Posted on 17 June 2012 Sunday

Well, the unpacking continues! Too many boxes left and too little wall space! I can look at it as too much stuff or signs of a life well lived. I got it together well enough to finally start cooking, now to get it all done and be settled enough to start reading again!

I have to thank Colleen at Chasing Ray for inviting me to be part of the SummerBlogTour where I was able to feature Ashley Hope Perez, L. Divine and Randa Abdel-Fattah and to read really wonderful interviews on other participating blogs.

The 2012 International Latino Book Awards were announced at BEA. The YA winners:

Best Young Adult Fiction – English

FIRST PLACE The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, Francisco X. Stork; Arthur A. Levine Books; Mexico

 SECOND PLACE Diego’s Dragon, Book One: Spirits of the Sun, Kevin Gerard; Crying Cougar Press;  USA

HONORABLE MENTION Dancing Home, Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta; Atheneum Books; Cuba, USA

 HONORABLE MENTION You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens, Sarah Cortez; Arte Público Press;

Best Young Adult Fiction – Spanish or Bilingual

 FIRST PLACE El Soñador, Pam Munóz Ryan & Peter Sis; Scholastic Books; USA

SECOND PLACE The Monster in the Mattress, Diane De Anda; Arte Público Press;

HONORABLE MENTION El encuentro: coleccion alhambra joven, Rita Wirkala; Pearson Educación; Argentina

HONORABLE MENTION El Vendedor de dulces, R. K. Narayan; Editorial Bambú; India

Best Young Adult Non!ction – English

FIRST PLACE El Caracol: The Story of Alfonso, Labor Camp Child, Yolanda Espinosa Espinoza; Mill City Press, Inc.; USA

SECOND PLACE Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them, Graciela Tiscareno-Sato; Gracefully Global Group LLC; USA

 Best Young Adult Non!ction – Spanish or Bilingual

 FIRST PLACE Vademecum Mujeres: Para que la vida no se te vuelva de cuadritos, María Villegas y Jennie Kent; Villegas Editores; Colombia

Congratulations to all the winners!

I won’t be attending ALA this year, but if you are don’t miss the Diversity and Outreach Fair on Saturday 23 June. Also on Saturday, will be the premiere of the short documentary “got book? Auntie Helen’s Gift of Books”.

GOT BOOK? profiles Helen Agcaoili Summers Brown, founder of the Filipino American Library. Auntie Helen, as she is widely known in the Los Angeles Filipino Community is interviewed by one of her sons, George Brown, tracing her upbringing in the Philippines as a mestiza (half Filipino and half Caucasian American). Reputedly the first Filipina to attend UCLA, Helen married her UCLA sweetheart, Bill Brown, became a teacher and raised a family. Her collection of Philippine books from her father became the basis of her dream, the Filipino American Library, a community based non-profit in the Los Angeles Historic Filipinotown district.

Earlier in June, Carleen Brice brought attention to information on how few books by authors of color are reviewed in the NYTimes.

We looked at 742 books reviewed, across all genres. Of those 742, 655 were written by Caucasian authors (1 transgender writer, 437 men, and 217 women). Thirty-one were written by Africans or African Americans (21 men, 10 women), 9 were written by Hispanic authors (8 men, 1 woman), 33 by Asian, Asian-American or South Asian writers (19 men, 14 women), 8 by Middle Eastern writers (5 men, 3 women) and 6 were books written by writers whose racial background we were simply unable to identify.

 We’re looking at a number of books published each year by authors of color that is in no way proportional to the number of people of color in this country and these would be people who do read, do read to their children, give books as gifts, belong to book clubs, own ereaders and have library cards. Of this small number, we don’t always find faces of color on the  covers of books by these authors or that feature characters of color and even fewer are reviewed in major publications that review books. Essentially, these people who do read, read to their children, give books as gifts, belong to book clubs, own ereaders and who have library cards are given the message that

1. they really aren’t important enough for there to be a wide selection of their stories published

2. their stories deserve to be marginalized, pushed away from mainstream space

I’ll fuss when I see marginalization in books for teens and I say books for teens and not just for teens of color because the books with teens of color are meant for all readers!! And I say fuss because I am not a power player, but I will make noise to create change where I can! I want kids to know that they matter, that their stories, their lives matter. I want them to want to read. I want books to open the world to kids in Podunk, IA, the Mississippi Delta and the Big Apple. And its not just that I want it, but kids need it. I know that it’s part of a sickness in this country, one that can’t  even enough give our president his due and that’s what makes this a never ending, larger than life battle. And, I fuss because what if I didn’t?

Posted in: Sunday Reads