The Winning Library of the #L4LL Día Blog Hop Giveaway

It is with mixed emotions that we bring our Día de los Niños Blog Hop to a close. I could go on and on reading more amazing articles by additional (and equally talented!) Latino authors and illustrators. But at least we have chosen the best way to end such an extraordinary project.

And now for the winning library. Above is a picture of just some of the titles included in our giveaway. We’re so happy to find them a deserving home. We truly wish we could send this collection to every single library that was entered in the giveaway. The winner was chosen via from the 7th blog (SweetLifeBake) and the 3rd commenter (in chronological order).

Congratulations/Felicidades to…
Arco Iris Spanish Immersion School
submitted by Jodi Monroy!

Jodi, please contact us with the name of the school library you mentioned back at the beginning of the blog hop, as well as their mailing address

Wishing you all a happy Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros. And remember to celebrate your children and books EVERYDAY!

Un abrazo…

~Monica, Viviana, Lisa y Carla

Librotraficante Founder Tony Diaz Fights to Keep Ethnic Studies in Texas Higher Education

Timothy Garcia-Giddens: Photo courtesy of Tony Díaz.

The following is a guest post by columnist Mercedes Olivera.

Last week, reading Latino poetry was an act of protest.

It was part of a Day of Action in eight Texas cities by Latino opponents of proposed legislation that could effectively spell the end for ethnic studies programs in higher education.

It was the latest effort by Houston author and Librotraficante founder Tony Díaz to make sure Texas doesn’t go down the same path as Arizona.

Recently, he was in North Texas to organize efforts against SB 1928 and HB 1128 – state Senate and House versions of the same legislation. The bills, sponsored by Republicans Giovanni Capriglione in the House and Dan Patrick in Senate – would require six hours of history for graduation and would only allow general survey courses to fulfill the requirement.

Lolita Guerrero & Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, discuss TX Senator Garcia Standing up for Ethnic Studies with Librotraficantes across Texas on April 26. Read her statement against HB1938 & SB1128.

Ethnic studies courses, such as Mexican-American history, would be reduced to electives.
Once they get on a path of being elective-only, demand is often reduced for these courses. They could potentially wither away.

He’s convinced that these bills are “a template to eliminate Mexican-American studies.”

And in today’s marketplace, a college education should be expansive, not restrictive.

“In a global economy, why would you build a border wall around history?”

Díaz founded Librotraficante – “book smuggler” – last year after Arizona banned Mexican American studies in its public schools and boxed up Latino literary works to the dismay of many educators.

Díaz then led a caravan to “smuggle” banned books back into Arizona and created four underground libraries.

He’s hoping this history doesn’t repeat itself in Texas.

But, just to be sure, he reminds Republican officials, who now talk of attracting more Latinos to their political party, that sabotaging ethnic studies programs in higher education isn’t the way to win Latino hearts – or votes.

Ethnic studies, in general, grew out of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. In a country with a rich multicultural history, U.S. history textbooks were ignoring the contributions of its ethnic and racial communities.

Eventually, ethnic studies came to encompass issues of gender, class, and sexuality.

A study in 2011 commissioned by the National Education Association confirmed the value of ethnic studies in helping graduation rates among Latino students in today’s colleges and universities. The study found that “students of color have demanded an education that is relevant, meaningful, and affirming of their identities,” and ethnic studies filled a vacuum.
Without wading into the ethnic studies debate on campuses, let me say that my own anecdotal evidence has found that ethnic students find such courses not only relevant, but also life-affirming. They discover their own heritage and identity in an environment they often found hostile.

In the end, this journey of self-discovery is an incalculable benefit of a college education.

Díaz took ethnic studies in college and found himself.

“I didn’t even know I was Chicano until I read Chicano literature,” he said.

To be fair, however, many scholars today include the study of race and ethnicity across almost all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. But it has not kept pace with the demographic changes that have accelerated in the past couple of decades.

Critics of ethnic studies fear that it creates fragmentation.

Advocates counter that going after ethnic studies is what creates divisiveness. Being inclusive is the goal of ethnic studies.

Indeed, ethnic studies prevent fragmentation precisely because everyone – no matter what skin color or language or culture they have – is brought into the great American story.

