Thursday, January 31, 2019

Chicanonautica: A Letter to 1969

Things have been so weird lately (I know, I overuse the word weird, but in this case it fit better than anything else) I like to imagine what I would say if I had a time travel device and could send a letter to the 1969 version of me . . .

You really won't believe how weird it is. Future Shock was just a warm up to the effects. It's beyond Harlan Ellison/Dangerous Visions.

This is supposed to get to you right after the moon landing. Have we read those books yet? If you haven't, read 'em anyways.

As we expected, the world went stark, raving sci-fi, but it was more like New Worlds than Analog. If I can say one thing that most twentieth century science fiction writers got wrong it's that they had it all make too much sense. Some of them even thought that technology would inspire a more rational society.

Pardon me while I do an old-fashioned, mad scientist BUHUHU-HAHAHAHAHAHA!

The surrealists were right: Never underestimate the power of irrationally

I know you're excited about space exploration, but it was put on hold for a few decades. Folks didn't think it was worth the money. Then we had some advances in special effects, and years of corporate sci-fi, and we've got a space station, the Chinese (the Russians are doing other things) have fired up a newfangled space race, and crazy billionaires are getting into the rocketship business.

Crazy billionaires are a thing, a big thing. Most people are struggling, but the some of the super-rich are running amok. I used to think they were tools used by unimaginative writers, but now they make news.

One of them has even been elected president, though some of us believe that the Russians messed with the electoral process. (Oh yeah, and these days, conservatives love the Russians . . .) He shut down the government because he wants money to build a wall along the U.S./Mexican border.

Don't laugh. I know it sounds like a gag out of Mad Magazine or Cracked, but it's what's happening, baby!

And your skin color and ethnicity will be a stumbling block in your writing career, even after all the protest and riots back in the Sixties. Brace yourself for years of struggle. They now study me at universities and invite me to lecture, but it took a while.

Some things have gotten better. California and the Southwest are getting browner, as are most of the people at the desk behind the computers, (oh yeah, computers are a helluvalot smaller, I carry two in my pocket) imputing the data to get the business done.

So many people who look like family.

Of course, for some people, it's a nightmare. They lust after a border wall.

The this all has everyone in a weird mood. The air is heavily polluted with anger. There are protests and riots around the world.

Meanwhile, I'm working on novels and short stories. Getting published. Being a writer. Our dream come true.

I even kind of enjoy the torrent of news that is like a nonstop, dystopian, preapocalyptic science fiction scenario, but every now and then it hits a little too close to home.

What's that? I think the Time Police are knocking at my door . . .

Ernest Hogan will have stories in several upcoming anthologies. Stay tuned for details.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

American Library Association Award Winners 2019

Pura Belpré Awards honoring a Latinx writer and illustrator whose children's books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:

“Dreamers,” illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales, is the Belpré Illustrator Award winner. The book was published by Neal Porter Books, Holiday House Publishing, Inc.

Two Belpré Illustrator Honor Books were named:
“Islandborn,” illustrated by Leo Espinosa, written by Junot Díaz and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Young Readers Group, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

“When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana,” illustrated by Jose Ramirez, written by Michael Mahin and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

"The Poet X,” written by Elizabeth Acevedo, is the Pura Belpré Author Award winner. The book is published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

One Belpré Author Honor Book was named: 
"They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems," written by David Bowles and published by Cinco Puntos Press.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

“A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919,” written by Claire Hartfield, is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Three King Author Honor Books were selected: “Finding Langston,” written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and published by Holiday House.

“The Parker Inheritance,” written by Varian Johnson and published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

“The Season of Styx Malone,” written by Kekla Magoon and published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:

“The Stuff of Stars,” illustrated by Ekua Holmes, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book is written by Marion Dane Bauer and published by Candlewick Press.

Three King Illustrator Honor Book were selected:
“Hidden Figures,” illustrated by Laura Freeman, written by Margot Lee Shetterly and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

“Let the Children March,” illustrated by Frank Morrison, written by Monica Clark-Robinson and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

“Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop,” illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Alice Faye Duncan and published by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights.

