Literacy Craft Tutorial: Mis Libros No-Sew Book Bag

No-sew-book-bag


This week, the L4LL DIY Summer Reading Camp theme is SUMMER. The following literacy craft tutorial is a guest post by Kathy Cano-Murillo who publishes the site, CraftyChica.com.

Mis Libros No-Sew Book Bag
by Kathy Cano-Murillo

Life is too short to carry around just one book, right? Why not several? Here is a great way to recycle an old t-shirt into a super cute book bag! Use fabric paint to add the saying “mis libros” – “my books!”

Supplies:

  • 1 unwanted T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Paint
  • Letter Stencils
  • Sponge Pouncers

Directions:

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1. Fold the shirt in half and cut off the sleeves.

2. Also cut off the neck.

3. Open the shirt and cut 3” notches all along the bottom.

4. Stretch each notch and tie in a knot all the way across to seal the bottom of the bag.

 

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5. Cut the seams off the top of the shirt and tie to make the handles.

6. Set the shirt flat and place stencils flat.

7. Apply the fabric paint in a pouncing motion and let dry.

 

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Kathy-Cano-MurilloKathy Cano-Murillo is a writer/novelist, artist/illustrator and founder of the award-winning site, CraftyChica.com. Known for her glittery “Mexi-boho” style, she is a national spokesperson for iLoveToCreate and a creative influencer for Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores. She has a product line that is carried in Michaels stores and is a former columnist for The Arizona Republic, and has authored nine books, two of them novels. She have been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, HGTV, DIY Network, Lifetime TV and more. She is a third-generation Mexican-American, a native Phoenician, mom, wifey, with five Chihuahuas.

How to Read to Young Children

How to Read to Young Children

One of the best ways to develop your child’s literacy skills is to begin reading to him at birth… and earlier! Even though your child might not understand the words, their developing brain begins processing language before they are even born. Studies show that babies can learn their first lullabies in the womb.

But once your child is born, it is important for you to read regularly to her to help build her vocabulary and teach her the basics of language such as sentence structure, grammar, and more. It doesn’t matter what language you read to your baby in because once they learn the basic literacy skills in one language, they can transfer those to a second one.

The way you read to your child can enhance his learning and boost his literacy skills. Here are five thing you can do to maximize your reading time together.

Sit together in a comfortable spot.

If it is possible to create a special reading area in your home, do it! But remember, reading can take place any time and anywhere. Try to choose somewhere comfortable for both of you like the couch or a cozy chair. This lessens outside distractions and makes it easier for you both to focus on the story and the act of reading.

Read with emotion.

A great storyteller captures the mood of the story with his voice, so be animated as you read. Use different voices for different characters. Let your voice rise and fall as the story moves through exciting moments. Pause now and then to increase the suspense and make your child wonder what will happen next.

Point to the words.

Help your child learn to associate sounds with specific letters or groups of letters. By the time he starts reading, he will already recognize common words such as “the,” “an,” “he,” “she,” and many others. Pointing to words as you read will also show your child basic grammar rules, such as using a capital at the beginning of a sentence and ending it with a punctuation mark.

Look at the illustrations.

Most children’s books come with beautifull illustrations. The job of the illustrator is to accentuate the story and supplement it with additional details that the author may not include. The images may even help the reader to guess what is going to happen next. Before you turn the page, look at the illustrations together and point out details that may not have been included in the written story.

Ask questions.

Start off by looking at the cover of the book and ask your child what she thinks the story will be about. As you read, ask her questions about the characters, how she thinks they must feel, and what she thinks is going to happen next. By asking questions, you make your child an active reader and not just an observer. You’ll also be boosting her reading comprehensions skills.

Happy reading!

Literacy Craft Tutorial: Bookmaking

DIY Family Keepsake Book Craft

This week, the L4LL DIY Summer Reading Camp theme is FAMILIA. The following literacy craft tutorial is a guest post by Denise Cortes who publishes the site, Pearmama.com.

Bookmaking: Make your own family keepsake book

My kids are really sentimental when it comes to family photos. One of our favorite things to do as a family is to sit down and thumb through their baby books and photo albums. We all laugh at the memories and at the end of it all, I’m usually in tears. Why must childhood be so fleeting?

I wanted to teach my daughters how to make make a DIY family keepsake book so they could collect photos, small notes and drawings and keep the tradition of documenting our family going strong. This craft project is inexpensive and fun for everyone!

