Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco (Giveaway!)

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by debut novelist Judith Robbins Rose will be released September 8, 2015, but I had the opportunity to read an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) for review. It’s not often that I read Middle Grade fiction, but despite the 10 year old target audience, I couldn’t put the book down.

The story is in the voice of Jacinta Juarez, a young Mexican-American girl who reminded me a little of an older Junie B. Jones due to her spirited personality which results in quite a few humorous moments, despite some of the very serious themes this book takes on.

Being bilingual and bicultural has a million advantages, but it has its challenges too – Jacinta must learn to straddle both worlds as she deals with the stress caused by her family’s socio-economic situation and the legal status of her parents, while figuring out if it’s possible to balance obligation to one’s familia with the very American ideal of pursuing one’s own happiness.

When local news reporter, Kathryn Dawson Dahl, (a white woman who Jacinta simply refers to as “Miss”), sponsors Jacinta at the Youth Center, she is introduced to a new world of exciting opportunities and hurtful, confusing experiences. While this could be exactly where this book goes off the rails and becomes problematic as a “white savior” narrative, I think the author succeeded at very honestly portraying how white women often see themselves as “rescuers” in this type of situation and the mess that results.

Details:

Title: Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco
Author: Judith Robbins Rose
ISBN: 9780763672355
Ages: 10+ (Middle Grade Fiction)

A quote from School Library Journal review: “…It’s as pleasurable to watch these characters take one another by surprise as it is horribly anxiety-producing to see them hurt, stumble, insult, and misunderstand nearly every situation requiring contextual awareness. [The author] doesn’t sugarcoat the hypocrisies and tough realities of the relationship, and of the very real reasons that they mistrust one another. Nearly everyone in the book makes some pretty serious and unforgivable mistakes, but as flawed humans they are allowed to wear their flaws, to make mature decisions and stupid childish ones. Rather than writing an ‘issue book,’ [the author] presents characters in crisis, whose stories are personal, rather than broadly representative, and the book is better for it. Ultimately, this is a story about code switching, and about the different skill sets and assumptions required for complex cross-cultural and cross-class situations…” – Katya Schapiro, Brooklyn Public Library

Want to win a copy of the book? See below!

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book LOOK BOTH WAYS IN THE BARRIO BLANCO by Judith Robbins Rose.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below! (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the person responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between August 27, 2015 through September 2nd, 2015. Entries received after September 2nd, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Día Blog Hop with James Luna

I’m honored to have been invited to host an author again for this year’s Día Blog Hop. If you’re not familiar, the Día Blog Hop hosted by Latinas for Latino Lit (@Latinas4LatLit, #L4LL) pairs Latino authors and illustrators with Latina (or Latinaish in my case!) bloggers. The #L4LL Día Blog Hop began on April 27th with a guest post by Pat Mora, author and founder of Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros. For the complete schedule of blogs and their paired authors/illustrators check the Latinas for Latino Lit website! But for now, you can start here.

My guest post this year is by Latino children’s author, James Luna, author of “The Runaway Piggy / El cochinito fugitivo“, and “A Mummy in Her Backpack/Una momia en su mochila.”

James was inspired to write us a little poetry! Enjoy!

Immerse
By James Luna

Immerse your kids in literary wealth,
In stories, folktales, biographies and rhymes,
Teach your sons and daughters to immerse themselves,
Immerse imaginations. Immerse their minds,
Increasing the memories of your family time.

Immerse your kids reading something fresh
A family meal from the pages of books of food
A tortilla and guacamole, now that’s the best.
Grandma’s chocolate and a piggy will improve your mood,
These books with sabor should be read and chewed!

Immerse them in the colors that fill their worlds
Have a read about Frida and Diego to start
Watch the butterflies twirl as Dalia’s hair unfurls,
De colores son los campos, bright barrios filled with art
The arco iris of our souls, and the rainbows from our hearts.

Immerse your kids in hist’ry from north to south
The everyday people living everyday lives
To gente bien conocida they can read about
Their journeys, explorations, their triumph and strife
Each person is a star, shining clear and bright.

Immerse your kids en los países, taking them to the places
From New York to Cuba, Puerto Rico, El Salvador,
The beauty of our colors and our smiling faces.
From the U.S. down to Mexico, there’s adventure in store
Take the lead, and they’ll want to read more and more!

Immerse your family in words of our familia stories
Hear the rimas and the dichos you heard as a niño
In togetherness we celebrate the family glories
From the language and sound de nuestro pueblo Latino,
Desde los chistes y risa, a las promesas de cariño.

We wrote these books for you. We wrote these books for them,
So immerse your kids in a love that will never end.

