Category Archives: Collection Development

Puerto Rican Heritage Month


We just celebrated Puerto Rican Heritage Month in NYC. For that reason, I would like to share some links about Latino literature:

Pura Belpre Award. Pura Belpre was the first Latina, Puerto Rican, librarian at the NYPL.

Latino Lit for Teens/ Libro por Libro. Latino authors writing for young adults.

Top 10 Latin@ Books 2015. Includes books in English and bilingual English/Spanish.

Latina’s 2015 Reading List. Selections for each month.




Zines @ Barnard Library

JennaYesterday I attended the International Zine Day @ Barnard Library.  Jenna Freedman, Director of Research and Instruction and Zine Librarian gave me a tour of the zine archives and kindly answered all my questions. Zines are kept in a climate controlled room, inside acid-free cases, some are kept inside special folders and wraps, and both those in the archives and in the open collection are catalogued. I browsed their extensive collection and have posted photos on the slide show below. I had a fab time. There was zine making and I even got a copy of one in Spanish.

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I’ve been to zine festivals in NYC, but it was my first visit to the Zine Library at Barnard. These type of events are great to raise awareness about the richness of zines and allow zine fans like me to learn more about them and their authors. Here below is a video I made a few years ago during the NYC Zine Festival.

NYC Zine Fest

Zines are one of the most effective ways of expression. That’s what I think.

A Zine is a “self-published magazine of sorts that can cover a wide variety of topics- pretty much anything the person who is creating it is interested in can be the subject matter of the zine,” said Celia Perez , librarian at the Harold Washington College and a zine author herself, when I asked her what was a zine. 
More information about zines and the NYC Zine Fest on my new video including some of the hottest zine collections in the nation nicely described by Jenna Freedman, Zine Librarian at Barnard College.

Loida Time!

Latino YA Books: compilation of titles posted on the REFORMA listserv

As promised, here is a compilation of YA titles about Latinos or with Latinos as strong secondary characters. A list of websites with resources to build YA collections is included at the end. Note that all titles and resources were posted by various librarians on REFORMA listserv.   

YA Books:

Accidental Love, Gary Soto: After unexpectedly falling
in love with a “nerdy” boy, fourteen-year-old Marisa
works to change her life by transferring to another
school, altering some of her behavior, and losing

Adios to my old life, Caridad Ferrer: Ali might become
the next “Latin superstar.”

The afterlife, Gary Soto: A senior at East Fresno High
lives on as a ghost after his brutal murder.

Always running: La vida loca, gang days in L.A. (non-fiction), Luis Rodriguez: A former LA gang member
describes his experiences.
And Now Miguel, Joseph Krumgold: The young son of a
New Mexico sheep rancher longs to go with the men when
they take the sheep to the Sangre de Christo

Araña, Fiona Avery: Fiesty teenager Anya Corazon is
saved from death by a mysterious mage named Miguel.
Now, Anya is pledged to fight alongside Miguel and the
Spider Society. First, she must prove herself to the
society–and go to school, and keep her father and her
friends from discovering her new secret.

Barefoot heart, Elva Trevino Hart: Stories of a
migrant child (Biography): Chronicles the life of a
child growing up in a family of Mexican American
migrant farm workers.
Behind the Eyes, Francisco X. Stork: Sixteen-year-old
Hector is the hope of his family, but when he seeks
revenge after his brother’s gang-related death and is
sent to a San Antonio reform school, it takes an odd
assortment of characters to help him see that hope is
still alive.

Bless Me Última, Rudolfo Anaya: Set in a small New
Mexican community during World War II, Antonio speaks
of the dignity, traditions, and mythology of Chicano

Buried onions, Gary Soto: Eddie leaves college to
return to his violence infested home in Fresno.

Call me Henri, Lorraine M. Lopez: Henri has big dreams
for his future but first he’s got to get his school to
let him take French instead of ESL.

Call me Maria, Judith Ortiz Cofer: Fifteen year old
Maria leaves Puerto Rico to live with her father in
the barrio of New York City.

Chasing the Jaguar, Michele Greene: After having
unsettling dreams about the kidnapped daughter of her
mother’s employer, fifteen-year-old Martika learns
that she is a descendant of a long line of
curanderas—Mayan medicine women with special powers.
Includes glossary of Spanish words.

Cinnamon Girl: letters found inside a cereal box, Juan
Felipe Herrara: Yolanda, a Puerto Rican girl, tries to
come to terms with her painful past as she waits to
see if her uncle recovers from injuries he suffered
when the towers collapsed on September 11, 2001.

The Circuit: stories from the life of a migrant child,
Francisco Jiménez

CrashBoomLove, Juan Felipe Herrera: Sixteen year old
Cesar struggles through high school after his father
leaves town.

Crazy Loco: Stories, David Rice: This collection
features nine stories about Mexican-American kids
growing up in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas.

Cuba 15: A novel, Nancy Osa: Violet Paz prepares for
her upcoming “quince.”

Cubanita, Gabby Triana: Seventeen-year-old Isabel,
eager to leave Miami to attend the University of
Michigan and escape her overprotective Cuban mother,
learns some truths about her family’s past and makes
important decisions about the type of person she wants
to be.

Drift, Manuel Luis Martínez: At sixteen, Robert Lomos
has lost his family. His father, a Latin jazz
musician, has left San Antonio for life on the road as
a cool-hand playboy. His mother, shattered by a
complete emotional and psychological breakdown, has
moved to Los Angeles and taken Robert’s little brother
with her. Only his iron-willed grandmother, worn down
by years of hard work, is left. But Robert’s got a
plan: Duck trouble, save his money, and head to
California to put the family back together. Trouble
is, no one believes a delinquent Mexican American kid
has a chance—least of all, Robert himself.

Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa, Micol Ostow: Forced to
stay with her mother in Puerto Rico for weeks after
her grandmother’s funeral, half-Jewish Emily, who has
just graduated from a Westchester, New York, high
school, does not find it easy to connect with her
Puerto Rican heritage and relatives she had never met.

Esperanza Rising, Pam Muñoz Ryan: Esperanza and her
mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and
privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of
Southern California, where they must adapt to the
harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the
eve of the Great Depression.

Estrella’s Quinceanera, Malin Alegria: Estrella
doesn’t want a gaudy quinceanera but her mom still
gets carried away.

Finding Miracles, Julia Alvarez: Fifteen-year-old
Milly Kaufman is an average American teenager until
Pablo, a new student at her school, inspires her to
search for her birth family in his native country.

Finding our way, Renee Saldana: A collection of short
stories depicting life growing up Hispanic in America.

The Girl from Playa Blanca, Ofelia Dumas Lachtman:
When Elena and her little brother, Carlos, leave their
Mexican seaside village to search for their immigrant
father in Los Angeles, they encounter intrigue, crime,
mystery, friendship, and love.

Grab Hands and Run, Frances Temple: After his father
disappears, twelve-year-old Felipe, his mother, and
his younger sister set out on a difficult and
dangerous journey, trying to make their way from their
home in El Salvador to Canada.

Graffiti girl, Kelly Parra: Artistic Angel expresses
herself through street art.

Haters, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez: Having tried for years
to deny her psychic abilities, high school sophomore
Paski has disturbing visions about the popular girl at
her new high school in Orange County, California. 

Hard Love (Printz Award Honor books), Ellen Wittlinger:It tackles the delicate issue of unrequited love between a straight and gay teen. It features a feisty Cubana teen as a strongsecondary character- a sequel to that book with her as a main character is due out in 2008.

Heat, Mike Lupica: Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is
on the run from social services after being banned
from playing Little League baseball because rival
coaches doubt he is only twelve years old and he has
no parents to offer them proof.

Help wanted: Stories, Gary Soto: Short stories about
young Mexican Americans.
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros: Esperanza
Cordero is a young girl growing up in the Hispanic
quarter of Chicago with all its hard realities of
life. She captures her thoughts and emotions in poems
and stories in order to rise above the hopelessness
and create a space for herself.

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, Julia
Alvarez: The story of the Garcia family’s adjustment
to life in the United States.

How to Be a Chicana Role Model, Michele M. Serros:
From the award-winning author of Chicana Falsa comes a
humorous new novel about a young Chicana writer who is
struggling to find a way to embrace two very different
cultures, without losing touch with her own true

In the Shadow of the Alamo, Sherry Garland:
Conscripted into the Mexican Army, fifteen-year-old
Lorenzo Bonifacio makes some unexpected alliances and
learns some harsh truths about General Santa Ana as
the troops move toward the Battle of the Alamo.

Jumping Off to Freedom, Anilú Bernardo: Courage and
desperation lead fifteen-year-old David and his father
to flee Cuba’s repressive regime and seek freedom by
taking to the sea on a raft headed for Miami.

La Linea, Ann Jaramillo: Miguel is set to leave his
Mexican village to join his parents in California but
his little sister is determined to join him.

Lorenzo’s Secret Mission, Lila Guzmán and Rick Guzmán:
Two historical figures, Bernardo de Gálvez and George
Gibson, appear prominently in the book. In 1776,
fifteen-year-old Lorenzo Bannister leaves Texas and
his father’s new grave to carry a letter to the
Virginia grandfather he has never known, and becomes
involved with the struggle of the American Continental
Army and its Spanish supporters.

Parrot in the oven: Mi vida, Victor Martinez: Manny
relates his coming of age experiences as a member of a
poor Mexican American family.

Prizefighter en Mi Casa, e. E. Charlton-Trujillo:
Following a car accident that left her with epilepsy,
twelve-year-old Chula—with a little help from a
visiting fearsome Mexican boxer—tries to deal with the
repercussions her new condition has on her family,
neighborhood, and school.

Raining Sardines, Enrique Flores-Galbis: The artistic
Ernestina and the analytical Enriquito use their
ingenuity to save a herd of wild horses and stop an
evil landowner from spoiling their Cuban village.

The republic of East LA: Stories, Luis Rodriguez: A
collection of short stories about life in East L.A.
Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, Benjamin Alire Saenz:
Sammy faces the challenges of “gringo” racism in 1969.

Sisters: Hermanas, Gary Paulsen: The lives of a
fourteen-year-old Mexican prostitute, living in the
United States illegally, and a wealthy American girl
intersect in a dramatic way.

So Hard to Say, Alex Sanchez: Thirteen-year-old Xio, a
Mexican American girl, and Frederick, who has just
moved to California from Wisconsin, quickly become
close friends, but when Xio starts thinking of
Frederick as her boyfriend, he must confront his
feelings of confusion and face the fear that he might
be gay.
Sofi Mendoza’s guide to getting lost in Mexico, Malin
Alegria: Sofi goes to a weekend party in Tijuana and
now the border patrol won’t let her return to San

The Tequila Worm, Viola Canales: Sofia grows up in the
close-knit community of the barrio in McAllen, Texas,
then finds that her experiences as a scholarship
student at an Episcopal boarding school in Austin only
strengthen her ties to family and her “comadres.”

 Tommy Stands Alone, Gloria Velazquez: Action takes place at Roosevelt High, a predominantly Hispanic and African American school in Laguna, California, where Tommy’s so-called friends taunt him with degrading wordsuntil they learn to accept Tommy’s homosexuality.

Trino’s Choice, Diane Gonzales Bertrand: Frustrated by
his poor financial situation and hoping to impress a
smart girl, seventh grader Trino falls in with a bad
crowd led by an older teen with a vicious streak.

White Bread Competition, Jo Ann Yolanda Hernández:
When Luz, a ninth-grade Latina student in San Antonio,
wins a spelling competition; her success triggers a
variety of emotions among family, friends, and the
broader community.

The Whole Sky Full of Stars, René Saldaña:
Eighteen-year-old Barry competes in a non-sanctioned
boxing match in hopes of helping his recently-widowed
mother, unaware that his best friend and manager,
Alby, has his own desperate need for a share of the
purse that may put their friendship on the line. 


Alex Sanchez website Books, Youth Resources, links to sites to find help regarding banned books.  

Austin Public Library:

Barahona Center 

From WebJunction: Library Services to Latino Gay Teens and Their
A list of recommended sexuality books that affirm and support lesbian,
gay and bisexual youth created by Ina Rimpau of the Newark Public

FIL, Guadalajara International Book FAir

 Every year for 21 consecutive years, Guadalajara has been the host of the largest Spanish language book fair in the world: FIL, the Guadalajara International Book Fair. For three full days librarians from all over the world select the newest and hottest materials in Spanish. Each year the fair celebrates a country, this year it celebrates Colombia, the land of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

An agreement between the American Library Association and FIL organizers makes possible for 150 librarians from the USA to attend the fair, stay at a hotel for 3 nights and receive certain amount of money towards airline tickets. 

