Tag Archives: National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month 2012

Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month 2012! (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)

For those of you who don’t know, here’s some information about the month directly from www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov:

“The purpose of National Hispanic Heritage Month is to celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

“The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

“The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.”

Last year, I vowed to read more young adult novels written by Latino/a authors. My goal was one a month. I fell behind my self-imposed schedule, but I completed ten novels. I wrote about eight already and have two posts in the pipeline. I have decided to make this an ongoing feature, with the hope that it will serve as a resource. With this in mind, I created a “Celebrating Hispanic Authors” page with sub-pages and copied the original posts there. Check those out when you can!

Caridad Ferrer

Cristina García

Francisco X. Stork

Gary Soto

Matt de la Peña

Nancy Osa

Pam Muñoz Ryan

Victor Martinez

I also posted a long list of books by Hispanic Authors, which I plan to update soon. Finally, since I’m a teacher and all, I am going to add two new things to future posts that highlight Hispanic authors. I will add the Lexile number attached to the book, if available, and Teaching Tips. These would not be full-blown lesson plans, but things that stood out to me while reading–things I’d develop further if I were to teach the novel in my class.

While I’m preparing my next post on Benjamin Alire Sáenz and his novel SAMMY & JULIANA IN HOLLYWOOD, you may want to check out three great sites that promote Hispanic literacy are Latina Book ClubVamos a Leer, and The Hispanic Reader.

Celebrating Hispanic Authors: Spotlight on Matt de la Peña

In an effort to celebrate Hispanic authors beyond National Hispanic Heritage month, I plan to read and post about YA novels written by Latino/as. You may also want to check out Latina Book Club, a site by Maria Ferrer dedicated to promoting Hispanic authors and literacy.

http://www.latinabookclub.com/

And, today’s YA author in the spotlight is: Matt de la Peña. Enjoy!

AUTHOR: (information comes from the author’s website www.mattdelapena.com): Matt de la Peña has had four YA novels, a picture book, and several short stories published. His debut novel, BALL DON’T LIE, was published in 2005 and made into a major motion picture. The book was named as an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults and an ALA-YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. His other novels, MEXICAN WHITEBOY, WE WERE HERE, and I WILL SAVE YOU were also recognized by the ALA-YALSA, the Junior Library Guild, and others. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. He teaches creative writing at NYU and visits high schools and colleges all over the country.

YA NOVEL: MEXICAN WHITEBOY

Mexican WhiteBoy

FROM THE BOOK JACKET: Danny’s tall and skinny. Even though he’s not built, his arms are long enough to give his pitch a power so fierce any college scout would sign him on the spot. Ninety-five-mile-an-hour fastball, but the boy’s not even on a team. Every time he gets on the mound, he loses it. Ball ends up so far out of the strike zone it’s laughable.

But at his private school, they don’t expect much else from him. Danny’s brown. Half-Mexican brown. And growing up in San Diego, that close to the border, means everyone knows exactly who he is before he even opens his mouth. Before they find out he can’t speak Spanish, and before they realize his mom has blond hair and blue eyes, they’ve got him pegged. But it works the other way too. And Danny’s convinced it’s the whiteness that sent his father back to Mexico.

That’s why he’s spending the summer with his dad’s family. Only, to find himself, he may just have to face the demons he refuses to see–the demons that are right in front of his face. And open up to a friendship he never saw coming.

Set in the alleys and on the ball fields of San Diego County, MEXICAN WHITEBOY is a story of friendship, acceptance, and the struggle to find your identity in a world of definitions.

MY TWO CENTS: I don’t often read books about sports, and I have already read a lot of  books about mixed-race cultural identity struggles. Because of this, I wasn’t sure  how I would react to this novel. I picked it up because I had heard and read a lot about  de la Peña. In the end, I wasn’t disappointed. The novel blends the major issues, so a reader can’t pin it down and say, “It’s a sports book,” or, “It’s a cultural identity book.” It’s both. And it’s more than that. It’s about friendship, family, love, pain, and the complicated process of figuring out one’s identity. I think it’s an especially good book for boys and reluctant readers because the issues and characters make you want to keep reading.

