Friday, August 31, 2018

What's Going On (in Colorado)?

Here's a select sample of events of interest here in Colorful Colorado, all coming up in the next few weeks. Book signings and a book festival.  Student activist reminiscences and far out art. A dance and a fiesta. Put on your clean blouse, your ironed shirt, your good chanclas.  Run a brush through your remaining hair.  Mingle with the masses.  It's good for the soul, good for the blood.



El Infinito

September 13, 2018 – February 23, 2019
Satellite images captured by Lockheed Martin Space System Company will be presented alongside the Codex Borgia, an ancient Aztec manuscript containing their interpretation of the cosmos. Contributors such as Miguel Angel Sanchez Moreiro (whose reproductions of the original Codex Borgia will be on display), NASA, Lockheed Martin Space System Company, and Denver Museum of Nature and Science, come together to share a unique interpretation of the universe’s narrative through technology and the human eye.
 The opening reception will take place at Museo de las Americas at 861 Santa Fe Drive on Thursday, September 13 from 6 – 9 pm, followed by a lecture with scientists Dr. Peter Burns and Carlos Gonzalez of Lockheed Martin on Friday, September 14, 2018 from 6 – 8 pm.
Curatorial Statement
“The powerful images taken by various satellites over the past 30 years are a testament to the connection that exists between humans, technology and the Infinite. This magical triangle provides us with the opportunity to color the universe and establish an individual connection with the Gods, the eternal inhabitants of the universe.”
– Chief Curator Maruca Salazar
The Codex Borgia defines one’s spiritual journey and is the grounding connection between earth and the infinite for the Aztecs. As science and faith collide with the magic of the unknown, there is a spark in the moment of discovery. The infinite is a place where the mystery of our existence resides. El Infinito will include 18 out of the 76 pages of the Codex Borgia that represent the 20 day-long Aztec festival cycles.
El Infinito is included in the cost of a general admission ticket: $8 adults, $5 students/seniors 65+, children 12 and under are free.

Museo de las Americas
Hours and Info
T – S: 12:00pm to 5:00pm
Closed Sunday & Monday
861 Santa Fe Drive
Denver CO 80204
Phone: 303.571.4401 


Sylvia Acevedo - Path to the Stars

My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist

Sylvia Acevedo
will discuss and sign Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist ($17.99 Clarion Books), her inspiring memoir for young readers about a Latina rocket scientist whose early life was transformed by joining the Girl Scouts and who currently serves as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

A meningitis outbreak in their underprivileged neighborhood left Sylvia's family forever altered. As she struggled in the aftermath of loss, young Sylvia's life transformed when she joined The Girl Scouts.

With new confidence, Sylvia navigated shifting cultural expectations at school and at home, forging her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master's in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Can't make it to the signing? Request an autographed copy here:

Tattered Cover, Aspen Grove
September 11, 7:00 p.m.


Fifth Annual Latina/Latino Book Festival - Pueblo

Nationally Acclaimed Authors Visit Pueblo

Pueblo, Colo. — Pueblo City-County Library District, in partnership with CSU-Pueblo’s Chicano Studies and English Departments and MSU Denver Journey Through Our Heritage, announces the 5th Annual Latina/Latino Book Festival to promote growth in literacy, writing, and publishing.

This Year’s Authors

Kathy Cano-Murillo is an author, artist, and founder of the award-winning brand, Crafty Chica. She spreads the gospel of glitter – literally through her DIY projects and figuratively through her speeches, workshops, books, and essays. A former syndicated columnist for The Arizona Republic, she is now a full-time creativepreneur, which has led to multiple Crafty Chica mass retail product lines, and partnerships with Coca-Cola, HSN, HP, WordPress, Disney, and many others. She has authored seven craft books and two novels, and has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and more. Kathy is Mexican-American, a native Phoenician, mom of two, a wife, and owner of five Chihuahuas.

Matt de la Peña
is the New York Times bestselling, Newbery Medal winning, author of six young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and The Living) and four picture books (including Last Stop on Market Street and Love). Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his family. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.