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award:
“Monday’s Not Coming,” written by Tiffany D. Jackson, is the Steptoe author award winner. The book is published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award:
“Thank You, Omu!,” illustrated and written by Oge Mora and published by Little, Brown Young Readers.

Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement:
Dr. Pauletta Brown Bracy is the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award pays tribute to the quality and magnitude of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton.

Dr. Bracy is Professor of Library Science and Director of the Office of University Accreditation at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). She has successfully merged scholarship and service with publications such as “Libraries, Literacy and African American Youth” (co-edited with Sandra Hughes Hassell and Casey H. Rawson) as well as her work with the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and with workshops and conferences dedicated to promoting African American books for children and teens. She recently served as co-organizer for Celebrating Our Voices: Black Children’s Literature Symposium and Book Festival held at NCCU.

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature:

“Merci Suárez Changes Gears,” written by Meg Medina, is the 2019 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Candlewick Press.

Two Newbery Honor Books also were named:
“The Night Diary,” written by Veera Hiranandani and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Young Readers Group, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

“The Book of Boy,” written by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, illustrated by Ian Schoenherr and published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

“Hello Lighthouse,” illustrated and written by Sophie Blackall is the 2019 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named:
“Alma and How She Got Her Name,” illustrated and written by Juana Martinez-Neal and published by Candlewick Press.

“A Big Mooncake for Little Star,” illustrated and written by Grace Lin and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

“The Rough Patch,” illustrated and written by Brian Lies and published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

“Thank You, Omu!” illustrated and written by Oge Mora and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

For a complete list of ALA awards and winners visit

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Laureate Doesn't Get His Gun. Mailbag News 'n Notes.

Latinopia Shares Living Room Floricanto Reading
Michael Sedano

Casa Sedano in Pasadena, California welcomes special guests from time to time to enjoy an afternoon of fun, food, friendship, and a featured artist or more. January 2019 kicked off this year's front room floricantos with visiting poet Edward Vidaurre.

Latinopia, the internet's definitive archive of Chicano history and cultura, documented the reading and this week--Latinopia publishes new features every Sunday--features "Reasons I Don't Own a Gun," the capstone selection of the front room floricanto.

See La Bloga's recent column for ideas on hosting your own Living Room Floricanto. (LINK)

Hearing a poet read his own work is a pleasure when the reading comes with such skill. You can order I Took My Barrio On A Road Tour (LINK) and enhance your enjoyment of this poem by reading along with the poet.

Los Angeles
UNAM Professor Gives Talk

Regulation of the use of cannabis is an engaging on-going debate in Mexico.
Having a prohibitionist paradigm from a long time, a set of Supreme Court rulings
has opened the door to a liberal view, based on the ‘autonomous development
of one’s personality’ principle.

UNAM Los Angeles invites you to Professor Alberto Abad Suarez´s presentation
of his analysis on the consequences of the strong criminalization policies against
marijuana’s users during last two decades, the scope and limitations of the SC
decisions, and that state of play and expectations at the dawn of the new federal

See you on Thursday, January 31st at 10 a.m. (LINK here).

Write Like A New Mexico Poet
Or whatever your preference and muse. Leader Valerie Martinez offers the class at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. LINK

