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This Is How You Lose Her
And the Mountains Echoed
Backseat Saints
The Valley of Amazement
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors
The Secret Miracle: The Novelist's Handbook
The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life
Julie of the Wolves
Signs & Wonders
From Clueless to Class Act: Manners for the Modern Woman
Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir
Teacher Man
The Bridges of Madison County
Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda
Shadow Tag
Paul Strand: Masters of Photography Series
Fat Chance
Giving up America
The Darwin Awards: Evolution in Action

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Archive for October, 2011

Oct 2011

Weekend Roundup!

posted in: Weekend Roundup

Leal Award Winner Announced :: via University of California – Demetria Martínez has been awarded the 2011 Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature.

What is Latino? :: Maria Browning discusses the soon to be published The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity. Also, a search for “Latino” on Amazon results in like, over 1,000 hits! And, it includes mainstream books! OMG There are like so many books about them LOLZ. Sigh. I think that the news flash for this book isn’t that it is supposed to point out that Latinos are a diverse group, or to further Other-ize us, but that the essays explore identity formation in the Latino community, a fraught topic I know I have struggled with. P.S., there’s a tiny excerpt on the University of Arizona Press website linked above.

Another Award Winner :: via The University Star – Alex Sanchez accepted the 2011 Tomás Rivera Book Award for his book, Bait.

Watching TV in Spanglish:: via the New York Times – NYT writes about Telemundo’s plans to incorporate more English, invite non-Latino guests to the new Cristina show, plus other programming. Grab your sombrero and dale un grito, folks –  of course the article isn’t complete with the words salsa and saucy. And who says Univsion doesn’t throw English into the mix? I distinctly remember this hysterical Tom Hanks spot from a few months ago:

Embedly Powered

Weekend Sonrisa – So here’s your weekend funny. The other day at a meeting with the group I volunteer with, we were actually able to crack jokes while discussing how the immigration law is affecting students. Because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Full disclosure: the Colbert Report always cracks me up, anyway!


Oct 2011

Latinocentric news

posted in: blogs, Journalism, News

Source: Flickr/micora

If you want to get news about and from the Latino perspective, where do you go? Many years ago, I realized that just watching the local news and the Today Show is not going to cut it in terms of consuming news stories that interest me and matter to me. In fact, no one should probably only rely on those sources, because 1) there’s just no way they can cover everything, especially if it’s local news and especially if you’re like me and you don’t live in an area with a decently sized Latino population and 2) segments with Martha Stewart, while interesting, just lack the heft of serious reporting. Here are some of my regular online sources of news:

The Latin Americanist 

I started reading the Latin Americanist several years ago and it has definitely kept me informed. Basically, the Latin Americanist has short daily posts on what is going on in Latin America (Daily Headlines), with a separate post for global news (Global Watch). They tend to report right on target regarding things like elections or coffee or trade agreements, as well as some lighter pieces like soccer news (now, some of you may disagree with me on whether soccer is a light subject, but that’s another matter). They also have a regular column called Nuestro Cine, which examines movies about/by Latin Americans.

There’s a reason I’ve been reading this for years. If you want to be informed about what’s going on with our neighbors to the south, and the rest of the world, this is a great place to start.

The Chicanísima Daily

I just started checking out this source. has “content curators” that cull the daily headlines to create a daily “newspaper” created from other news sources. You get your news based on your own niche.The Chicanísima Daily features pages on immigration and the Dream Act, as well as other topics. So far, I really like the kind of content I get here. It’s out there in the mainstream media, but it’s hard to get it all piecemeal. The Chicanísima Daily takes care of that for you.

News Taco

I started reading News Taco after seeing one of the founders interviewed by Jorge Ramos on Univsion. It seems that in the short time since I saw that interview, the website has exploded. They seem to be featuring more original content, which I love. Their articles are fearless and feature all kinds of topics, mostly in the interest of U.S. Latinos. I find one writer, OhHellsNa, very compelling. She wrote about her cruel grandmother and afterwards, her family’s backlash in response to the article she wrote. There’s a lot of stereotype-smashing going on over there. Overall, I’m going to keep watching this site.

Latina Lista

I follow this website via Twitter (@Latina Lista). What you will find is thoughtful, well written articles covering a variety of topics.  My favorite section of the site is Palabra Final, which gives “a viewpoint on anything and everything from a Latina perspective. I was struck by the quality of the content, and then I noticed that the publisher, Marisa Treviño, is a syndicated journalist. Well, no wonder! Definitely a winner.


If you like your celebrity news with a side of snark, this is the place to go. I discovered Guanabee several years ago when I was searching every way I could think of in Google Reader trying to find blogs with Hispanic topics – this was pretty much all I found. Thank goodness things have changed! I like to click over every once in a while to see what’s going on in celeb world.


