Community Highlight: Anansesem Introduces Starred Review

Anansesem May 2018 Issue Cover.png

Hi all,

The summer months may seem quiet at times, but really there’s a veritable buzz of activity.  In the world of children’s literature, authors, illustrators, publishers, reviewers, librarians, and even teachers (whose summer breaks are rarely ever actual breaks) are hard at work pushing for diversity, representation and accuracy. Anansesem is in this vanguard.

A brief aside for those unfamiliar with the organization. In their own words,

Anansesem is an online magazine devoted to Caribbean children’s and young adult literature written by both new and established writers. It was founded in 2010 to encourage the writing and illustration of Caribbean literature for and by young people. Major issues are published twice a year in .pdf format while guest posts and online-only features are published throughout the year. 

We are proud to have published some of the most distinctive and distinguished voices in Caribbean literature for young people. Previous contributors to the ezine have included Alix Delinois, Floella Benjamin, Ibi Zoboi, Itah Sadu, Lynn Joseph, Margarita Engle, Nadia L. Hohn, Olive Senior, Tracey Baptiste, Vashanti Rahaman and Verna Wilkins. 

The ezine invites submissions of Caribbean short stories, poetry and illustrations for children regardless of the geographical location of either the author or characters. We also publish book reviews, interviews and non-fiction. Submissions by Caribbean citizens get first priority.

We’re huge fans of Anansesem here at Vamos a Leer, and frequently turn to them to help contextualize and better understand the Caribbean literature that crosses our desks. Their latest announcement has us even more over the moon than usual. They’ve introduced starred reviews! This means that they’re putting the power of meaningful and informed reviews back in the hands of the Caribbean community. Read more about why they’re doing this, what they aim to achieve, and how they’ll go about it, in the announcement from Summer Edward, Anansesem editor-in-chief: Introducing the Anansesem Starred Review (And Giving Caribbean Books For Young People The Reviews They Deserve).

Their May issue (forthcoming) introduces starred reviews for Marti’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy and Beatriz Vidal, The Field by Baptiste Paul and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara, All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Mike Curato, and Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender. The issue also includes, among other items, spotlights on illustrators Lulu Delacre and Rosa Colán Guerra. Check their website for the full PDF (nominal cost associated) or a free sample of the publication.

Happy reading,
Keira

We’re the People: An Inclusive Summer Reading List

We're the People Summer Reading ListWith the heat wave underway (particularly here in Albuquerque), now is the perfect time to wander inside to cool public libraries.  If you’re ready to move beyond the old set of titles from which to choose, you can search out the less-commonly-recognized but phenomenal titles written and/or illustrated by authors and arts of color.

The search for an inclusive reading list is made all the easier by the recent publication of the “We’re the People” summer guide produced by the following amazing women: Edith Campbell, Sarah Park Dahlen, Sujei Lugo, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Debbie Reese, and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. You can read more about how they developed the list at Lyn Miller-Lachman’s blog.

In this annotated list of picture books, middle grade, and young adult, you’ll find, as Lyn writes, “books written and/or illustrated by authors and artists of color — African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American. Some include LGBTQIA protagonists or protagonists with disabilities. They include contemporary, historical, and speculative fiction as well as graphic novels and nonfiction.”

Intrigued? We certainly were. I have personally added quite a few titles to my already full bookshelves. To see their suggestions for yourself, check out the full guide on the blog Crazi QuiltEdi: Promoting literacy for teens of color one book at a time.

Happy reading,
Keira

TBR Reflections and Reviews~Darkroom: a memoir in black and white

As many of you know, in January I made a resolution to read more books by and about Latinos.  As part of this resolution, I made a list of books that I’d like to read this year.  While I realize that I won’t have time to write full reviews of all of those books, I’d like to be able to at least offer my reflections on those books, so I’ve created a new category of posts: TBR Reflections and Reviews. Continue reading