Monday, January 28, 2019

Let Me Tell You a Story

A short story by Daniel A. Olivas

            Let me tell you a story.  It’ll be the truth.  Not that gabacho lying claptrap that you’ll get from the front desk.  Even the Chicanos who sit up there lie because they want their pinche white boss to smile and pat their brown heads like good little beaners.  So let me tell you a story.  The story.  The truth.  Because I have no reason to lie.  I have nothing to gain.  So listen for a few minutes.  And you can judge for yourself.  Deal?
            First I need to tell you something.  I’m not a stupid man.  I finished pinche high school.  I’ve read shit.  Some good books like that one about the Mississippi River by that dude with two different names and a big white mustache.  Funny shit.  And I remember reading about this Cubano who tries to catch a big fish and the pinche fish is so big it drags that poor Cubano’s boat around the ocean for days even when the guy’s hands are a bleeding mess from the fishing line.  Man, what a pendejo!  But I felt bad for him.  You know?  Fighting for something he wanted so bad that he’s willing to bleed for it.  Even die for it.  Ever want something so bad?  I have.
            So this is what happened.  What really happened.  My wife, Leticia, wants to get this job up in pinche Yosemite cleaning rooms at a fancy hotel or lodge or whatever they fucking call it.  She sees this ad and she shows it to me.  She says she’s sick of Canoga Park and all the cars and people and the hot days and she says it’s beautiful up in Yosemite and shows me pictures from this book she checked out from the library on Owensmouth.  Leticia says she wants our niño, Nicky, to have more than this and she waves her arms around our small apartment.  And I look over at Nicky who is crawling around the floor playing with this beat up old yellow Tonka truck that my Mom gave me when I was three.  And I look around our shitty little apartment and I think about my job at the Ralphs and this pinche strike we’ve been on for so many weeks I’ve lost count so we’re mostly living on Leticia’s check from cleaning houses in Encino and West Hills and Calabasas.  So I think yeah, they must have a Ralphs or Vons or something up in Yosemite where I can work and we can be around all those trees and animals and clean air instead of the streets and cars and people everywhere.  So I say, okay, let’s do it.  Let’s go.  For us.  For Nicky.
            But this is where it gets tricky, you know?  This is where the pinche cops tell you one thing and I’m trying to tell you the truth.  Okay?  Listen up.  Look, there’s this buddy of mine, Lalo, who really is a gabacho but he acts more Mexican than me.  His real name is Frank.  Grew up in Reseda.  Anyway, Leticia applies for that job, fills out a form that she got off the internet at the library and emails it up.  And they hire her.  Right away.  She’s a hard worker with a lot of experience.  And she’s no wetback, either.  So, we need to get our shit all packed up and pull together our cash.  That’s where Lalo comes in.  The vato owes me money.  Two hundred and fifty.  A lot.  I call him and tell him we’re fucking moving to nature and he laughs but he says it’s cool.  Wish he could come with us.  I ask him for the money and he says come on by.  No problema.
            Leticia had three houses to do that day and her sister’s been kind of sick lately so I have to take Nicky with me to Lalo’s place.  It’s not too far, just in Winnetka.  So I get all of Nicky’s shit to keep him happy and load him in the backseat of my old Camry.  I put on a Kinky CD and Nicky is happily playing with a plastic, smiling bear he got in a Happy Meal last week.  I’m in a real good mood because, you know, maybe Leticia is on to something.  I think this especially with all this fucking traffic just to drive six miles and it’s goddamn hot, almost a hundred and it’s not even lunch time.  But life is going to get better and I’ll be getting my money real soon.
            I pull up to Lalo’s apartment and I know I’ll be gone for only a minute so I pat Nicky on his head and say, mijo, I’ll be right back.  He smiles and I lock the car and run up to Lalo’s door.  Well, man, he answers it and he’s all fucked up.  I could see it.  His eyes are narrow little slits and, shit, he’s been crying, too.  I say, dude, whattup? And he starts to blubber like a goddamn woman and he says his life is over.  I say I need my money and he says, vato, come in for a second and talk.  I look over to Nicky who is happy and I turn back to Lalo and say, only for a minute.
            Now you have to believe me on this.  He gives me a Coors and I take it just to be friendly and besides it was fucking hot and he has no air conditioning in that place.  I didn’t do no hard drugs like the cops say.  I don’t do that shit.  Not since Nicky was born.  Anyway, Lalo is crying over some pinche bitch and I can’t believe it but I listen.  He’s my friend.  I finish the beer and have another.  Lalo is doing better.  He lights up a little weed and offers me some.  I only take one or two hits.  No more.  And Lalo is doing way better now and he lets out his famous hyena laugh at everything I say so I know he’s going to be okay.  He says thanks and that he has my money and wants to get it for me.  So Lalo stands up and walks to his bedroom.  That’s when I hear it: a siren, people yelling, glass breaking.  I jump up and look out the window.  There’s this crowd around my car and police lights are flashing and I see an ambulance.  I yell something, I don’t know what, and run out.  I push through the people and start screaming and I know something’s happened to Nicky and I want to throw up. 
            Dude, give me a second.  Wait.  Okay?  I’m all right.  Just give me a second.  Okay.  I’m okay.  I just want to tell you that I am a good father.  I mean, I was.  I wanted a better future for Nicky.  Like that Cubano fisherman in that book.  I wanted it so bad I would’ve died for it.  I don’t know how I could forget about my niño in that hot car.  My little, little boy.  But I didn’t do it on purpose.  And I wasn’t reckless or whatever the cops are calling it.  I just forgot.  That’s all.  They took Nicky to the hospital but it was too late.  And Leticia blames me.  She took the car and went up to Yosemite.  Said she couldn’t stay around here.  Made her think of Nicky.  Doesn’t care what happens at my trial.  So, like I said, I have nothing left to lose, see?  I have no reason to lie to you.  Right?  No reason at all.  So you have to believe me.
[“Let Me Tell You a Story” first appeared in the Houston Literary Review and is featured in Anywhere But L.A.: Stories (Bilingual Press.]

