Bilingual Children’s Book Wins Skipping Stones Honor!

HOUSTON, TX June 6, 2016—Acclaimed author Pat Mora is the recipient of a 2016 Skipping Stones Honor Award for her bilingual picture book, The Remembering  Day / El día de los muertos.  The Skipping Stones Awards encourage understanding of the world’s diverse cultures, nature and ecological richness. They promote cooperation, nonviolence, respect for differing viewpoints and close relationships in human societies.

In this story about family relationships, Pat Mora creates an origin myth in which she imagines how the
Mexican custom of remembering deceased loved ones—El día de los muertos or the Day of the Dead—came to be. Long, long, long ago, Bella and her grandmother Mamá Alma admired their vegetable garden. They walked around the flowers and vegetables holding hands, something they had done frequently since Bella was a baby. As her grandmother aged, Bella helped her to walk. “Every year, I need your help more and more,” said Mamá Alma. The oldest and wisest woman in the village, she taught her granddaughter to sing, tell stories and weave. Mamá Alma tells her granddaughter to remember their happy times together and to plan an annual “remembering day,” a special time to think about her when she is gone. This book will encourage children to honor loved ones, whether by writing stories and poems or creating their own remembering place.

The book has been widely praised. Kirkus Reviews called it “a warm family story,” saying “the realistic style and warm colors of the illustrations bring to life the loving relationship between Bella and her grandmother.” According to Publishers Weekly, illustrator Robert Casilla’s “softly glowing portraits of grandmother and grandchild speak to the holiday’s quieter and more contemplative aspects.”

PAT MORA is a renowned writer of poetry, nonfiction and children’s books. She has written over 30 books for children and young adults, including I Pledge Allegiance (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2014), Bravo! Chico Canta! Bravo! (Groundwood Books, 2014), The Bakery Lady/La señora de la panadería (Arte Público Press, 2001), Tomás and the Library Lady (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1997) and The Desert Is My Mother/El desierto es mi madre (Arte Público Press, 1994). An El Paso native and mother of three grown children, she lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

ROBERT CASILLA was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, to parents from Puerto Rico. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has illustrated many multicultural children’s books, including Let’s Salsa / Bailemos salsa (Piñata Books, 2013), The Little Painter of Sabana Grande (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014), Jalapeño Bagels (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1996) and First Day in Grapes (Lee & Low Books, 2002), which won a Pura Belpré Honor Award for illustration. He has also illustrated a number of biographies, including ones about Martin Luther King, Jr.; John F. Kennedy; Eleanor Roosevelt; Rosa Parks; Jackie Robinson; Jesse Owens and Simón Bolívar.

Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors.  Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the realistic and authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters, and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity.