Friday, January 30, 2015


Here's our last bunch of blog posts for the Debut Novelists who are finalists for the 2015 Morris Awards. Cinco Puntos, of course, is biased, but we wish all writers and publishers the best in the future. Independent publishing is a magical journey, and we're delighted that all finalist novels are published by Independent Publishers. 

We also want to thank all the bloggers who participated in the blog tour for no compensation other than a few free books and hours of enjoyable reading. YA Fiction Bloggers are a great group of folks. They are fans, they are writers, and they want readers--especially young readers--to get excited about good novels. Here in El Paso we give abrazos, aka hugs, and so for all the bloggers, muchos abrazos y mil gracias!

Monday we'll see who the winner is! But in the meantime, here's what our bloggers have to say. 

Writers’ Rumpus starts us off with a guest post from E.K. Johnston, the author of The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of E.K. Johnston author of 

Unleashing Readers says Jessie Foley'sThe Carnival at Bray is an evocative ode to the Smells Like Teen Spirit Generation. It provides several items of teacher and librarian friendly links and information.

What Is Bridget Reading? Well, Bridget is reading The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. She calls the novel "a compelling blend of magical realism and historical fiction."

NOTE! We're not done yet. A few of the blogs have not as yet been posted here! And of course, come Monday we'll be announcing the winners.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Almost to the home stretch for the Blog Tour discussing the Morris Finalists who are being celebrated this week at the American Library Association in Chicago: Leslye Walton, author of The Strange and BeautifulSorrows of Eva Lavender (Candlewick); Len Vlahos, author of Scar Boys (Egmont Publishing); E.K. Johnston, author of The Story of Owen, Dragon Slayer of Trondheim (Lerner); Jessie Foley, author of The Carnival at Bray (Elephant Rock); and Cinco Puntos’ own Isabel Quintero, author of Gabi, a Girl in Pieces. Congratulations to each and every one of them. May they all have wonderful careers in front of them. 

Muchas felicidades to all the publishers, a great list of Indies! The links above go directly to the book's page on the publisher site. Go visit the publisher, browse around, see what else you would like to put into your "must read" list. 

So onto the Day 4 blogs. 

Over at YA Bibliophile Isabel Quintero offers up a short essay entitled "For Reals" that's an in-your-face piece that declares, yes, the events that happen in Gabi, A Girl in Pieces happen all the time in high school. And, yes, they happened too when the older generation was in high school.  

Dragons in modern-day Canada? Tasha Saeker at Waking Brain Cells interviews E.K. Johnston about the fantasy writing of The Story of Owen, Dragon Slayer of Trondheim.

"With images as whimsical as wings and feathers, Leslye Walton has created a fantasy that explores the many ways we capture love … or perhaps how love captures us." At Pirate Tree Nancy Bo Flood reviews The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Eva Lavender.

"The masculine vibe of this story – male protagonists, masculine voice, and male author – is direct and refreshing...That doesn’t make The Scar Boys a boy book, though. It’s good to peer into another gender’s mind for awhile" That's what Writer's Rumpus says about Len Vlahos' Scar Boys. Wacky Momma chimes in too, giving The Scar Boys Five Stars!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Since we're doing the Blog Tour, Cinco Puntos would like to add an outlier to the mix: SLJ'S Karen Silverman's Morris Finalist blog. Of great interest is the comment section where librarians and others get in a heated discussion about Karen dissing GABI, A GIRL IN PIECES for it's lack of a Spanish language glossary for the slang plus it's street-wise vision.

Writers' Rumpus finds the protagonist of The Carnival at Bray "an honest-to-goodness real teen with a good heart, in spite of the forces working against her."

YA Bibliophile, we get an awesome guest post from Len Vlahos (Scar Boys) talking about his writing process--on the New York subway train! He says, "The Scar Boys was edited on the commuter train, the sequel, Scar Girl, was written and edited on the train, and two more novels were written the same way. I’ve told my wife that if I ever stop working in New York City, I’m going to need a train pass just to write. (That’s not really true, but I would miss it.)"

Wacky Momma Reads continues her odyssey into the Morris Finalists with a review of The Story of Owen.

Twinja Book Reviews continues with a review of Gabi, a Girl in Pieces. They point out that Gabi doesn't "follow the 'typical' formula of storytelling"--a fact that makes those of us at Cinco Puntos proud!


The 2015 Morris finalists are:

Day 2 of the Morris Finalists' Blog Tour saw another full slate of blog posts about these five debut novelists, which this year, were all published by independent presses. ¡Vivan los Indies! 

Over at Wacky Momma Reads  we continue with a review of Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, where Wacky Momma realizes that, even though she's not a fan of diary-type novels, she liked this one. 

YA Bibliophile follows with a review of The Story of Owen, She liked the book because it was unique and she loves a love a book that keeps  "engaged and guessing throughout." 

Writers' Rumpus ( calls The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender "haunting" and "thought-provoking."

Who R U suggests The Scar Boys is "a must-read story about finding your place in the world…even if you carry scars inside and out." 

The Reading Zone interviews Jessie Ann Foley, author of Carnival of Bray. Jessie Ann says, among other things, "One of my favorite parts about writing is how the story can surprise you: you think it’s going to be about one thing, but then you start to discover it’s about something else."

Monday, January 26, 2015


CINCO PUNTOS is delighted to be one of the hosts of the 2015 Morris Award blog tour, celebrating the best in YA by debut novelists. The bloggers are dedicated YA enthusiasts who know books, especially books in the YA catagories. Over the course of the blog tour, each blogger will highlight each of the five finalists with reviews, guest posts, and author Q&A’s leading up to the award ceremony on Feb. 2. All five finalists this year are from indie presses, so you may not have seen them in your local bookstore but they are definitely worth seeking out. Please, please, ask your local bookstores to carry and celebrate these rising stars of YA fiction. These are all very different stories (they feature a girl with wings, a burned punk rocker, a poet trying to put the pieces of her life together, a dragon slayer, and a grunge fan in Ireland) but they all talk to the hearts and minds of young people.
The 2015 Morris finalists are:
If you're going to the ALA Mid-Winter in Chicago, join all five of the finalist at the Children's Plus, booth 4826, for a book-signing and animated conversation. Celebrate YA Literature by supporting these writers and their books. 
DAY 1!
Lucy Tonkin at THE READING DATE starts us off with an introduction to the MORRIS AWARDS and to each of the books. 
Lyn Miller-Lachmiller at The Pirate Tree interviews Isabel Quintero, author of GABI, A GIRL IN PIECES. 
Libertad and Guinivere Tomas at TWINJA BOOK REVIEWS review SCAR BOYS by Len Vlahos. 
Wacky Momma! Kelly Ackerman at THIS WACKY MOMMA READS reviews THE CARNIVAL AT BRAY by Jessie Foley. 
THE STORY OF OWEN: DRAGON SLAYER OF TRONDHEIM gets aDay 1 two-fer. First, at EDUCATING ALICE, author E.K. Johnson writes about her own book, and then at WRITERS' RUMPUS  guest reviewer Joyce Audy Zarins talks about this witty adventure novel. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015


by Roni Capin-Rivera Ashford
illustrated by Antonio Castro L.

A bilingual story of family and traditional wisdom.

Aaron asks his grandfather to teach him how to heal people using natural remedies. For an entire day, Tata and Aaron respond to a variety of complaints—from bee stings to eye infections. While Tata and Aaron minister to people's bodies, his grandmother Nana offers remedies for their soul with delicious empanadas and warm hospitality.

Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford grew up in the Sonoran desert on the Arizona side of the U.S.-Mexico border. She was a bilingual preschool and elementary school teacher for over thirty years. Now retired, she works as an author, editor, and translator.

Antonio Castro Lopez (L.) was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and has lived in the Juarez-El Paso area for most of his life. He has illustrated dozens of children’s books including Barry, the Bravest Saint Bernard (Random House), Pajaro Verde, The Treasure on Gold Street, The Day It Snowed Tortillas and The Gum-Chewing Rattler (Cinco Puntos Press).

Praise for My Tata’s Remedies

“This charming book will introduce young readers to safe and effective natural remedies from native traditions of the American Southwest. A good way to learn about the healing power of plants.” —Andrew Weil M.D.

“Roni, your book is full of treasures!  Roni, tu libro está lleno de tesoros!”
—Yuyi Morales

“My Tata’s Remedies is essential to the efforts of recognizing the significance of the traditional home culture of Latino children.” —Alma Flor Ada

“This is a treasure chest filled with memories of my grandparents and my mother.”
—Raúl H. Castro, former Governor and U.S. Ambassador

978-1-935955-91-7, cloth $17.95
978-1-935955-89-4, paper, $8.95/
978-1-935955-90-0, ebook, $8.95

Distributed by Consortium Book Sales / Publishes April 2015

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Whether You Shop In-Store or Online
Take 25% Off All December
♦ ♦ ♦

Shop our national headquarters in El Paso or online at Cinco Puntos Press and get 25 percent off all of your purchases through December on orders $20+
** Call Mary Fountaine at 915-838-1625 to ask about quantity discounts for schools and literacy programs. ** 
Pig Park  Gabi A Girl in Pieces  

Novels for Young Adults
Celebrated Latina Authors      The D-Bow Hoops Series
Ghosts & Teen Romance

Cinco Puntos has the perfect stocking stuffers for the young adult readers in your life. For teenage girls interested in real-life high school struggles, try these two celebrated novels by rising Latina stars Isabel Quintero and Claudia Guadalupe Martinez.
Shirley Vernick shines, too, with her new novel about ghosts and sexy high school romance, 
The Black Butterfly.​ 

For the b-ballers on your list, Kevin Waltman's series is a great choice. This season, he scores again with Slumpthe sophomore installment of his D-Bow High School Hoops Series.

Next     The Black Butterfly   Slump
Adult Novels

Of course, there are also books for you and me. Our latest offerings include great page-turning novels for best friends and your own wintertime reading table. 
A Tightly Raveled Mind
A Tightly Raveled Mind
Diane Lawson’s hot new mystery novel, A Tightly Raveled Mind.  ”A cunning, elegantly written comedy of manners in the form of a murder mystery in which a psychoanalyst finds her wealthy clientele dropping. Literally…This shrink can really throw it down.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Lawson, Diane
ISBN 9781935955924
$USD $16.95 · CAD $18.50 ·Trade Paper
The Amado Women
The Amado Women
Désirée Zamorano’s Amado Women celebrated by none other than Dagoberto Gilb: “Far from the cholos and maids of a cliché Latino Los Angeles, these beautiful Amado women dine at chichi hotels and restaurants, carry plush designer bags, and steer new cars into suburbias. But Zamorano doesn’t leave it at that—because even an American dream-fulfilled life is still full of real life, and what alone endures is family.”

Zamorano, Désirée
ISBN 9781935955733
$USD $16.95 · CAD $18.50 ·Trade Paper
Cold Type
Cold Type
It’s not all a woman’s world. In Cold Type New York Times columnist Harvey Araton tells a gripping tale of the newspaper industry in New York City when things were beginning to fall apart. Robert Lypsite says, “Father and son face their demons, each other, and a depressingly realistic publisher in a newspaper yarn that made me yell ‘Hold the front page!’”

Araton, Harvey
ISBN 9781935955719
$USD $15.95 · CAD $17.50 ·Trade Paper
Otherwise, My Life is Ordinary
Otherwise, My Life is Ordinary
Looking for stocking stuffers? Throw in Bobby Byrd’s new book of poems, Otherwise, My Life is OrdinaryWhy? Because Bobby makes a good pot of beans.

Growing up in Memphis, #3:
In 1952 Dewey Phillips invented Elvis.
It happened on the radio.
Rock n' Roll saved my life.
In 1960 the bad guys sold Elvis into slavery.
Don't let anybody tell you different.
Bryd, Bobby
ISBN 9781935955757
$USD $15.95 · CAD $17.50 ·Trade Paper
Celebrate Independence This Holiday:
Buy Books from Independent Presses

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


While the State goes to ruin, mountains and rivers remain; 
while Market Culture grinds upon us all, 
the artist builds a studio from scratch and rows it like a boat. 
Patiently by passion—incorrigible, still breathing.
J.B. Bryan, La Alameda Press

Oh, my gosh, that's Bobby Byrd on the streets selling a real live poem broadside: "PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN."  It's a love poem, for God's sake. His wife Lee is at the stove in the morning, stirring the oatmeal. He says she grunts in her sleep. Oh, my gosh. But you get the picture, don't you?

The broadside is thanks to friend J.B. Bryanthe owner and operator of the oddball very independent La Alameda Press. J.B. is an artist, graphic designer, poet, zenster, whacko musician, good friend and print-maker extraordinaire. He built the broadside from the ground up. Including the linoleum block print of the pot of oatmeal. Byrd's selling the damn thing for $60 plus the shipping. Good luck with that, huh? But if you're a collector and just need to have one, call or write Cactus Mary Fountaine at Cinco Puntos Press. 

Just to whet you appetite, we're pasting the poem below. It's from Bobby's new book, Otherwise, My Life is Ordinary

Portrait of a Woman

She is simmering the oatmeal for breakfast
The early morning light
The wooden spoon in her hand
Her hips rocking back and forth—
The pink pajama bottoms, a white pullover
40 years we have found these ordinary rituals
A matrimonial dance 
And at night, she is the warm body next to mine
We are happy to be animals together
That too is beautiful
Afloat on this side of nothing
Whatever you want to call it.
She snores some and some nights she grunts in her sleep.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

BOO! Bilingual Books for Halloween and the Day of the Dead

Let's Do it with Books!
AKA Here Comes La Llorona & her Friends!

Oh, you better be ready for Halloween and the Day of the Dead this year! Here in El Paso, we can already hear La Llorona scratching along the riverbank, practicing her high notes. A friend out hiking saw the tracks of El Cucuy as he galloped across the mountaintops and down thru the arroyos. The big old bogeyman is getting in shape to go looking for bad little girls and boys. And, we know a family lucky enough to live near a cemetery. They swear that late at night they can hear the joyful sound of all the calacas (aka skeletons, aka calaveras) doing their yoga stretches as they get ready for the Day of the Dead. This year it’s going to be special.

Don’t be afraid. Cinco Puntos has your back! If you’re a teacher, a librarian, a parent, a grandparent, or simply an aficionado of Halloween or the Day of the Dead, Cinco Puntos has the books for you.

Written and illustrated by Mexicano Luis San Vicente. 

Copyright illustration © 1999, Luis San Vicente. 
All rights reserved. Reproduction or copy of this image is not permitted without permission.

Yes, yes, it’s back by popular demand!

November 1 is Mexico's Day of the Dead, and the skeletons jump for sheer joy. And no wonder: they’ve been cooped up the whole year long doing absolutely nothing. They’re hungry, they’re thirsty, and, my gosh, they’re ready to party. Watch the calaveras shake, rattle and roll as they celebrate the biggest event of the graveyard’s social calendar!

Mexico’s Day of the Dead fascinates kids and adults too, whether for its joyful celebration or its unusual traditions. With fantastic illustrations and a wild and fanciful poem, San Vicente captures the spirit of this most marvelous holiday. And Cinco Puntos added a little flavor to the book. A short and fun essay, directed toward young readers, explains this important Mexican holiday. Plus, we offer directions for making pan dulce (sweet breads), sugar skulls and altars to honor and remember the dead. All the fun things kids can do to join in the festivities!

A great book for Early Readers, a great book for a gift!

And now The Festival of Bones is in paperback. And, like always, the hardback is back too! Indeed, we’d be fools not to reprint the hardback. We already have thirty thousand hardbacks in print!

Conceived and written by folklorist / educator Cynthia Weill 
with papier-mâché skeletons by Oaxacan artist Jesus Canseco Zárate

This book is so fun it’s a classic before it’s a classic!

So, you ask, who are those calacas doing their yoga exercises in the cemetery as they get ready for the Day of the Dead? They’re none other than Anita’s familia, her family, who she introduces you to in this new Cynthia Weill collaboration Jesus Canseco Zárate. Cynthia was down in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, doing what she does best: scouring the mountains, the valleys and the pueblos for folk artists to bring them international attention. Her best-selling First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art series came from this unusual avocation of hers. But, there in Oaxaca City she happened upon the work of Jesus Canseco Zarate. How lucky is that? Here’s how his website explains the calacas he makes:

Jesús Canseco Zárate…has dedicated himself to the art of paper-mâché calacas, or traditional skeleton figures, for the past eight years. His calacas, however, are characterized by a modern twist: they parade around in everyday clothing, wear distinctive hairstyles and are obsessively detailed from head (freckles) to toe (nail polish). Imbued with life, these skeletons walk the threshold between the living and the dead; a cheeky reminder of what awaits us all…Known for his painstaking realism, he specializes in commissions that bring real-life people to… well, death! Indeed, death is represented by Jesús as just another welcomed rite of passage in life.

Looking at his calacacs, Cynthia conceived Mi Familia almost immediately. They started working together. And that's the way true collaborations should work.

By the way, Jesús is a fine photographer too. Visit his photography work here.

The classic bilingual telling by Joe Hayes 
Illustrations by Vicki Trego Hill and her daughter Mona Pennypacker

The all-time Cinco Puntos Press best seller with over 600,000 in print. It’s a cornerstone of bilingual publishing for kids in the United States. We first published it as a saddle-stitched 6x9 duotone book with illustrations and book design by our good friend and neighbor, Vicki Trego Hill. In 2004, Vicki and her daughter Mona added more illustrations and color, expanding the book into the beautiful classic edition it is today.

In this part of the world, along the U.S.-Mexico Border, everybody knows the story La Llorona, the Weeping Woman. The Byrd kids Susie, Johnny and Andy, when we moved to El Paso in 1978, learned about La Llorona on the playground in kindergarten and at Crockett Elementary School. Parents or teachers didn't have to tell them the story. The kids did. All the kids knew about La Llorona, knew she lived and knew to scare the new kids with the story. In our neighborhood, la Llorona lives in the Franklin Mountains above our home on Louisville Street. At night she'll come howling out of a canyon, looking for her kids. Oh, wowweeee! Lee and I learned about la Llorona first through our kids and our neighbors, but then we met storyteller Joe Hayes. We became friends. Joe told us a lot about the folklore of the American Southwest and the world (that's something most people don't know about Joe--he's a deeply committed folklorist), and from Joe we learned the history of the legend. But most importantly, we got to publish Joe's telling of the story. Oh, what a great gift that was. We now call Cinco Puntos Press "the House that La Llorona built!” