January 28, 2010

Reading Magic

I’ve started a new picture book which means while I’m trying to deal with paper work, e-mails, spring trip details, and promoting April 2010 Día celebrations across the country, I’m longing, yes longing, to be playing with my new project.

I recently began A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel and am learning all kinds of wonderful details and enjoying how smoothly they are presented. The book reminded me of the obvious fact that as readers, we agree on the meaning of a set of symbols. For anyone who knows bookjoy, we know, though forget, how amazing it is that the symbols/letters we look at magically can teach us, hurt us, sadden us, make us laugh. How blessed we are to be members of the global community of readers. Little wonder that we can feel a desire to share the gift of literacy, to share bookjoy.

January 23, 2010

Pura Belpré Awards

On January 18, many significant awards for the top books, audiobooks and video for children and teens were announced at the American Library Association’s Midwinter meeting. Included in the announcements were the Pura Belpré Awards honoring Latino writers and illustrators whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience. Pat is “simply thrilled” for both Rafael López and John Parra, Belpré winners for their illustrations of two of her picture books. López won the Illustrator Award for Book Fiesta: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros and Parra won an Illustrator Honor for Gracias/ Thanks.

The Pura Belpré Award is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA), an ALA affiliate. Between 1996 and 2008 the award was given every other year and is now given annually.

You can read interviews with Rafael López and John Parra about their work on these books in Pat’s newsletter archives.
Rafael López interview
John Parra interview

Book Fiesta and Gracias/Thanks also were recognized as ALA Children’s Notable Books!

January 12, 2010


  It’s always an exciting moment to hold a first copy of one of my books in my hands. I tend to stare at the envelope suspecting what’s inside. When a Texas librarian suggested the idea of writing a collection of love poems for teens, I was initially a bit hesitant since I always have a list of the books I want to write, and such a book had never been on my list.

I began the poems that became Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love in 2005 supported on the journey by Nancy Hinkel, my wonderful editor. I became more intrigued when teachers and librarians across the country encouraged me saying that boys and girls really liked love poems, that boys sometimes copied the poems and signed their names. Now, that’s an incentive. The book is about all kinds of love, and my hope is that any group or class each person will find at least one poem that speaks to him or her. Enjoy!