Friday, January 25, 2019

Photo Essay, MLK Events in Santa Barbara

Melinda Palacio

Santa Barbara leaders and citizens march hand in hand

I've always been on the shy side, but if you've heard me read poetry or speak to a filled room, you wouldn't know it. While I tend to be the listener when a performer asks for the audience's participation, in a situation such as Monday's march to honor our civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, I was up in the front chanting and singing loudly alongside Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo.

Saturday's poetry program

This year Santa Barbara went all out with a three-day program to coincide with the three-day weekend. I was honored to be included in the celebration. 

Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, Poet Laureate Emerita of Santa Barbara

Every year Sojourner works around the clock, year round, to make the city's Dr. King Celebration special. I am always happy to help behind the scenes, but this year with the poetry events spread out, she asked me to lend my voice. 

Melinda Palacio

I started my set reading a poem about the situation at the border, before offering a few poems from Bird Forgiveness.

A highlight of our poetry and essay contest is the future, all the student winners whose poems and essay capture the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. This year's theme is "Together We Stand."

Briana Moffett, Rosalyn Y. Collins, Melinda Palacio, Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
A satisfied selfie after escorting our winners backstage. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ganadores del Premio Campoy-Ada


Respondiendo a su compromiso por defender y propiciar el uso del español en todas sus variantes auténticas y la difusión de literatura de calidad desde la infancia, la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española (ANLE) ha instituido este premio cuyo nombre honra a dos de sus miembros. 

El objetivo de este premio es reconocer obras de literatura infantil y juvenil publicadas en español en los Estados Unidos que destaquen por la originalidad de su idea, su realización literaria y artística y por el uso excelente del lenguaje.

In consonance with its commitment to defend and foster the use of the Spanish language in all its authentic variations and the support of quality literature for children and young adults, the North American Academy of the Spanish Language has instituted this award named in honor of two of its members.

The objective of this award is to recognize books for children and young adult published in Spanish in the United States, that stand out for the content originality, its literary and artistic creation, and the excellent use of Spanish.


Cuánto mamá te quiere. Autor, Terry Pierce. Ilustradora, Simone Shin.   
Traductor, Alexis Romay. Simon & Schuster, 2018


La princesa de cabello invisible. Autora, Yulién Jiménez. Ilustrador, Dahn 
Tran Art. Voces de hoy, 2017

Colección “Cuentos traviesos” de 5 libros. Autora, Margarita Robleda.  
Ilustradora, Eulalia Cornejo. Santillana, 2018.


