Author Sonia Sotomayor, Authors, Books, Latina writer, Latino family tradition, Latino Literature

Books for Christmas ?!

I’m that tia (aunt) who often gives books for Christmas and birthdays.  My nieces and nephews have lots of toys, too many clothes, and not enough trips to the library.My mom also gives books in addition to clothes and/or a toy.

I must say though that my nieces and nephews reactions haven’t been as forceful as the kid in the YouTube above, ‘pooh-poohing’ his way across the Christmas tree and the Wii set.

The kids might ‘pooh-pooh’ me in their mind, but my family wouldn’t dare giggle or they’d hear a few choice words in Spanish fly out of my mom’s mouth (the equivalent of ‘unappreciative brat’).

This year the tradition continues. Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday arrives think about giving some books to your family and friends, whether a child or an adult.

Today’s list is from a site that encourages reading about the Latino culture. The Best 2014 New Latino Authors was compiled by Jose B. Gonzalez, Ph.D., writer, poet, editor and John S. Christie, Ph.D., the author of Latino Fiction and the Modernist Imagination. Their website has tons of recommendations for adults and children, from  2006-2013.  (I apologize that the photos may not appear, however the links to the books are fine).

 The first list is for adults or older teenagers. The list below this one is from Flavorwire and are books for children. 

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My Beloved World

Sonia Sotomayor

1) This author needs no introduction. In her memoir, My Beloved World, the ever-inspirational Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor provides readers with powerful insight on the role that hard work and determination played in the early parts of her life as she forged a path to law school from housing projects in the Bronx to Princeton University, Yale Law School, and to the highest court in the nation.
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Reboot

Amy Tintera

2) If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, there is no doubt that you will absolutely love Amy Tintera’s Reboot. Not surprisingly, the film rights to this thrilling sci-fi novel have already been sold.  This is an author who knows how to push the limits of imagination and write young adult works that will leave everyone begging for sequels.
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Flowers In The Dust

Myriam Alvarez

3) In Flowers in the Dust, Miriam Alvarez tells an intriguing tale based on her grandmother’s life. This work of historical fiction paints a poignant picture of South America around the mid-1900s, and is a touching portrait of a woman whose devotion to family is inspirational. 
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Mario Alberto Zambrano

4) Mario Alberto Zambrano brilliantly weaves together a plot that that flows smoothly as it unravels like the popular game and novel’s namesake, Loteria. And just like the game, the story is unpredictable and full of twists. 
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The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

Sonia Manzano

5) Sonia Manzano, author of The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, has shown us that she has acting talent, having played Maria on Sesame Street since 1971.  And now through this novel, she shows off her writing skills.  Set in the 1960s East Harlem, this story is both gritty and witty as it revisits a time of the Young Lords, rebellion, and youth.
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Speaking Wiri Wiri

Dan Vera

6) In Speaking Wiri Wiri, winner of the inaugural edition of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, Dan Vera shows us why he is earning a reputation as a talented, sophisticated poet who is a master at playing with words. This collection, his second book of poetry, is a dazzling display of language and emotion.
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The Bolero of Andi Rowe

Toni Margarita Plummer

7) In the short story collection, The Bolero of Andi Rowe, Toni Margarita Plummer reminds us that this genre is alive and well.  She is a master of subtle suspense—the kind that creates tension waiting to explode until the final twist.
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The Sandoval Sisters’ Secret of Old …

Sandra Ramos O’Brien

8)  Sandra Ramos O’Briant’s The Sandoval Sisters’ Secret of Old Blood is a page-turning work of historical fiction with drama that multiplies over and over, in a style that will make it difficult to put this novel down.
pastedGraphic_8.pdfA Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying

Laurie Ann Guerrero

9) Winner of the prestigious Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, Laurie Ann Guerrero’s A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying is a poetry collection with images that are both haunting and fascinating.  Guerrero illustrates that she is part poet and part storyteller.
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The Mares of Lenin Park

Agustin D. Martinez

10)  Agustin D. Martinez, author of The Mares of Lenin Park, created quite the buzz in 2013.  His debut novel is part of an impressive line of works that tell the sometimes complex but compelling stories of Cubans during the revolution.

