Houston, TX— Generations of Hispanic children in US schools had to do without books reflecting their culture and heritage. In 2019, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 225 of the 4,029 children’s books published were written by Latinos; only 235 were about Latinos.
In an effort to fill that gap, Arte Público Press is accepting children’s book manuscripts to be considered for the Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature. The award, which will be given annually to one children’s picture book manuscript, seeks to address the need for more culturally relevant, bilingual reading materials for Hispanic children by encouraging more authors to create for this growing audience.
Manuscripts can be submitted all year long in English, Spanish or bilingual formats. Children’s book entries (between 50 and 1,000 words) should be submitted in PDF format online at https://artepublicopress.com/submissions/.
In addition to publication of the book, the winner will receive a cash award of $5,000. The announcement will be made shortly before the book is published. The art and design for award-winning books will be handled exclusively by Arte Público Press.
A bilingual picture book introducing children to the phases of the moon, Luna luminosa, ¿dónde estás? / Luminous Moon, Where Are You? (ISBN 978-1-55885-911-1, hardcover, $18.95), won the inaugural award. A charming story by Aracely De Alvarado published October 31, 2020, it follows a curious boy who tries to solve the mystery of the missing moon by talking to several nocturnal animals. Children ages 4 to 8 will enjoy singing the traditional Spanish song, “Sale la luna,” which is included in the text, and repeating the sounds animals make—in both English and Spanish!
The Salinas de Alba Award seeks to further 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 portrays themes, characters and customs unique to US Latino culture. Piñata Books has had particular success with its bilingual [Spanish/English] picture books for young readers. Many have been included in recommended reading lists such as the Texas Library Association’s Tejas Star Reading List and the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature Commended Titles. Others have won national awards such as the Skipping Stones Award, the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Literature and the Pura Belpré Award.
The award is named in honor of Hermila Lidia Salinas de Alba (1921-2017), a mother, grandmother and primary schoolteacher who loved children and reading. Born and raised in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Hermila was educated at the Escuela Normal in Saltillo, Coahuila, and taught at a primary school in Piedras Negras. She married Samuel Alba in 1943 and together they raised ten children. In addition to various business ventures in Piedras Negras, they pursued migrant farm work in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho before settling in Salt Lake City, Utah. She stressed the importance of education and left a legacy of love and lifelong learning for her nine surviving children, 33 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
ARTE PÚBLICO PRESS is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by US 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. Books published under the imprint are designed to serve as a bridge from school to home to support family literacy and elementary school education. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity.