10 Children’s and YA Books Celebrating Latinx Poetry and Verse

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Hello all –

I am thrilled to be celebrating National Poetry Month with you!  As with many of you, poetry holds a dear place in my heart.  As a young person, I recall writing poem after poem and finding such liberation in exploring my voice, playing with syntax and line breaks, and testing out vocabulary that had yet to find a place in my daily life.  Poetry allowed for a freedom and creativity that was unmatched in other mediums.  And because of this, I believe that writing poetry enables us to develop our own voice, author our own truths, and honor our own experiences; all of which play an integral part in a young person’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.

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Author’s Corner: Oscar Hijuelos

HijuelosSaludos todos! This week we are taking the time to feature the renowned, Cuban-American author, Oscar Hijuelos, and his body of work. 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 his life and legacy.

Oscar Hijuelos (1951-2013) is a Cuban-American author who wrote several adult and young adult books, mostly focusing on Latin American protagonists or themes. Hijuelos was the first Latino to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction when he was recognized for his 1989 novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, which was turned into a movie in 1992. Hijuelos also won the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature in 2000. Through his iconic work, Hijuelos endures as a prominent figure of Latino literature, describing the immigrant experience, questions of identity, and the many hurdles of communication, through witty and endearing prose.

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Vamos a Leer: Spring 2017 Featured Titles

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Hello, all!

As 2016 wrapped up, Katrina and I turned our attention to which YA titles we’d feature in 2017. To help figure out what would be the most useful and interesting, we reached out to our local book group (thanks to all of you for sharing your ideas!). In the process we heard a range of ideas, including reading authors who come directly from Latin America, exploring books that will appeal to younger readers (middle school, rather than advanced high school), and interspersing different formats (like graphic novels) into the list.

From all of that, and more, we came up with the following featured titles and are looking forward to reading them with you!

January 9th | Tractor Brewing (Wells Park)
Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White by Lila Quintero Weaver | Ages 14 and up | United States (Alabama) and Argentina

February 13th | Tractor Brewing (Wells Park)
Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos | Ages 14 and up | United States (Wisconsin and Puerto Rico)

March 13th | Tractor Brewing (Wells Park)
Dancing in the Rain  by Lynn Joseph | Ages 12 and up | United States (New York) and Dominican Republic

April 10th | Tractor Brewing (Wells Park)
The Head of the Saint by Socorro Acioli and translated by Daniel Hahn| Ages 14 and up | Brazil

May 22nd | Tractor Brewing (Wells Park)
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan | Ages 12 and up | United States (Pennsylvania and California) and Germany

Best,
Keira

Our Next Good Read: Dark Dude

dark dudeJoin us February 13th at Tractor Brewing from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our featured title for January.  We are reading Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos.

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

He didn’t say good-bye. He didn’t leave a phone number. And he didn’t plan on coming back – ever.

In Wisconsin, Rico could blend in. His light hair and lighter skin wouldn’t make him the “dark dude” or the punching bag for the whole neighborhood. The Midwest is the land of milk and honey, but for Rico Fuentes, it’s really a last resort. Trading Harlem for Wisconsin, though, means giving up on a big part of his identity. And when Rico no longer has to prove that he’s Latino, he almost stops being one. Except he can never have an ordinary white kid’s life, because there are some things that can’t be left behind, that can’t be cut loose or forgotten. These are the things that will be with you forever…. These are the things that will follow you a thousand miles away.

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 January 30th!

We hope to see you on February 13th!

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Book Giveaway: Dark Dude

Vamos a Leer | Book GiveawayWe’re giving away a copy of Dark Dude written by Oscar Hijuelos–our featured novel for our February book group meeting!! Check out the following from Kirkus Reviews:

Fifteen-year-old Rico Fuentes, who refers to himself as the “palest Cubano who ever existed on the planet,” feels impelled by circumstances involving drugs, truancy and family to flee Harlem for Wisconsin; it’s the 1960s and his good friend Roberto, a lottery winner, is attending college and has rented a farm nearby. Hijuelos, who won the Pulitzer Prize for The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1989), explores issues of race, identity, prejudice and outsiderness in his affectionately written, sometimes raw teen debut. Smart, confused, a good-hearted bookworm from the ghetto who feels an affinity with Huck Finn and writes imaginative comic-book superhero stories, Rico ultimately comes to see that “where you are doesn’t change who you are.” In spite of several graphic scenes dealing with drugs and violence, this novel is very much geared to young adults; indeed, it sometimes seems as if the author is trying to pack in too much advice, making for a somewhat loose narrative. Even so, young readers will genuinely care about Rico and be carried along on his journey of discovery.

It looks like another interesting read–a great addition to any personal or classroom library! To be entered in the giveaway, just comment on any post on the blog by January 30.  Everyone who comments between December 6 and January 30 will be entered in the drawing.  If your name is chosen, we’ll email you ASAP about mailing the book to you.

Don’t forget, we also raffle off a copy of the following month’s featured novel at each book group meeting.  So if you’re an Albuquerque local, join us for a chance to win!

Good luck!

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¡Mira Look!: Author’s Corner: Oscar Hijuellos

HijuelosSaludos todos! This week we are taking the time to feature the renowned, Cuban-American author, Oscar Hijuelos, and his body of work. 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 his life and legacy.

Oscar Hijuelos (1951-2013) is a Cuban-American author who wrote several adult and young adult books, mostly focusing on Latin American protagonists or themes. Hijuelos was the first Latino to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction when he was recognized for his 1989 novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, which was turned into a movie in 1992. Hijuelos also won the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature in 2000. Through his iconic work, Hijuelos endures as a prominent figure of Latino literature, describing the immigrant experience, questions of identity, and the many hurdles of communication, through witty and endearing prose.

A New York Times piece remembering Hijuelos after his death reflects upon the narrative style and insightful perspectives that appear throughout his novels:

In novels like “Our House in the Last World” (1983), which traces a family’s travails from Havana in 1939 to Spanish Harlem; “Mambo Kings,” about the rise and fall of the Castillo brothers, Cesar, a flamboyant and profligate bandleader, and his ruminative trumpeter brother, Nestor; and “The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O’Brien” (1993), about several generations of a Cuban-Irish family in Pennsylvania, he wrote about the non-native experience in the United States from a sympathetic, occasionally amused perspective and with a keen eye for detail in his period settings.

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Our Next Good Read: Dark Dude

Join us May 2 at dark dudeBookworks from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  We are reading Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos.

Here’s a sneak peek into the book Goodreads:

In Wisconsin, Rico could blend in. His light hair and lighter skin wouldn’t make him the “dark dude” or the punching bag for the whole neighborhood. The Midwest is the land of milk and honey, but for Rico Fuentes, it’s really a last resort. Trading Harlem for Wisconsin, though, means giving up on a big part of his identity. And when Rico no longer has to prove that he’s Latino, he almost stops being one. Except he can never have an ordinary white kid’s life, because there are some things that can’t be left behind, that can’t be cut loose or forgotten. These are the things that will be with you forever…. These are the things that will follow you a thousand miles away.

For anyone who loved The Outsiders — and for anyone who’s ever felt like one — Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Oscar Hijuelos brings to life a haunting choice and an unforgettable journey about identity, misidentity, and all that we take with us when we run away.

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 April 26!

We hope to see you on May 2!