Fitting In Is Hard to Do: Children’s Picture Book Wins Prize

HOUSTON, TX—The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in New Jersey has named Do I Belong Here? / ¿Es este mi lugar? (Piñata Books, 2023) the co-winner of the 2024 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People. Awarded to the most outstanding book for young people published in the previous year, the book tied for the prize in the Pre-K-Grade 3 category with Ted Kooser: More than a Local Wonder by Carla Ketner. It comes with a cash award. Immigrant, educator and acclaimed Salvadoran-American author René Colato Laínez artfully explores the experiences of immigrant children in his award-winning book. An immigrant boy stands “in the middle of a whirlwind of children,” and wonders where he is supposed to go. Finally, a woman speaks to him in a language he doesn’t understand and takes him to his classroom. A boy named Carlos helps orient him, but later when he reads …

Children’s Book Celebrating Mexican Folk Art Wins Prize

HOUSTON, TX—A bilingual picture book loosely based on the life of artist Pedro Linares, Pedro and the Monster Eaters / Pedro y los devoradores de monstruos by Xequina María Berbér (ISBN 978-1-55885-991-3, hardcover, $18.95), is the winner of the 2024 Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature. Forthcoming May 31, 2024, this strikingly illustrated story shares with young readers the fascinating origin of one of Mexico’s most well-known folk arts: the alebrije.  According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, just 351 of the 3,173 children’s books it received that were published in the United States in 2022 were written by Latinos; only 231 were about Latinos. Diversity statistics for 2023 are not yet available. The Salinas de Alba Award seeks to stimulate the work begun by Arte Público Press and its imprint, Piñata Books, which is dedicated to the publication of children’s and young adult literature that authentically and …

Chicana Author to Share Testimony During Book Reading

HOUSTON, TX—Acclaimed LGBTQ+ author Emma Pérez will read from her new book, Testimony of a Shifter, at Brazos Bookstore (2421 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005) at 6:30 pm Friday, April 26, 2024. This fascinating speculative narrative delving into gender transmutation and discrimination has been lauded by Booklist as the “queer, feminist dystopian novel readers [fans of Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Atwood] have been searching for.” Imprisoned by the totalitarian government, Dr. Benito Espinoza practices for his weekly interrogations by recounting his story to his thirteen-year-old daughter. He tells her about turning his back on his ability to shift his gender from male to female—to Alejandra—to become a scholar in the Grand Library. Most academics are Residents who inherited their seats and believe Descendants like Ben don’t have the intellectual ability to be a person of letters. Ben conforms to the laws against transmuting, so he manages to secure …

Bank Street College of Education Honors Three Piñata Books as Best of 2024 in Spanish

HOUSTON, TX—The Bank Street College of Education Children’s Book Committee named three new Piñata Books to its Best Children’s Books of the Year in Spanish list for 2024: Mariano’s First Glove / El primer guante de Mariano by Robert Casilla, Do I Belong Here? / ¿Es este mi lugar? by René Colato Laínez and Tierra, Tierrita / Earth, Little Earth by Jorge Argueta. Additionally, Colato Laínez’s and Argueta’s books were both starred as exceptional for cultural authenticity, engaging style and appealing illustrations, among other characteristics. In Mariano’s First Glove / El primer guante de Mariano, Robert Casilla shares the life story of New York Yankees relief pitcher and closer Mariano Rivera, from his childhood in a small fishing village in Panama to the Baseball Hall of Fame. A School Library Journal review said, “The realistic illustrations depict not only his life but the many hours he spent practicing; the bilingual …

Arte Público Executive Editor Promoted to Deputy Director

HOUSTON, TX—With an eye to the future, Arte Público Press has promoted Executive Editor Dr. Gabriela Baeza Ventura to deputy director in what Director Nicolás Kanellos called “a long-overdue recognition of her dedication and commitment to the work of Hispanic writers.”  Baeza Ventura began working for the press as a research assistant while studying for her doctorate in Spanish at the University of Houston, which she completed in 2001. Now an associate professor of US Latino literature, she became the full-time managing editor in 1999 and executive editor in 2000. “This is such an honor,” Baeza Ventura said of her promotion. “Having worked closely with Dr. Kanellos for many years, I look forward to continuing Arte Público’s mission to promote Latino literature and expand community outreach through our various publications and programming.” In addition to overseeing the editing of Arte Público’s publications, Baeza Ventura has translated over 50 picture books …