The fair is a who’s who of publishers of Spanish language materials, distributors and librarians serving Latinos and the Spanish-speaking. If you have any business with Spanish language world (even if you are a publisher from Japan), you want to be there. Publishers of materials in Spanish from around the globe host pavilions and booths to exhibit the newest, hottest, just out-of-the-press publications. Distributors of materials flood the halls of the fair looking for materials requested by librarians looking, for example, for the most recent publications from Puerto Rico, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Uruguay or any other Latin American country.

For a number of years I attended the fair and I loved it. It is an exhausting exercise where for 3 days one selects books from 9:00 am to 5:00pm, but at the same time it is so exciting; there are a myriad of books, CDs, DVDs and databases to see! (Librarian alert!) Besides that, there are many colleagues with whom tour the fair, attend book signings, publisher’s receptions and exchange ideas.

FIL is hands-down the best event to purchase Spanish language books. The best way to order and receive books is to work with a distributor. They know which publishers and books have distributing rights in the States. Distributors can find the best deals and I know of one that can find *any* title published in any Latin American country.  I know there are many good distributors because after I stopped attending Guadalajara I met many of them, but back then I personally worked with -in strict alphabetical order-Bilingual, Brodart (former Books on Wings), Lectorum, and Libros sin Fronteras (no longer exists). All of them are wonderful and work with a million publishing houses. 

This year instead of attending the fair, I am attending an IFLA/FAIFE workshop in Connecticut and New York: two days in CT and one day in NY at Queens Library. Still, I am thinking of my colleagues getting ready to start work tomorrow, the first day of the shopping spree, Monday, November 26 when at 9:00 a.m. the doors of the fair will open to show a magical world of pavilions holding the most wonderful and newest books in Spanish.  

Brenda has a dragon in her blood

On my IFLA- Durban, SA post I mentioned a book about HIV/AIDS stigma announced at the FAIFE programme. The book impressed me and I thought of sharing more information with you all. I can’t wait to see this book or one about the topic in the States! Publishers, hello! Thanks to Ms Maria Cotera who sent me the title: Brenda has a dragon in her blood. 

In South Africa many people live with a stigma because of HIV/AIDS. This book is about Brenda an HIV positive girl who likes to play with her classmates, sit with them at school and share many things with them. She is just like any girl! The book was written by Brenda’s foster mother, both live in The Netherlands. It has been translated into 11 South African official languages, Dutch and French.

At the book launching in SA, the author of the book,  Hijltje Vink,  presented it with the following words:

All over the world, people have misconceptions about how someone contracts HIV or AIDS from someone who is infected – like thinking that it is not safe to drink something from the same glass as someone else. Most healthy people would rather stay away from someone with HIV or AIDS and don’t realize how very hurtful this attitude is for that person.

This book is intended firstly to support those children (and adults) with HIV and AIDS, in the hope that the prejudices about this disease will disappear. Both the information in this little book and Brenda’s story make this possible. Although Brenda lives in the Netherlands, there are many children in many countries, also in our country, who suffer from the same sickness.


Ensuring access to information to Spanish speakers with Disabilities

From ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC – notes from Saturday, June 23, 2007

 Saturday was a day of committee meetings and awards– well, the award reception I attended was that of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table of which I am a Director-at-Large. An award was given to the John Doe librarian (group) from Connecticut. Read more here.

I coordinated a program titled Serving Spanish Speakers with Disabilities which was presented during the morning.

Carry Banks, Director of the Child’s Place at the Children for Disabilities Unit at Brooklyn Public Library, shared helpful cultural and social resources about how to help librarians to work with this population.

Elizabeth and Cindy from the University of Puerto Rico/ Graduate School of Information Sciences, presented initiaves from the Puerto Rico Assistive Technology Project located at the Unit of Library Services for the Blind and Handicapped, Unversity of Puerto Rico/ Rio Piedras Campus. This project offers services to university students and general population in Puerto Rico. It is the only center of its nature in the Caribbean serving as a model of library services to Spanish speakers with disabilities.

and… yours truly provided information about how to develop collections for this population. Unfortunately, there is no much published for persons with disabilities in Spanish and a large part of what is published or available is not current. BUT, I managed to share a list of current books (picture, chapter, non-fiction, fiction) for adults and children that a distributor compiled for the program. If you are interested, email me and I will send it to you.

I’d like to encourage publishers to make sure that publications reflect the needs of this population. It is a matter of ensuring access to information to persons with disabilities, parents of persons with disabilities, friends and family in general of Spanish speakers with disabilities.