What you’ll need to make your own:

  • brown paper bags
  • scissors
  • decorative edge scissors
  • glue stick
  • patterned & solid color scrapbooking paper
  • black marker
  • jute twine or yarn

What I love most about this project is we’re basically going to repurpose an inexpensive brown paper bag. It’s as simple as folding a bag or two in half, sandwiching them together, poking a few holes on one side and threading a piece of twine or ribbon to bind them together. After trimming one side with a pair of decorative edge scissors, you will have a “book” with pockets, similar to an accordion.

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If you want to make the “book” thicker, use more than one paper bag. I used two, which allowed me to have four pockets to slide photos and keepsakes in.

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To bind the paper bags together, make three holes along the edge that is opposite to the opening side.

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Now you are ready to decorate your book. Find a few patterned sheets of scrapbooking squares. Cut them down to size so they can fit properly.

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Glue down each piece of scrapbooking paper onto the “pages” of your book. Add a smaller piece of solid color paper and glue it on top of the scrapbooking paper, toward the bottom. This space is for any captions you’d like to write, such as: My family, mama, papa, brother, sister, abuelita etc. Remember, you are celebrating family!

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The final step is to thread the book with a piece of jute twine, to bind all of the pages together. Be sure to tie a tight knot.

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Now you can fill up your keepsake book with pictures, notes, photobooth pictures etc.

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denise-cortesDenise Cortes is a writer/blogger and an artist when she isn’t tending to her family and teaching art. Denise is the content creator at Pearmama.com, a blog about a Latina mom raising six kids and living a creative life. A native of Southern California, Denise has been blogging since 2006, when her husband suggested she continue her life-long practice of journal writing about life and family. Since then, she’s been sharing fun DIY craft projects, Latino culture, creating art on TOMS shoes and writing heartfelt parenting stories about her children, ages 8 to 16. Denise is also a regular contributor at BabyCenter and Latinamom.me. You can also follow her on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Literacy Craft Tutorial: DIY: Book-Inspired Sports ID Tag

Book-inspired ID tag tutorialBook-inspired ID tag tutorial

This week, the L4LL DIY Summer Reading Camp theme is SPORTS! The following literacy craft tutorial is a guest post by Denise Cortes who publishes the site, PearMama.

Soccer is a big deal in my house. My son Cyan just finished up his very first season of soccer, and I just became the quintessential soccer mom. Every Saturday morning we would pack up our chairs and snacks and cheer on my boy while he ran up and down the field, kicking the ball and being awesome. He learned so much and now he’s hooked!

As a busy mom with six kids, team sports have always been a challenge for me. The cost (registration, new shoes, uniform, etc.), the time away from home, and making the commitment to attend team practice and games usually has me shaking in my boots. However, the excitement of being on a team and the smile on my child’s face when he sees me cheering from the sidelines makes it so worthwhile.

Since my boy is constantly schlepping his soccer bag to and from the soccer field, I wanted to make him a fun book-inspired ID tag to celebrate Latinas for Latino Lit’s 2014 Summer Reading Program. I’m a big fan of fun, functional crafts. With this cool ID tag on his soccer bag, my son can easily spot it amongst his teammates. It also showcases his love of reading and soccer.

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You’ll also need this:

  • glue stick or Mod Podge
  • paintbrush
  • black marker

Whenever I am crafting, I really try to utilize my resources. Instead of going out and buying a thick piece of cardstock, I used a piece of cardboard. I just cut it down to the size I wanted my ID tag, which was 3 x 3 inches. I also cut a circle so I could make a soccer ball shape. On the white paper, draw a soccer ball, making sure its the same size as the cardboard circle. Color it in with the Sharpie marker and then cut it out.

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Glue the soccer ball drawing onto the round cardboard shape. Also, glue the blue scrapbooking paper onto the cardboard as well. You can use a glue stick, but for this particular project, I prefer Mod Podge. Not only will it glue my shapes together, it will seal the surface and make the ID tag a bit more sturdy. This means you’ll need a coat under your paper to glue it down to the surface as well as a coat brushed on top to act as a sealer. Once that coat is dry, you can add little details on your “book” with a black marker.

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My son’s team was called “The Transformers” and the team color was blue so I kept to a blue palette. I also cut out a few triangles to give it a fun, modern look. Glue them down with another coat of Mod Podge. Doodling a few fun designs would look great on your ID tag, too.