Inspired by the books of Jorge Agueta, Mara Price, Gwen Zepeda, Maya Gonzalez, Yuyi Morales, Joe Cepeda, Pat Mora, Amada Irma Perez, Duncan Tonatiuh, Jose-Luis Orozco, Rene Colato Lainez, Margarita Engle, Laura Lacamara, Alma Flor Ada, Amy Costales, Moncia Brown—I could go on and on!

james-luna-bio

Multiracial Kids, Latino Lit, Jane the Virgin Quiz, and Latin American Foods to Eat Before You Die

Well, that might be the longest and most inelegant title I’ve ever written for a blog post, pero no quería marear la perdiz. (If you didn’t know, that’s a Spanish-language idiom for “I didn’t want to beat around the bush.” It literally means “I didn’t want to make the partridge dizzy.” How much cuter is that?)

Anyway, I just wanted to put up a quick post with links to all my latinamom.me posts for the month of February in case you missed any of them. I hope you’ll check them all out and let me know which you liked best so I have an idea of which stories I should write more of in the future. Here we go!

8 Things Moms of Multiracial Kids Are Tired of Hearing

The first is an animated gif post which is a little controversial! My editor asked who wanted to write on the topic of stupid things people say to the parents of biracial or multiracial children, and I volunteered. I usually try to steer clear of topics that get people steamed in any way because I prefer to focus on the positive, but I knew I had some important things to say on this issue so I’m happy I wrote it. [Read it here.]

Latino Lit to Warm Up the Winter

latino-books-2015-2

The second post is book recommendations. I’ve been in kind of a reading rut so I can’t wait for some of the soon-to-be-published Latino Lit to finally be available! (What’s on your “to read” list that you’re most looking forward to right now?) [Read it here.]

Which Jane The Virgin Character Are You?

which-jane-character

This third post was incredibly fun to create because it was the first quiz I designed and it’s all about “Jane The Virgin” – which is my favorite show right now. (A close second would be “Fresh Off the Boat.” Are you watching that, too?) Anyway, let me know which result you got on this quiz and if you felt it was accurate! [Take the quiz here!]

Latin American Foods to Eat Before You Die

143-93709-6-mixto-joel-sowers-1424388693(Image source: Joel Sowers)

My last piece for latinamom.me for the month of February is “Latin American Foods to Eat Before You Die” – (I know, the title is just a tiny bit dramatic.) It was difficult to choose just 10 foods though and the hunger I felt while putting that post together was painful. If you could have any of the foods mentioned in the post magically appear before you right now, (but just one!) – which would it be? [Read it here.]

“Growing Up Pedro” and “20 Camiones Grandes” (giveaway!)

book-giveaway-pedro-3

Disclosure: I received copies of these books for review purposes. No other compensation was given. As always, all opinions are my own.

Veinte camiones grandes en medio de la calle” by Mark Lee and illustrated by Kurt Cyrus, is a Spanish-language board book aimed at children ages 2 to 5 years old, but I will admit something to you – as a non-native speaker, I learned a lot of new words in this book! I feel like the vocabulary is pretty advanced given the audience, but I see that as a positive thing as there are plenty of children’s books with much more basic language. (An example of a sentence that tripped me up: “El 17 arrastra un tambor de alquitrán.” Apparently “arrastrar” means to drag or haul, and “alquitrán” is tar.)

The book has a good rhythm and rhyming words which make it fun to read aloud, and kids who love vehicles will be completely enthralled by the illustrations of all the different types of cars and trucks caught up in a traffic jam.

As for “Growing up Pedro” by Matt Tavares – I really loved this book. I’m not a big baseball fan and honestly didn’t know who Pedro Martínez was, (now I do!) but this is a really beautifully written story about a Dominican-born baseball player who grows up admiring his brother Ramón. Both brothers end up making history in American major league baseball but it’s the touching glimpse into their personal lives behind their careers and the gorgeous illustrations that make this book so appealing. “Growing up Pedro” is aimed at children ages 8 to 12, but I can see children who are a little younger enjoying it as well, (although because of the length they may not be able to listen to it in one sitting.)

Want to win a copy of each of these books? Check out the giveaway below!

—GIVEAWAY CLOSED!—

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize description: Two lucky winners will each receive a prize pack which includes a copy of GROWING UP PEDRO by Matt Tavares and a copy of 20 CAMIONES GRANDES EN MEDIO DE LA CALLE by Mark Lee, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus.

Approximate value: $25.00 per prize pack

How to Enter:

Just leave a comment below telling me your child’s favorite book right now! Alternately, you can tell me one of YOUR favorite children’s books. (Please read official rules below.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. or Canada address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the company in charge of prize fulfillment. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid E-mail address in the E-mail address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. After 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between February 9th, 2015 through February 13th, 2015. Entries received after February 13th, 2015 at 11:59 pm ET, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte! Good luck!

We Need Diverse Books!

Image created by:  Icey Design

Image created by: Icey Design

The past couple days, I have had the immense pleasure of helping organize #WeNeedDiverseBooks with some amazing people – (You may have seen me tweeting already from my @Latinaish account as well as my personal @TracyDeLopez account.) The campaign is described in detail below, but it is basically a call for more diversity in books – something many of us have been talking about for a long time. I remember when Latinas for Latino Lit launched with this same mission, and through that I had the opportunity to express my views on the topic, as well as host authors René Colato Laínez and Meg Medina here on my blog. So I am really excited to see so many people coming together, from la comunidad Latina and beyond – to hopefully bring about some real change in the publishing industry. I hope you’ll join us! – Tracy López

A Joint Message From The Organizers of #WeNeedDiverseBooks, And Details On How You Can Get Involved:

Recently, there’s been a groundswell of discontent over the lack of diversity in children’s literature. The issue is being picked up by news outlets like these two pieces in the NYT, CNN, EW, and many more. But while we individually care about diversity, there is still a disconnect. BEA’s Bookcon recently announced an all-white-male panel of “luminaries of children’s literature,” and when we pointed out the lack of diversity, nothing changed.

Now is the time to raise our voices into a roar that can’t be ignored. Here’s how:

May 1st at 1pm (EST) – There will be a public call for action that will spread over 3 days. We’re starting with a visual social media campaign using the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks. [People are already using it, so join us!] We want people to use Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, blogs, and post anywhere they can to help make the hashtag go viral.

You can also support #WeNeedDiverseBooks by taking a photo holding a sign that says:

“We need diverse books because ___________________________.” Fill in the blank with an important, poignant, funny, and/or personal reason why this campaign is important to you.

The photo can be of you or a friend or anyone who wants to support diversity in kids’ lit. It can be a photo of the sign without you if you would prefer not to be in a picture. Be as creative as you want! Pose the sign with your favorite stuffed animal or at your favorite library. Get a bunch of friends to hold a bunch of signs. However you want to do it, we want to share it! We will host all the photos at WeNeedDiverseBooks.Tumblr, so please submit your photos by May 1st to weneeddiversebooks@yahoo.com with the subject line “photo” or submit it right on our Tumblr page here and it will be posted throughout the first day.

At 1:00PM EST the Tumblr will start posting and it will be your job to reblog, tweet, Facebook, or share wherever you think will help get the word out.

The intent is that from 1pm EST to 3pm EST, there will be a non-stop hashtag party to spread the word. We hope that we’ll get enough people to participate to make the hashtag trend and grab the notice of more media outlets.

The Tumblr will continue to be active throughout the length of the campaign, and for however long we need to keep this discussion going, so we welcome everyone to keep emailing or sending in submissions even after May 1st.

May 2nd – The second part of our campaign will roll out with a Twitter chat scheduled for 2pm EST using the same hashtag. Please use #WeNeedDiverseBooks at 2pm on May 2nd and share your thoughts on the issues with diversity in literature and why diversity matters to you.

May 3rd – At 2pm EST, the third portion of our campaign will begin. There will be a Diversify Your Shelves initiative to encourage people to put their money where their mouth is and buy diverse books and take photos of them. Diversify Your Shelves is all about actively seeking out diverse literature in bookstores and libraries, and there will be some fantastic giveaways for people who participate in the campaign! (More details and giveaway entry HERE!)

We hope that you will take part in this in any way you can. We need to spread the word far and wide so that it will trend on Twitter. So that media outlets will pick it up as a news item. So that the organizers of BEA and every big conference and festival out there gets the message that diversity is important to everyone. We hope you will help us by being a part of this movement.

Libros for All Kids

meg-medina-books

Hola! This is a guest post by Cuban American author, Meg Medina, as part of the Latinas for Latino Lit 2nd annual Día Blog Hop, which we’re proudly participating in for the second year in a row. Check it out! (And then check out the other L4LL’s Día Blog Hop posts from other Latino/a children’s and YA authors.)

Libros for All Kids

A guest post by: Meg Medina

Something happened to me recently at the National Latino Children’s Literature Conference that gave me a glimmer of hope against the dismal  – and now familiar – news that we are still publishing too few kids’ books that feature Latino characters.  

I had been asked to talk about my young adult novel, YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS.  It earned the Pura Belpré medal and the CYBILS Fiction Award, among other nice distinctions, and it was one of the measly two percent of children’s books by or about Latinos that was published last year.

If you’re unfamiliar, my novel is set in Queens, New York, and is the story of 16 year-old Piedad Sanchez who finds herself in the cross-hairs of a school bully.