Biscochitos for Mis Jitos and Other Tummy Tales 
Compiled by Renee Fajardo/Carl Ruby, Illustrator - Arlette Lucero, Editor - Ed Winograd

This is the sixth book in the Tummy Tales series, Biscochitos follows other Tummy Tales books, including Holy Mole Guacamole & Other Tummy Tales (1996, received an award from the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities), Pinch A Lotta Enchiladas & Other Tummy Tales (2002, from which the title story was selected from 3,000 entries nationwide to be in Chicken Soup For the Latino Soul), Chili Today, Hot Tamale & Other Tummy Tales (2005), Ole Posole & Other Tummy Tales (2006), and Frijoles, Elotes, y Chipotles, Oh My! & Other Tummy Tales (2016).

The latest addition to the series, Biscochitos for Mis Jitos and Other Tummy Tales (2018) is a collection of stories from some of the Southwest’s best storytellers and authors. The multi-cultural stories in the book are traditional family food tales, complete with recipes, and a lot of humor. The stories and recipes represent the numerous ethnic influences throughout the Southwest. Food recipes featured in the book include everything from biscochitos to apple pandowdy to potato latkes to chili guiso. Authors include Carl Ruby, “Mr. Origami”; Renee Fajardo of MSU Denver; Lois Burrell, African American storyteller; Geneva Escobedo, Arizona author of Dichos de mi Padre; Rita Flores Wallace, Mexican folklorist; Sondra Singer, storyteller and folk musician; Jane Treat, author of Women & Middlehood: Halfway Up the Mountain; and eight others. Illustrated by famed Chicana artist Arlette Lucero and edited by Ed Winograd, prolific editor and Spanish/English translator, the new book is a delight for old and young alike.

The two-day festival takes place Wednesday Sept. 12 and Thursday Sept. 13, 2018 at the Pueblo City-County Library District Central Library, Rawlings Branch- 100 E. Abriendo Ave. in Pueblo.

All events scheduled are free and open to the public and will include a biscochito tasting contest.


The Almagre Review/La Revista Almagre, recently published Issue 5, Race-Class-Gender The Review is put together in Colorado Springs by Joe Barrera, Publisher/Editor.  Among the contributors to the issue are  Karen D. Gonzales, City Coordinator for The Denver Network of Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club in Denver, and Michael Pacheco.  Karen's piece is entitled Finding the Lady Llorona, while Michael's is La Paloma.  Congrats to Karen, Michael, and Joe.

The Review's website contains this info:

Issue 5: Race*Class*Gender is available and we’ve had a lot of interest. Thank you to everyone who has supported this edition and our journal throughout. We are forever indebted. The stories and poems in issue 5 are engaging, provocative, and rewarding. It can be picked up here on our website; or locations around town (Colorado Springs): Hooked on Books, Poor Richard’s, Ranch Foods Direct, and Books For You.

We want to let everyone know that our next issue, the winter release, will be built around veterans. We want stories, (fiction, essays, and memoirs), as well as poems, by the women and men who have served. If you have not, that is fine as well. Many of us were raised by members of the military community, or we married into it. The civilian life in consort with those who have served completes the full picture. Send us your work, we await eagerly the honor of reading your experience.

Karen D. Gonzales reading her story at the Rodolfo Corky Gonzales Library.



Manuel Ramos writes crime fiction.  His newest book is The Golden Havana Night.  Tattered Cover (Colfax), October 22 at 7:00 p.m.  

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Chicanonautica: Dreaming of an Intergalactic Barrio

I’ll still be on vacation, wandering about Aztlan, when this goes up. Traveling through my native territories, the sacred Aztec homeland, always I inspires me. My brain devours images, sensations, experiences, merrily chews them up, and pukes out weird ideas. I can’t help it.

I’ve been asked, “How do you decide that you’re going to be creative today?”

I don’t know. It just happens. All the time. I can’t make it stop. I’m even creative in my sleep--you should see my dreams!

I guess it’s just the sort of Chicano I am: a Chicanonaut, forever crossing some newfangled border.

There doesn’t seem to be any official definition of “extra-fiction,” but I like the sound of it, the way it suggests something more that just plain, old boring fiction. Staying inside prescribed limits, especially when it comes to creative pursuits, has never been a habit of mine. I’m trying to keep mind open, hoping that those of you who send in stories will come up with things that I  never would.