Photo courtesy of Tony Díaz


Dallas native Mercedes Olivera has been writing a weekly column on Hispanic issues for The Dallas Morning News since 1975. She is the only Latina to write a column continuously for a major metropolitan daily on issues ranging from politics to culture to education and health care. She is also a regular contributor/commentator for the weekly Sunday show, Inside Texas Politics, on WFAA-TV Channel 8. A Fulbright Fellow who taught communications classes in UDLA-Puebla in 1996, Mercedes served as president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Network of Hispanic Communicators from 1990 to 1991, and of Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT) from 2003-2004.

How to Find Latino Reads on

The following is a guest post by author Carmen Amato.

Love books? Live on social media?

Combine the two and you get, the ultimate social media site for discovering and discussing books. Latino readers are just beginning to get busy on the site which lets you:

  • connect with others who like the books you like
  • vote and express your opinion on books
  • find new authors, book contests, events, and more.

Goodreads is a little less intuitive than most social media sites, however, and the home page can look daunting. So once you have created an account—or signed in using your Facebook profile—start with these three easy ways to discover Latino literature.


Join existing groups to begin connecting with other readers and see what they are reading. Start by clicking on the “Groups” tab on the Goodreads navigation menu at the top of the screen. This will bring up a list of “Featured Groups.” Most groups are “open,” meaning anyone can join simply by clicking on the membership button. Before joining a group, however, read the description, surf the group’s discussion forum and look at its virtual bookshelf to see if it is for you. Once you join you can add books to the group’s virtual bookshelf, participate in forum discussions and connect with other members.

There are a few groups with a strong emphasis on Latino literature:

  • Latino and Latin American Literature: an active group with over 470 members. The group’s virtual bookshelf contains both English and Spanish titles including The Neighborhood by Gonçalo M. Tavares and The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea. Group discussion is in English.
  • Lectores Mexicanos: one of the largest Goodreads groups with over 1260 members. Books on the group’s bilingual shelf incudes The Eagle’s Throne by Carlos Fuentes and La Insurgenta by Carlos Pascual. Group discussion is in Spanish.
  • Latin American Literature and Magical Realism: despite the name, this group of over 250 members lists a wide variety of Latino literature on its shelf plus an interesting selection of related memoirs and biographies such as The Life and Times of Pancho Villa by Frederich Katz. Discussion is in English.

If you have a group of friends that wants to talk books together Goodreads will let you form a new group. Follow the “Create a Group” prompts from the “Groups” main page, add a few books via the search box, post at least one discussion thread in the group’s forum, and you’re in business.


Lists are another great starting point for navigating the Goodreads site. To help you build your own “bookshelf” for your profile, you’ll want to check out the many lists of books that others have made.

Find lists by clicking on “Listopia” under the “Explore” tab in the header menu. Listopia is the realm of lists created by Goodreads readers. There are lists of books that should be made into movies, books that never should have been a movie, best fairy tales, best young adult books—well, you name it, and there is a list for that category.

Clicking on a book from any list will show you all the reviews of that book posted by Goodreads members. It will also show other lists containing that book, allowing you to find even more great titles.

You can “vote” on a book on a list, sending it to your personal bookshelf, where it will be posted in the “To read” section. You can also add a book to a list but only by following the prompts from that specific list’s page. When you add or vote on a book, that list will appear in the “My Lists” page of your Goodreads profile.

Start discovering Latino literature with these lists:

  • Popular Fiction With Latino Leads
  • Hispanic Fiction
  • Books Set in Mexico
  • World Mysteries and Thrillers


Once you have joined a group and found some books to add to your bookshelf, browse other features of the site from the “Explore” tab.

Don’t miss the Giveaways section. There are always more than a dozen book contests going on, organized by category so you see those ending soon. Enter to win by clicking the button next to the contest book description. If you win, you’ll receive a paperback copy of the book in the mail, generally with a personal note from the author.

Also under the “Explore” tab you’ll find Quizzes, Events and Quotes. Like lists, there are quizzes about everything, from Harry Potter to “The Essential Classics Quiz.” If you don’t find one you like, make up one of your own and see how many of your new virtual friends can pass.

