Friday, November 19, 2021

Arte Público Press News and a Dragon Book Event

Here's some news from Houston-based Arte Público Press, which just happens to be the publisher of my Gus Corral books.  The first piece is an announcement of the winning of an award for Latino Children's Literature by Josefina's Habichuelas/Las habichuelas de Josefina, written by Jasminne Mendez.  The announcement also includes some alarming statistics about Latino children's books, and a brief bio of Hermila Lidia Salinas de Alba, for whom the award is named.

The next piece is a notice of Arte Público's end-of-year sale with descriptions of several books in the sale, including Angels in the Wind.

Finally, the info you need to click on a virtual celebration of R. Ch. Garcia's (one of the founders of La Bloga) Death Song of the Dragón Chicxulub.  



Bilingual Picture Book Is a Real Sweet Treat! 
HOUSTON, TX—A bilingual picture book introducing children to Hispanic cultural traditions, Josefina’s Habichuelas / Las habichuelas de Josefina (ISBN 978-1-55885-923-4, hardcover, $18.95), is the winner of the 2021 Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature. This charming story by Jasminne Mendez, published October 31, 2021, tells the story of a young girl whose mother challenges her to give up sweets during Lent. As a reward, Josefina’s mom promises to teach her how to cook habichuelas con dulce, or sweet cream beans, a traditional Dominican dessert eaten at Easter. Enlivened by Flor de Vita’s warm illustrations depicting an Afro-Latino, multigenerational family spending time together, the book will appeal to kids ages 4 to 8 who will enjoy testing the recipe—and eating the dessert—that appears in both English and Spanish!

In 2019, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 225 of the 4,029 children’s books published were written by Latinos; only 235 were about Latinos. The SALINAS DE ALBA AWARD seeks to stimulate the work begun by Arte Público Press and its imprint, Piñata Books, which is dedicated to the publication of children’s and young adult literature that authentically and realistically portrays themes, characters and customs unique to US Hispanic culture. In addition to the publication of the book and royalties from sales, the winning author will receive a $5,000 prize. Submissions for the award are accepted year round.

This award is named after Hermila Lidia Salinas de Alba (1921-2017), a mother, grandmother and primary schoolteacher who loved children and reading. Born and raised in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Hermila was educated at the Escuela Normal in Saltillo, Coahuila, and taught at a primary school in Piedras Negras. She married Samuel Alba in 1943 and together they raised ten children. In addition to various business ventures in Piedras Negras, they pursued migrant farm work in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho before settling in Salt Lake City, Utah. She stressed the importance of education and left a legacy of love and lifelong learning for her nine surviving children, 33 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Jasminne Mendez is a Dominican-American poet, playwright and award-winning writer. She is the author of a memoir, Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poetry (Arte Público, 2018), and a multi-genre memoir, Island of Dreams (2013), winner of an International Latino Book Award. Josefina’s Habichuelas / Las habichuelas de Josefina is her first picture book for children. Mendez’s memoir for young adults, Islands Apart: Becoming Dominican American is forthcoming from Piñata Books (May 31, 2022). She lives and works in Houston, Texas.
Flor de Vita, a native of Veracruz, Mexico, has illustrated two picture books: When Julia Danced Bomba / Cuando Julia bailaba bomba (Piñata Books, 2019) and Just One Itsy Bitsy Little Bite / Sólo una mordidita chiquitita (Piñata Books, 2018). A graduate of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey with a B.A. in Animation and Digital Art, she currently resides in Jalisco, Mexico.
Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by US Hispanic authors. Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Books published under the imprint serve as a bridge from home to school to support family literacy and elementary school education. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity. For more information, please visit

For more information,
contact Verónica Romero (

Wrap Up Leading Latino Lit

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“The work of a storyteller at the peak of his form, the return of private investigator Gus Corral reminds me of nothing less than The Long Goodbye set in Colorado. Thrilling, heartbreaking and engrossing, Angels in the Wind is the best yet from one of the masters of the genre.”

—David Heska

Wanbli Weiden,

author of Winter Counts

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“Smoldering stories that center the lives of Mexican Americans by complicating common tropes and conceptions. This debut collection of interlocking short stories turns an unflinching eye on the small tragedies, gut-wrenching betrayals and enduring courage of working-class Latinx folks in East LA and the borderlands."

Kirkus Reviews

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“What makes [Baca’s poetry] a success is its honesty, a brutal honesty, as well as his original imagery and the passion of his writing.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Baca’s "voice, brutal and tender, is unique in America.”

The Nation

Give Kids the Gift of Reading

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“In her first picture book, Mendez wonderfully showcases the numerous ways that food brings Latinx—in this case, Dominican—families and communities together. A stirring author’s note and a recipe for habichuelas con dulce wrap up a pretty sweet tale.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“This simple, straightforward tale will serve the dual purpose of providing a window for kids who haven't experienced a hurricane before and providing a mirror for kids who have. Cartoon-style illustrations reinforce the familiar, calming tone of the story.”

—School Library Journal

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“Full-bleed color artwork populates all the recto pages, while the running refrain, “You can’t scare me….Not even a little bit / No me asusta….Ni un poquito,” concludes most text on verso and will likely have young audiences chiming in. Yelling, “You can’t scare me!” never gets old.” Kirkus Reviews

Treat Teens to Thrilling & Historical Tales

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“In this tale of resilience and recovery, Bernal keeps the pacing tight and brisk, mapping out Lucy’s arc from scared adolescent to triumphant yet cautious chef-in-progress. A well-rounded feast for the heart."

School Library Journal

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“Governor Castro’s story is inspiring and powerful and will resonate with all young people who dream of making a difference.”

—Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona

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This informative bilingual biography for intermediate readers documents the life of a Mexican general and the infamous Battle of Puebla, which led to the Cinco de Mayo holiday in celebration of people of Hispanic origin.

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Look for


gift ideas



Take 35% off your entire purchase by calling 800-633-ARTE from now until December 20, 2021.

Remember to mention coupon code DEC21

when placing your order.

Feel free to share this discount with family and friends!

Discount may not be combined with other

specials or discounts.

Offer expires:

December 20, 2021, 5:00 pm CST


R. Ch. Garcia cancelled his in-person reading and Q&A with this announcement:

Sorry, but the in-person Reading, Signing and Q&A set for this Friday, Nov. 19 has been cancelled due to COVID surge. Instead, join me on Zoom, same time, 4:00pm MST:



Manuel Ramos writes crime fiction.  His short story, Northside Nocturne, will be published in May, 2022. 

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