tap, spin, and boogie along. Publication is slated for spring 2020. Illustrator agent: Mela Bolinao

October 4

Megan Tingley at Little, Brown has bought, in a preempt, world rights to three works by debut author-illustrator Ani Castillo, launching with Ping, a picture book that humorously explores the challenges and joys of self-expression and social connection. Publication is planned for fall 2019. Author agent: Samantha Haywood and Amy Tompkins at Transatlantic Agency.

October 11

None.

October 16

None.

October 18

None.

October 23

Ann Kelley at Random House/Schwartz & Wade has acquired world rights to Angela Burke Kunkel‘s (l.) Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built, illustrated by Paola Escobar. The book tells the story of a garbage collector in Bogotá, known as the “Lord of the Books,” whose library project began with a single discarded book found on his garbage route, and has expanded to provide reading material to more than 200 schools, organizations, and libraries across Colombia. Publication is planned for fall 2020.

October 25

T.S. Ferguson at Inkyard Press has bought, at auction, world rights to Come On In, a YA anthology covering the experience of immigration, curated and edited by Adi Alsaid. The book features short stories by YA authors who are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, including Samira Ahmed, Zoraida Córdova, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Maurene Goo, Justine Larbalestier, Sona Charaipotra, and many others. The book is set for fall 2020. Author agent: Pete Knapp at Park Literary & Media.

 

Caitlyn Dlouhy at Atheneum/Dlouhy has acquired world rights to Jump at De Sun by Alicia D. Williams (l.) (Genesis Begins Again), a picture book biography of Zora Neale Hurston. Jacqueline Alcantara, the inaugural winner of the We Need Diverse Books Illustration Mentorship Award, will illustrate. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021. Illustrator agent: Adriana Dominguez at Full Circle Literary.

October 30

Weslie Turner at Macmillan/Imprint has acquired, at auction, Zoraida Córdova (l.) and Natalie C. Parker‘s YA fantasy anthology, Vampires Never Get Old, featuring fresh takes on old souls with vampire stories by Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V.E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley. Publication is planned for fall 2020. Author agent: Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

November 1

None.

November 6

Joanna Cárdenas at Kokila has bought Each Tiny Spark, a middle grade novel by Pura Belpré Author Honor recipient Pablo Cartaya. In the story, sixth-grader Emilia Torres reconnects with her father over the art of welding as he adjusts from active duty to civilian life and their larger community reckons with the effects of redistricting. The book will publish in summer 2019. Author agent: Jess Regel at Foundry Literary + Media.

November 8

Erin Clarke at Knopf has bought, in an exclusive submission, author of Show and Prove and Efrain’s Secret Sofia Quintero‘s #Krisette, about a teenage girl’s struggle to understand why the police killing of her older sister Krisette fails to spark demands for justice. Inspired by #SayHerName, it features the central theme: “Krisette was deeply flawed and undeniably deserved to live.” Publication is planned for fall 2020. Author agent: Johanna V. Castillo at Writers House.

 

Kelsey Skea of Amazon/Two Lions has acquired world rights to Nancy Viau‘s Pruett & Soo, illustrated by Jorge Lacera, about an alien whose orderly black-and-white world is upended when he meets an alien from a colorful planet. Publication is set for summer 2020. Illustrator agent: John Cusick at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management.

November 13

Jennifer Greene at Clarion has bought Natalia Sylvester‘s Running, a YA debut featuring 15-year-old Cuban-American Marianna Ruiz, whose father is running for president, in a novel about waking up, standing up, and what happens when you stop seeing your Dad as your hero—while the whole country is watching. Publication is planned for spring 2020. Author agent: Laura Dail at Laura Dail Literary Agency.

 

Amanda Ramirez at Simon & Schuster has bought world English rights to Anika Fajardo‘s debut middle grade novel, What If a Fish, featuring 11-year-old, half-Colombian Eddie Aguado. When his older half-brother’s trip to visit Eddie in Minnesota is canceled, Eddie—who has never left his hometown—is sent to spend the summer in Colombia instead. What follows is a generational story of family, identity, and all the things you can find at the end of a fishing line. Publication is planned for summer 2020. Author agent: Thao Le at Sandra Dijsktra Literary Agency.

 

Jes Negrón at Kane Press has acquired world rights to the Boys of Fire and Ash and the Movers series author Meaghan McIsaac‘s debut picture book, The Book of Laughs, illustrated by James Rey Sanchez (Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing), an interactive rhyming read-aloud. Publication is scheduled for spring 2020. Illustrator agent: Alexandra Gehringer at the Bright Agency.

 

Alexis Orgera and Chad Reynolds at Penny Candy have acquired world rights to Luli Gray‘s (l.) final book, The Pear Tree, a retelling of a folktale about an old woman named Esperanza who tricks Señor Death. Madelyn Goodnight will illustrate; the book will be published in late 2019. Author agent: Anna Olswanger at Olswanger Literary.

