Author’s Corner: Socorro Acioli

Image result for socorro acioliSaludos todos! This week we are taking the time to feature author Socorro Acioli, writer of this month’s featured book, The Head of the Saint, and the topic of our April book group meeting. Like with our previous authors, we take this time to feature the breadth of the author’s collective oeuvre, as well as the more personal aspects of her life.

Socorro Acioli is a Brazilian author who holds a Master’s degree in Brazilian literature and is currently pursuing her PhD in Literary Studies at the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro. Although Aciolo’s literary career as a novelist and children’s book author is relatively new, she has already garnered worldwide recognition and prestige. She has lectured internationally and was a visiting researcher at the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. Acioli also took part in a workshop called ‘How to tell a tale’at the San Antonio de Los Banõs International Film and Television School in Cuba. The workshop was conducted by Nobel Prize-winning author, Gabriel García Márquez. Márquez chose Acioli himself to be a participant in the workshop based on her recent work The Head of the Saint.

Acioli is a highly prolific author, but her books have only recently been translated into English. The Head of the Saint is Alcioli’s first book to be translated into English for publication. The book has been lauded for its stunning use of magic realism, a literary genre that Garcia Marquez was best known for. The genre of magic realism, often closely associated with Latin American literature in general, usually incorporates magical, surrealist narrative elements into the “real world” setting of the book. As always, the impact of The Head of the Saint reminds us of how important translators are in exposing us to the stunning works of authors from around the world.

For those of you interested in learning more about Alcioli, here are some additional links:

Hasta pronto!

Alice

Author’s Corner: Lynn Joseph

Image result for lynn josephSaludos todos! This week we are taking the time to feature author Lynn Joseph, writer of this month’s featured book, Dancing in the Rain, and the topic of our March book group meeting. Like with our previous authors, we take this time to feature the breadth of the author’s collective oeuvre, as well as the more personal aspects of her life.

Lynn Joseph is originally from the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. At the age of ten, she moved to Baltimore but continued to return to Trinidad for her summers. According to an interview with Joseph on her personal website, she started writing because of the nostalgia that was born from her bicultural childhood: “So, I lived two separate lives: an American school life and a Trinidad summer life. I began writing because I missed Trinidad so much; riding my bike everywhere, building forts in the hills, and just limin’ (hanging out) with friends. I also missed the steel pan music, and the joy I felt in Trinidad. The energy on my island is incredible.” Like this month’s featured book, Dancing in the Rain, most of Joseph’s books include elements of Caribbean culture. Dancing in the Rain won a Burt Award for Caribbean Literature (2015) prize, and skillfully focuses on the intersection between the culture, society and current events of New York City and the Caribbean. While exposing readers to certain Caribbean traditions and ways of life, this book also emphasizes the strong influence of Caribbean culture here in the U.S., particularly in New York.

Image result for lynn josephAlthough Dancing in the Rain is set in the Dominican Republic, Joseph, in the same interview mentioned above, describes how nearly all of her books include elements of Trinidadian culture and heritage: “My early books feature Trinidad’s majestic Carnivals (Jump Up Time), its delicious foods like roti, doubles, and pholourie (Jasmine’s Parlour Day) and my favorite beach, Mayaro Bay (A Wave in Her Pocket). I also retell folktales based on the scary stories I heard from my aunts in Trinidad. Those stories are in A Wave in Her Pocket and The Mermaid’s Twin Sister. My mother used to tell me I would turn into a mermaid if I went swimming on Good Friday, and I believed her, so I wrote about it in the Mermaid book.

Joseph got her B.A. in English from University of Colorado, Boulder before moving to New York where she started working with various publishing companies, further piquing her interest in children’s and young adult literature. Joseph, a woman of many talents, also obtained her law degree from Fordham University Law School in the mid-1990s, where she studied constitutional law and civil rights. Joseph works as a lawyer and writes her books on the side, while also taking care of her two sons, Jared and Brandt, which are also the names of the two boys in her novel, Dancing in the Rain. According to Joseph, “Reading cases is just like reading stories of people’s lives.” As an aspiring lawyer and writer myself, I find Joseph’s story especially inspiring!

For other readers, writers, and activists who feel moved by Joseph’s work and success, she offers some tips on how to take meaningful life moments and turn them into art and ambition: “Read a lot. Go inward. Don’t be afraid to be alone with your thoughts. In Trinidad, I walked alone at the beach and years later, I wrote scenes in The Color of My Words based on my memories. Try to absorb everything–the beautiful, sad, painful and joyous moments—these experiences will be there to draw on later when you need to create a heartfelt scene. And when you’re crying over some guy or girl breaking your heart, stop and think, “I need to remember this moment.” And you’ll be just fine.

For those of you interested in learning more about Lynn Joseph, here are some additional links:

Hasta pronto!

Alice

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.

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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:

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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,

Hania

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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!

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September 23rd | Week in Review

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¡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