Archive for Uncategorized

Nov 2011

Weekend Roundup

posted in: Uncategorized

So, I know I haven’t been around for a while . . . but it’s because I have great news – I’m employed! With the job I got a lot of craziness going on, but I’m back to blogging!

I hope everyone had a great día de Acción de Gracias. It’s my second-favorite holiday!

I love this painting of the benevolent Pilgrims breaking bread with the Indians. I also found this old article in which a historian explains that the first Thanksgiving was actually held by a Spaniard. They ate frijoles, of course.

Ethnic Studies Myths :: via Tucson Weekly – I had hoped for a little more after seeing the title of this article. If you don’t know all the Arizona players, it’s a little confusing. But this article does go a lot deeper in the tit-for-tat politics surrounding the Arizona ban on Mexican-American ethnic studies than other sources. I love the tone.

Mexican Studies = Hitler Youth :: via Huffington Post – What we are learning this weekend is that Mexican-American studies programs inspire young students to overthrow the U.S. government, convert them to practice cult religions, and teach them that Latinos in the U.S. used to be oppressed. Because banning Mexican-American studies is not currently oppressing any one group.

Text of the Arizona Ethnic Studies Ban :: Sigh.

University of Northern Iowa Center for Multicultural Education Book Club :: via – Details on the book club, which will feature Latin@ literature.

Seeking Assistant/Associate Professor of English and Latin@ Literature and Culture :: via HigherEdJobs – This position is at the University of Arkansas. You know, I thought it was weird that Arizona – with a high Latino population – would be going this route. I expected it where I live in Alabama. At least the University of Arkansas seems to be admitting that Latin@s have contributed to the American experience.

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Nov 2011

Weekend Roundup!

posted in: Uncategorized

Have a great weekend!

Interactive book cover :: via GalleyCat – A new foray into the digital book world.

Whiting Foundation announces award winners :: via Whiting Foundation – includes Latino author Eduardo C. Corral (and possibly Daniel Orozco, whom I couldn’t confirm is Latino)

NYT announces 2011 Best Illustrated Children’s Books :: via New York Times – includes A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt de la Peña and another interesting book (not written by a Latino) about a group of historical migrants who traveled between Mexico and Canada, Migrant by Maxine Trottier

Pecados y Milagros :: via PRI The World – A radio interview with Lila Downs regarding her latest album, which deals with the drug violence in Mexico – a sort of answer to narcocorridos

Poet Tomas Segovia Dies :: via Fox News Latino

Pen Literary Award :: via Sign On San Diego – Pam Muñoz Ryan won this award for her book The Dreamer, a children’s book about Pablo Neruda


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Nov 2011

Weekend Roundup!

posted in: Uncategorized

Sandra Cisneros to move from San Antonio :: via MySA – Sandra Cisneros is selling the house she once stubbornly painted purple, it appears, in a move to focus on writing projects.

Latino in America 2 :: via The Venture – Journalist Soledad O’Brien discusses life and a sequel of sorts to her documentary Latino in America.

Nanowrimo is here :: November is National Novel Writing Month – are you going to challenge yourself to write a novel this month?

Salman Rushdie limerick :: via Writer’s Blog – I love when an author doesn’t take him/herself too seriously. Read Rushdie’s limerick on Kim Kardashian’s divorce.

Writers join the Occupy movement :: Writers have joined this website in support of the Occupy Wallstreet movement. I scanned this very looooong list and found a few Latino writers – Daniel Alarcon popped out the most.

Weekend Sonrisa:: Will Ferrell will star with Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna in Casa de mi Padre, which the LA Times said was “in the culturally open-minded tradition of Steve Martin and Chevy Chase in ‘¡Three Amigos!’ and Jack Black in ‘Nacho Libre.’” Eh, whatever.  Well, the trailer looks funny and the movie gets some initial street cred not because of the benevolently open-minded stars or creators but because of Bernal and Luna. (Side note: this review notes, tongue-in-cheek, I think, how the CEO of Pantelion films credits “Will, Matt [director], and Andrew [writer]” with the film’s funniness. Ja. ja. ja.)

Embedly Powered

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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?

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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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