Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hello Night-Hola noche: International Latino Book Award Winner

René Colato Laínez

Congratulations to Amy Costales, her book HELLO NIGHT-HOLA NOCHE won the International Book Award for Best Bilingual Picture Book of 2008. Here is an interview with "la ganadora".

How did the get the idea for Hello Night- Hola noche?

I took my son for walks, and those walks led me to my third picture book, Hello Night~Hola noche. After dinner Sam was always cranky. I learned to sooth him with a nighttime walk.

Everything about our walks was soothing. The cool night-time air was refreshing, and Sam snuggled in his stroller with his elephant and baby blanket, completely content. I talked to him in a soft voice, reciting nursery rhymes. He particularly liked to hear words that I remembered from my own childhood,

Quiseria ser tan alto
Como la luna, ay, ay
Como la luna

As he grew older our roles changed. Instead of me talking to him, he began to talk to me, pointing out the “luna” and “estrellas” and whatever else caught his eye. He greeted everything he saw in Spanish and English.

Tell us about the submission process for this book.

I was very focused on rhyme at the time. Sam and I were avid readers of Pío Peep. It occurred to me to write a bilingual bedtime rhyme for Sam. I did, but it was only for Sam. I didn’t submit the story because I was hesitant to submit verse.

After Luna Rising accepted my second picture book, I decided, on a whim, to submit Hello Night~Hola noche. Theresa Howell called me the very next day to accept it. No painful waiting! The editing was painless, too. Theresa wisely suggested changing the order of some of the pages, and we were set.

What was the first reaction when you saw the actual book?

"Wow! I love this book! "

The art is magical and whimsical. Mercedes McDonald captured exactly the way I remember feeling walking my young son through the cool, dark night.

Is there another manuscript in the process?

Sam now likes morning walks. He is usually on his scooter, helping me exercise our dog Gracie, while our silly cats stalk us through the hedges. He recently asked me to bring a notebook along on our walk so we could write down the magical things about the morning. We took copious notes. Sam is now planning on helping me write Hello Day~Hola día for his big sister.

visit Amy at

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