A Rare Gem in the City: Publisher Named Houston Cultural Treasure

HOUSTON, TX—Arte Público Press, the nation’s oldest and largest publisher of US Hispanic literature, has been named one of eleven Houston Cultural Treasures by the BIPOC Arts Network & Fund (BANF). The acknowledgement of the press’ importance comes with $500,000 in general operating support over a two-year period and additional funds for technical support. Dr. Nicolás Kanellos, the founder and director of Arte Público Press, said, “We are tremendously honored by this recognition. Arte Público has suffered from being one of Houston’s best-kept secrets, and we feel certain this opportunity will empower us to continue our efforts to help the community, its art and culture.” The Houston Cultural Treasures initiative invests in the arts organizations that have anchored Houston’s communities of color and shaped the city’s dynamic and diverse culture, benefiting current arts groups. It is part of a larger national project sponsored by the Ford Foundation to honor the …

Arte Público Press presentará al astronauta y proyectará su película en UH

HOUSTON, TX—El astronauta y autor de libros infantiles José M. Hernández conversará con el público que asista a la proyección de la nueva película de Amazon Studios, A Million Miles Away. La cinta se presentará en el Student Center South Theatre de la Universidad de Houston (4455 University Dr., Houston, TX 77204), el viernes 27 de octubre, de 5 a 8:15 p.m. Inspirada en la vida real del ingeniero de vuelo de la NASA, José M. Hernández, A Million Miles Away cuenta la  historia de una devota familia de orgullosos trabajadores agrícolas migrantes en un viaje de décadas, desde una aldea rural en Michoacán, México, a los campos del Valle de San Joaquín, California, y de allí, a más de 200 millas de la Tierra, en la Estación Espacial Internacional. Con el apoyo incondicional de sus padres, familiares y maestros, el impulso y la determinación de José lo llevaron a …

Arte Público Press to Host Astronaut and Screen Film at UH

HOUSTON, TX—Astronaut and children’s book author José M. Hernández will speak at a screening of the new Amazon film about his life, A Million Miles Away, which will be shown at the University of Houston in the Student Center South Theater (4455 University Dr., Houston, TX 77204) on Friday, October 27, from 5-8:15 pm. Inspired by the real-life story of NASA flight engineer José M. Hernández, A Million Miles Away follows him and his devoted family of proud migrant farm workers on a decades-long journey, from a rural village in Michoacán, Mexico, to the fields of the San Joaquin Valley, to more than 200 miles above the Earth in the International Space Station. With the unwavering support of his hard-working parents, relatives and teachers, José’s unrelenting drive and determination culminates in the opportunity to achieve his seemingly impossible goal. Acclaimed writer and director Alejandra Márquez Abella has created a dazzling …

Call for Submissions: Children’s Book Awards Support Latino Authors

HOUSTON, TX—Generations of Hispanic children in US schools had to do without books reflecting their culture and heritage. In 2022, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 351 of the 3,173 children’s books published in the United States were written by Latinos (11.06%); only 231 were about Latinos (7.28%). To fill that gap, Arte Público Press is accepting children’s book manuscripts to be considered for two awards: the Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature and the Reyes-Olivas Award for Best First Book of Latino Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Both seek to stimulate the work begun by Arte Público Press and its imprint, Piñata Books, which is dedicated to the publication of children’s and young adult literature that realistically portrays themes, characters and customs unique to US Hispanic culture. In addition to the publication of the book and royalties from sales, the winning authors will receive a …

Children’s Book Celebrating Nature Wins Prize

HOUSTON, TX—A trilingual picture book about the earth we inhabit, Tierra, Tierrita / Earth, Little Earth by Jorge Argueta (ISBN 978-1-55885-967-8, hardcover, $18.95), is the winner of the 2023 Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature. Published May 31, 2023, this stirring story celebrating Mother Earth reflects the author’s indigenous roots and appreciation for the natural world. According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, just 351 of the 3,173 children’s books it received that were published in the United States in 2022 were written by Latinos; only 231 were about Latinos. The Salinas de Alba Award seeks to stimulate the work begun by Arte Público Press and its imprint, Piñata Books, which is dedicated to the publication of children’s and young adult literature that authentically and realistically portrays themes, characters and customs unique to US Hispanic culture. In addition to the publication of the book and royalties from sales, …