A Final Video to End L4LL’s Hispanic Heritage Month: Festival of Books

Dear Amigos,

It has been a wonderful month celebrating the contributions of Hispanics to our country’s history through literature. We’ve enjoyed all the wonderful books and giveaways, Google hangouts and literacy craft tutorials that we’ve shared here on L4LL.

We want to take a moment to thank our wonderful sponsors. We’re so grateful to our naming sponsor, Google, who made our month-long event even better with their financial and technological support, and by working with us to create the fantastic Google Play collection of Hispanic literature…then offering it at half price this month! In addition, our updated site and logo were made possible by Google.

We’re also so very appreciative of the support we received from individuals and companies across the country, especially our event sponsors, Latinamom.me and Pa’lante Latino. It takes many members of a community to help keep it together and accomplish great things. Without their support, our HHM: Festival of Books could not have had the reach it did, nor could it have offered as many opportunities for community engagement.

And of course, we’d like to thank all of the amazing contributors to our site and the wonderful Latinas who ran our Weekend Book Club discussion series. Your work really made a difference in our first Hispanic Heritage Month event.

We’d like to end this event with a video book report by 1st grader, Kiyoshi, who read Side by Side, Lado a lado, the Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez. The education of our children and our desire to raise Latino kids who are knowledgeable and proud of their heritage so that they can take their place as valuable contributing members of our society is what L4LL is all about. We hope you’ll applaud Kiyoshi’s willingness to create a video book report of a book he read, as well as his parent’s involvement in his education.

Bravo, Kiyoshi!

HHM Reading Craft Tutorial: Washi Tape Monogram Bookmarks

The following is a guest post by Dariela Cruz who publishes the site, Mami Talks.

It is great to nurture the habit of reading in kids of any age. For some it is easier and for others it’s harder. In my case, my two kids love to read; both in different ways, but they do. My younger one, who is only 3, doesn’t read yet but acts like she does, most of the time she can’t wait for us to read her a book, she has to grab it and start pretending to read it herself! Well, that works too!

The older one is reading now and loves to do it out loud, which I find cute.

A great way to keep encouraging the love of reading is to make some crafts around it. We have made many type of bookmarks in the past but I thought it was time to create a bookmark using washi tape (or craft tape that comes in so many awesome colors and patterns) and include the initial of the child’s name. They love this because it is a special bookmark for each of them. This craft can be made with the help of kids 7 and older.

Here is how to make the washi tape monogram bookmarks:


Poster board
Washi tape in different colors
craft knife


1. With a pencil (not too strong but not too light either), draw a rectangle for the bookmark of about 6 inches tall by 2 inches wide, on top of the rectangle, draw the letter of the initial. You can use this page as a guide for the letters, pick a bold letter and type in the letter you need, if necessary you can also print it out.

2. Pick two or more different tapes and start by masking the letter with horizontal lines (don’t worry about the holes, they will be cut out later).

3. Pick two or more different tapes (different than the ones used for the letter) and mask the main rectangle of the bookmark vertically. Choose contrasting colors from the letter so the letter comes out when looking at it all together.

4. Cut the holes and sides of the bookmark with a craft knife.

After we were done creating these bookmarks, the kids each picked one of their favorite books and started reading it with the bookmark inside because they just wanted to use it! I love how the initial of each of their names pops out of each book so you know who was reading what. In fact now we want to create more in different colors, that way they’ll have more available to use!


Dariela is a Venezuelan mom and graphic designer currently living in San Diego, CA. She blogs atMami Talks, where she shares the day-to-day as a mom of her 6 year-old son Adrian and 3 year-old daughter Maya. In her blog you can always find fresh ideas, crafts and inspirations filled with lots of photography. She is passionate about family, culture and anything art related. Connect with Dariela on twitter:@darielacruz, Facebook, Google+ or her Design Blog.

Google Hangout with Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, author of the just released memoir Still Dreaming

By: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

Join us today, as we hang out with Congressman Luis Gutiérrez–the Illinois Democrat who publishes this October his memoir Still Dreaming. Both critics and supporters call Congressman Gutiérrez a “maverick”–for bucking both Republicans and President Obama as he fights for issues, especially comprehensive immigration reform. Learn about his childhood in Chicago and Puerto Rico and his experiences working his way up through the Chicago city council to Congress–each a political minefield in its own right. In the telling of his story framed by the politics of the last 30 years, the Congressman shares a quintessential American story of (im)migration, hard work, and determination.

Click here to access this hangout today, Wednesday, October 9 from 12 noon to 12:30 PM EST.


The Congressman has donated copies of Still Dreaming to giveaway to two L4LL readers.

