National Picture Book Month

¡Hola artistas!

What makes picture books unique? They have both words and pictures! To celebrate November’s National Picture Book Month I wanted to take a moment to recognize one of my favorite artists, Yuyi Morales, whose work we have had the privilege of showcasing here at Vamos a Leer.


As Neoshia wrote in 2013, Morales is a Mexican author and illustrator who was born in Xalapa, Mexico. She immigrated to the United States as an adult. Although she has written most of her work while in residence in California, she maintains her Mexican roots. In fact, much of her work has been influenced by her childhood in Mexico in what is known as the “City of Flowers” and her Mexican heritage. In her YouTube video, Why I Love Picture Books, Morales herself recounts her first encounter with picture books as “love at first sight.”

Morales’ multimedia techniques, including the puppet making she began experimenting with in 1995 when she moved to the United States, set her apart from many illustrators. To see some of her creations, check out her art-infused website that echoes the liveliness and vivid colors of her books,  learn about your favorite characters within them, and even how they were made! Some of my favorite parts include:


You can learn more about Morales and view more of her artwork at PaperTigers (which celebrates books and artists from around the world), and at Let’s Talk Picture Books’ Illustrator Spotlight.

We’ve also talked about Yuyi Morales at Vamos a Leer – be sure to take a re-look at some past posts:

Wishes for a creative noviembre,



Image: “Breakfast.” Reprinted from Yuyi Morales’ website, Frida’s Photo Album.

Image: “Death waiting and waiting for grandma beetle.” Reprinted from Yuyi Morales’ website, Death’s Photo Album.





Our Next Good Read: The Farming of Bones

farming of bonesJoin us December 12 at Tractor Brewing from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  We are reading The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat.

Here’s a sneak peek into the book (from Goodreads):

The Farming of Bones begins in 1937 in a village on the Dominican side of the river that separates the country from Haiti. Amabelle Desir, Haitian-born and a faithful maidservant to the Dominican family that took her in when she was orphaned, and her lover Sebastien, an itinerant sugarcane cutter, decide they will marry and return to Haiti at the end of the cane season. However, hostilities toward Haitian laborers find a vitriolic spokesman in the ultra-nationalist Generalissimo Trujillo who calls for an ethnic cleansing of his Spanish-speaking country. As rumors of Haitian persecution become fact, as anxiety turns to terror, Amabelle and Sebastien’s dreams are leveled to the most basic human desire: to endure. Based on a little-known historical event, this extraordinarily moving novel memorializes the forgotten victims of nationalist madness and the deeply felt passion and grief of its survivors.

Be sure to get entered in our drawing for a free copy of the book!! All you have to do is comment on any blog post by December 5!

We’ll also be raffling off a copy of January’s featured book, Dark DudeJoin us that evening to be entered!

We hope to see you on December 12!


September 23rd | Week in Review


¡Hola a todos! The materials for this Week in Review are focused on the need for diverse books in children’s literature. Enjoy!

– Out of the page Reading While White, KT Horning shared what happens When Whiteness Dominates Reviews and asks the questions, “Why is it that Whiteness continues to dominate professional reviews? And what can be done to change that?”

– Professor Sarah Park (a faculty person in the Library and Information Science department at St. Catherine University) discusses the importance of diversity with her post on “Picture This: Reflecting Diversity in Children’s Book Publishing.”

— Also, on the page Mother Jones, Dashka Slater reveals The Uncomfortable Truth About Children’s Books. This is a huge and important issue as, “80% of children’s book world – authors, illustrators, editors, execs, marketers, and reviewers are white,” expresses Slater.

–Here is a question to think about. “How Many Central American of Note can you Name?” According to Teaching for Change, there are more than four million Central Americans in the US, yet most schools lack resources to teach about Central American heritage. This new website from Teaching for Change addresses that disparity!

— Lastly, here are 5 Books to Help You Raise a Globally Minded Child, shared by Lee & Low Books on their Facebook page.


Image: Open book. Reprinted from Flickr user Γιάννης Ηλίας under CC ©.

Former Vamos a Leer Blogger: New Writings on Latin American Film and Current Events

Hi all!

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer, it is hard to believe that the school year is already upon us! I just wanted to let you know that although I will no longer be posting World Wide Web articles here on Vamos a Leer, I am continuing to write about film and current events elsewhere in the community in case these topics might interest you.

For a blog on currents events and news from around Latin America, along with links to a absolutely in-depth and terrific news source, please check out the Latin American Database Blog! Continue reading

A Goodbye Post for Lorraine and Jake

signoffFellow blogger and children’s book reviewer Lorraine Archibald will be leaving us next year to pursue a FLAS Fellowship to learn Quechua.  As her team member throughout this past academic year, I have been thoroughly engaged and inspired by Lorraine’s and our entire team’s motivation to provide engaging material for our amazing readers.  I cannot express fully how much I have enjoyed and grown with all of you while writing my weekly World Wide Web posts.  With this beautiful note from Lorraine, I do not think it can be stated any better:

Continue reading

Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased In Eighteen Years?

Hello, all,

’tis the season, I suppose, to question the paucity of publishers working with multicultural children’s literature.  Yesterday I shared an NPR article with you and today I bring you a blog post from Lee & Low Book’s blog, The Open Book.  While we’re pondering the question here at Vamos a Leer and our readers are musing on it in their living rooms, classrooms, coffee shops, and libraries, Lee & Low went ahead to do a public poll of academics, authors, librarians, educators, and reviews to see “if they could put their fingers on the reason why the number of diverse books has not increased.”  And they didn’t poll just anyone – the people who offer answers in the blog post are among the top minds and writers working toward multicultural literature for children.

It’s a great, albeit troubling, read. Check it out here: Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased In Eighteen Years?



Do White-centric books sell better?

Hello, all,

I hope the summer months are treating you well.  In case you’re not using your free time to track NPR’s Morning Edition, I wanted to pop in here and share one of their recent articles.  It piqued my interest and may do the same for you.

“Do White-centric books sell better?” So asks a recent article, “As Demographics Shift, Kids’ Book Stay Stubbornly White,” by NPR.  The article aired on Morning Edition on June 25, 2013.  It points out an issue that forms the basis of many of our discussions here at Vamos a Leer – “that when it comes to diversity, children’s books are sorely lacking; instead of presenting a representative range of faces, they’re overwhelmingly white.” Continue reading