The Events section is a powerful resource for book lovers who want to get out and connect in the real world. At the top of the Events page enter a location. The program will search all events that Goodreads users have submitted and compile a list of events in that location. For example, just in one week there were 50 events in the greater Washington DC area, ranging from author lectures to signings to book launch parties. If you want to attend, just send the organizer a message.

Finally, the Quotes section is a great place to find a little inspiration. Type in a keyword or an author’s name to find all sorts of book-related quotes, like this funny favorite from the Cervantes classic Don Quixote:

“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”

Are you already on Goodreads? If not, what are you waiting for? There is a word of great books out there, all on one great site.


Carmen Amato is the author of political thriller THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY and the Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco. Both draw on her experiences living in Mexico and Central America where she discovered the best coffee on earth. She currently divides her time between the United States and Central America, using travel time to work on her next novel. Join her on Goodreads at and visit her website at She can also be found on Twitter @CarmenConnects.

Rescheduled Date for the Next #L4LL Twitter Party with Junot Díaz

The new date for our Twitter party with Junot Díaz has finally been established. We had to work around his schedule, so the party will now be held on Monday night, May 6th. You can find more information about the event here. Don’t forget you can submit questions in English or Spanish by clicking the link above. We might choose your question to ask @RealJunotDiaz that night! And we have some great giveaways for that night. We hope you mark your calendar and are able to join us!

Junot Díaz Twitter Party POSTPONED

Dear friends,

In light of today’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, we have decided to postpone the Twitter party with Junot Díaz, who is in Boston. He is fine as are his family and loved ones, but the victims, survivors, and their loved ones remain in our hearts and prayers.

We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we settle on a new date.

With heavy hearts for our country,

~ Monica, Viviana, Lisa, and Carla

Pat Mora On Día’s First Blog Hop

It is with greatest respect and much delight that we welcome award-winning author and poet, Pat Mora, as our blog hop’s first contributor. As Día’s founder, it seems only fitting that she launch this event. For a look at the complete blog hop schedule, click here.

Día’s First Blog Hop

by Pat Mora

What a special honor: beginning Día’s first blog hop! I sometimes think of Día as my fourth child, definitely the most challenging, and definitely hop-hop-hopping around our diverse country spreading bookjoy. Día’s history goes back to 1996 when at the University of Arizona, a radio interviewer from Mexico introduced me to the custom of celebrating El día del niño on April 30th. I loved the idea of a children’s day and felt confident that kids would too. Who doesn’t like a party—and treats?

My first children’s book, A Birthday Basket for Tía, had been published in 1992, and I’d quickly become aware that, as not all children are equally valued, all books aren’t either. I also discovered that, essential as it is for children to see their lives and families like theirs reflected in books, many book buyers were wary of difference, of books that reflect our national reality. I also knew what literacy challenges our country faces.

What if, I wondered? What if those of us who care deeply about children and literacy created a national, community-based initiative to celebrate children, nuestros niñas y niños queridos, and to celebrate books? My committed friends at REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, became my first partner. REFORMA remains committed to Día and its members serve as judges for the Mora Award. Día, as in día por día, day by day, has grown to include linking all children to books, languages and cultures. It’s now housed at the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association. ALSC produces materials to help promote Día and has an annual Día registry that reflects some of the many culminating April Día celebrations.

Research indicates how important it is for children to be active readers by third grade. Think of the technological world that they’ll inherit, and literacy is essential in a democracy. Those of us lucky enough to be readers can serve as coaches to those who may not have had our opportunities. On my blog during our Díapalooza, I’ll be posting some literacy tips and a small downloadable poster : “Growing a Nation of Readers: Creating a Bookjoy Family.”

My dream for Día? That April book fiestas become as rich a tradition as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day; that families, libraries, schools, youth organizations and communities honor kids, their cultures and languages & creatively share bookjoy with them. I’m so grateful to the wonderful authors and illustrators who are doing this.