To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter below. ¡Suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hispanic Heritage Book Club & Giveaways

L4LL has LOTS of great things going on this month during our Festival of Books, so with only one week left, we want to do a quick recap for you to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Google Play Giveaway

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month AND Google’s 15th birthday, we’ve partnered with Google Play to giveaway a Nexus 7 tablet plus $100 worth of GP gift cards to one L4LL reader, PLUS NINE (9!) other L4LL readers will also receive $100 worth of gift cards to Google Play. Seriously. We’re giving away $1000 worth of Google Play gift cards!

Giveaway: Chromebooks and Nexus 7 Tablets

Have you or your kids read some great Latino literature lately? We want to know what you think! We’re giving away 5 Chromebooks and 5 Nexus 7 tablets to individuals (adults) or families who submit a video book report. Just grab your camera, tell us about the book, and why you recommend it (or don’t!) for others.

Book Giveaway

Did you happen to catch the intriguing interview that Viviana had with Washington Post reporter, Manuel Roig-Franzia, author of The Rise of Marco Rubio? We’re giving away two autographed copies of his book – one in English and the other in Spanish. All you have to do is leave a comment over on this post.

DVD Series Giveaway

Last week’s Google Hangout with filmmaker María Aguí Carter centered around her feature PBS documentary “Rebel: Loreta Velazquez, Civil War Soldier and Spy.” This film is about the life of one of only two Latinas published in the United States in the 19th century. We’re so lucky to be able to offer one lucky L4LL reader an autographed copy of the series on DVD! Click here to enter.

Weekend Book Club

Have you been following our Weekend Book Club discussions on the Latinas for Latino Lit Facebook page? There are a lot of great questions being posted about the books we’re featuring, so feel free to join in! Some of the questions are so well written, you don’t even have to read the book to share your opinion.

Are we all caught up now?

ALL HHM Reading Kits on SALE Now Through October 15th!

As Hispanic Heritage Month winds down (only 8 days left!) we’re sneaking in a sale of our awesome reading kits. So between now and Tuesday, October 15th, ALL of our reading kits will be 20% off… or more. But remember that limited quantities are available, so get yours before they are all gone!

These kits are created for kids in kindergarten through 4th grade. Each one is designed around a Latino children’s biography picture book about a famous Latino/a figure(s). You can choose from three kits: Celia Cruz (shown above with a few sample pages), Pura Belpré, and Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez.

Or you can save big by purchasing all three kits together.

Learn more here.

Book Review: Good Night Captain Mama, Buenas noches Capitán Mamá

Goodnight Captain Mama: Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá

by Graciela Tiscareño-Sato
illustrated by Linda Lens

We needed a book like this. In a house full of boys and my constant determination to find books with strong female characters, Goodnight Captain Mama: Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá by Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, will officially be on our shelves. This beautiful story (illustrated by Linda Lens) receives double points from me for being a English-Spanish bilingual book and for portraying a courageous, intelligent and loving Latina mother.

Marco is in awe of his mother’s green uniform as he spots her getting ready to fly. Captain Mama sweetly goes through the bedtime routine while explaining to her son all about her career in the United States Air Force. As she tucks him into bed and cuddles, he questions several colorful patches on her uniform and she patiently describes their significance.

Luring her readers in, Tiscareño-Sato does a wonderful job at explaining the meaning of each colorful and impressive patch. When Marco asks about the red, white and blue patch, I swelled with pride for Captain Mama! She says, “This is the symbol of our nation, the United States of America. I serve in the military to protect our country and to keep you safe.”

With so many mothers working and serving in all branches of the United States military, this book can be used as a learning tool for all children. While reading to my six year-old son, not only was he impressed that a mami can fly a KC-135, but in all the work men and women do as a team to keep us safe. The use of the patches kept the story flowing, educational, and engaging. We loved it!

Disclosure: A digital copy of this book was provided for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Betty Galvan, is helping her readers “find the positive and seek the benefits” over at her blog, MyFriendBettySays.com.

She is the mother of three beautiful little boys and a teacher.

Photo credits: mikifoto by mallika malhotra

HHM Reading Craft Tutorial:

The following is a guest post by Denise Cortes who publishes the site pearmama.com.

I’ve been a bookworm at heart ever since I was a little girl. Once I learned to read, my favorite thing to do was to find a cozy nook and read stories. Go outside and play, my mother would say to me. I did what I was told, but I often wondered why when I could find everything I wanted in a book. Books have a way of transporting you to a different time and place. Once I learned books could do that, it opened up the world to me.

I don’t always have the time to read like I used to. Bummer. When I do, I tend to read it from cover to cover in just a couple of days–I’ve been known to read with a flashlight in bed so I don’t disturb my husband! Anything to find some quiet time to read.

One of my favorite things to do is hold on to a good book so I can read it over and over again. When I go back and revisit some of my favorite books and read through the familiar pages–it’s like visiting an old friend. Victor Villaseñor’s Rain of Gold is one of the books I always come back to. Each and every time I do, I discover something new. As a result, the cover is faded and the pages are dog-eared, but it’s still a beloved story in my eyes.