Once it’s completely dry, make a hole in the corner of each shape using the hole punch. Pull the shapes onto the loose leaf ring.

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Be sure to flip the ID tag over and write down your child’s information, just in case his or her bag gets lost. Your book-inspired sports ID tag is now ready to be displayed on a sports bag or backpack. My boy loves his new ID tag that mom made just for him!

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Have a great summer and make sure you stay tuned for more fun summer reading crafts.

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denise-cortes

Denise Cortes is a writer/blogger and an artist when she isn’t tending to her family and teaching art. Denise is the content creator at Pearmama.com, a blog about a Latina mom raising six kids and living a creative life. A native of Southern California, Denise has been blogging since 2006, when her husband suggested she continue her life-long practice of journal writing about life and family. Since then, she’s been sharing fun DIY craft projects, Latino culture, creating art on TOMS shoes and writing heartfelt parenting stories about her children, ages 8 to 16. Denise is also a regular contributor at BabyCenter and Latinamom.me. You can also follow her on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

Matching Books and Museums: 3 Family Heritage Experiences


Did you ever walk through a museum and wish you knew the story behind the exhibits?

The solution? Read a related book or two before you go. You’ll gain context and be better able to appreciate what you see. Share your ideas, too, with your family as you view the exhibits.

Here are 3 family-friendly museums, matched with some great books for you and the kids, too.

1. The Museum of Latin American Art

The museum: Located in Long Beach, CA, the museum “expands knowledge and appreciation of modern and contemporary Latin American art through its Collection, ground-breaking Exhibitions, stimulating Educational Programs, and engaging Cultural Events.” Or to put it more simply, this is THE museum for artwork of all types from both noted and to-be-discovered Latino artists. In fact the museum’s website has a call for a ceramicist to get in touch!

The museum has a lot going on to support love of the arts: the quarterly calendar is loaded with exhibition information, the museum has a summer camp art program, the museum’s Viva Café is a great place to taste authentic dishes, and the director is leading a September tour of Mexico City’s art hotspots. You can also shop the online store. Check out the museum website for more.

The books: The whole family will be ready for the museum’s wealth of art with these reads.

Frida by Hayden Herrera: The definitive biography of tortured artist Frida Kahlo, used as the basis of the movie of the same name.

Mexico & Central America: A Fiesta of Cultures, Crafts, and Activities for Ages 8-12 by Mary C. Turuk: This multicultural activity book contains more than 40 activities and 3 play scripts celebrating the cultures of Mexico and Central America and their Aztec and Maya roots.

2. The National Museum of Mexican Art

The museum: Located in Chicago, IL, the museum is a rich offering of all the art and culture Mexico has to offer. The museum’s credo is that “Mexican culture exists sin fronteras, without borders, and we display artistic expressions from both sides of the border . . . the Museum is committed to creating a wide range of exhibitions that present a vibrant and diverse picture of Mexico and its history, as well as of Mexican communities in the United States.”

This means that the museum has a wide variety of collections, stemming from antique textiles to contemporary photography. Special exhibitions change regularly. The museum also has a number of programs for adults, teens and children, special programs such as a film and literature program, and a spectacular gift shop, the Tienda Tzintzuntzán. Check out the museum website for more.

The books: Dive into Mexico and Mexican heritage with an author the museum has featured in its literature program and a unique alphabet.

The Eagle’s Throne by Carlos Fuentes: In a series of letters, Mexico’s power players act out political intrigues that perfectly capture the schemes and corruption of a government run by insiders. Winner of the Cervantes Prize.

ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish by Cynthia Weill et al: A wonderful children’s book which illustrates the alphabet with Mexican artwork.

3. The Hispanic Society of America

The museum: Located in New York City (Audubon Terrace, Broadway between 155 and 156 Streets) this is a “free museum and reference library for the study of the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.” The collections are extensive, including more than 800 paintings, 6000 watercolors and drawings, 1000 sculptures, 175,000 photographs, and 6000 decorative objects such as jewelry, textiles and ironwork.

Beyond these resources, the Society’s library is the place to go for ancestry or academic research. It has more than 250,000 books and periodicals including 15,000 volumes printed before 1701, as well as manuscripts dating from the 12th century. Check out the society’s website for more. (A bit clunky but worth checking before you go.)

The books: A visit to the Society calls out for classic reads for the whole family!

El Cid: In the anonymous medieval Spanish poem, the general Rodrigo Díaz is banished from the court of Kind Alfonso without his beloved wife Jimena or his daughters. He becomes a mercenary, El Cid Campeador, and sets out from Castile to restore his name. Read the dual language version for a truly immersive experience.

The Adventures of Don Quixote (Argentina Palacios edition): A children’s version of the most well-known piece of Spanish language literature captures the story of the traveling knight Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza.

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Carmen Amato is the author of THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY and CLIFF DIVER, the first book in her Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco which was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “consistently exciting.” The next book in that series, HAT DANCE, will be released later this summer.

In HAT DANCE, Acapulco detective Emilia Cruz will risk a dance with the devil in a desperate attempt to stop an arsonist and find a missing girl. But when the music stops, the consequences will be deadly.

Check out all Carmen’s books at http://amazon.com/author/carmenamato and connect with her on Twitter @CarmenConnects or Facebook. Her Pinterest boards illustrate her books and can be found at http://pinterest.com/CarmenConnects.

How to Host a Latino-Themed Book Swap Party

By Carmen Amato

Want an opportunity to get together with friends and feel virtuous at the same time?

Host a book party! Not only will you have fun but you’ll get a new book (for free!) and learn what your friends love to read, too.

Here is how to do it in 5 easy steps:

1. Pick a theme

While Latino Lit is a great first choice, here are some other ideas that might appeal to your friends:

• Cookbooks
• Mexico
• Latino history

Whatever you choose, make the theme broad enough so that there are many books in that category. You can also include DVDs and CDs that are book-related if you want. Just let guests know in the invitation.

2. Invitations

Send out invites explaining the book swap party theme and how it works. Guests should be told to bring three things:

• A wrapped book (doesn’t have to be new) that corresponds to the theme
• The first sentence of the book written on a 3×5 card or slip of paper. The title of the book should be written on the back.
• If the party is a pot-luck, tell them to bring a dish to share.

3. The set-up

Besides setting up for guests with food, drinks, plates, napkins, etc, you need to have a bowl of numbered cards (up to the number of guests).

Have a small prize to give away at the end of the party, such as set of bookmarks. To make bookmarks without spending a dime, check out all these free downloads from tipjunkie.com!

When guests arrive, put all their books in one central place. Collect the cards with the first sentence for the quiz at the end.

4. The swap

Once the food and margaritas are gone, let everyone pick a number out of the bowl. Number 1 gets to pick any wrapped book and unwrap it. Number 2 can either take Number 1’s unwrapped book or pick a different item from the pile. And so on. Anyone whose unwrapped book is taken gets to pick again from the wrapped pile. The picking and trading keeps going until the final number is drawn and everyone has a book. Beware, this can get quite hilarious.

5. The quiz

Without anyone looking inside their book, read the first sentences out loud from the cards the guests brought. Let folks try to guess which book each sentence comes from (whoever brought the book is not allowed to tell!). Write the name of the person who guesses the correct title on the sentence card. After all the sentences have been guessed the person who has the most number of correct guesses gets the prize.

That’s it! Everybody gets a new book and learns a little about many others.
To get you thinking about a book swap party, who can name the book this quote is from? Let us know in the comments!

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

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Carmen Amato is the author of THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY and CLIFF DIVER, the first book in her Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco which was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “consistently exciting.” The next book in that series, HAT DANCE, will be released later this summer.

In HAT DANCE, Acapulco detective Emilia Cruz will risk a dance with the devil in a desperate attempt to stop an arsonist and find a missing girl. But when the music stops, the consequences will be deadly.

Check out all Carmen’s books at http://amazon.com/author/carmenamato and connect with her on Twitter @CarmenConnects or http://facebook.com/authorcarmenamato. Her Pinterest boards illustrate her books and can be found at http://pinterest.com/CarmenConnects.

Pressed for Time and Money? 3 Places to Read Short Stories Online


By Carmen Amato

Time and money. If we had unlimited supplies of both we might spend all of both buying and reading books.

But if time and money are in short supply you can still keep reading by going online to find short stories. You can find some great reads by Latino short story writers if you know where to look.

Here are three places to start:

1. The New Yorker magazine publishes the best of contemporary fiction but only older archives are available to the general public on its website. Here are 3 wonderful short stories by noted author Cristina Henriquez: Lunch, Carnaval Las Tablas, and Ashes that previously appeared in the print version of the magazine. They all reflect her Panamanian roots.

2. The website mexconnect.com for all things Mexico has a collection of fiction short stories tucked away and discoverable by using the site’s tags. The stories run a gamut of styles and subjects but have one thing in common—they are all related to Mexico and all well written. The format of the website is nice and clean, making the stories easy to select from the main page and easy to read when fully displayed. The Sanchez Ghost was particularly good.

3. The Rio Grande Review is a non-profit bilingual literary magazine run by students of the MFA in Creative Writing at The University of Texas at El Paso. The website contains an archive all of the editions as downloadable PDFs. Each edition is in both Spanish and English, making for a lengthy PDF (latest edition is 400 pages!) so this is best read online rather than attempting to print it out. This link leads directly to the archive page.

Bonus Suggestions:

While not a strictly Latino-themed story site, National Public Radio’s 3 minute story project is an amazing collection of stories sent in by listeners, based on NPR’s weekly writing prompts. The only requirement is that stories must be original fiction and able to be read in 3 minutes. Click on the different “Rounds” on the right side of the page to load stories that correspond to that particular writing prompt. But beware! This site is highly addictive!

If you read in Spanish, enjoy elcuento.com, a well-curated collection of short stories in Spanish from a wide variety of countries. The website is extremely simple and doesn’t offer much in the way of a visual draw, but just lists editions. Click on any edition and it brings up a table of contents along with the country the author is from. The title is a link to the story. FYI—I tried Google Translate on one of the stories and it gave me a readable copy but much of the poetry in the words was lost.

Finally, I discovered Eyes of the Blue Dog by Gabriel Garcia Marquez on the fiction.eserver website. This link is to the story and this link is to the general archive page for short stories. A hidden gem!

Do you have a source for online short stories? Please share it with our readers in the comments!

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Carmen Amato writes thrillers and mysteries as well as a blog about encounters, choices, and travel at http://carmenamato.net/blog. CLIFF DIVER, the first book in her Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “consistently exciting” and the next book in that series, HAT DANCE, will be released later this summer.

In HAT DANCE, Acapulco detective Emilia Cruz will risk a dance with the devil in a desperate attempt to track down an arsonist and find a missing girl. But as Acapulco burns, the dance will come with a price that no honest cop should have to pay.

Check out all Carmen’s books at http://amazon.com/author/carmenamato and connect with her on Twitter @CarmenConnects. Her Pinterest boards illustrate her books and can be found at http://pinterest.com/CarmenConnects.

How to Use Amazon’s Categories to Find Hidden Latino Gems

Since the beginning of the month, L4LL has focused tremendously on the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program. But we have not forgotten the adults! So starting today, we’ll be running articles every Friday on topics just for our adult readers by the talented author, Carmen Amato.

It’s the world’s largest bookseller. If you love books the way I love books, chances are you have surfed amazon.com.

But with millions of books on offer and thousands more uploaded every day, readers have almost too much to choose from. So how to navigate this huge online bookstore and find the Latino lit you want?

The answer is Categories.

Amazon’s Dual System

It is not readily apparent but amazon has two sets of categories; one for print books and another for Kindle eBooks. At first this might not make sense, but this system grew out of the Kindle publishing platform and actually helps the book search process. Here’s why.

A single book published in both print and eBook formats that is for sale on amazon can be listed in multiple categories. Generally print books are listed in 3 categories and eBooks are listed in 2. The categories overlap to some extent. For example, both print and Kindle categories have a Mystery, Thriller and Suspense category with a Police Procedural sub-category. Clicking on a category will take you to a listing of all books in that category in order of sales ranking.

When you click on the format options below the book title (Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle) the page for that format will list the format-specific categories.

If you search for books on a computer you’ll see both print and eBook categories but if you are surfing amazon with your Kindle or Kindle-enabled device you’ll only see the eBook categories.

To see categories on your computer, scroll to the bottom of any book page. Click on a category and amazon will not only show you the books in that category but give you a list of all book categories on the left side of your screen.

On a Kindle, you can find categories from the Kindle Storefront screen simply by clicking on “Books.” While viewing a book page on a Kindle device the categories are hidden under “Book Extras.”

Notable Categories

Amazon doesn’t have a single specific category for Latino lit. Instead, readers need to narrow searches to sub-categories. Here are a few worth checking out.

