June 13, 2011

INTRODUCING.....THE LATIN BABY BOOK CLUB

 
The Latina Book Club is compiling a Directory of all the Latina/o book clubs across the country. We want to highlight them on our website as well, as part of our ongoing mission to promote literary. If you belong to or know of any book clubs for Latinos – in English and Spanish –, please email us at latinabookclub@aol.com.   Meanwhile, we are proud to introduce you to The Latin Baby Book Club, the best place for children’s book suggestions, many of which are bilingual.




THE LATIN BABY BOOK CLUB
Founder : Monica Olivera Hazelton



Q: When did you form The Latin Baby Book Club? What is your mission?

I formed the Latin Baby Book Club (LBBC) in the fall of 2008, after realizing that there were no online resources (of Latino children's literature) specifically for bilingual families. My goal has been to create a platform that parents, grandparents, teachers, and even librarians can visit to find bilingual and bicultural literature for their children and students. I also want to encourage Latino parents to take an active roll in their children’s education, and help them develop their child’s literacy skills.


Q: Can you give us the names and brief bios of the people behind the LBBC?


Monica Olivera Hazelton, Founder

We have been fortunate to have a number of talented people contribute book reviews to the Latin Baby Book Club. While we have had many guests on the site, our main contributors are:

Monica Olivera Hazelton is the owner and founder of Latin Baby, an online boutique for Latino families. She also publishes the site, MommyMaestra, for bilingual parents looking to get more involved in their children's education.


Rene Colato Lainez

René Colato Laínez is an award-winning author of Latino children's literature. He has also been a teacher in a bilingual classroom for many year. To learn more about René or his books, visit his website.



Q: How do you select your books and authors to highlight?

I read them first. Most of the time to my own children. But I also do a lot of research and read through booklists and other book reviews. I also have a group of certain authors that I really like and who do excellent work that I keep tabs on. And oftentimes, publishers send me books to look over. If I like them, I’ll share them on the LBBC.


Q: Do you feel that Latino children--all children for that matter-- should know a second language?

Absolutely. I think that every American should learn a second language, if nothing else than for the health benefits. But I do think that Latino children, especially, should be encouraged to speak both English and Spanish, because our language is such a strong part of our culture. And I want all Latino children to be proud of their beautiful heritage. Studies show that Latino children who embrace their culture and who are proud of it, do far better academically in the long run.


Q: Is the LBBC store a bookstore?

Technically, yes. Our store is through Amazon.com, but we have made the process of finding Latino children’s literature a little easier by setting up the store in an easy to navigate format.


Q: I see that there is a LBBC survey? Can you tell us what it was about and what the results were?

The LBBC Survey is a way for us to get to know our readers better and find ways that we can improve. One of the things that we discovered is that there is a demand for young adult Latino literature, too. So we are trying to add more of these to our review list.


Q: What are some of your favorite baby books? Some of your favorite children's authors?

I have too many to list! For tiny babies, I love Te Amo, Sol Te Amo, Luna by Karen Pandell, and Buenas Noches, Gorila by Peggy Rathmann. For older children, I love Mamá Goose by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, De Colores by José-Luis Orozco, On the Pampas by María Cristina Brusca, Before You Were Here, Mi Amor by Samantha Vamos.

Book of the Month:  SALSA STORIES by Lulu Delacre
Some of my favorite children’s authors include, Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, René Colato Laínez (of course!), Pat Mora, Tomie de Paola, Jeanette Winter, Monica Brown, Samantha Vamos, and José-Luis Orozco.



Q: What special events does the LBBC have planned for the new year?

We generally have two big months each year: April, when we celebrate Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros with guest posts from authors, illustrators, and also a round of giveaways; and August, when we celebrate our birthday with more giveaways and extra posts sharing additional resources.



Q: Do let me know how you keep your content fresh? And your members motivated?

We have a good relationship with several authors and publishing companies, which allows us to offer reviews of new releases. Our members are fantastic and we have a loyal following that continues to grow each year.


Q: How many members do you have?

We have around 300 subscribers and followers.


Q: Are you on facebook and twitter?

Yes, you can find us on FB at www.facebook.com/LatinBabyBookClub. There should be a button for this on the far right sidebar. And, on Twitter: @LatinMami.


Q: What other websites are affiliated with you that we should know?

They include:


  

Visit The Latin Baby Book Club at http://www.latinbabybookclub.com/.   

Happy Reading, and as always, Read Latino. --mcf