Tag Archives: Alma Flor Ada

Cascarones and carpets: A look at Easter books for children

It’s Easter season. The holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ is an important event in the Latino community. Here are some books about the holiday and Latino rituals:

celebrate-mardi-gras-with-joaquin-harlequin-alma-flor-ada-paperback-cover-artAlma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy cover the beginning of the Lenten season with the bilingual children’s book Celebrate Mardi Gras with Joaquín, Harlequin/ Celebra el Mardi Gras con Joaquín, Harlequín. In A Surprise for Mother Rabbit/La sorpresa de Mamá Coneja, Ada tells a story of diversity by using rabbits.

ImageIn Dance of the Eggshells: Baile De Los Cascarones, by Carla Aragón, two children learn the history of the confetti-filled eggshells that are crushed on people’s heads. This MexConnect.com story also gives some background into the eggshells.

LegendoftheCascaronThe Legend of the Cascarón, by Roxanna Montes-Bazaldua also tells the history of the eggshells. Want to learn how to make cascarones? Check out this webpage from PBS Kids and this YouTube video.

Sawdust CarpetsSemana Santa is the Holy Week that leads to Easter. In Amelia Lau Carling’s Sawdust Carpets, two Asian children visit Antigua, Guatemala, during that time and learn about its traditions – including the elaborate carpets made for the processions.

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La Llorona, chupacabras, oh my! Spooky books for children and teens

Boo! October brings the greatest holiday ever – Halloween. It’s not just about the candy, but listening to stories that put goosebumps on your arms and a shiver in your bones. As part of book blogger Jenn Lawrence’s meme, Murder, Monsters, Mayhem, here’s a look at spooky tales, Latino-style, for children and young adults. Look for a list of suspense books for adults later this week.

In Mexican folklore, no figure is more haunting than La Llorona, the woman who drowned her children and spends her time calling for them. Her tale has been told in numerous books, including La Llorona/The Weeping Woman by Joe Hayes, who talked about the story’s enduring legacy to The Hispanic Reader last year.

Texas-based writer Rene Saldaña Jr. also explores the myth – and others – in his book, Dancing with the Devil and Other Tales from Beyond / Bailando con el diablo y otros cuentos del más allá. La Llorona is becoming part of mainstream pop culture: She will be the subject of NBC’s Grimm in the Oct. 26 episode. Wilmer Valderrama talked about the project to NBC Latino. And here’s Lila Downs singing about La Llorona.

La Llorona and those other spooky beasts – the chupacabras – are part of Texas-based children’s writer Xavier Garza books, including Creepy Creatures and Other Cucuys, Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil and Other Stories and Juan and the Chupacabras/ Juan y el Chupacabras. The Rio Grande Valley native talked about the inspiration for the books to the San Antonio Express-News last year.

For more universal creatures, Alma Flor Ada writes about ghosts in What Are Ghosts Afraid Of? El susto de los fantsmas. In A Mummy in Her Backpack/Una Momia en su mochila by James Luna, a girl ends up with an unusual souvenir from vacation. Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes and Yuyi Morales is a poem about the creatures that haunt the night.

Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy combines Halloween and the other upcoming holiday, Dias de los Muertos, in Celebrate Halloween and the Day of the Dead with Cristina and her Blue Bunny Celebra el Halloween y el Día de Muertos con Cristina y su conejito azul. Pat Mora’s Abuelos describes a Halloween-like holiday in northern New Mexico that has Mexican and Pueblo roots.

For young adults, You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens features a variety of tales from as Saldaña, Diana López and Sergio Troncoso. Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s recently released novel Summer of the Mariposas also features La Llorona – in a gentler light than most books – and chupacabras.

The Beautiful Creatures series, written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, features teenagers who meet otherworldly beings called Casters. The book soon will be a major motion picture starring Viola Davis and Emma Thompson. Alisa Valdes’ The Temptation features a romance between supernatural teens.

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In the news: Librotraficantes in Arizona, Anaya, Valdes, Díaz

Arizona:

The Librotraficante Caravan will kick off March 12 on its journey to distribute Latino-themed books that have been banned in Tucson classrooms. Aztec Muse founder Tony Diaz is spearheading the tour, which starts in Houston and hosts events during its stops in San Antonio, El Paso and Albuquerque and, finally, Tucson. The San Antonio event on March 13 will include Sandra Cisneros (right), Carmen Tafolla and Luis Alberto Urrea. The Tucson event on March 17 will feature Dagoberto Gilb and Helena Maria Viramontes. At each stop, the caravan will create Underground Libraries made up of the banned books.

Awards:

Bless Me Ultima author Rudolfo Anaya, left, will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. The ceremony takes place April 20 and coincides with the Los Angeles Festival of Books April 21-22.

• Books by Sergio Chejfec, Tomás Eloy Martínez, Juan José Saer, Moacyr Scliar and Enrique Vila-Matas made the 2012 Best Translated Books Award Longlist.

Book Festivals:

• The Tucson Festival of Books, which runs March 10-11, will include Monica Brown, Denise Chavez, Diana Gabaldon, Carmen Giménez Smith, Grace Pena Delgado, Sam Quinones, Alberto Alvaro Ríos, Sergio Troncoso and Luis Alberto Urrea, right, who will give the keynote address during the Author’s Table Dinner March 9.

Children’s Literature Conference:

March 19 is the deadline for early registration for the National Latino Children’s Literature Conference, which takes place March 29-30 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The event includes seminars on educational strategies, networking opportunities and a keynote address by authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy.

Upcoming releases:

Alisa Valdes, best known for her Dirty Girls Social Club series, plans to publish 100-page ebook romance “novelas” for $1.99 one a month starting with Billy, the Man in April. (Click on her “eRomance” page.)

• Pultizer Prize winner Junot Díaz is releasing a new book of short stories called This Is How You Lose Her on Sept. 11, according to The New York Times.

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In the news: New books by Sáenz and Aira, plus Cisneros, García Márquez

New releases:

• Coming out this week: the young adult novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, about the friendship between two teenage boys, and Varamo by César Aira, about the making of an epic poem by a Panamanian bureaucrat.

Latino scholars honored:

Latino scholars Teófilo Ruiz and Ramón Saldívar were awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.

Children’s books:

Pam Muñoz Ryan’s When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson and Esperanza Rising and Antonio Skarmeta’s The Composition made USA Today’s 100 Greatest Books for Kids.

Reading is Fundamental’s 2011-12 Multicultural Booklist includes books by Loretta Lopez, Alma Flor Ada, George Ancona and Gary Soto.

Other stories:

• The San Antonio Current ran an article about author Sandra Cisneros’ impact on the city, which she plans to leave.

Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera inspired Carlos Campos’ latest fashion collection, according to the Los Angeles Times.

• A Toronto librarian found a letter that appeared to have been written by Jorge Luis Borges, reports the Canadian magazine Quill & Quire.

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‘Tis the season: Christmas books for children

Children are a big reason for celebrating Christmas. If you want to add some books to their stockings, here’s a good list (definitely not definitive) of Latino-themed reads about the holidays:

• The Night of Las Posadas, a 1999 book by Tomie dePaola, tells the story about a local community trying to present the reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey through Bethlehem. Pam Munoz Ryan’s 2005 book There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve is another story about the nativity.

• The Gift of the Poinsettia, a 1995 book by Pat Mora and Chris Ramírez Berg, depicts a young boy’s quest to get the perfect gift for the baby Jesus. Mora also wrote A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas.

• Puerto Rican author Eric Velasquez won a Pura Belape award for his 2011 book, Grandma’s Gift, about a young boy creating the perfect Christmas present for his grandmother.

• Alma Flor Ada, who is of Cuban descent, has written several Christmas books, including The Christmas Tree/El Arbol de Navidad and Celebrate Christmas and Three Kings Days with Pablo and Carlitos (with F. Isabel Campoy).

Growing Up with Tamales/ Los tamales de Ana by Gwendolyn Zepeda in 2009 depicts a great Hispanic Christmas tradition.

• And, finally, the 2008 Charo Claus and the Tejas Kid by Xavier Garza, gives a South Texas twist to the Christmas tale.

Got another great Christmas book to recommend? Make suggestions in the comments.

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