For Print:

Books > Literature and Fiction > World Literature > Latin American
This category has both Spanish and English language books in it including top-ranked (at the time of this writing) CIEN AÑOS DE SOLEDAD (Spanish Edition) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez .

Books > Literature & Fiction > United States > Hispanic
This category has fiction in English written by Latino authors. THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET by Sandra Cisneros currently tops this category.

Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Ethnic & National > Hispanic & Latino
This is an absorbing category and one that I’ll be visiting more often. MY BELOVED WORLD by Justice Sonia Sotomayor tops it with 819 reviews, too! But it is worth noting that in the same book is listed in a very different category for Kindle: Kindle eBooks > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Lawyers & Judges.

Books > History > Americas > Central America
Books > History > Americas > Mexico
Books > History > Americas > South America

Books > History > Americas > Caribbean & West Indies
This is a great grouping of sub-categories and ensures that nothing will fall through the cracks in the history department, at least. My Twitter friend Alfredo Corchado’s book was #2 for the Mexico history sub-category: MIDNIGHT IN MEXICO: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent into Darkness.

For Kindle:

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > History > Americas
Once again, history is one of the easiest set of categories to navigate. What you see is what you get.

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > International Mystery & Crime
Mysteries from around the globe can be found here including CLIFF DIVER: An Emilia Cruz Novel by Carmen Amato ranked #11 in this sub-category.

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction
This category contains many notable examples of Latino lit like DROWN by Junot Díaz and THE LADY MATADOR’S HOTEL by Cristina Garcia. But this is a huge sub-category and is a lot to sift through.

Note—amazon updates rankings hourly so the above sub-category rankings may have changed since this was written.

Time Well Spent

Click on a category to pull up the list of books. Click on a book and see in which categories it is listed. In addition, amazon will automatically give you a horizontal scroll on every book page of additional and similar books you might like. If viewing on a Kindle the “Customers Who Viewed” section is a link at the bottom of the book page.

You’ll keep finding interesting books but keep an eye on your watch. Category surfing can be more addictive than Pinterest!

Do you know of other categories L4LL readers might be interested in? Was this article helpful? Leave us a comment and make sure to sign up to get this blog in your inbox, too.

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Carmen AmatoCarmen 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. Her next book, HAT DANCE: An Emilia Cruz Novel is due out later this summer. For more check out:
http://carmenamato.net
http://facebook.com/authorcarmenamato
http://pinterest.com/carmenconnects/
@CarmenConnects
Find her books at http://amazon.com/author/carmenamato

35+ Ways to Keep Your Child Excited About Reading

One challenge that parents face during the summer is keeping their kids excited about reading. So we’ve put together a short list of ways to make reading fun.

Did we miss one? Feel free to share your own tricks with all of us and the other families participating in the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program by leaving a comment below!

  1. Read with your child.
  2. Make it special and set up a comfortable reading nook just for your child.
  3. Visit the bookstore or library on a weekly basis.
  4. Translate a story!
  5. Read the book…then watch the movie. Discuss which one you liked better and why.
  6. Involve friends. Invite your child’s friends over for a book swap party.
  7. Create your own book club and meet weekly to discuss new books.
  8. Make puppets and then have your child(ren) put on a puppet show of the story for friends and family.
  9. Dress up in costumes and re-enact the story! (Who doesn’t love a good play?)
  10. Write up a book report.
  11. Help your child create a video book review!
  12. Add variety. Read books, magazines, eBooks, cookbooks, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, comic books, graphic novels, classics, action & adventure…
  13. Ask your child to write and illustrate his/her own story.
  14. Read outside.
  15. Read in the car.
  16. Download Storia.
  17. Go to the park to read!
  18. Make up different endings.
  19. Buy picture books without words and make up your own story.
  20. Use story boards.
  21. Make meals mentioned in the story.
  22. Create a felt story board.
  23. Join a summer reading program.
  24. Listen to audiobooks.
  25. Create a reward chart.
  26. Use reading logs to record their progress.
  27. Use story cubes.
  28. Use incentives (these can be physical items or simple privileges).
  29. Read aloud. Pick a book you both love and take turns reading to each other.
  30. Dress it up! Gift wrap a book you’ve carefully selected and give it to your child as a gift.
  31. Make sure your child is reading books on her level. Books that are too difficult or advanced make reading a lot less fun.
  32. Buy a fun book light at the dollar store.
  33. Bribery! (Lol!!)
  34. Give your child his own library card.
  35. Read to a pet!
  36. Read to a stuffed toy.
  37. Stay up late reading!
  38. Read to a friend.
  39. Read to Abuela or Abuelo (Grandma or Grandpa).
  40. Let your child choose the book.
  41. Find books on topics your child is interested in.
  42. Vary your child’s reading routine.