La princesa del agua. Basado en la infancia de Georgie Badiel. Autora, Susan Verde. Ilustrador, Peter H. Reynolds. Traductora, Roxanna Eardman. Santillana, 2017. 

Galapagueña. Autora, Marsha Diane Arnold. Ilustradora, Ángela Domínguez. 
Traductora, Adriana Domínguez. Children’s Book Press. Lee & Low, 2018.

Cosechando amigos. Autora, Kathleen Contreras. Ilustrador, Gary Undercuffler. Traductora, Gabriela Baeza Ventura. Piñata Books, Arte Público Press. 2018. 

Pastel para enemigos. Autor, Derek Munson. Ilustradora, Tara Calahan King.Traductor, Juan Pablo Lombana. Chronicle Books. 2018.


La ñusta diminuta. Autora, Mariana Llanos. Ilustrador, Uldarico Sarmiento. 
Purple Corn Press, 2018.


Do-re-misterio playero. Autora, Isabel Araiza Arana. Ilustrador, DiegoArana.
Isla Rana, 2017.


Poemas familiares para cada día de la semana. Autor, Francisco X. Alarcón. 
Ilustradora, Maya Christina González. Children’s Book Press. Lee & Low, 

Monstruos. Autor, Ricardo Williams. Ilustradora, Sozapato(Sofía Zapata).  
Santillana, 2017. 


En el fondo del amanecer (El mapa de nuestros muertos). Autor, Chito Cuéllar. 
Luna’s Press, 2018.


Camino a las estrellas: Mi recorrido de Girl Scout a ingeniera astronómica. 
Autora, Sylvia Acevedo. Traductora, Isabel Mendoza. Clarion Books, 2018.


Conoce a Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Autora, Edna Iturralde. 
 Ilustradora:María Jesús Álvarez. Santillana, 2017.

Conoce a Bernardo de Gálvez. Autor, Guillermo Fesser. Ilustrador, Alejandro Villén. Santillana,  2017.

Telegramas al cielo: la infancia de monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero.  
Autor René Colato Laínez. Ilustrador, Pixote Hunt. Luna’s Press Books.


¡Hola, Zapata! Autora, María Alma G. González. DelAlma Publishers, 2016.

Otorgado a American Reading Company, por el conjunto de libros en español 
en esta categoría.


El jurado estuvo integrado por los siguientes miembros de la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española:

Alma Flor Ada. Profesora Emérita de la Universidad de San Francisco. Líder visionaria de la educación bilingüe y el reconocimiento de la importante función de los padres en la educación.  Su amplia obra incluye pedagogía transformadora, narrativa para adultos y numerosos libros galardonados para niños y jóvenes.

F. Isabel Campoy. Autora prolífica, educadora, luchadora por los valores de justicia social, defensora del bilingüismo. Receptora de numerosos galardones entre otros, los premios Ramón Santiago de NABE y Tomás Rivera de la Universidad Estatal de Texas.

Nasario García.  Autor de más de treinta libros bilingües tanto en poesía como prosa, para lectores jóvenes y adultos. El profesor García es especialista en la historia oral y el folklore, así como la lengua española y la cultura del estado de Nuevo México.

Eduardo Lolo. Autor de textos de historia y crítica literaria. Investigador de literatura infantil. Profesor universitario y bibliógrafo de MLA (Modern Language Association of América).

Gerardo Piña Rosales. Profesor universitario (The City University of New York), crítico literario, novelista, editor, fotógrafo y director de la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española. Es miembro correspondiente de la Real Academia Española.

Carmen Tafolla. Profesora de la Universidad de Texas en San Antonio con una larga trayectoria de apoyo a la educación bilingüe, la Dra. Tafolla enseña el curso de Transformative Children’s Literature. Sus libros para niños y jóvenes han sido galardonados con premios nacionales e internacionales.