LINKS for more information:

Find MEXICAN WHITEBOY on Amazon.com and Goodreads.

Celebrating Hispanic Authors

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, I promised to read a novel written by a Latino/a and blog about it each month. I have fallen behind on the reading, but I have started Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña and will write about it once I am done. In the meantime, I’ve compiled a list of Latino/a authors who write middle grade and young adult novels. There were a couple of good lists online already, so I worked with those and added some names. If I have missed anyone, please let me know. I will add them to the list and to my personal to-be-read list. Enjoy and Happy Reading!

Isabel Allende: City of Beasts series

Julia Alvarez: Before We Were Free, Return to Sender, Finding Miracles

Sandra Cisneros: The House on Mango Street

Jack Gantos: Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, Joey Pigza Loses Control, Hole in My Life, Dead End in Norvelt

Francisco Jimenez: The Circuit, Reaching Out, Breaking Through

Pam Muñoz Ryan: Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi Leon, The Dreamer, Riding Freedom, Paint the Wind

Gary Soto: Buried Onions, The Afterlife, Accidental Love, Baseball in April etc.

Francisco X. Stork: Marcelo in the Real World, The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, Irises, Behind the Eyes, The Way of the Jaguar

Margarita Engle: The Firefly Letters, Hurricane Dancers, The Poet Slave of Cuba, The Surrender Tree, Tropical Secrets, The Wild Book

Cristina Garcia: I Wanna Be Your Shoebox, Dreams of Significant Girls

Judith Ortiz Cofer: An Island Like You, Stories of the Barrio, Call Me María, If I Could Fly

Alisa Valdes: Haters, The Temptation: A Kindred Novel (coming 2012)

Ashley Hope Perez: What Can’t Wait

Jennifer Cervantes: Tortilla Sun

Meg Medina: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (coming 2012)

Jessica Martinez: Virtuosity

Yxta Maya Murray: What it Takes to Get to Vegas, The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Kidnapped

René Saldaña Jr.: The Jumping Tree, The Whole Sky Full of Stars, Finding Our Way, A Good Long Way

Sofia Quintero: Efrain’s Secret

Lulu Delacre: Golden Tales, Salsa Stories, Shake it Morena!

Kim Flores: Gamma Glamma

Bettina Restrepo: Illegal

Gaby Triana: Riding the Universe, Backstage Pass, The Temptress Four, Cubanita

Alex Sanchez: Boyfriends with Girlfriends, The God Box, Bait, Rainbow High, Rainbow Road, Rainbow Boys, So Hard to Say, Getting It

Matt de la Peña: I Will Save You, We Were Here, Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican Whiteboy

Veronica Chambers: Mama’s Girl, Plus, Marisol and Magdalena, Quinceñera Means Sweet 15

Benjamin Alire Sáenz: Last Night I Sang to the Monster, Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood

Caridad Ferrer: When the Stars Go Blue, Adiós to My Old Life, It’s Not About the Accent

Torrey Maldonado: Secret Saturdays

Iris Gomez: Try to Remember

Viola Canales: The Tequila Worm

Nancy Osa: Cuba 15

Malín Alegría: Estrella’s Quinceñera, Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico

Carmen Rodrigues: Not Anything

Michele Serros: Honey Blonde Chica, Scandalosa!

Ofelia Dumas Lachtman: The Trouble with Tessa, Leticia’s Secret, The Truth About Las Mariposas

Juan Felipe Herrera: CrashBoomLove, Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box, SkateFate

e.E. Charlton-Trujillo: Prizefighter en Mi Casa, Feels Like Home

Agnes Martinez: Poe Park

Maria Colleen Cruz: Border Crossing

Lorraine Lopez: Call Me Henri

David Hernandez: Suckerpunch, No More Us for You

Nico Medina: Straight Road to Kylie, Fat Hoochie Prom Queen

Marisa Montes: A Circle of Time

Diana López: Confetti Girl

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez: The Smell of Old Lady Perfume

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Spotlight on Pam Muñoz Ryan

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, I am highlighting an Hispanic author of young adult literature each week. At the end of the month, I will post a list of titles for those of you interested in reading YA novels written by Hispanic authors. I will continue to
chip away at the long list and post about them during the year because–hey, Hispanics should be celebrated year round! :.)

