February 8, 2017


Every Wednesday The Latina Book Club features an excerpt from 
an exciting new book written by a Latino author or for a Latino audience.

This week we are highlighting WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore.
 It’s about a magical girl, a transgender boy and four witches out to destroy them.

Happy Reading.  Read Latino.


Anna-Marie McLemore
Thomas Dunne Books

As far as he knew, she had come from the water. But even about that, he couldnt be sure.

It didnt matter how many nights theyd met on the untilled land between their houses; the last farm didn’t rotate its crops, and stripped the soil until nothing but wild grasses would grow. It didnt matter how many stories he and Miel had told each other when they could not sleep, him passing on his mothers fables of moon bears that aided lost travelers, Miel making up tales about his moon lamps falling in love with stars. Sam didnt know any more than anyone else about where shed come from before he found her in the brush eld. She seemed to have been made of water one minute and the next, became a girl.

Someday, he and Miel would be nothing but a fairy tale. When they were gone from this town, no one would remember the exact brown of Miels eyes, or the way she spiced recado rojo with cloves, or even that Sam and his mother were Pakistani. At best, they would remember a dark-eyed girl, and a boy whose family had come from somewhere else. They would remember only that Miel and Sahad been called 
Honey and Moon, a girl and a boy woven into the folklore of this place.

Excerpt printed with permission. All rights reserved by author.

To read our review of WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, click here.

BOOK SUMMARY:  To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
       Embedded in the love story, Sam faces how to claim his identity as a transgender boy, and Miel and Sam struggle with how to define their love, both to themselves and their community. McLemore tackles this relevant issue thoughtfully, coming from her own experience in her relationship with her husband, who is transgender.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  ANNA-MARIE MCLEMORE was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine’s cratelit, Camera Obscura’s Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review.  Visit her at author.annamariemclemore.com.


February 6, 2017


Love is love is love.

February is the month of love, of magic, of fairy tales so of course we had to find a book that included all those qualities for our Book of the Month, and we found it. 

WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS (Thomas Dunne Books) is full of magic, fairies and witches, full of love and betrayal. We picked this novel because the prose is beautiful and evocative, and magic blooms in every page. And, the dedication by author 
Anna-Marie McLemore will capture the heart of every reader.

To the boys who get called girls,
To girls who get called boys,
And those who live outside these words.
To those called names,
And those searching for names of their own,
To those who live on the edges,
And in the spaces in between.
I wish for your every light in the sky.

WHEN THE MOON IS OURS is a love story between a magical girl and a transgender boy. Their secrets are choking them and keeping them from being true to themselves. And, it is only when they let go of their fear, of their shame, and learn to love themselves first, that they find the courage to face each other and their community.  Nothing is more beautiful than finding that one person to love and loving all of them, even the parts they don’t love about themselves.  

SUMMARY:   Miel and Sam have been inseparable since they met when she fell out of a water tower. (Actually, the water from the fallen tower fell over her in the brush and exposed her to the town.) Miel has roses growing out of her wrists, while Sam is known for the moons he is always painting and hanging in trees. They are odd and harmless in the eyes of the town, except to the four Bonner girls, who are rumored to be witches. The two groups have stayed away from each, but now the Bonner sisters want the flowers Miel grows because they believe their scent will make anyone fall in love. The battle is on. The sisters fight dirty and threatened to expose every secret Miel and Sam have in order to get what they want. Now Miel and Sam must band together stronger than ever to survive, and to define their love for themselves and their community.

Read our review of THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS by clicking here.

And, join us on Wednesday, February 8, when The Latina Book Club will feature an excerpt from WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Anna-Marie McLemore is a Mexican-American author who draws on the beautiful cultures she grew up in to write magical realism. Her debut novel, THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, was a 2016 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist. Her new novel, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature.  Her third book, WILD BEAUTY, will be out later in 2017. Anna-Marie’s short stories have been published by Harlequin Teen, Candlewick Press, and in The Portland Review. She lives in Northern California and is represented by the Full Circle Literary Agency. Learn more about her at author.annamariemclemore.com.

Happy Reading. Read Latino Lit.

February 2, 2017


The Latina Book Club welcomes Sarah Rafael Garcia and thanks her for sharing with us an excerpt 
from her exciting bilingual collection, SanTana’s Fairy Tales.

"Zoraida & Marisol" is one of six stories from the forthcoming bilingual collection titled SanTana's Fairy Tales written and edited by Sarah Rafael Garcia. The bilingual zines featuring one story a month through March 2017. This story was inspired by the life of transactivist Zoraida Reyes, and all profits for this zine are donated to Transgenero En Accion/Transgender in Action (TEA) in Santa Ana, California. More about the collection below.

Excerpt from "Zoraida & Marisol:”

I was inspiring so you kept saying when you spoke of me. But now, I appear in reflections, cupped hands and wishes.

For as long as I could remember, I wanted to twirl my long hair between china-red fingertips and blush when I cupped my breasts in front of the standing mirror. I wanted a man to caress my curves, from my hips to my puckered lips. But to most, my type of love was forbidden—cursed by society like the familiar tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.