After my talk, a librarian named Erica came to find me. It’s always such an honor when someone tells you they connected with your story. But I was especially happy to hear from her. She grew up in suburban Wisconsin with all brothers. There were no Latinos to speak of in her world.

“I read your book and I thought, oh my God, that’s my story.”

I could have kissed her whole face.

She’s right, of course. It is her story. It’s her story exactly the way Charlotte’s Web once felt like my story as a kid, even though I’d never seen a live pig and I lived two-hundred miles from the nearest farm in New York.

It’s no secret that I write stories that feature Latino kids and their families – the whole glorious ajiaco that I grew up with and that shaped how I move through the world.

But I do not write stories only for Latino kids. I write books for all kids about the universal problems of growing up. You remember that horror, don’t you? The frustrations with your family? Being betrayed by peers? Falling in love with creeps? To me, it doesn’t matter if a girl is named Fern or Piedad. What really matters is that her story is told with honesty and compassion.

When I think of books and what we want reflected in them, I say that it’s wise to cast a wide net. All kids benefit from stories that not only affirm their own experience but that also that allow them a peek at those same experiences through a slightly different lens. The magic of such books is in that beautiful spot where the unique and the universal hold hands like good and faithful friends.

meg-medinaMeg Medina is an award-winning Cuban American author who writes picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction. The first American citizen in her family, Meg was raised in Queens, New York by her mother – and a clan of tios, primos, and abuelos who arrived from Cuba over the years. She was the fortunate victim of their storytelling, and credits them with her passion for tales.

Meg’s work examines how cultures intersect through the eyes of young people, and she brings to audiences stories that speak to both what is unique in Latino culture and to the qualities that are universal. Her favorite protagonists are strong girls.

Her books are: MILAGROS GIRL FROM AWAY; TIA ISA WANTS A CAR, for which she earned the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writers Award; THE GIRL WHO COULD SILENCE THE WIND, a 2012 Bank Street Best Books; and YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS, which was the winner of the 2014 Pura Belpré Medal, which is presented annually by the American Library Association to a Latino writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

When she is not writing, Meg works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth and/or literacy. She lives with her extended family in Richmond, Virginia.

Follow Meg’s blog at www.megmedina.com

Connect with Meg on Facebook and Twitter

Caminar (review & giveaway)

caminar

Book description:

Title: Caminar
Author: Skila Brown
Release Date: March 25, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6516-6

Set in 1981 Guatemala, a lyrical debut novel tells the powerful tale of a boy who must decide what it means to be a man during a time of war.

Carlos knows that when the soldiers arrive with warnings about the Communist rebels, it is time to be a man and defend the village, keep everyone safe. But Mama tells him not yet — he’s still her quiet moonfaced boy. The soldiers laugh at the villagers, and before they move on, a neighbor is found dangling from a tree, a sign on his neck: Communist. Mama tells Carlos to run and hide, then try to find her… Numb and alone, he must join a band of guerillas as they trek to the top of the mountain where Carlos’s abuela lives. Will he be in time, and brave enough, to warn them about the soldiers? What will he do then? A novel in verse inspired by actual events during Guatemala’s civil war, Caminar is the moving story of a boy who loses nearly everything before discovering who he really is.

My review: When I agreed to receive a copy for review of Caminar by Skila Brown, I didn’t realize the story is told in poems, although it’s clearly stated in the description. It’s a quick read, partly because the book is made up of poems and partly because there’s excellent suspense that propels you through the story, making you want to read “one more” poem to see what happens. The book’s target audience is middle grade and the book is fiction based on real historical events. I like that it’s told in first person, so kids can really identify with Carlos and feel a little bit of what it must have felt like to live through such an experience, and I like the little bit of Spanish throughout.

My 12 year old asked what I was reading and asked me to read some to him but after awhile he stopped me and said, “No offense, but I prefer funny poems.” (He was raised on Shel Silverstein.) That being said, I enjoyed it and think it would work best in a classroom setting, read as a class with discussion and related assignments, but if you have a child who likes poetry (the non-funny kind), and is interested in Guatemala and can handle serious subject matter, then they might enjoy this book as much as I did.

===GIVEAWAY CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO FJKINGSBURY, SANDRA RIVAS, and EZZY!===

The Giveaway

Prize description: Three lucky random winners will each be receiving an advanced copy of Caminar by Skila Brown.

How to Enter: To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below sharing who you’d like to win this book for – If for yourself, why do you want to read it? (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the company/person in charge of prize fulfillment. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winners will be selected at random. Winner has 48 hours to respond. If no response is received after 48 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between February 17, 2014 through February 23, 2014. Entries received after February 23, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Disclosure: A book was received for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.