But I can offer a few hints.

The announcement indicated a taste funky sci-fi as opposed to alta classe speculative fiction, with a taste for the folklore of the Latinoid continuum. That opens up most of the planet, since the Global Barrio already takes up one hemisphere with colonies (dare I use that hated word? the Spanish-speaking world tends to use it instead of barrio) in the other. I also dream of a Galactic Barrio . . .

Would intergalactic be too much to dream?

Why not? What kind of pendejos put limits on their dreams?

If you're a Latinoid planning on making the heroic effort to write a story and get it in before the September 30 deadline, I recommend grabbing a chunk of La Cultura, and running with it--naw, that ain’t an enough, fly with it. Be it with wings, jet propulsion, astral projection, or some new transdimensional mode that defies definition, fly. Discover new worlds on the way. 

This often happens while you’re going about your everyday business in your own barrio/neighborhood/colony. You see things differently from Anglos because of your Latinoid consciousness. With your cultural and genetic mestizaje it should come natural.

It does for me.

The only thing that holds us back from dominating the sci-fi/fantasy biz is the backward idea that we are a minority whose visions don’t have a viable global market. If you look at the global market, it seems to have a brown majority. Our culture needs to get its head straight if it’s going to function in the future.

In my own writing, I’m inspired when I discover--or invent--new ways of being Chicano/Latinoid. It would be nice to see that, but I’d also be disappointed to see stories that are obviously influenced by me.

Sure, I’d be flattered, but disappointed.

What I’m hoping for is to get my mind blown. Is that too much to dream?

Ernest Hogan, the Father of Chicano Science Fiction, and author of Smoking Mirror Blues.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

By Meg Medina

  •             Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  •             Grade Level: 4 - 7
  •             Hardcover: 368 pages
  •             Publisher: Candlewick (September 11, 2018)
  •             Language: English
  •             ISBN-10: 076369049X
  •             ISBN-13: 978-0763690496

Thoughtful, strong-willed sixth-grader Merci Suarez navigates difficult changes with friends, family, and everyone in between in a resonant new novel from Meg Medina.

Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy.

Things aren't going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what's going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.

Medina’s breathtaking coming-of-age story features a strong, deeply honest protagonist whose insights will make readers laugh, as well as dynamic secondary characters that reveal glimmers of profound depth. Medina capably gets to the heart of middle school experiences in this engrossing story of a kid growing into herself. A must read.
—Booklist (starred review)

Medina writes about the joys of multigenerational home life (a staple of the Latinx community) with a touching, humorous authenticity. Merci's relationship with Lolo is heartbreakingly beautiful and will particularly strike readers who can relate to the close, chaotic, and complicated bonds of live-in grandparents. Medina delivers another stellar and deeply moving story.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The realistic portrayal of a complex young Latina’s life is one many readers will relate to as she discovers that change can be hard, but it’s the ride that matters. Pura Belpré–winning author Medina cruises into readers’ hearts with this luminous middle grade novel. A winning addition to any library’s shelves.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, rev. 3/13; Burn Baby Burn, rev. 3/16) consistently and assuredly portrays Latinx girls and women who grapple with their insecurities while learning about themselves and their worlds, and middle-grade heroine Merci is a fine example. Accurate and natural use of Spanish words and sayings that fit each character’s tone builds authenticity. Medina writes with sincerity and humor to convey the experience of growing up in a close-knit family that tends to mingle too much in each other’s business while unfailingly and dedicatedly supporting and helping one another.
—The Horn Book (starred review)

In this warmly told story, Medina (Burn Baby Burn) introduces 11-year-old Merci, descendent of Cuban immigrants, who attends a Florida private school on scholarship with her whip-smart older brother...Medina keeps the tone light as Merci’s take-charge personality helps her to succeed in this coming-of-age tale about family and the perils of sixth grade.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Meg Medina is the author of the YA novels Burn Baby Burn; Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, winner of the Pura Belpré Author Award; and The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind. She also wrote the picture books Mango, Abuela, and Me, a Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Honor Book, and Tía Isa Wants a Car, recipient of an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.