January 27, 2015


The Latina Book Club is proud to be part of Multicultural Children's Book Day (January 27, 2015). 

Bloggers, reviewers, bookstores, and others around the country are posting reviews of different multicultural books and/or holding activities to celebrate the day.  Many thanks to co-creators of this event, Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press.  Please join us in celebrating this unique day.   #ReadYourWorld.

Multicultural Children's Book Day Mission:  is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

REVIEW:   LITTLE BOY (Saga of a Comanche Warrior, Book One) by Max Oliver

Max Oliver has written a powerful, arresting story of life among the People, the Comanches.  Theirs is a harsh life among the plains, constantly at war with other Indian tribes, Anglos, Mexicans and Rangers.  At the heart of this story is the coming of age tale of a young Comanche brave named Little Boy.  He is the smaller, scrawny twin, who grows into a warrior and brings honor and pride to his tribe. 

Readers will be fascinated by the conflicting aspects of the Comanche life.  They are at one with nature, yet their ruthless treatment of captives will horrify some.

This book is at once authentic, callous, captivating, and compelling.  LITTLE BOY is the first book in the Sage of a Comanche Warrior series to be released by Pearson Publishing Company.###

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Max Oliver was raised in comanche Country.  His grandmother was of the Comanche Tribe. He grew up in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, reading and learning from the Native Americans living in those areas.  Max says taht there is always an inner part of him that loves the ways of the People.  He is an avid reader of any work about the Native Americans.  He was influenced by many conversations with, books about, and first-hand accounts of the ways of living and warring among those who lived on the land before they were forced onto reservations by the European newcomers.


 Check out the MCCBD blog here

MCCBD MISSION: Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

“MCCBD team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.”

MCCBD's CoHosts include:  Africa to America, All Done Monkey, The Educators’ Spin on It, Growing Book by Book, InCultural Parent, Kid World Citizen, Mama Smiles, Multicultural Kid Blogs and Sprout’s Bookshelf.

MCCBD’s  2015 Sponsors include: Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop; Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof; Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing; Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers, Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.

GIVEAWAY:  Platinum Sponsor Wisdom Tales Press is hosting a book giveaway on their website that anyone can enter. Winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice.

THE TWITTER PARTY!  Join us for Multicultural Children's Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages! This Twitter Party is hosted by Co-Founders Mia Wenjen (@Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr (@JumpIntoaBook1).

MCCBD now has its own Paper.li! A Paper.li is a free online newspaper that aggregates information on the topic of multicultural books for kids from all over the Internet. Please feel free subscribe and stay up-to-date with this topic.

First Book:  MCCBD is also partnering with First Book to offer a Virtual Book Drive that will help donate multicultural children’s books through their channels during the week of the event. We want to help get diversity books into the hands of kids who most need it and now we have a way to do it! The Virtual Book Drive is LIVE and can be found HERE.

Children’s Book Council: MCCBD is collaborating with Children’s Book Council to highlight wonderful diversity books and authors on an ongoing basis all year.

PINTEREST:  Multicultural Children’s Book Day has a Board on Pinterest and that can be found HERE.


January 26, 2015

BLOG TOUR: POLI: A MEXICAN BOY IN EARLY TEXAS by Jay Neugeboren (& Giveaway!)

The Latina Book Club is proud to be part of POLI's 25th Anniversary Blog Tour.  As a treat, we are giving away a copy of this young adult novel to one lucky reader.---mcf

"If a man forgets, he's in danger of dying." -- Poli Rodriguez

"It is my hope that POLI will inform—and inspire—young Hispanic men and women, while also educating readers everywhere, about the role this remarkable Mexican-American, José Policarpo Rodriguez." -- author Jay Neugeboren

Who would have thought that a classroom assignment would lead to the discovery of one of the earliest Mexican-American heroes of the 19th Century. 

Summary:  José Policarpo "Poli" Rodriguez is 10-years old in 1829 when he and his father leave Mexico and a life of indentured servitude to make a new life for themselves near San Antonio.    He grows up during the formative years of the State of Texas (1839-1846). 

At the heart of this book is Poli's friendship with a young Comanche brave named Eagle Blood.  The boys become blood brothers, but their friendship is tested again and again as the tensions between Indians, Mexicans and Anglos lead to war. 

Poli lived through two of history's biggest wars --Mexican-American War and the Civil War, and refused to take sides each time.  He stayed neutral but did take up arms to protect his town. 

During his long life, Poli had many jobs -- a guide, a surveyor, a hunter, a ranchman, a gunsmith, an Indian fighter, a Keeper of Camels for the U.S. Army, a Texas Ranger, an explorer and, lastly, a preacher. 

POLI: A MEXICAN BOY IN EARLY TEXAS is a quick read.  Readers of all ages --and Texas fans! -- will find it suspenseful, engaging, poignant, hair-raising, adventurous, and truly inspiring. 

GIVEAWAY!     Win a copy of this 25th Anniversary edition of POLI by leaving a comment below or by retweeting our post.  Good luck.###

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Jay Neugeboren wrote POLI: A MEXICAN BOY IN EARLY TEXAS to critical acclaim in 1989.  It is now being reissued by Texas Tech University Press on its 25th anniversary.  Neugeboren is the award-winning author of 21 books. His stories have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Black Clock, Ploughshares, Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and Penguin Modern Stories. His novel, 1940, was long-listed for the 2009 International Impac Dublin Literary Prize.  And, his most recent novel, THE AMERICAN SUN & WIND MOVING PICTURE COMPANY, was chosen as a Book of the Year Medalist by the Independent Publishers Association.  Learn more about this author at www.jayneugeboren.com.

January 19, 2015


Happy New Year!  (I can still say that, especially with the Chinese New Year around the corner.)

"Monday Musings" is a new feature for The Latina Book Club.  It will be a place I can share things with you about books, authors, my TBR pile, and other musings that just don't fit on a 140-character tweet.  Happy Reading!  --mcf

Today is Martin Luther King Junior Day.  Americans everywhere are reflecting on MLK's life and his dream for little black boys and girls to hold hands with little white boys and girls.  I would like to add to that dream that those little black and white boys and girls also hold hands with little yellow and brown boys and girls too.  Here are two of my favorite MLK quotes:

"No person has the right to rain on your dreams."

"We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

Congratulations to Gina Rodriguez.  She gave a great speech at the Golden Globes.  It's a great way to start the year.  Let this be the year when Latinos are viewed as Heroes ... everywhere!
Gina Rodriguez as "Jane The Virgin"

Do pick up a copy of HUMBLED BY THE JOURNEY by Miguel "Mike" Benito Fernandez.  It's two stories in one: a rags to riches story about a Cuban immigrant who literally arrives with nothing and achieves the American Dream; and, a religious pilgrimage through Europe.

Check out The Latina Book Club's Books of the Year for 2014.  Do add them to your TBR pile.

And, speaking of To-Be-Read Piles, mine continues to grow.  I think the books multiply at night, like rabbits!  Here are some new additions in no particular order:


--MY LAND SINGS by Rudolfo Anaya

--LOCAL NEWS by Gary Soto

--SHADOWSHAPER by Daniel Jose Older


The Latina Book Club is proud to be one of the Book Reviewers for this event. Check out their blog for complete list of book reviewers and author interviews.  #ReadYourWorld

Here's a great list of "types" of books to read for this New Year from PopSugar.  I have accepted the Reading Challenge and will concentrate on "diverse" authors and books.  I invite you to join me.  Here are some examples of the "types" of books we'll need to read:

--A book set in a different country

--A book with a color in the title

--A graphic novel

--A book with bad reviews

--A book with nonhuman characters


Civil Rights Struggles Continue in the U.S.  For instance, Maya Arce, Korina Lopez and Nicolas Dominguez are high school students suing the State of Arizona, whose House Bill 2281 prohibits Mexican-American studies in Tucson.  The fight for Freedom of Speech is everyone's fight no matter your age, race, color, ethnicity, et al. 
The Washington Post named THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS by Cristina Henriquez one of the Top 50-Fiction Books in 2014.  Congratulations, Cristina! 

Southern California Poet Michele Serros passed away on January 5th.  Her first book in 1994 was entitled, CHICANA FALSA AND OTHER STORIES OF DEATH, IDENTITY AND OXNARD.  Michele was inspired to write by a letter from Judy Blume when she was 11.  Most recently, she published two young adult novels: HONEY BLONDE CHICA and !SCANDALOSA!, both of which zeroed in on upper-middle-class Latina life.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has started an online book club, challenging readers to read one book every two weeks.  (This should be easy!)  I wonder how we can get him to select some Latino novels.
First there was Ferguson, then Ayotzinapa, then Baga Nigeria, now Paris.  As you know, 12 journalists and cartoonists were killed in Paris at the offices of the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo.  Suddenly everyone was "Charlie," and even world leaders marched in solidarity.  My friend and artist Andrea Arroyo said it best:  We are all Ferguson, we are all Ayotzinapa, we are all Charlie. 

Let's ALL dream the dream of peace and maybe "we shall overcome some day!"

A Tear for Paris" © Copyright Andrea Arroyo 2015

I dream a world where man
no other will scorn
where love will bless the earth
and peace its path adorn
--Langston Hughes


January 12, 2015


Northampton House Press, January 2015
"Ever just wanna be who you are without the check-marks?"--Justina Feliciano

The Latina Book Club congratulates Dania Ramos on the publication of her debut novel, WHO'S JU?  It is the first in her 7th Grade Sleuths series, a contemporary middle grade novel featuring an amazing Latina tween heroine! 

SUMMARY:  Justina Feliciano is adventurous, curious and smart.  She along with her fellow seventh-grade sleuths are on a case! Someone has vandalized the middle school drama club production and the newbie detectives must find out who before opening night. But there is an even greater mystery afoot!  Ju is given a genetics assignment at school.  At first, she thinks it's lame, until the mention of her assignment angers her mother and worries her father.  Suddenly, there are silences in her home, secrets in the attic; and now Ju has a different mystery to solve -- the case of who she is? Why does she has blond frizzy hair while her mother has wavy brown hair? why is she white-skinned and not the Feliciano brown?  For the first time in her life Ju is scared and doesn't know where to turn to for answers so she does what she does best -- she investigates and puts together the clues.

WHO'S JU? is part funny, part serious, and all together delightful!  This novel is a fast read; full of mystery, suspense and lots of heart-felt moments.  It's appropriate for readers of all ages.  Even my 12-year old nephew Joey loved it.  We are both looking forward to the rest of the books in the 7th Grade Sleuths series from this promising author.###

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Dania Ramos is a playwright and children’s author.  Her first novel, WHO’S JU? (Seventh-Grade Sleuths #1), was published by Northampton House Press in January 2015.  Dania has numerous stage writing credits, including being part of El Repertorio Español's Nuestras Voces Reading Series; a runner-up in the 2013 MetLife Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition; and the recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Playwriting Fellowship. 

Dania is the program coordinator for Montclair State University College of the Arts, Office of Education and Community Outreach.  She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators, and Actors Equity Association. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University and a BFA in Theatre Performance from Montclair State University. Visit her at www.daniaramos.com.

January 6, 2015


ElMuseo del Barrio's 38th Annual Three Kings Day Parade and Celebration went on as planned earlier today, January 6, 2015, despite the snow storm and dropping temperatures. 

Joseph and Mary bundled up the baby Jesus, while the three magi gulped hot cups of coffee.  The *Honorary Kings, Madrinas and Padrinos lined up outside the Museum, school graders from the neighborhood gathered with their homemade crowns, while sponsors and radio stations jockeyed for position.  Even Aurora Anaya-Cerda, founder of La Casa Azul Bookstore, and La Muerte, ruler of the Land of the Remembered, from the +movie "Book of Life" joined the fiesta.

Outside, dozens of men, women and children of all ages gathered on 104th Street and on Third Avenue to watch the parade in all its white glory.  Also, present were members of Las Comadres Para Las Americas (a networking group for Latina women of which I am proud to be a member).  There was a nice "lady" camel but the real ones were pulled at the last moment because of the slippery roads. 

Regardless, a great time was had by all.  There were crowns, smiles, laughter and much brotherly/sisterly love.  Afterwards, my Comadres and I retired to La Fonda for a scrumptious lunch.  Can't wait for next year! 

Note: I grabbed a piece of the king cake on my way out and got the baby.  Guess the party is at my house next year!  Happy 2015! ---mcf

Three Wise Men

Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus

Starting line!

Trying to eat snow. I did it too!
Dulces Labios, Mayaguez.  An icon.

PS-- Congratulations to Honorary Padrino Gonzalo Casals, Director of Public Programs, Education & Community Engagement at Friends of the High Line.  Gonzalo is also a great friend of The Latina Book Club and Las Comadres. 

About El Museo del Barrio:  It is New York's leading Latino cultural institution.  El Museo welcomes visitors of all backgrounds to discover the artistic landscape of Latino, Caribbean and Latin American cultures.  It has a wide-range of collections and critically acclaimed exhibitions, complemented by film, literary, visual and performing arts series, cultural celebrations and education programs.  This is El Museo's 38th Annual Three Kings Day Parade.  Visit them at www.elmuseo.org.

*Honorary Court. Honorary Kings: Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; Juan Gonzalez, NY Daily News columnist and co-host of Democracy Now!; and Deborah Quiñones, Founder, International Coquito Federation.  Honorary Madrinas: Petrushka Bazin Larsen, Susan R. Delvalle, Maria Roman Dumen, Judith Escalona and Monica Tavares.  Honorary Padrinos: Felix Leo Campos, Gonzalo Casals, Pablo Mayor, Danny R. Peralta and Gustavo Rosado.  For complete list of their titles, plus list of sponsors and parade talent, please visit El Museo del Barrio's website at www.elmuseo.org.

+"The Book of Life" movie releases on January 27 in digital and BlueRay.