Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Muddy Mess: The Latest in Latino Celebrity Children's Publishing

Celebrity writers have been dabbling in the arena of children’s literature for decades; but there have been very few Latino and Latina celebrities writing for children. You can count them all on one hand with Gloria Estefan being one of the more recent with her Noelle the Bulldog books. Today’s post brought the very latest celebrity-authored book by Latinos. Mario Lopez and his sister Marissa Lopez Wong have created a new picture book, Mud Tacos! (2009, Celebra Children's Books - A Member of Penguin Group Inc.), which follows a young Mario and his sister as they search for ingredients for real tacos and trick their stubborn older cousin into almost eating a mud taco. As can be expected, the writing is stilted, the tone is somewhere between saccharine and didactic and Maryn Roos’ cartoon-style illustrations, though quite cheerful, add little to the story. While a book by Mario Lopez is certain to have appeal, the overall package leaves much to be desired. Lopez should continue Dancing with the Stars and leave Writing for Niños to quality authors such as Yuyi Morales, Margarita Engle, Pat Mora, Maya Christina Gonzalez, Alex Sanchez, and Francisco Jimenez.

2009 Américas Award Ceremony: October 17th, 2009

You are ALL invited to the 2009 Américas Award Ceremony which will be held October 17th, 2009 at the Library of Congress. This FREE event will honor Yuyi Morales for her book Just in Case and Margarita Engle for her book The Surrender Tree. For more information on the award and/or the ceremony, visit http://www4.uwm.edu/clacs/aa/index.cfm. I had the exciting opportunity to be a member of this year's awards selection committee.

Making of Yuyi Morales' My Abuelita

Watch this cool new video by award-winning Latina artist, author, and illustrator Yuyi Morales where she talks about the magic behind her newest book My Abuelita. You'll need the latest version of flash to view it!

Making My Abuelita from Yuyi Morales on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month TODAY!

Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15th - October 15th. What can YOU do to celebrate the rich diversity of the Latino cultures with your students, children, etc?
  • Share culturally relevant and authentic books about the Latino cultures such as those winning the Américas, Tomás Rivera, and Belpré Awards.
  • Invite the parents, grandparents, and other familia of your Latino children to share stories, songs, rhymes, etc. from their culture.
  • Celebrate the love of reading with recommended Día activities listed in this blog. Although Día is in April, websites celebrating this holiday have considerable information on planning library and literacy programs that celebrate Latino cultures.
  • Have children use their information literacy skills to find information about famous Hispanic Americans and Latinos.
  • Invite Latino community leaders to speak to your students/children.
  • Highlight the storytelling and important contributions of Puerto Rican children's librarian Pura Belpré via the book The Storyteller's Candle/La velita de los cuentos, written by Lucía González and illustrated by Lulu Delacre (Children's Book Press 2008).
  • Share recommended Spanish children's and young adult books found in America Reads Spanish's Essential Guide to Spanish Reading for Children and Young Adults. Available: http://www.americareadsspanish.org/libro/ARS_Essential_Guide_to_Spanish_Reading_for_Children_and_Young_Adults.pdf
  • Celebrate Hispanic Heritage EVERYDAY not just this month.

For statistical information on the Latino population to share during Hispanic Heritage Month, check out the U.S. Census Bureau's website: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/013984.html.

Spicy Hot Poetry!

"Red as chili sauce, drip-drop, Spicy hot" . . . If you are looking for an animated version of poetry including a few symbols from the Latino cultures, then check out the animated version of Spicy Hot Colors by Sherry Shahan. Available: http://pbskids.org/lions/stories/spicyhot.html.

Interestingly, the print version of the book includes Spanish color words but this online version does not - although it does include a few other Spanish words.