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Showing posts from October, 2010


       As a Catholic, I celebrate November 1 as All Saint’s Day and November 2 as All Soul’s Day. (And, November 15, as my birthday!) I pray to the Saints for my family’s well being and for the souls of my loved ones in heaven. November 2 is also regarded as the Day of the Dead by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans everywhere. It sounds like a “dark” concept, but it’s actually a beautiful tradition of honoring and remembering loved ones that passed away. In the Mexican tradition, one would build an “altar” to a lost loved one and say prayers in their honor. My mother would turn over in her grave if I were to build an altar for her or Papi. My Abuela would love it though. I won’t be building any altars anytime soon, but I will be thinking of my lost loved ones – Mami, Papi, Mama (my grandmother), cousin Larry. I pray that they are all together and having a wonderful time in heaven. However, I am interested in the Day of the Dead and the traditions behind it. I’ve found some books th


        On September 14, in a ceremony in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Postal Service released the JULIA DE BURGOS commemorative stamp.  It is the 26th stamp in the USPS' literary series. de Burgos is a renowned island poet, who won fame after dying nameless on the streets of East Harlem in 1953 at the age of 39. Her first verses were published when she was 19; Her best-known poem is “Rio Grande de Loiza.” de Burgos left behind a legacy of more than 200 poems, exploring issues of love, feminism, and social equality. Today, there are two Julia de Burgos Cultural Centers: one in East Harlem and the other in Cleveland . Click below for other articles on Julia de Burgos and her commemorative stamp. DAILY NEWS SUITE 101 USA PHILATELIC UPDATE:    Julia de Burgos is the SECOND Puerto Rican to be honored with a stamp.  The first was none other than former Governor and "Father of Puerto Rico" LUIS MUNOZ MARIN.  His stamp was issued in 1990.  For more about Munoz Marin and hi


        Congratulations and a big round of applause to my 9-year old niece, Joliz Maria, for reading One Million Words this summer. As a result, she and 19 of her fellow school mates won the Connecticut Governor’s Award of Excellence. It is a big honor and a huge accomplishment. Her parents, brothers, grandmother and I couldn’t be more proud. Joliz has always been a good reader. When she graduated from kindergarten, she was the narrator for the school graduation play and she was only 6! She reads half an hour every day. Something her parents and I endorse whole heartedly. Of course, I am adding English books by Latino authors to her growing reading pile. The first, THE DREAMER by Pam Munoz Ryan, an illustrated story about Pablo Neruda’s childhood. She loved it, and we had our own mini-book club discussion. I am looking for other age appropriate books by Latino authors. I welcome all suggestions. And to all other budding readers out there… Read On.   Read Latino. ♥    


  I know this is wrong. I know I am weak, I know it cannot lead to anywhere good, but things will be different this time because this is me, and I am special. ----Cassandra Maldonado BOOGIE DOWN By Daniel Serrano Grand Central Publishing November 2010 “Cassandra was a NYPD detective, an undercover assigned to stop a monster.” Daniel Serrano opens with this gripping sentence and keeps the reader entranced until the last page. This story is full of action, mystery and suspense. It’s about life and death, truth and justice, winning and dying. Serrano’s cast of characters is so real, so vivid that this reader hopes to “meet” them all again soon in future books. (Daniel—this could be a series!) SUMMARY: Detective Cassandra Maldonado – a single mother of an autistic child – will do anything to provide for her son, whether that means putting herself in the path of a monster or blackmailing the Mayor into promoting her to the elite high profile homicide squad. Her first day on t


   Christina Corlett is a Spanish Teacher in Cranford, New Jersey, and the author of two books; plus, she has another two in the works. Three of the books are part of a four-part series about childhood friends; the other is a young adult novel (her first!). And, what is interesting is that Christina self-published her first two books and is planning same for the next two. Some might say that is a waste of time, effort and money, but Christina enjoys self-publishing because it puts her in control.  Follow her on: Blog: Twitter: What is your book about? To date, I have published two books (SECOND CHANCES and WHEN WE MEET AGAIN) via and have two almost-completed books in the works (THE ART OF LOVE and HIDDEN). The first three titles are part of a planned four-part series about four childhood friends which follows their roads in life and love; the fourth title is my first foray into the young adult genre. Cul


   Congratulations to Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa who won the Nobel Prize for Literature this morning from the Swedish Academy. The ceremony took place at the Cervantes Institute in New York City. "I am very grateful to the Swedish Academy. It is totally unexpected, a real surprise," Vargas Llosa told reporters in New York. "I think it is, for any writer, a great encouragement, a recognition of a world." Vargas Llosa has written more than 30 novels, including THE BAD GIRL and CONVERSATION IN THE CATHEDRAL. He is the third Latino to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Columbian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez won in 1982 and Mexican author Octavio Paz won in 1990. The honor comes with a cash prize of $1.5 million dollars. For Official Press Release, click here . For coverage of the ceremony, follow these links: New York Times Huffington Post Yahoo News     


    If you are anywhere near Los Angeles this weekend, do consider visiting THE 13th ANNUAL LATINO BOOK & FAMILY FESTIVAL at Greenlee Plaza at California State University.  It promises to be a fun-filled weekend full of books!  And, artists, arts & crafts, story-telling, music, folklorico dancing, exhibits and Mexican food. The Latino Book & Family Festival is spearheaded by Latino Literacy Now, in partnership with actor and community activitist Edward James Olmos .  Author Reyna Grande is this year's Program Coordinator, and she has lined up many wonderful authors, including Belinda Acosta, Julia Amante, Kathy Cano-Murillo, Victor Cass, Margo Candela, Alex Espinosa, Stephen Gutierrez, Josefina Lopez, Rafael Navarro, Thelma Reyna and Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez.   For the complete list of authors, click here . For more information and the Festival's website, click here . For directions to the Festival, click here . If you can't attend, but want to suppor


     LAST NIGHT I SANG TO THE MONSTER By Benjamin Alire Saenz Cinco Puntos Press Finalist of the PEN USA Award in the Young Adult category “I have it in my head that when we’re born, God writes things down on our hearts. See, on some people’s hearts he writes Happy and on some people’s hearts he writes Sad and on some people’s hearts he writes Crazy on some people’s hearts he writes Genius and on some people’s hearts he writes Angry and on some people’s hearts he writes Winner and on some people’s hearts he writes Loser. It’s all like a game to him. Him. God. And it’s all pretty much random. He takes out his pen and starts writing on our blank hearts. When it came to my turn, he wrote Sad. I don’t like God very much. Apparently he doesn’t like me very much either.” --Zach, protagonist Saenz captures the vulnerability and defiance of youth beautifully in his latest novel.   It is a poignant, heart wrenching and, sometimes too realistic, reflec


           THE LADY MATADOR'S HOTEL by Cristina Garcia Scribner, Sept 2010 "The novel has the energy of an obsessive tango. Or, indeed, a bullfight." --The New York Times Book Review A dazzling, evocative novel about the intertwining lives of the denizens of a Latin American hotel in the midst of political turmoil . . . a fierce and gorgeous story about politics, gender, and passion.       BOOK SUMMARY:    In an unnamed Central American capital, at a luxurious hotel, the lives of six men and women converge over the course of one week. There is a Japanese-Mexican-American matadora in town for a bull-fighting competition; an ex-guerilla now working as a waitress in the hotel coffee shop; a Korean manufacturer with an underage mistress ensconced in the honeymoon suite; an international adoption lawyer of German descent; a colonel who committed atrocities during his country's long civil war; and a Cuban poet who has come with his American wife to adopt a local infan