How to Build a Latino Library on Pinterest that Rocks!

Go ahead, quote me on this: Pinterest can actually make you smarter.

Not only can the image-based social sharing site let you discover DIY tips and the ultimate arroz rojo recipe but Pinterest can help us become virtual librarians as well.

But keep reading—this won’t be your mama’s library.

Book Boards

The core of Pinterest is boards which function as virtual scrapbooks. Pinterest account holders can create boards around themes and either reuse images—known as pins—that someone else has uploaded, or upload new pins from their own images or from sites such as amazon.com.

There aren’t yet many boards or pinners devoted to Latino literature. Which means there’s a big gap that your virtual library can fill! Check these out for inspiration:

La Casa Azul Bookstore: This East Harlem bookstore has a variety of boards devoted to reading Latino literature and meeting the authors. Photos of books are usually accompanied by a blue papel picado streamer embossed with the name of the store. Love it! Here’s the link: http://pinterest.com/lacasaazulbooks/

The Somers Library: The public library of Somers, NY, has a wide selection of thematic boards, including one devoted to The Pura Belpré Award which is awarded annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience for children and youth. Here’s the link: http://pinterest.com/somerslibrary/pura-belpre-award/

Carmen Amato (okay, me): This international mystery author has The Latino Library and The Mexico Library boards which jointly contain more than 100 book pins, each of which link back to amazon.com descriptions and purchasing information. Other boards illustrate her own mystery novels with celebrity dreamcasts, playlists and related images. Here’s the link: http://pinterest.com/carmenconnects/

Ready, Set, Pin

The magic of creating a library on Pinterest is that you can combine book images and information in amazing ways that real libraries rarely do. You can make all types of book boards and add surprising things to them.

Step 1

Once you have your Pinterest account set up, decide on a theme and create a new board with a short, snappy title. You board can be about an individual book or many books in a specific genre. For example:

  • Latino Lit from the 1970’s
  • fiction books based on history
  • Cuban-American authors
  • Book club reads

Or your board can just be about books you recommend. Or want to read. Or just love the cover!

Once you have your theme, add images:

  • Find the book page on amazon.com and use the site’s PinIt button to pin the book image and description
  • Do a search on Pinterest, using keywords such as the book title to find book-related images
  • Use Google search to find more images of the book. This is handy if the book has had several different covers but amazon only shows the latest. If any site doesn’t have a PinIt button, add one to your browser by searching for the PinIt button on the Pinterest site, then use it to pin to your board.

Repeat Step 1 until you have as many boards as you want!

Step 2

Give that board some book bling!

  • Who would play the lead characters if the book became a movie? Pin some celeb photos and say which character he/she would be and why.
  • Where was the book located? Add some pictures of where the action takes place.
  • What did the characters eat? Add some recipes.
  • Was there a playlist in the background of this book in your imagination? Add a couple of music videos. YouTube makes it easy with a PinIt button on every video.
  • If the books are non-fiction, find related pictures by searching both the Pinterest site as well as using Google. Maybe there is a history website with good pictures you can use.
  • What goes with books? Images of reading nooks, bookmarks, author photos? Use your imagination!

Remember to acknowledge the primary source of whatever image you pin. If you use a PinIt button, the source link will stay attached to the pin when it is on your board. If you upload an original image from your own computer, you can add a link manually.

Share!

As Pulitzer Prize-winning authorJunot Diaz tweeted during this week’s #L4LL Twitter party, “The only way to support reading is to push books on youth. All of us have to be librarians and literary curators.”

A Pinterest library can do just that by combining books with familiar pop culture elements like music videos and getting those boards visible on social media networks.
So once your boards rock, invite friends to take a look. Tweet your boards and link to them on Facebook.

Also, post a link in the comments thread below to share and help build this community!

Gracias!

This is the third of my three guest posts for Latinas4LatinoLiterature and I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Thanks to Monica and the gang at Latinas4LatinoLit.org for this opportunity.

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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. For more check out:
http://carmenamato.net
http://facebook.com/authorcarmenamato
http://pinterest.com/carmenconnects/