Día strengthens communities, and hundreds of Día celebrations are planned for this year. Do explore if such events are planned at your local schools, libraries and community organizations. If they aren’t, with some friends, become active Día advocates. You’ll find many ideas and links on my site. In your unique way, foster the tradition in your family and champion it in your networks and organizations. Spread the Día word. Día needs your innovative ideas too.

Let’s all clap for Monica Olivera and Latinas for Latino Literature for creating this clever blog hop and their important blog. They’re a shining example of designing a clever way to expand Día’s reach and visibility. Gracias, gracias, Monica and Latinas for Latino Literature!

Pat Mora, born in El Paso, Texas, is an award-winning poet and author of books for adults, teens, and children. Her awards include a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Golden Kite Award, American Library Association Notable Book Awards, and honorary doctorates. A former teacher and university administrator, she is the founder of the family literacy initiative El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day (Día). The year-long commitment to linking all children to books, languages and cultures, and of sharing what Pat calls “bookjoy,” culminates in celebrations across the country in April. Pat lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Giveaway

L4LL has put together a wonderful collection of Latino children’s literature to be given to a school or public library. Many of the books were donated by the authors and illustrators participating in this blog hop. You can read a complete list of titles here on the L4LL website.
To enter your school library or local library in the giveaway, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, April 29th. The winner will be chosen using and announced on the L4LL website on April 30th, Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros. The winner will be contacted via email – so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If we have no way to contact you, we’ll have to choose someone else!)

By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!

The First Día Blog Hop and Giveaway… EVER!

Welcome to the first ever Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros Blog Hop! It is with great emotion that I sit down to write this post. What started as just a tiny seed of an idea three years ago while I was writing book reviews and sharing Día resources on the Latin Baby Book Club, finally found the right conditions to germinate with the formation of Latinas for Latino Literature. And for the next 20 days it will bloom profusely through the moving and beautifully written articles and illustrations of 20 Latino authors and illustrators. We are forever grateful to them for enthusiastically agreeing to participate, as well as to the 20 Latina bloggers whose blogs encompass a wide range of topics from parenting and food to politics and autism. They have eagerly offered to publish these articles in support of Latino children’s literacy.

At the bottom of this post you’ll find the complete schedule of authors and illustrators and the blogs with which they have been paired. I hope that each day you will follow along. And I hope that the amazing articles will inspire you to actively search out Latino children’s literature and purposefully buy these books for your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to give them a voice, grow some dreams, and find encouragement.

We are thrilled to have Día’s founder, Pat Mora, kick off this blog hop. The next article posted on this site today is written by her. You can find it here.


In addition to the blog hop, we’ve put together a wonderful collection of Latino children’s literature to be awarded to a school library or public library. Many of the books were donated by the authors and illustrators participating in this blog hop, but we’ve also received private donations and some directly from the publisher. Thank you to Arte Público, Candlewick Press, and Lee & Low Books for donating some great titles.

ANYONE can enter their school library or local library to win this fabulous collection. Just leave a comment on any or all (one comment per person per blog, please) of the Día Blog Hop posts. The winner will be chosen at random and announced here on our site on April 30th, Día de los Niños.

The list is still growing, but we currently have the following titles in the giveaway (subject to change as more titles are donated):

Book Fiesta! by Pat Mora
Round is a Tortilla, A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by John Parra
When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by John Parra
Arrorro, Mi Nino: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games by Lulu Delacre
How Far Do You Love Me? by Lulu Delacre
Rosita y Conchita by Eric Gonzalez and Erich Haeger
The Poet Upstairs by Judith Ortiz Cofer, illustrated by Oscar Ortiz
Clara and the Curandera by Monica Brown, illustrated by Thelma Muraida
Delicious Hullaballoo by Pat Mora and Francisco X. Mora
Rene Has Two Last Names by René Colato Laínez, illustrated by Fabiola Graullera Ramirez
The Case of the Pen Gone Missing by René Saldaña
A Mummy in Her Backpack by James Luna
Dancing Home by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta
Nacer Bailando by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta
Love, Amalia by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta
Con cariño, Amalia by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta
Pancho Rabbit by Duncan Tonatiuh
Jungle Tales by Jeff Zorilla
Runaway Piggy by James Luna, illustrated by Laura Lacamara
The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle
Sundays on Fourth Street by Amy Costales, illustrate by Elaine Jerome
Tia Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina, illustrated by Claudio Munoz
Starfields by Carolyn Marsden
My Havana: Memories of a Cuban Boyhood by Rosemary Wells & Secundino Fernandez, illustrated by Peter Ferguson
Grandma’s Chocolate/El chocolate de Abuelita by Mara Price, illustrated by Lisa Fields
The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez by René Colato-Laínez, illustrated by Tom Lintern
Marisol Mcdonald Doesn’t Match/ Marisol Mcdonald No Combina by Monica Brown, illustrated by Sara Palacios
Laughing Tomatoes And Other Spring Poems / Jitomates Risueños Y Otros Poemas De Primavera by Francisco X. Alarcon, illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez
I Know The River Loves Me/ Yo Sé Que El Río Me Ama by Maya Christina Gonzalez
My First Book Of Proverbs/ Mi Primer Libro De Dichos by by Ralfka Gonzalez, Ana Ruiz and an introduction by Sandra Cisneros
Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Dancing With the Devil and Other Tales from Beyond/Bailando Con El Diablo Y Otros Cuentos Del Mas Alla by René Saldaña
The Whole Sky Full of Stars by René Saldaña
Chipi Chipis Small Shells of the Sea / Chipi Chipis Caracolitos del Mar by Irania Patterson, illustrated by Catherine Courtlandt-McElvane
Wings and Dreams: The Legend of Angel Falls / Alas y Sueños: La Leyenda del Salto del Angel by Irania Patterson, illustrated by Catherine Courtlandt-McElvane

The #L4LL Día Blog Hop Schedule

April 10th – Pat Mora on
11th – Alma Flor Ada on
12th – Margarita Engle on
13th – F. Isabel Campoy on
14th – Joe Cepeda on
15th – Lulu Delacre on
16th – Jorge Argueta on
17th – René Colato-Laínez on
18th – Amy Costales on
19th – Monica Brown on
20th – Christina Rodriguez on
21st – James Luna on
22nd – Brian Amador on
23rd – Mara Price on
24th – Jeff Zorilla on
25th – John Parra on
26th – Duncan Tonatiuh on
27th – René Saldaña on
28th – Eric Gonzalez on
29th – Irania Patterson on

Wishing you all a very happy Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros.

Un abrazo,

~ Monica

#L4LL April Twitter Party with Junot Díaz

It is with the greatest excitement that we announce our April Twitter party with our special guest, the critically-acclaimed and award-winning author and activist, Junot Díaz. For the first time, Díaz will engage with readers and fans in a Twitter party to talk about his writing, his advocacy work, and the importance of nurturing U.S. Latino literature and literacy.

Junot Díaz has achieved worldwide recognition and received several prestigious awards including the MacArthur Foundation’s “Genius” fellowship and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. He is the first Latino author to sit on the 20-member Pulitzer Prize board of jurors.

The Twitter party will take place on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. ET. We’ll keep you posted with more information and event details here on the L4LL website, as well as our FB page.

If you’d like to ask him a question in English or Spanish, post it on our FB page before the Junot Díaz Twitter party on Monday April 15. We’ll be selecting some of the best questions.

And you can follow the conversation using the #L4LL hashtag on Monday night, April 15th.

I’d also like to recognize Viviana Hurtado for all the work she has done to make this Twitter party a reality. ¡Bien hecho!

We hope to see you all there!

The L4LL Día Blog Hop

We are so thrilled to bring you our first April event, and the first Día Blog Hop ever. This is Latinas for Latino Literature’s first time to celebrate Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros – and we’re doing it in a big way!

Each day, starting on April 10th (next Wednesday), a different Latina blogger will be hosting a different Latino children’s book author and/or illustrator.  And we have an exciting giveaway to tell you about! We hope you’ll follow the blog hop, which will culminate with the announcement of the winner on April 30th, Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros. Please feel free to share it with everyone!

Check back here in a few days for more information, including the complete schedule of blogs and authors, as well as another big announcement!

Con mucho cariño…

Monica, Lisa, Carla, y Viviana