Here’s a link with more information about National Hispanic Heritage Month:

http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/

And here’s a link for Latina Book Club, a site by Maria Ferrer dedicated to promoting Hispanic authors and literacy.

http://www.latinabookclub.com/

And, today’s YA author in the spotlight is PAM MUÑOZ RYAN. Enjoy!

AUTHOR: (information comes from the author’s website www.pammunozryan.com): Pam Muñoz Ryan  has written over thirty books for young people, from picture books for the very young to young adult novels, including the award winning ESPERANZA RISING, BECOMING NAOMI LEÓN, RIDING FREEDOM, PAINT THE WIND, and THE DREAMER. She is the National Education Association´s Author recipient of the Civil and Human Rights Award, the Virginia Hamilton Award for Multicultural Literature, and is twice the recipient of the Willa Cather Literary Award for writing. She was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, (formerly Pam Bell), received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at San Diego State University, and now lives in North San Diego County with her family.

YA NOVEL: ESPERANZA RISING.

Esperanza Rising

FROM THE BOOK JACKET: Esperanza believed her life would be wonderful forever. She would always live on her family’s ranch in Mexico. She would always have fancy dresses and a beautiful home filled with servants. Papa and Abuelita would always be with her. But a sudden tragedy shatters her world and forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California, where they settle in a camp for Mexican migrant workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, and lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick, and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–because Mama’s life and her own depend on it.

MY TWO CENTS: This novel was on my to-read list for a long time. The teachers at my former school read it with their 6th graders, and I had heard a lot about it, but I never got around to reading it myself. I’m glad I finally did. I listened to the audio version of the novel, which can sometimes make or break my experience. The reader was great, and the story was both beautifully written and touching. Muñoz Ryan’s writing has a lyrical quality and her characters are likeable and memorable. The story of Esperanza’s family losing everything and needing to start over was skillfully blended with the historical setting, the Great Depression. Esperanza’s relationship with her mother, her love of the land–a seed planted by her father–and the lovely portrayal of Mexican culture were all high points for me.

LINKS for more information:

Find ESPERANZA RISING on Amazon.com and Goodreads.

 

NEXT UP: The long list of YA novels written by Hispanic authors.

My First Guest Post

Check out the link below for my first guest post! Maria Ferrer is behind the Latina Book Club, which promotes Hispanic authors and literacy in general. She asked me to write about how and why I celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. She’s had some great posts/contributions from accomplished Latinos/as and writers who have already been published, so I was humbled and excited to contribute to her site.

www.latinabookclub.com

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Spotlight on Gary Soto

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, I am highlighting an Hispanic author of young adult literature each week. At the end of the month, I will post a list of titles for those of you interested in reading YA novels written by Hispanic authors. I will continue to
chip away at the long list and post about them during the year because–hey, Hispanics should be celebrated year round! :.)

Here’s a link with more information about National Hispanic Heritage Month:

http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/

And here’s a link for Latina Book Club, a site by Maria Ferrer dedicated to promoting Hispanic authors and literacy.

http://www.latinabookclub.com/

And, today’s YA author in the spotlight is GARY SOTO. Enjoy!

AUTHOR: (information comes from the author’s website www.garysoto.com): Gary Soto, born April 12, 1952, was raised in Fresno, California. His poetry collection for adults, New and Selected Poems, was a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 1997, because of his advocacy for reading, he was featured as NBC’s Person-of-the-Week. In 1999, he received the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Author-Illustrator Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association, and the PEN Center West Book Award for Petty Crimes. A prolific writer, Soto has authored picture books, middle grade novels, short stories, poetry for younger readers, YA novels, and books for adults and high school students. Other titles include: ACCIDENTAL LOVE, THE AFTERLIFE, TAKING SIDES, and BASEBALL IN APRIL AND OTHER STORIES.

YA NOVEL: BURIED ONIONS.

Buried Onions

FROM THE BOOK JACKET: All of my life everyone was pulling away from me—Father, my mom, Jesús, school friends, and homies who disappeared in three lines of the obituary column. I could have cried under the heat of Fresno, but it wouldn’t have mattered. My tears would have evaporated before anyone saw my sadness.

Fresno, California, is such a sorrowful place that nineteen-year-old Eddie imagines there must be onions buried underground, their vapors drawing tears from the residents above. Eddie is trying hard to stay out of trouble and make a decent living, but he’s not finding it easy—especially with his aunt urging him to avenge his cousin’s murder. Will Eddie get caught up in the violence he despises? Or can he escape this land of buried onions?

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age

MY TWO CENTS: Soto’s talent as a poet with a keen eye for detail and skill for beautiful description is always evident. The buried onion image runs throughout the novel, as Eddie navigates life in a community plagued by gang violence and few real options for a brighter future. Soto writes: “For me, there wasn’t much to do except eat and sleep, watch out for drive-bys, and pace myself through life. I had dropped out of City College, where I was taking classes in air-conditioning. I quit not long after my cousin, mi primo, Jesús got killed.” Eddie struggles to work honestly and ultimately has to decide whether to stay in Fresno or get out by joining the military. While this is a sad tale on many levels, there is hope in Eddie, who refuses to give in or give up.

LINKS for more information:

Find BURIED ONIONS on Amazon.com and Goodreads.

NEXT UP: ESPERANZA RISING by Pam Muñoz Ryan

National Hispanic Heritage Month: Spotlight on Caridad Ferrer

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, I am highlighting an Hispanic author of young adult literature each week. At the end of the month, I will post a list of titles for those of you interested in reading YA novels written by Hispanic authors. I will continue to
chip away at the long list and post about them during the year because–hey, Hispanics should be celebrated year round! :.)

Here’s a link with more information about National Hispanic Heritage Month:

http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/

And here’s a link for Latina Book Club, a site by Maria Ferrer dedicated to promoting Hispanic authors and literacy.

http://www.latinabookclub.com/

And, today’s YA author in the spotlight is CARIDAD FERRER. Enjoy!

AUTHOR: (this information is from the author’s website www.caridadferrer.com and her author page on amazon.com) Barbara Caridad Ferrer is a first generation, bilingual Cuban-American, born in Manhattan and raised in Miami. Her young adult debut, ADÍOS TO MY OLD LIFE won the Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance. It was also named to ALA’s 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list. Publisher’s Weekly said this about her second YA novel, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ACCENT: “…this twisting book amply rewards readers.” She has also contributed to the anthology FIFTEEN CANDLES: 15 TALES OF TAFFETA, HAIRSPRAY, DRUNK UNCLES, AND OTHER QUINCEAÑERA STORIES and is a regular contributor to Romancing the Blog (www.romancingtheblog.com).

YA NOVEL: WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE, a contemporary retelling of Bizet’s CARMEN.

When the Stars Go Blue: A Novel

FROM THE BOOK JACKET: Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of a fellow student Jonathan Crandall, who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Instead, why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has.

But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad’s affections appears. One explosive encounter later, Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened but her entire future as a professional dancer in jeopardy.

MY TWO CENTS: While reading this, I could easily see how Ferrer won a Romance Writer’s award. The relationship between Soledad and Jonathan is hot, hot, hot. The romance grows complicated when another cutie, Taz, enters the story and Jonathan becomes increasingly jealous and possessive of Soledad. The story’s tragic turn leaves Soledad’s heart and body broken, but rest assured, the ending is happy and oh so sweet. Ferrer’s writing also shows some love for Miami, music, dance, and drum and bugle corps, with rich descriptions of each throughout the novel.

LINKS for more information:

Find WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE on Amazon.com and Goodreads.

NEXT UP: BURIED ONIONS by Gary Soto

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