Friday, September 14, 2007

Saving History

Manuel Ramos

Jamie Martinez Wood
Facts on File, 2007

This book profiles more than 150 writers and journalists, beginning with Oscar Zeta Acosta and ending with Val Zavala. It has been nominated for the Carter G. Woodson Book Award, which honors the most distinguished social science books appropriate for young readers that depict ethnicity in the United States. The purpose of this award is to encourage the writing, publishing, and dissemination of outstanding social science books for young readers that treat topics related to ethnic minorities and relations sensitively and accurately.

Designed for grades 9 and up, the book is an intriguing collection of interview answers (the author interviewed more than 50 writers for this project), research results, and the author's personal opinions about the writers, their works, and their impact on Latino culture and sociology. Several photographs are sprinkled through the book, including pictures of literary icons such as José Martí, Jovita González, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, and Fray Angélico Chávez. The writers are poets, playwrights, screenwriters, children's book authors, journalists, editors, publishers, and novelists.

The essentials of a good reference work are here: biographical details, lists of published works, additional sources for further information, and a chronological explanation of each writer's role in Latino literature or journalism. The book is a good place to start when digging into the background of a particular writer, and it will lead to other sources and much more information.

Some of Wood's comments surprised me. These zingers are not in every profile (short essay, really) but periodically she writes something totally unexpected from a book of this type. For example, she notes that Oscar Acosta's "roller coaster, insatiable hunt for acceptance in life from others and through his writings points to the need to bridge alliances rather than to focus on what separates ethnicities and people." Or, how about this regarding Geraldo Rivera: "Widely misunderstood and often criticized for overt emotions and sensational tendencies, Rivera is a passionate, tenacious journalist who has been honored with more than 150 awards, including 10 Emmys."

Wood's other books include titles such as The Wicca Cookbook (Celestial Arts, 2000), The Teen Spell Book: Magick for Young Witches (Celestial Arts, 2001), and The Hispanic Baby Name Book (Berkley, 2001). Now, doesn't that make you curious?

The friendly folks over at Librería Martínez are having a great September with several signings and author events at the Santa Ana (CA) store. They are Celebrando Septiembre, according to a note from Ruebén Martínez. Ruebén's message ends with this announcement, which happens to deal with the book I just reviewed:

"And finally, on Thursday, September 27 at 6:30 PM, we're culminating the month with a Latino writer extravaganza! Jamie Martinez Wood will be presenting Latino Writers and Journalists and there will be 10 distinguished writers and journalists joining the celebration: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Ana Nogales, Ph.D., Josefina Lopez, Julio Moran, Pat Mora, Ruben Martinez, Yasmin Davidds, Yvette Cabrera, the legendary newscaster/journalist Frank Cruz will be the MC for the evening and we are pleased to have our very special guest, Magdalena Beltran-del Olmo. Fijate no mas! Can you believe it? This is sure to be an unforgettable event!"

I agree, wish I could be there. Find out more about the bookstore and this month's activities at this link.

Librería Martínez, 1110 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92701 714-973-7900

On October 2 (5:30 PM - 7:30 PM), at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library of the Denver Public Library, Iliff School of Theology will introduce the Heroes and Sheroes: the Story of the Little Rock Nine exhibit. As part of the 50th Anniversary of the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, this exhibit is an interactive journey through the history and achievements of the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit captures the heritage of the Little Rock Nine in three stages: The Need for Change; The Courage to Take a Stand; and The Cost and the Prize. The exhibit includes memorabilia that children can touch and feel. More about this important exhibit here.

Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St., Denver. Contact: Greta Gloven, 303-229-8042



Sustenance Scout said...

THANK YOU for the note about the Little Rock Nine exhibit. I look forward to seeing it!

Lisa Alvarado said...

Thank you also for posting about the Little Rock 9 exhibit....Any time that we can connect with other people of color around history, around ancestry, is incredibly important. I appreciate you helping to strengthen Bloga's links in that regard, as well as the work of the other blogistas....