Calling All Latino Authors…

New Children’s Book Award Celebrates Latino Talent

Houston, TXArte Público Press is now accepting children’s book manuscripts to be considered for the inaugural Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature.  The award 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.  The award will be given on an annual basis to one manuscript for a children’s picture book.

Generations of Hispanic children in US schools had to do without books reflecting their culture and heritage. And even as recently as 2017, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 116 of the 3,700 children’s books published were written by Latinos; only 216 were about Latinos.

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 and realistically portrays themes, characters and customs unique to US Hispanic culture.  Committed to publishing 10 books each year, Piñata Books has had particular success with its bilingual [Spanish/English] picture books for young readers. Books published under the imprint have been well received, with many being named to 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.  Other Piñata Books have been recognized by national awards such as the Skipping Stones Award, the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Literature and the Pura Belpré Award.

Manuscripts will be due annually by December 31.  The selections will be submitted to a committee made up of bilingual educators, authors and reading specialists in early January, followed by the committee’s recommendation on January 31.  In addition to the publication of the book and royalties from sales, the winning author will receive a $5,000 prize.

Children’s book entries (between 50 and 1,000 words) should be submitted in PDF format online at Manuscripts can be submitted in English, Spanish or bilingually.  The art and design for the award-winning book will be handled exclusively by Arte Público Press.

Hermila Lidia Salinas de Alba (1921-2017) was a mother, grandmother and primary school teacher who loved children and reading. Born and raised in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, 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. They stressed the importance of education to their children and grandchildren. A devoted Christian, Hermila was a member of the LDS church with a passion for family history research. She was also a gifted cook and cultivated a loving home where all were welcome. For several years she and Samuel owned and operated the restaurant La Piñata in Salt Lake City. For her nine surviving children, 33 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren, she left a legacy of love and lifelong learning.

Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors.  Books published under the Piñata Books imprint are designed to serve as a bridge from the home culture to that of the school, as well as to support family literacy and elementary school education. 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.