November 15

Cassandra Pelham Fulton at Scholastic/Graphix has bought, in a four-house auction, two Clementine Fox graphic novels by Leigh Luna. The humorous debut middle-grade series features a cast of animal friends who set off for a day of exploration at a mysterious local island; what follows is an unexpected day of adventure, friendship, and lessons learned. Book one is scheduled for 2020. Author agent: Jen Linnan at Linnan Literary Management.

November 20

None.

November 27

None.

November 29

None.

December 4

Reka Simonsen at S&S/Atheneum has bought at auction Emma Otheguy‘s (l.) picture book, A Sled for Gabo, about a boy and his family’s adjustment to snowy weather and their creative solutions for enjoying a wintry day. Pixar artist Ana Ramírez González will illustrate; Atheneum will publish simultaneous English- and Spanish-language editions in fall 2020. Author agent: Adriana Dominguez at Full Circle Literary. Illustartor agent: Andrea Morrison at Writers House.

December 6

None.

December 11

Mark Siegel at First Second has acquired Call Me Iggy, Jorge Aguirre (l.) and Rafael Rosado‘s middle grade graphic novel about Iggy, a Columbian-American teen who gets help from his grandparent’s ghosts to win over his crush. Publication is scheduled for 2021. Author agent: Tanya McKinnon at McKinnon McIntyre.

December 13

Eileen Rothschild at Wednesday Books has bought, in a six-figure preempt for North American rights, Romina Garber‘s Wolves of No World. Inspired by mythology from Garber’s native Argentina, the story weaves together contemporary issues with fantastical elements to explore the immigrant identity and what it means to be “illegal.” When her mother is arrested by ICE, a 16-year-old girl who thinks she’s hiding in Miami because she’s an illegal immigrant discovers it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal—it’s her entire existence. Publication is planned for spring/summer 2020. Author agent: Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

December 18

Anne Hoppe at Clarion has acquired world rights to Rebecca Gomez‘s (l.) picture book Federico and the Wolf, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri, a gender-swapped retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” with a Mexican-American setting. Publication is scheduled for spring 2020. Author agent: Pam Victorio at D4EO Literary Agency. Illustrator agent: Claire Easton at Painted Words.

December 20

Sonali Fry at Little Bee has bought world rights to Silvia Lopez‘s (l.) Selena Quintanilla: Queen of Tejano Music, a picture book about the iconic queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla, whose trailblazing success opened the door for other Latinx entertainers. Paola Escobar will illustrate; publication is scheduled for spring 2020. Author agent: Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary. Illustrator agent:Amy Kitcherside at Pickled Ink.

 

 

cecilia-02-originalCecilia Cackley is a Mexican-American playwright and puppeteer based in Washington, DC. A longtime bookseller, she is currently the Children’s/YA buyer and event coordinator for East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. Find out more about her art at www.ceciliacackley.com or follow her on Twitter @citymousedc

Latinx Book Reviewers Having Their Say, Part 3

This is the third and final installment in a roundtable conversation with some of the reviewers on our team. It can’t be said too often: we’re overflowing with THANKS for the hard work and wisdom they pour into their reviews! Still, we figured they’d have more to say on the topic of children’s and YA lit, so we posed a few questions. 

Latinxs in Kid Lit: Tell us about yourself as a child reader. How do those experiences color your impressions of the books you read now?

Araceli Méndez Hintermeister

Araceli Méndez Hintermeister is a librarian and archivist with a background in public, academic, and culinary libraries. I was an avid reader as a child and have very fond memories of Scholastic Book Fairs. My dad, who was a teacher, was one of my biggest literacy advocates. He would bring home piles of books and advanced reader copies that his colleagues shared with him. As a Mexican immigrant, he was mostly happy that these books were in English. It made for a really diverse set and rarely included bestsellers. Today, I still look for diversity in genres and aim to search for hidden gems. I also tend not to read bestsellers until years after their release.

Maria Ramos-Chertok is a writer, workshop leader and coach with The Butterfly Series. As a bi-cultural child (Cuban immigrant father/Jewish American mother) growing up in a majority white neighborhood in the 1960 and 70s, I did not have any books that reflected my Latinx heritage. As a result, it was very challenging for me to articulate my identity. My father, who spoke English with a heavy accent, chose not to teach us Spanish. That further compounded my confusion as child named “Maria Diana Ramos” who did not speak or understand Spanish.

Cecilia Cackley is a performing artist, creator of puppet theater, and a children’s bookseller based in Washington, DC. I was a voracious reader as a child and it has been a huge part of my identity since I was about six or seven years old. In elementary school, I mostly read historical fiction—I didn’t get into fantasy or sci-fi until I was in middle school. I read a lot of what we term the ‘canon’ like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, etc and only as an adult have I realized that I never read a chapter book about a Latinx character as a kid. Even though I went to a dual immersion school, most of the Spanish books in the library were translations of things like the Little House series. I work hard to hold onto the mindset of a kid when I read, especially when reading books about Latinx characters and try to imagine how they would have affected me if I had read them earlier in life.

LiKL: What is your reviewing process like? Do you take notes throughout your reading time? Are there sticky flags involved? Are there sticky fingers involved (because: sugary snacks)?

Cecilia Cackley

Cecilia: I usually read a book through once and often I’m not sure if I’m going to be the person reviewing it. Since I’m a book buyer, I’m reading most books about six months ahead of publication date and my first thought is always for whether or not I’ll purchase this book for the store and what short blurb I can write to get a customer interested in it. Once I know I’m reviewing it for the blog, I make a list of points that I thought were especially interesting about the book and I read it a second time, paying close attention to those elements.

Maria: I tend to read a book and then sit with it for a bit before writing. I like to see what it makes me think about. I don’t typically take notes or use sticky flags and I avoid eating when I write because I find it distracting (I take a dedicated break when I eat). I really don’t like people who earmark pages in books or who write in books with pen, so I avoid doing both. Over the course of a few days, I might jot down some phrases to jog my memory for when I do sit down to write. I prefer an organic flow on the page to the pre-outlined, thoughtful preparation. I’m that way in a lot of my life –not just writing (spontaneous versus planned).

Araceli: Most of my reading happens during my long commute on the Boston T, so I keep tools to a minimum. Before writing a review, I keep a document on my phone filled with notes by categories — overall thoughts, teaching connections, and related readings. I make a note of quotes and page numbers that speak to me and my Latina identity. On my happiest reading days, I sit on my couch next to my dog. Unfortunately, this means keeping my snacks to a minimum.

LiKL: Your work as an educator, youth librarian, scholar of children’s literature, or author of books for young readers is bound to affect your work as a reviewer. Help us understand the professional perspective you bring to the evaluation of texts.

Cecilia:  I used to be a third grade teacher and now I am a bookseller (I still teach art as a freelancer). My number one goal has always been to give kids and teens books they will love, books that will give them a greater understanding of the world and books that will reflect their own experiences. However, as a bookseller, I’m focused on selling, and I try to figure out who the audience is for the book and the best way to describe it in order to move it off the shelf. I’m not a trained critic and haven’t studied literature in an academic way, so a lot of how I approach books is from the point of view of “Who will read it?” and “How do I sell it?”

Maria Ramos-Chertok

Maria: In my youth, I worked a lot with kids who had severe challenges (sexual abuse, emotional disturbance, severe physical disability). I always had an acute awareness of how dependent children are on adults, and how the information we provide them, including the stories we tell, influences their development and sense of self. I never wanted to betray any child’s trust, so in my evaluation of texts I look for honesty and stories grounded in truth. I had my own children later in life, age forty and forty-two, and that perspective is what guides me most as a reviewer. I want a book that I would feel good reading to my two sons; I want a book that will make them think; I want a book that has characters that look like them.

Araceli: As a librarian, I try to be open-minded. While I may sometimes find fault with the story line or characters, that does not make a book bad. It just means it may not be for me! Reading is all about finding the right fit for yourself. I don’t believe there are people who aren’t readers, I just think they haven’t found the right literature yet. With so many formats, genres, book lengths, and topics, the possibilities are endless. With this perspective, I try to think about what type of reader each book is aimed for and highlight what they would find the most interesting.

LiKL: Let’s draw up a wish list for authors and publishers. Which genres, storylines, locations, representations, or other considerations do you pine for in books for children or teens?

Maria: I am the daughter of a mother who came out as a lesbian when I was fourteen. That was in 1976 and there were no books that I knew of then that spoke to my circumstance or to my changing family construct. I love that there are books on alternative families now, but I also want characters who are racially and culturally mixed. I want layered characters and I also want strong feminist characters.

Cecilia: Central-American representation, PLEASE! I live and work in a city where the majority of the Latinx community has ties to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Across the river in Virginia, we have a huge Bolivian community. I almost never see these kids represented in books, especially by authors who share their heritage.

LiKL: Now let’s flip the coin. What are your reading pet peeves? Specify the tired tropes, stereotypes, or overused plot machinations that cause you to roll your eyes—or to slam a book shut.

Cecilia: Books that treat Dia de los Muertos like Halloween, books where everyone from Latin America lives in a little village, books where all the Latina characters are the “tough girl,” books where all the Latinx characters are poor or in a gang.

Maria: I’m tired of girl meets cute boy and they have a crush. I know that sells, but there are many other realities related to sexual orientation that are non-binary and gender fluid. That is a huge challenge for kids and I’d like to see more fluidity in the gender roles and stories.

LiKL: What is your current hot read and which books are at the top of your to-be-read list?