Flavorwire compiled a list of a few great children’s books with diverse characters and stories. These are classics, beautifully written and artistically pleasing.

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Tar Beach, Faith Ringgold

In this gorgeous book — a work of quilted art with story woven in — a little girl dream-soars above 1939 Harlem, looking down at the eponymous tar beach of her family’s roof. Evidence that imagination can overcome most anything.

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Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things, Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham

Second-grader Alvin Ho is scared of everything — especially school, which frightens him so much he can’t say a word. Adorable and immensely relatable, everyone will fall in love with Alvin as he worries over his descent from “farmer-warriors who haven’t had a scaredy bone in their bodies since 714 AD” and takes pride in his “gentleman in training” status.

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The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, Paul Goble

Goble’s Caldecott-winning 1978 story of a Native American girl swept up in a stampede is a masterpiece, surely one of the most beautiful children’s books of all time. For every little girl who has ever felt a deep connection to horses. You probably know some little girls like that.

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Inside Out and Back Again, Thanhha Lai

The Vietnamese-American writer Thanha Lai’s debut novel, which won the National Book Award in 2011, tells the tale of Hà, a ten-year-old girl who flees to Alabama with her family during the fall of Saigon. The language is beautiful and the story, based on the author’s own experiences, is quite touching.

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Esperanza Rising, Pam Munoz Ryan

This chapter book follows 13-year-old Esperanza as her wealthy family loses everything during the Great Depression. She and her mother are forced to flee their fancy ranch in Mexico to California to work on a farm. Esperanza must remake herself in this new, physically and mentally demanding world — but after all, “esperanza” means “hope.”

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Bud, Not Buddy, Christopher Paul Curtis

“It’s funny how ideas are, in a lot of ways they’re just like seeds,” muses ten-year-old Bud-not-Buddy, on the lam from a foster home to find his father in 1930s Michigan. “Both of them start real, real small and then… woop, zoop, sloop… before you can say Jack Robinson, they’ve gone and grown a lot bigger than you ever thought they could.” A delightful modern classic and the winner of the 2000 Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award.

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Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, Ed Young

Some stories, like the Red Riding Hood tale, strike so close to the human heart that they re-pattern themselves across cultures and countries — if perhaps wearing different cloaks. This beautifully illustrated, immensely powerful book — dedicated “To all the wolves of the world for lending their good name as a tangible symbol for our darkness” — is the version your literary editor grew up with.

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My Name is Maria Isabel, Alma Flor Ada

María Isabel Salazar López is the new girl in school, and her teacher insists on calling her Mary. How can María make her see that her name — her proper name — means everything to her? A sweet story about heritage and standing up for yourself.

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The Composition, Antonio Skarmeta and Alfonso Ruano

The winner of the Americas Award for Children’s Literature and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, this picture book follows two young boys in a village in Chile after one of their fathers is arrested and the agents of the dictatorship try to turn children against parents. Serious, edgy, and brilliant.

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The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats

But of course. Keats’s beloved Caldecott Medal-winning book, published in 1962, made history for being the first full-color picture book to feature an African-American protagonist. Add to that the beautiful collage-style illustrations and Peter’s charming, understated adventure, and you have an all-time classic that never seems to age.

Next post will be a list for Middle Grade and YA. Happy reading and have fun choosing some memorable books.

Books, Latina writer, Latino children summer reading list, Latino culture, Latino Literature, Literacy, Summer Reads 2013

Summer Reading-Latino Lit Lista

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The summer solstice is on the horizon and with it the long summer days. Aromas of grilled corn, the juicy taste of fruit popsicles, lounging at the beach or backyard, and a good book have me anticipating the weeks ahead.

The annual “summer reading list,” has been a feature in many magazines, from Latina to Cosmo and Oprah. These books are usually quick read paperbacks that are about ‘lighter’ topics. And they’re all good lists, however I offer you one more:

The 2012-2013 award winning books written by Latina/o authors.