If you want to find relevant news, you have to look for it. These are just a few internet places to start. So, where do you go to get your news from a Latin@ perspective?


Oct 2011

My dream came true!

posted in: Uncategorized

I disappeared for a few days – I was getting ready for an interview (which are hard to come by these days), among other things. Anyway, I just had to brag show y’all (I’m from Texas, I can say that) my new bookshelves! They are nothing fancy, but I finally have all my books in the living room with a few of my favorite tchotchke, and I still have room to grow!

I’m still debating an e-reader, so I may not need room for more books. I did go through these books and put together a box of books that I’ll donate. I tried to keep books that I really enjoyed and that are meaningful. There are a few in there that I haven’t read yet.

Yep. I MIGHT have a book shopping problem – as in I buy more than I can read at a time. I’m trying to use the library more often, but the only bad thing about that is that I like to (GASP!) dog-ear the pages.

So what’s more weird – that I have a ton of books, or that (save for a few sections) I organized them by color?


Oct 2011

Weekend Roundup

posted in: Weekend Roundup

This week there was a lot of news in nuestra literatura! Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

A “weird” place to write
:: via Poets & Writers – Oscar Casares breaks down the literary scene and festival in Austin, Texas.

Spanish Harlem author dies :: via the New York Times – Piri Thomas is a new discovery for me. I searched my library’s catalog for Down These Mean Streets, but they don’t have it. Added it to my Amazon wishlist!

Latino theater in Dallas :: via Dallas South News – Eliberto Gonzalez discusses his experiences with racism growing up and his theater company.

Latino children’s literature:: via scrippsnews – Monica Brown, a Pura Belpre Award winner,  discusses her books for children.

Rising Stars:: via Huffington Post – Pablo Manriquez writes “7 Young Latinos In Online Media To Watch In 2012.”

Quinceañeras! :: via NPR – Malin Alegria discusses role models, spanglish, and the lack of literature for Hispanic teens.


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Oct 2011

Children’s Book Press

posted in: Authors, books, Children's Books, Uncategorized

I honestly don’t remember many pictures books from my childhood, though I know I read many. I started reading “chapter books” (I forgot that children call them that until my ten-year-old niece said it) when I was eight years old. I lovingly remember books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Gary Paulsen, and so on. But did I read anything written by a Latin@? No, I didn’t discover that until I found Sandra Cisneros at 14. Now, I know that there must be some childrens and YA books by Latinos out there, but I didn’t find it back then, and I read so voraciously from a young age that I quickly moved onto literary fiction adult titles to satisfy my appetite.

Now that I have my own child, I am interested in finding children’s books that feature Hispanics. So the other day I was delighted to find a whole shelf dedicated to mostly bilingual books in the kid’s section at the public library. (Hey, I live in Alabama – it’s a big deal to find that treasure trove. Our stores’ sections for Latino literature are as limited as the food, which you find in the Asian or beans sections at Wal-mart.)

Anyway, on to these two bilingual books, both by Children’s Book Press, a non-profit publisher of multicultural books for kids.



The Upside Down Boy is by Juan Felipe Herrera. This book is written in a melodious voice, bringing to mind, perhaps, a kid’s magical realism. Kids will love the story of Juanito (based on the author’s life), who moves to a new place and school and has to learn English. With his teacher and family as support, he discovers his gift for poetry and music and learns English. Parents (okay, maybe just me) will go wild for the beautiful lyricism:

          “We are finger painting.

          I make wild suns with my open hands.

          Crazy tomato cars and cucumber sombreros —

          I write my name with seven chiles.”

The illustrations are by Elizabeth Gomez. The creative, fantastical images accompany the writing perfectly.

I’m so excited about this author and the other works I saw on his website, and I actually found out that two more are available at my library. I will definitely be reading more by him!

My Diary from Here to There, by Amada Irma Pérez, tells Amada’s story of crossing the border via diary entries. She was as scared as any kid who is moving to a


new country. She finds out that her dad is actually an American citizen. He goes to find work and leaves the family behind for a short time while applying for green cards. César Chávez and the grape boycott make a cameo in the book!

I was impressed by the clear writing that is honest about the scary situations the family faced; but the tone keeps it interesting and wouldn’t freak a child out (I was really wondering how that would pan out when I started reading).

Perez’s website shows two other books, and she also does speaking engagements. I love her final words for tips to aspiring authors: “You ARE a WRITER because you write, not because you publish!”

 The book is illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez. I loved the vivid colors of the art that has a definite Chican@ style.

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