Love—I thought I would find it.

But when my limp body was found, winded and pale as the ocean’s spume, it cast a shadow over those close to my heart, leaving only the jagged sounds of shattered dreams and a person by another name—the name I was given at birth, not the real me.

Before I tell you what is to become of you, please keep breathing. As painful as it might be, I plead for you to keep breathing—at the end I will ask for your wish, I promise you that.#

(This excerpt appears with permission of the author. Author holds all copyrights to this work.)


Sarah Rafael Garcia is a writer, community educator and activist. Since the publication of Las Niñas: A Collection of Childhood Memories in 2008, she founded the Barrio Writers, a reading and writing program aimed to empower youth through creative writing, higher education and cultural arts. Plus, she started hosting the Wild Womyn Writers workshops in 2010, which empower womyn to explore their creative spirits.  Sarah writes poetry, creative non-fiction and fiction. Her writing has appeared in various magazines including As/Us Journal and Latino magazine. And, she is a member of the Macondo Writer’s Workshop founded by Sandra Cisneros. Learn more about Sarah at www.sarahrafaelgarcia.com.


SanTana’s Fairy Tales is an oral history, storytelling project initiated by author Sarah Rafael García, which integrates community-based narratives to create contemporary fairytales and fables that represent the history and stories of Mexican/Mexican-American residents of Santa Ana (inspired by the Grimms’ Fairy Tales).

The forthcoming exhibit at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California will present a multi-media installation, curated in collaboration with local visual, musical, and performance artists. The exhibit will showcase bilingual, single-story zines, a fully illustrated published book, an ebook, a large format classical book, graphic art by Sol Art Radio‘s Carla Zarate, an “open book” performance, along with composed music by Viento Callejero‘s Gloria Estrada, who is supported by local singer/songwriter Ruby Castellanos and members of the Pacific Symphony. The entire collection will be translated by poet Julieta Corpus and published by Raspa Press. The ebook will be produced by Digitus Indie Publishers.

SanTana’s Fairy Tales is supported in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, through a grant supporting the Artist-in-Residence initiative at Grand Central Art Center. The exhibit is scheduled for March 2017 with an open book performance on April 1st.

To learn more about Sarah Rafael García & SanTana's Fairy Tales, visit: https://sarahrafaelgarcia.com/santansfairytales/

To learn more about Raspa Press & purchase zine, visit: http://www.raspamagazine.com/shop/

Happy Reading. Read Latino Lit.

January 27, 2017


The Latina Book Club is honored to participate once again in Multicultural Children's Book Day.  
We celebrate four years of MCCBD with a review of a bilingual book courtesy of author Graciela Tiscareňo-Sato. --mcf

Take your kid to work day! 

It’s always fun when kids go to Mom’s job, but it’s even more fun when Mamá is a plane navigator on a refueling jet! So begins Marco’s adventure. He and his second-grade class visit his mom on a real US Air Force plane.  There they meet the other three crew members and visit the different parts of the plane, and that's just the beginning of the fun part.

CAPTAIN MAMA’S SURPRISE/ LA SORPRESA DE CAPITAN MAMA is a charming bilingual children’s book, illustrated by Linda Lens and published by Gracefully Global Group. This is book two in author Graciela Tiscareňo-Sato’s aviation adventure series, and includes a glossary of aviation in English and Spanish.  Her first book was GOOD NIGHT CAPTAIN MAMA / BUENAS NOCHE CAPITAN MAMA.  
A feature worth noting of this series is the portrayal of strong, dedicated women in the military, especially Latina women. This Mamá is a pilot, a navigator, a soldier, a Latina, and there are many others like her and many more to come.

The Latina Book Club thanks all the women and men in the military for their service, and thanks Graciela -- a White House named Champion of Change -- for this delightful and inspiring series for kids of all ages.#

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Graciela Tiscareňo-Sato is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. She completed the Aerospace Studies program as an AFROTC (Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program) scholarship cadet while earning her degree in Architecture and Environmental Design. During her active duty career in the Air Force, she deployed to four continents and dozens of countries as a crew member, instructor navigator and contingency planning officer. Flying combat sorties over Southern Iraq earned her crew the prestigious Air Medal on her first deployment to Saudi Arabia. In 2014, The White House honored Graciela as a Champion of Change, Woman Veteran Leader for her work as a social entrepreneur and author, specifically for creating the award-winning series debut book GOOD NIGHT CAPTAIN MAMA / BUENAS NOCHES CAPITAN MAMA and an educational publishing firm to raise the expectations many adults have of young Latino students. Graciela actively mentors students who need education and career roadmaps, a central focus of her award-winning book series title LATINNOVATING. Graciela and her family live in San Francisco. Visit her at captainmama.com.


 Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 
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 holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey PressCandlewick Press Fathers IncorporatedKidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
MCBD Links to remember:
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

Happy Multicultural Children's Book Day
Happy Reading!