Maria: Someone just sent me a copy of Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run The World. It’s not a book I would have bought for myself, but I found it interesting and think it’s a good read — especially for young adult women. Also, two dear friends of mine Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy wrote the book Yes! We are Latinos (2013) and gifted me a copy. I absolutely love that young adult book because it does exactly what I’ve always wanted in a book: share a diverse grouping of stories about the many different ways to identify as Latinxs. I wish I’d had a copy when I was growing up, but having it now is healing something inside of me.

Cecilia: I’m about to start WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE by Tehlor Kay Mejia and I’m super excited for it!

—————————————————————————————-

In case you missed the previous posts in this series, here are links to Parts 1 and 2.

Unfortunately, not every current or recent contributor was available to respond to this Q&A. Here’s a list of those reviewers–mil gracias to each one! 

Chantel Acevedo reviewed Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad.

Dora M. Guzmán loves covering picture books. Here are her thoughts on Alma and How She Got Her Name/Alma y como obtuvo su nombre.

Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros supplied great insights on Jabberwalking.

Christa Jiménez did an excellent round-up review of baby books from indy publishers.

Marcela Peres provided her insights on Sci-Fu: Kick it Off.

Lettycia Terrones gave us a breakdown of The First Rule of Punk.

 

Latinx Book Reviewers Having Their Say, Part 2

 

This is part 2 in a roundtable discussion with members of our reviewing team. We are immensely grateful for their work. Most of them lead busy professional lives that center around literacy and literature. It only figures that they would have more to say about Latinx kid lit than can fit into a single review. Let’s hear them out.

LiKL: Tell us about yourself as a child reader. How do those experiences color your impressions of the books you read now?

Jessica Agudelo is a children’s librarian at the New York Public Library. Like many librarians, I was a dedicated reader throughout my childhood. I loved stories and even the physical books themselves. One of my greatest pleasures was when the Scholastic Book Fair would come to my elementary school.  I felt such joy browsing the glossy covers, then selecting just the right one to bring home and add to my own cupboard library. My treasured stash. I adored books like Amber Brown and the Wayside School series, and later the Caroline B. Cooney mysteries. I was an adult before I started realizing that my reading life was devoid of authors and characters of color. I didn’t know I needed it. But once I realized it was missing, I made a point to read all I could by and about Latinxs, and other non-white cultures and people. Nowadays, when I read titles like Pablo Cartaya’s The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, or Celia Perez’s The First Rule of Punk, I feel like I am 11 again, because these authors have so beautifully and honestly depicted the experiences of second-generation Latinx youth, reflecting many of my own struggles and joys. I am also grateful to be in the position to share diverse stories with kids, who can recognize themselves in these books or get a glimpse into the life of someone. In this way, I make up for lost time.

Jessica Walsh in her best-reader glory days! (She’s the smallest child pictured.)

Jessica Walsh is the K-12 ELA Instructional Specialist in an Illinois school district.  In kindergarten, I won a prize for having read the most books in my grade. We didn’t have many books at home back then – we couldn’t afford them–so I relied on my school and public libraries. Later I got books from the Scholastic Book Order and read titles like Beezus and Ramona and the Peanut Butter and Jelly series. Moving on to middle school, I consumed a steady diet of Sweet Valley High and everything by Christopher Pike. I remember staring long and hard at the covers, imagining what it would be like to live those lives. Looking back, I was searching to discover who I was. As the only kid of Mexican descent, I looked different than my peers and my hair wouldn’t do what the other girls’ hair did. (It was the 80s though…so I rocked that perm!) We had little money and I never had the right clothes or accessories. What the books I read had in common, though, were the universal struggles of growing up: conflicts with friends, parents. As I read and consider which books to put in kids’ hands, I think about the books I loved and that instilled in me a joy of reading.

Elena Foulis, Ph.D., leads a digital oral-history program to document the stories of Latinxs in Ohio. As a child, I liked reading, but lacked someone in my life who could point me to good books, appropriate for my age or identity. When I started college, I was in the U.S. and I devoured books that connected me to my roots and reminded me where I came from. I mostly read in Spanish, and later on, multi-ethnic literature in English. I have a graduate degree in comparative literature, so reading from different groups allowed me to learn from different cultures, linguistic backgrounds and histories.

LiKL: What is your reviewing process like? Do you take notes throughout your reading time? Are there sticky flags involved? Are there sticky fingers involved (because: sugary snacks)?

Elena: I am a slow reader! I like to take my time with each book. I pause to imagine the landscape, the characters and the sound of their voices. I write on the margins and highlight important passages. Coffee is always involved, so occasionally, my books have coffee stains. 🙂

Jessica Agudelo

Jessica A: My reviewing process varies, depending on what I’m reading. For picture books, I read once through for an initial reaction to the story and art. Then I read a few more times (at least once, aloud) to note specifics, such as the relationship between the text and illustrations, or narrative strength and nuance. For fiction, sticky notes are a necessity! I don’t like writing in books and hate dog ears (although I sometimes use this technique on the train, when sticky notes aren’t available). I make notes about recurring themes, characters and their notable traits, plot specifics, and stand-out quotes that I might want to include in the review. I also jot down any similar books that come to mind, to offer that additional frame of reference.

LiKL: Your work as an educator, youth librarian, scholar of children’s literature is bound to affect your work as a reviewer. Help us understand the professional perspective you bring to the evaluation of texts.

Elena:  In my studies, I read literature of the Spanish-speaking world and U.S. literature. Although this included canonical works, I was always attracted to writers who spoke from the margins. I liked to understand the perspective of those on the peripheries, those who challenged mainstream culture. I devoured books written by women! I think this experience is valuable to reviewing Latinx books, and as a Latina who has two teen girls, I look for how each author approaches culture, identity and language, and how young women might be empowered by books that tell a familiar story, one that connects to their own experiences.

LiKL: Let’s draw up a wish list for authors and publishers. Which genres, storylines, locations, representations, or other considerations do you pine for in books for children or teens?

Jessica A: More ordinary stories! Latinxs are joyful and resilient, we are not always struggling and suffering. There is beauty in the mundane. I’ve had the privilege of hearing Meg Medina speak a number of times. On one occasion, she mentioned the need for our community to elevate our heroes. I couldn’t agree more. We have an admirable list of icons, but there are so many more Latinx artists, writers, thinkers, scientists, and activists that have influenced American and world history. They should be represented in the books our kids and teens are reading.

Elena Foulis

Elena: I am still hoping to write a book myself! After living in the Midwest for many years, I would love to read about growing up Latinx in that region. We have The House on Mango Street, but we also need the perspective of Latinx growing up in rural areas or smaller cities, and from Central American backgrounds. It’s also important to address current topics that some consider taboo, like mental health.

Jessica W: I would love to see the books I needed when I was younger, such as books about kids with a desire to claim their Latinx culture, because their parents intentionally kept that part of their identity hidden. Growing up, my mother, who remarried, kept me away from my Mexican-American family. We moved thousands of miles away and rarely visited, partly due to the cost of travel. Not until later did she reclaim her heritage, so this meant I never heard family stories, although my father did enrich my life with the traditions of his heritage. I hope that young readers in similar experiences will have someone in their lives–a librarian, a teacher, a mentor–who can place an amazing Latinx story in their hands, which celebrate their culture. If I’d had that, I wouldn’t have continued to struggle with my Mexicanidad, even into adulthood.

LiKL: Now let’s flip the coin. What are your reading pet peeves? Specify the tired tropes, stereotypes, or overused plot machinations that cause you to roll your eyes—or to slam a book shut.

Elena: I think there are too many coming-of-age stories in Latinx books. While these storylines are important, perhaps there can be different ways to tell them.

LiKL: What is your current hot read and which books are at the top of your to-be-read list?

Jessica W: Meg Medina’s middle-grade title Merci Suárez Changes Gears is dominating my thoughts right now. It’s such a powerful, yet humorous, look at intergenerational relationships and the inescapable bonds of family ties. A must-read! Also, Dreamers by Yuyi Morales, Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya, Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight by Duncan Tonatiuh, and Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico by David Bowles, are all fighting for my attention right now!

Jessica A: Most of my time is spent reading children’s books. Most recently I’ve checked out some wonderful picture books, including a wordless debut by Cynthia Alonso called Aquarium; the beautifully illustrated Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal; and the hilarious (and bilingual) take on the famous cryptid, El Chupacabras, by Adam Rex. I also recently read Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky, a fantastic young adult/adult collection of myths from Mexico retold by David Bowles. Usually I wait until the end of the year to read adult books, and on my to-read list is Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras, and The Idiot by Elif Batuman. Those are just a few titles. The full list is much, much longer!

Elena: Anything by Chimamanda Adichie! On my to-be-read- list: Tell Me How it Ends: and Essay in 40 questions, by Valeria Luiselli, and  I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, by Erika L. Sánchez.

Latinx Book Reviewers Having Their Say, Part 1

Latinxs in Kid Lit owes tremendous thanks to the wonderful contributors who review books for us!  We were curious to learn how they conduct the reviewing process and which books sit atop their TBR lists, along with other topics. This post brings you Part 1 of a roundtable discussion with some of our current team members. Stay tuned—there’s more to come! 

Latinxs in Kid Lit: Tell us about yourself as a child reader. How do those experiences color your impressions of the books you read now?

Sanjuana Rodriguez

Sanjuana Rodriguez is Assistant Professor of Literacy and Reading Education in the Elementary and Early Childhood Department of Kennesaw State University.  I attended kindergarten through second grade in Mexico, where I was born. Since most of my reading there was in workbooks, my first memories of actual books was after we moved to the United States, where I read as a way to learn English. I vividly remember searching the library for books that included Latinx characters. There were only a handful, including a biography of Gloria Estefan, which I read about 100 times. This is partly why I developed an interest in books by and about Latinx. My own background taught me the importance of kids seeing their experiences reflected in texts.

Cris Rhodes is a lecturer in English, who recently completed her doctorate in literature. My mom was an elementary school teacher, so she knew the importance of reading to my twin sister and me. Because of this, I became an avid reader. I read and reread the Josefina American Girl series. She was the first character I encountered who looked like me, and I used to put on traditional dresses to pretend I was her. As an adult, I’ve revisited those books and am sad to say they’re pretty awful, as far as representation goes. Now, when I do research on representation, I keep my child-reader self in the back of my mind. That little girl deserved better, so I let that inform how I read and advocate for the many excellent Latinx children’s books available today.

Mark Oshiro, the author of Anger is a Gift, is also the driving force behind the website Mark Does StuffI started reading at a very young age, and after reading almost everything in my school library, I moved on to my local branch. But few books had characters like me. Prior to high school, I recall only Bless Me, Ultima, which I have not revisited in a long time. Reading The House on Mango Street, at 14, is what made me realize that people like me could be in a novel. It’s one of the most important books in my life.

Katrina Ortega is the young adult librarian at the Hamilton Grange Branch of the New York Public Library. As a child, I was just as avid a reader as I am today. My first experience with Latinx characters didn’t come until high school, when I was assigned to read Bless Me, Ultima. Before that, I was only exposed to Latinx characters through books published in Mexico, read to me by my mom. I was never exposed to characters who came from similar situations as my own—Mexican-Americans whose families had lived in the U.S. for generations— and my view of “normal” book characters was very different from what I saw in my own life. Looking at some of the books currently available, I cannot imagine how much more I might’ve related to characters who looked like me or lived in environments like the one in which I grew up.

LiKL: What is your reviewing process like? Do you take notes throughout your reading time? Are there sticky flags involved? Are there sticky fingers involved (because: sugary snacks)?

Mark Oshiro

Mark: For my Mark Does Stuff reviews, I record myself while reading, so no note-taking there! But for publications like Latinxs in KidLit, I do take notes. What stands out? Which parts do I want to comment on? I keep track of my thoughts and how they develop as I experience the text. Those transitions can often be the coolest part of reading.

Sanjuana: My first step is to read the book just for fun! As I reread, I begin to think about my impressions of the text. My last step is to see what resources already exist online that teachers or librarians may find helpful.

Katrina: I read through the book first, then write down my initial thoughts about characters, setting, plot-lines, and go back through certain parts to read them more closely. My style of reading is such that I sometimes get completely consumed by the story and forget to stop and write things down. 

Cris: I bookmark important moments and quotations with sticky flags as I go, but I also tend to have a document open on my computer or phone where I type out some rough sentences and thoughts that may make it into the final review. I end up Frankensteining these notes together after finishing the book.

LiKL: Your work as an educator, youth librarian, scholar of children’s literature, or author of books for young readers is bound to affect your work as a reviewer. Help us understand the professional perspective you bring to the evaluation of texts.

Cris Rhodes

Cris: It’s really hard to turn off my scholarly training when I’m reading, so whatever I consume is filtered through that lens. I always have questions running through the back of my mind: How might this book be approached from a critical standpoint? Does feminist theory apply? Queer theory? Trauma studies? Sometimes those questions don’t make it into a review. Regardless, they’re always present, even if on the periphery, and they generate other modes of analysis that do come out in the reviews.

Katrina: The area I live and work in is a predominantly Latinx community. One of my main responsibilities as a teen/young-adult librarian is making sure the youth I work with find content to which they can relate. This doesn’t mean characters have to be from Harlem or the Bronx, although that definitely is a huge selling point. Instead,  the books I suggest must have genuine and honest characters, situations, and conversations. When I review a book, I ask myself, “Is this believable? Would a teen say something like that or behave in that way?” Authenticity in the representation of characters and situations is super important. 

Sanjuana: My work as an elementary teacher shapes the work I do as a reviewer. I am always thinking about how texts could be used in the classroom and how those books can facilitate conversations, particularly around difficult or controversial issues, such as immigration. In my current role, working with pre-service teachers, one of my goals is introducing them to books they’re unlikely to encounter in their field-experience classrooms. I want them to see the value of diverse characters and experiences in books, which they will hopefully include in their own future classroom libraries.

Toni Margarita Plummer is an award-winning writer of short stories, who has also worked in publishing. I was an acquiring editor for many years, meaning I was the one always hoping for good reviews for my titles, for those one or two golden lines I could put up online or on the paperback. I think the best reviews accurately describe what the book is about, place it in context, and highlight the successes and shortcomings of the work, all toward the end of helping readers to discover books they will enjoy. That is what I try to give in my reviews, along with those few golden lines of praise someone can pluck.

LiKL: Let’s draw up a wish list for authors and publishers. Which genres, storylines, locations, representations, or other considerations do you pine for in books for children or teens?

Katrina Ortega

Katrina: I love reading stories about the border. It’s where I grew up, and writers like Guadalupe Garcia McCall and Benjamin Alíre Saenz take me back to the desert and open skies of West Texas. I also love reading fantasy that is Latinx-character centric. The Brooklyn Brujas series by Zoraida Córdova is by far my favorite. In addition, I’d love to read more about Latinx families that have been living in the United States for generations, like mine has—families that have sprawled across the country, and their stories of traversing back and forth.

Mark: More Afro-Latinx rep is super important to me. I’m always on the lookout for more rep of queer Latinx, LGBT Latinx, and ace Latinx!!! The tradition I write in deals with the difficulties Latinx people face, historically and in our present time. But these days, I am also super into fluffy beach reads. I want some big Latinx rom-com YAs. Soon. I may be writing one myself!

Cris: As a Latina who grew up in a rural area with no other Latinxs besides those I was related to, I want more stories like that–more diverse Latinx experiences represented. We need more queer Latinx stories, more Latinxs who don’t speak Spanish, more Latinxs living outside of big cities, more Latinxs who don’t have large, extended families. We also need to make being Latinx not a plot point—I love books where being Latinx is incidental to what’s going on.

Sanjuana: I see a need for more books that represent diversity in the immigration experience, as well as more bilingual texts that reflect the growing number of multilingual students in schools.

LiKL: Now let’s flip the coin. What are your reading pet peeves? Specify the tired tropes, stereotypes, or overused plot machinations that cause you to roll your eyes—or to slam a book shut.

Cris: In continuation of my previous answer, I’m tired of books that homogenize the Latinx experience, even if they don’t mean to do so. Not all Latinxs act, live, and think the same way.  I encounter certain plot lines over and over: barrio life, single-parent homes, racism and xenophobia. That’s not to say these things aren’t valid experiences or necessary for a certain readership.

Mark: My reading pet peeves? Writers using a very easily solved misunderstanding to fuel their plot. Plots that could be solved by people just TALKING to one another. Also, Latinx drug lords. I’ll roll my eyes at the inevitable ICE or US border story written by a white person, with an attitude of “how can this possibly happen in our country?” Spoiler alert: it’s been happening for far, far longer than this past year.

Sanjuana: I don’t like to read books that paint a perfect picture of the world. I believe that literature should represent current realities and issues that children and teens are grappling with.

Katrina: My biggest pet peeve? When authors use Spanish in their characters’ dialogue, but then repeat the dialogue in English. It drives me up the wall to have to read the same thing twice! 

LiKL: What is your current hot read and which books are at the top of your to-be-read list?

Toni Margarita Plummer

Toni: I am reading Roshani Chokshi’s Aru Shah and the End of Time, from the new Rick Riordan Presents imprint at Disney. Naturally, I am eager to read the imprint’s forthcoming Latinx titles by J.C. Cervantes and Carlos Hernandez. I think it’s so exciting that children will be invited to explore Latinx mythology through these books! I also still need to read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sánchez and The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

Sanjuana: This a list of books currently on my desk ready to be read: Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson, The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez ( I know that I’m late reading this one!). Picture books I can’t wait to read and share with kids: The Day you Begin by Jacquline Woodson, Dreamers by Yuyi Morales, and Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera.

Mark: Just read Gabby Rivera’s Juliet Takes a Breath and it was just as stunning as I’d thought it would be. I’m about to read and review the newest Anna-Marie McLemore, and then am eager to start The Resolutions by Mia García!

Cris: My current “hot read” is any book I’m using for my dissertation, but I’m particularly enjoying digging into Celia C. Pérez’s The First Rule of Punk. My current TBR is anything I’m not using for my dissertation! I’m very excited to dive into Zoraida Cordova’s Brooklyn Brujas series. I recently began Lila Quintero Weaver’s My Year in the Middle, and there are some rad looking anthologies that have been recently released!

Katrina: I just finished Javier Zamora’s Unaccompanied, a semi-autobiographical (or so it seems) account of the journey north from Central America, written in verse. It’s heartbreaking and redemptive and beautifully put together. 

Our warmest thanks to the reviewers who participated in this roundtable discussion! We’ll continue the conversation in the next installment. 

 

January 2017 Latinx Book Deals

 

By Cecilia Cackley

This is a new, monthly post I’ll be writing to keep track of the book deals announced by Latinx writers and illustrators. There are two reasons why I am beginning this series. The first is simply to celebrate the accomplishments of our community and to (hopefully) put these titles on people’s TBR and purchasing lists, even if the books won’t be out for a few years. The other reason is to document whether or not publishers are listening to us when we ask for more book about Latinx communities, written by Latinx writers. Publishers Weekly puts out a digital Rights Report each week, listing around 15 different book deals. How many of them are by Latinx authors? Not enough, in our opinion. Obviously, not all book deals are announced by Publishers Weekly. In addition, I am defining authors as Latinx based on names and the information the Internet gives me.

