July 11, 2012

MEET AURORA ANAYA-CERDA FROM LA CASA AZUL BOOKSTORE

  
La Casa Azul Bookstore opened it's doors on Friday, June 1 for a weekend celebration. 
Authors, neighbors, friends and contributors were all treated to a weekend of readings, signings and fun.

The Latina Book Club has been a long-time supporter of Aurora and La Casa Azul Bookstore, and
we are glad to finally be able to "sit" with her for a chat.   Welcome, Aurora!


  

Our goal is to create a community center in East Harlem for
both readers and writers, to create a place where reading,
writing and creative expression is encouraged,
and a place where ideas, curiosity and community spirit are celebrated.
--Aurora Anaya-Cerda 




How does it feel to finally have your dream come true of a physical bookstore?

Photo by Laura Booth, 2012
A feeling of gratitude for being fortunate enough to do what I love, mixed with a sense of accomplishment, topped with happiness & sprinkled with pride.


Telemundo was filming you as you got the bookstore ready. Did that make you nervous, more determined as they watched you behind the scenes? Tell us a funny story of an incident that happened while they were filming.

Yes, Telemundo did a four segment story on the bookstore’s build our process – and it was awesome! It was a wonderful way to share the progress with our fans. Because we were on a tight deadline to record the segments by a certain time, I didn’t have time to be nervous. I had to make sure the work was complete by the time the camera crew arrived for each taping. It was like being on a makeover show, I had a lot of fun and learned about how those shows really work.


What are some of the activities you are planning for La Casa Azul? Is there a calendar?

In July, we have book talks, author signings, art workshops, live music presentations, cooking classes for children and a writers conference. The entire event schedule is online.  Click here for calendar.  


How do you find time and energy to juggle a job, the bookstore, the children's book festival and your other projects?

Surrounded by bookcovers
I have always worked and had other activities after work to keep me busy. If not at work, I was in school or volunteering in this project or that one – so for me this routine is nothing new. If anything, I have learned to look for balance and say no to things as opposed to signing up for every project. Oh! And doing what I love helps too.


How was your 2nd Annual Harlem Children's Book Festival? What authors participated?

The festival was amazing! We had a wonderful turn out, over 900 people attended.  Our store served as a storytelling stage for local and national authors who took time out of their day to read to children. We also had several theatrical performances and a music recital by the students from Lexington Academy. It was a great day to celebrate books in El Barrio.


Is La Casa Azul (Online) Bookstore still open?

Si! Customers can still purchase books online.  The address is http://www.lacasaazulbookstore.com/.


What are some books/ authors you recommend for summer reading?

I recommend all of the books in our “El Barrio Reads” list, it’s the list of best sellers from our inaugural month! The list of books from Fiction (*OCOTILLO DREAMS by Melinda Palacio), Young Adult (CHULITO by Charles Rice Gonzales), Children's (KIKI KOKI by Ed Rodriguez) and Biography/Memoir (A WEDDING IN HAITI by Julia Alvarez) are posted online.  For a complete list of books in all categories, click here.


Photo by Laura Booth, 2012
La Casa Azul Bookstore
1443 East 103rd Street (at Lexington Avenue)
East Harlem NY 10029
Open Tuesday through Sunday

For hours, calendar and schedule of events, visit them at http://www.lacasaazulbookstore.com/.






To read The Latina Book Club's coverage of the Opening Day, click here.


*OCOTILLO DREAMS is The Latina Book Club's Book of the Month for July.  Read a synopsis by clicking here.


FINAL NOTE:   Make sure to check in monthly at La Casa Azul Bookstore.  Aurora has lots of fun things planned.  For example, La Casa Azul Bookstore just celebrated Frida Kahlo's birthday with a Dress-like-Frida Party.  Can you guess who won first prize?  Like I said, check in monthly.