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Latinas for Latino Lit’s Festival of Books, I wanted to share a quick and easy way to make your own fabric bookmark. This is a good way of preserving your favorite books–no more bent pages!

Earlier this year, I made batik-style prints on fabric using a glue resist technique. You can read all about it here. Basically, it’s making designs on fabric using glue gel, which resists paint. You can create all sorts of cool patterns this way. I had lots of fabric squares I had experimented with just stacked and waiting to be used in a diy project, so this was the perfect opportunity.

If you don’t have any glue resist fabric laying around, it’s okay. Just use what you have–quilt squares and oilcloth works great, too. The size of your bookmark is totally up to you. My bookmark was 9 x 3 inches.

What a simple way to make a bright and colorful bookmark, don’t you think?


Denise Cortes is a native of Southern California. This Latina mom loves to share stories about life with a large family and how she made it through six pregnancies, four home births, extended breastfeeding and now, homeschooling. Denise is passionate about the creative spirit as a means of cultivating self-worth in children. Denise blogs at www.pearmama.com, where she shares fun DIY projects, modern art for kids, and her children–four sons (16, 14, 13, & 11) and two daughters (8 & 9). Denise is also a regular contributor at BabyCenter and Mamiverse. You can also follow Denise on Pinterest , Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

VIDEO: Google+ Hangout with María Aguí Carter, Filmmaker of PBS’ Rebel

By: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

María Aguí Carter is one of these people you just know you have to meet. I was fortunate to present with her this summer at the Smithsonian Museum. Talented, Latino high school students come to Washington from all over the country as part of this institution’s Young Ambassadors Program (YAP). Learning about and being exposed to different fields is the kind of exposure to people and contexts that can spark the curiosity of a young mind and help set an academic or professional goal.
María and I presented on a panel about media. María dazzled us with her story of the making of her feature PBS documentary “Rebel: Loreta Velazquez, Civil War Soldier and Spy.”
Click below to watch the YouTube video of our thought-provoking Google+ Hangout on Air w/ María who tells us about Loreta Velazquez–a woman who cross dressed to fight for the Confederacy–and spy–during the American Civil War. Who was Loreta? Why did she fight? Despite writing a memoir (and she was one of the few women and Latinas to do so in the 19th century), why was her story silenced?

Click on the video to watch a 20 second YouTube trailer:

Getting the green light on a project is no easy task. But at PBS the filmmakers and producers must raise money.

Now add the mystery of her main character. Maybe you haven’t heard of Loreta Velazquez. I hadn’t. That’s because she has been virtually erased from history until contemporary historians and María, who began her decade-long journey to unearth the truth.

Join us Wednesday, October 2, 2013 from 12 noon to 12:30P EST for this thought-provoking Google+ Hangout on Air w/ María Aguí Carter who tells us about Loreta Velazquez — a woman who cross dressed to fight and spy for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. She is also one of only two Latina authors published in the U.S. in the 19th century. Who was Loreta? Why did she fight? Despite writing a memoir, why was her story silenced?

Click here to access the invitation and watch the live hangout at 12 noon! Click here to find a Rebel screening near you.


María is giving away an autographed copy of the Rebel DVD to 2 L4LL readers!

To enter this giveaway, just use the Rafflecopter below.

Good luck!

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L4LL’s HHM Weekend Book Club Discussion Questions: Week 2

Don’t be shy! Join us on our Facebook page for our Weekend Book Club. Or if you prefer, you can comment on the discussion questions shared below. All together in one place!

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
Discussion led by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez

Unbreakable by Jenni Rivera
Discussion led by Betty Velasco Galvan

Latina Legacies by Vicki L. Ruiz and Virginia Sánchez Korrol
Discussion led by Ezzy Guerrero-Languzzi

Rita Moreno: A Memoir by Rita Moreno
Discussion led by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez

10 Great Reads in Hispanic Literature

Although we focused on a few biographies and autobiographies for our HHM: Festival of Books Reading Lists this year, we realize that there are countless great reads by Hispanic authors that document or explore the Latino experience. So we wanted to share just a few of these fantastic works. Some are classics, while others aren’t, but either way, we’d love to hear what other book titles you’d include!

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

by Junot Díaz
(Also 50% off on Google Play)

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents
by Julia Alvarez
(Also 50% off on Google Play)

The House on Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros
(Also 50% off on Google Play)

Dreaming in Cuban
by Cristina García
(Also 50% off on Google Play)

Like Water for Chocolate
by Laura Esquivel

Daughter of Fortune
by Isabelle Allende

When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir
by Esmeralda Santiago

STILL DREAMING: My Journey from the Barrio to Congress

by Congressman Luis Gutiérrez

A Tale of Survival
by Grace Flores-Hughes

NEWYORICANGIRL…Surviving my Spanglish Life
by Julia Torres Barden