If I make a mistake or leave someone out, please let me know in the comments.

If you are an agent and you have a Latinx client who just announced a deal, you can let me know on Twitter, @citymousedc.

If you are a Latinx author or illustrator writing for children or young adults, and you just got a book deal, send me a message and we will celebrate with you! Here’s to many more wonderful books in the years to come.

January 31

None.

January 26

Brittany Rubiano at Disney Press has signed Newbery Medalist Matt de la Peña to write an original picture book entitled Miguel and the Grand Harmony, inspired by Disney*Pixar’s forthcoming film, Coco, to be illustrated by Pixar artist Ana Ramírez. A Spanish edition will also be available. Publication is scheduled for October 2017.

Erin Clarke at Knopf has bought world rights to Andrea J. Loney‘s Double Bass Blues, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez, a picture book celebrating music and family in which a black boy shoulders his beloved double bass from his suburban school to his city neighborhood. Publication is slated for spring 2019.

January 19

T.S. Ferguson at Harlequin Teen has acquired two more novels from YA author Adi Alsaid. The first, Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak, follows a teen relationship columnist as she struggles with writers’ block in the wake of a devastating breakup, and her decision to chronicle the planned breakup of another couple in the summer after they graduate from high school. Publication is slated for summer 2018.

January 12

Claudia Gabel at HC’s Katherine Tegen Books has bought When We Set the Dark on Fire, a debut novel by Tehlor Kay Mejia set at the Medio School for Girls, where young women are trained to become one of two wives assigned to high society men. With revolution brewing in the streets, star student Dani Vargas fights to protect a destructive secret, sending her into the arms of the most dangerous person possible – the second wife of her husband-to-be. It’s slated for winter 2019.

January 10

Tamar Mays at HarperCollins has bought world rights to Bunny’s Book Club author Annie Silvestro‘s (l.) The Christmas Tree Who Loved Trains, the tale of a train-loving tree who, with the help of a little holiday magic, learns to love much more. Paola Zakimi (Secrets I Know) will illustrate; publication is set for fall 2018.

January 5

None.

 

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.

Talking Diversity & Book Awards

Last week I had the privilege of hosting a conversation on the intersections between diversity and the selection of books for awards and best-of lists. I got to pick the brains of Jason Low, Debbie Reese, Marilisa Jiménez García, Pat Enciso, and Daniel Kraus. Now you can enjoy their insights, which have just been published in this post for the Booklist Reader.

Our conversation brings to the fore a number of issues that impact both what books get considered for special recognition and how discussions of those books proceed. As the participants show, we’re finally deconstructing the notion that “diversity” and “quality” are in competition. Instead, how diversity shapes our understanding of what “quality” is.

Nowhere is this work more important than in the meeting room where book awards and other distinctions are deliberated. And, as we discuss, how books are reviewed also shapes which books get noticed. In our conversation, Jason Low points out the importance of “diverse reviewers… who can serve as a cultural sounding board when issues like nuance, perspective, and authenticity issues are in question.”  School Library Journal has been actively educating its reviewers and recruiting reviewers from diverse backgrounds. Booklist is working on this, too. In fact, just as we were wrapping up our conversation last week, Booklist issued this call:

Booklist is actively seeking book reviewers of diverse background, whether that background is cultural, racial, gender, or another. We are also looking for reviewers fluent in Spanish. Candidates with critical acumen and knowledge of a public-library audience should email writing samples (preferably published work) and reviewing preferences (fiction, nonfiction, adult, YA, picture books, graphic novels, audio, etc.) to one of the following:

Daniel Kraus, Books for Youth (dkraus@ala.org)

Donna Seaman, Adult Books (dseaman@ala.org)

Sarah Hunter, Graphic Novels (shunter@ala.org)

Joyce Saricks, Audio Books (jsaricks@ala.org)

If you fit the Booklist criteria, we encourage you to get your review on! At Latin@s in Kid Lit, we put excellent books on readers’ radars and highlight issues that relate to writing, publishing, promoting, and recognizing kid lit by, for, and about Latinas and Latinos. We’re eager to have more allies!

Reviewing not your thing? You can still draw others into the conversation around diversity in publishing and literature. Do you have a colleague who may not be plugged into these issues? Invite them to check out the resources we offer here at LKL. The Booklist Reader conversation includes a list of excellent websites that offer vetted book recommendations.

I hope the Booklist Reader piece prompts you to reconsider what diversity has to do with excellence as well as how you can advance diversity in your own reading and work. As Marilisa Jiménez García puts it in our conversation, “We need more than books. We need to cultivate a system of children’s and YA literature— reviewers, librarians, educators, professors, publishers—that holistically integrates people of color. We need bridges.”

So, how about it? What bridges can we build today?