Monday, March 14, 2011

“Benjamin and the Word / Benjamín y la palabra” is now in paperback!

In 2005, Piñata Books (an imprint of Arte Público Press) published my children’s picture book, Benjamin and the Word / Benjamín y la palabra. The story, which was originally published as a five-part series in the Los Angeles Times' Kids' Reading Room section, deals with bigotry and the power of hateful words on children. When it appeared in the Times, the story received letters of praise from readers including from the Anti-Defamation League. The book is illustrated with soft, watercolor illustrations by Don Dyen, and includes a Spanish translation (by Gabriela Baeza Ventura) beneath the English text.

I am delighted to announce that this month, Arte Público Press has reissued the book in paperback. Though the hardcover edition is already owned by hundreds of libraries across the country, the lower price of the paperback will make the book that much more affordable.

Praise for Benjamin and the Word / Benjamín y la palabra:

“While the name itself is never mentioned, Benjamin's talk with his father about his hurt feelings makes it clear that James has insulted Benjamin because his heritage is mixed: half-Russian Jew, half-Mexican. The father-son relationship and their discussions—coming only as Benjamin is ready to talk—are warm and open, and Benjamin's conclusion that he still wants James to be his friend is encouraging and believable. Dyen's illustrations feature background washes, small and large, overlain with penciled details and outlines, creating an expressive realism. A quiet look at prejudice, forgiveness and friendship.” –Kirkus Reviews

"In the pressure-cooker of elementary school, where high stakes testing is winning out over funding for anti-bias education, Olivas helps us understand the effect name-calling has on young people and how parents can effectively talk to their children about hate."
–Abraham Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League

"A perfect discussion starter for name-calling and bullying."
Teaching Tolerance


msedano said...

i kept benjamin in my office. when workers brought a kid to work i would sit the kid down and have them read benjamin--or lend the book--and ask the kid to tell me what the word was. i enjoyed many a lively discussion with kids. glad to see it's in pb.

Anonymous said...

I too used it with 2nd graders and think excluding the word was one of the best features about the book.
Felicidades, Dan,

Anonymous said...

My library doesn't have this book, (boo!!) but I'm about to request it through interlibrary loan (yea!!) :). Thanks for the good words on _Benjamin and the Word_

Daniel Olivas said...

Ah, thanks for the kind comments. Means a lot to me.

Rene Colato Lainez said...

Your book is great. I am glad the paperback edition is available.

Sophia Perez said...

Thanks. Looking forward to give it to my daughter, she's going to love it!