Whether you are Latina/o or not, think about using this lista as an opportunity to explore different themes in the Latina/o experience, discover multi-cultural characters, and peek into other worlds that may be dissimilar to your own, but resonant with universal themes important to all of us.

This list ranges from adventure to suspense:
  1. MISSING IN MACHU PICCHU-Cecilia Velastegui’s. Action/Romance “…four thirty-something professional women embark on (a) hike to help them confront their online dating dependency, only to find themselves victims of a predator’s ruse, and soon in a fight for their very lives.”

  2. THE LOST-Caridad Piñero. Action/Paranormal Romance. “Home from combat in Iraq, Bobbie Carerra wants only peace, (she finds herself) in a terrifying battle against paranormal enemies who hide in plain sight.”
  3. DESPERADO-A MILE HIGH NOIR-Manuel Ramos. Crime novel. “Money, sex and greed…theft of the sacred tilma of our Lady of Guadalupe and drug cartels…”
  4. THE SANDOVAL SISTERS’ SECRET OF OLD BLOODSandra Ramos O’Briant. Historical fiction set in 1800’s.…sisters are caught in the crosshairs…of the Mexican-American War…from two important fronts-New Mexico and Texas. Their money and ancient knowledge offer some protection, but their lives are changed forever.”
  5. THE OLD MAN’S LOVE STORY-Rudolfo Anaya. Fiction. “The nameless narrator…shares his most intimate thoughts about his wife, their life together, and her death. But just as death is inseparable from life, his wife seems still to be with him. Her memory and words permeate his days.”

  6. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US-Memoir. Reyna Grande. “… a story of a childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries.”
  7. WE THE ANIMALS-Justin Torres. Memoir. “… the chaotic heart of one family, the intense bonds of three brothers, and the mythic effects of this fierce love on the people we must become.”
  8. EVERY LAST SECRET-Mystery. Linda Rodriguez. “…police chief Skeet Bannion(finds herself in a race) against the clock to solve a series of linked murders… before her best friend winds up in jail—or worse.”
  9. HOW FIRE IS A STORY, WAITING-Melinda Palacio. Poetry. “… (she) creates images that are at once heartbreaking and humorous….elemental subjects of family and childhood…and celebrates the women who came before her.
  10. THE SECOND TIME WE MET-Leila Cobo. Fiction. “…a graceful, skillfully woven tale of Rita and the son who comes to find her more than two decades later.”  
  11. MAP OF THE SKY- Felix J. Palma. Sci-Fi. “What if the events of H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds” became true…this is the result.”
  12. MAYA’S NOTEBOOK-Isabelle Allende. Suspense. “… (when her grandfather dies) Maya turns to drugs, alcohol, and petty crime…Lost in a dangerous underworld,…—a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol. (She) escapes to a remote island off the coast of Chile. Here, Maya …embarks on her greatest adventure: the journey into her own soul.”
There’s a book genre for everyone. So far I’ve read five of the 12 books and plan to read five more, maybe squeeze in the whole list. 

If you’re looking for a list of children’s books here’s a link to Latino Childrens Summer Reading List.

If you have any books with multi-cultural characters, settings or storylines, please add them in the comment section. My TBR list is ever growing. 


Happy reading.
Amada Irma Perez, Connelles, France, La Residence Normandie, Latina writer, Normandy, Paris, Seine, Travel, Writing

Writers in Connelles, Normandy, France Day 1

Amada Cafe St. Lazare, Paris
It took a plane, bus, train, and taxi but we made it to Connelles, Upper Normandy, France 18 hours after departing LAX. Our first stop, Cafe St. Lazare, with mon ami Amada. 



the pit Paris, Fr. 

The bathrooms in old buildings require strong thighs and an overwhelming urgency to go.
I decided to wait until we walked to Gare St. Lazare Train Station. The .50 E worth it. Talked with very nice people in cafe and station, very helpful teenagers helped with luggage-just because. It helps so much to know some French.

We arrived at the village of Connelles 1 hr. 30 minutes later. La Residence Normandie sits among meadows, corn fields, forest and the River Seine. 

La Residence Normandie, Connelle, FR-MFrazier
After we got our bearings, unpacked and rested we found out there are no grocery stores for 5 miles, no shuttles, no village buses. 

The reception lobby has a grocery store, behind a counter, where one orders Cote d’Rhone or Burgundy wine; Camembert, for 2.30 E, daily bread: pain du chocolat, baguettes, croissants .92 E. 

first French dinner in Connelle AlvardoFrazier





We enjoyed our first dinner, Spagetti 
Bolognaise and haricorts verts (green beans) immensely before we dropped into our beds for a rest before getting our second wind.

A stroll across the bridge, journals in hand. Enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells. The perfect bench awaited us.

our perfect writing spot Connelles, Fr. AlvaradoFrazier

Ah, to take time to explore around our new surroundings to walk over across the unassuming bridge, over the deep dark waters of the Seine, traveling beneath us. Mona and I stopping just long enough to take pictures. Our only neighbor the restaurant next door that looks like a castle with pink geranium boxes.


Turning on all of our senses… sitting down to let the beauty and serenity reach way down- soul deep. Stopping to sit on a bench which seems to be placed here just for us, a perfect place to be the writers we are and live the writing life we’ve chosen or has chosen us. Oh, this place, this day, is the perfect beginning to our writing retreat. Amada Irma Perez.

Buzzing bees, curious flies, soft coos of mourning doves. Birds twitter in Morse code, two visitors approach. Dancing iridescent blue dragonflies chase one another over the deep green of the Seine. A bevy of geese glide over the glassy surface. White butterflies flit over fuchsia sweet peas.

 Mulberry trees, Willows, Blue Spruce sway in the cool breeze, signaling the nose to take a deep breath.

sunset over Seine Connelles, FR AlvaradoFrazier

Who sat on this wooden bench before me?  Did they photograph their moments in their mind. MAlvaradoFrazier

What do you see? 










Authors, Chingona, Chingonas, How to be a Chingona, Latina writer, Loose Woman, Sandra Cisneros, Strong Women, Wisdom

How to Be a Chingona in Ten Easy Steps-Sandra Cisneros

For some reason I had Sandra Cisneros on my mind. In my quest for something interesting to read tonight I pulled out her books from my bookshelf. 


LOOSE WOMAN is always an interesting book of poems and seemed apropos to read on a full moon night. I reread my favorite poem “You Bring Out the Mexican in Me,” and wished I had picked up a Cabernet at Trader Joe’s. If you’ve never heard it before, take a listen. She read the poem on NPR a few years ago.

So back to Sandra. I put the book of poems away and jumped on my laptop to view Sandra’s site (yes, I know I’m being very familiar but that’s what her writing does to me,I think she’s my amiga or comadre). I looked for her 2012 presentations, but they are in North Carolina and Japan.

Sandra spoke at the Coca Cola Tour Adelante a few days ago (unfortunately the video disappeared),
but,
I took notes of her talk so I’ll list the points. 

1. Live for your own approval. Center yourself. Be alone. Create your own space.

2 .Discover your own powers. What floods you with joy?

3 .Find true humility and practice it.

4 .Keep your palabra, your word.

5. What are you using to cover or mask your pain? Address it.

6. Your only true possessions are your actions.

7. Seek forgiveness.

8. Live in the present moment.

9. Depression has a purpose if you use it before it uses you. (Profound wisdom). Transform it to light. Compost it through art. If you can’t do it by yourself, see a professional curandera (healer, therapist).

10. Listen to your body.

There you go, 10 steps in 10 minutes. Are you feeling the power yet?

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These are my own thoughts on a definition for Chingona*. Feel free to add your own:

*Bad ass, powerful, wise woman, muy macha, activist in their community and/or home, talented, smart, resourceful, kick ass…