Sunday, May 22, 2016

Gerald Padilla, Latino Book Review, and A Mythical Mexican Salamander Called Axolotl

Olga García Echeverría

So you've done the difficult work of writing a book and getting it published. Now it's time for a book review. If you're already an established literary rock star, having your work reviewed by a magazine, newspaper, or online journal probably isn't too difficult. But for many writers, seeking out a review may be challenging and even intimidating.

Enter Latino Book Review (LBR), a new online space where authors, both established and emerging, can have their works featured and reviewed. Today, we welcome founder and editor of LBR, Gerald Padilla, who shares (entre otras cosas) information on why he started Latino Book Review, what to send, and how to submit.

Welcome to La Bloga, Gerald. What prompted you to start Latino Book Review? Are you doing this for the love of literatura or is there a specific need you are trying to address?

For the last couple of years I had felt the need of creating a literary space, not so much for the love of literatura itself, which I treasure greatly, but for the love of those who surround me whose stories have shaped who I am and whose stories I believe have the ability to impact others as well. I started Latino Book Review with the intention of creating a literary platform for Latino authors whose words, I feel, have the power to shape not only our perception, but also change the social and political atmosphere of the world we live in. It is a known fact that our Latino community has made great strides in the international art scene, yet there is much to be done in the U.S.

Do you accept third party reviews?

Currently we are not accepting third party reviews, only those made by LBR columnist. Those interested in becoming an LBR columnist can contact us through our website

How exactly do authors submit their works for review at LBR?

Writers interested in submitting can contact us through our website. We will respond to their message and ask them to mail a hard copy of their book with a brief description of the submitted work and a short bio. Once mailed, LBR columnists will have an ongoing opportunity to chose among the submitted titles for review.

Do you accept books in English? Spanish? Spanglish?

It is important to understand that our community expresses itself in a prolific array of linguistic forms, and therefore we accept books to review in English, Spanish and Spanglish.

How exactly are authors featured on your website?

Each writer whose work is reviewed on our website will have a picture of themselves and their book, a review of their book, a short author bio and a direct link to the author’s publishing press where the book can be purchased. This is to make sure our featured authors increase their book sales as much as possible. I would like to point out that it’s also a great opportunity for publishers to send their authors' books to be reviewed, since they too are stakeholders who will benefit through direct exposure of their press.

Are you exclusively featuring books written by Latino authors?

The focus of LBR is to serve as a platform for the Latino narrative in all its dimensions. We consider books by authors of Latin American heritage, as well as those whose themes show appreciation for our culture regardless of the author's ethnicity, while making sure the work is relevant to our Latino community.

Do you accept books across genres?
We do review books across genres for published books only. The books must be accessible through online purchase.
What about chapbooks?
We are currently not accepting chapbooks.

Do you accept author interviews?

We don’t accept author interviews at this moment, but it’s something we’ll definitely consider for the near future.

How do you envision the LBR site growing in the coming years?

With perseverance and dedication, we wish to establish ourselves as a respected platform for Latino authors and continue pushing the boundaries to showcase our community’s literature to a wider audience.
Gracias Gerald and felicidades on your site. We look forward to hearing more about LBR. You are still fairly new, but already you have featured works by Lucha Corpi, Norma Cantu, Pat Mora, Xánath Caraza, Leticia Sandoval, and a trilingual children's book authored by you and poet Rossy Evelin Lima. I have to say que ese mythical Mexican Salamander (that is in your trilingual children's book Animals of My Land) me fascina.  Before we say goodbye, can you tell us a little about it?

Mythical Mexican Salamander Saying "F" You Trump! Toma!
Of course! El Axolotl is an animal that has captivated our hearts. It is endemic to Lake Xochimilco but unfortunately is on the verge of extinction. When we were writing the book, trying to reflect on animals that represent our land, we decided to include the Axolotl even though very few people know about it. It is our wish to raise awareness and help prevent the further extinction of animal species, inviting readers to take care of all animals as our friends. The Axolotl is also one of my favorite animals in the book.

Gerald Aguilar Padilla (Los Angeles, CA) is a translator, educator and cultural promoter. He has worked closely with the low income community of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to promote Latin American Culture and Mesoamerican Culture as a strategy to validate our past and reconcile our identity. He is co-founder of the Latin American Foundation for the Arts; association dedicated to the widening and promotion of Latin American arts and culture, and co-founder of FeIPoL (Festival Internacional de Poesía Latinoamericana) in McAllen, TX., which celebrates the ever-beautiful Latin American arts through spoken word.

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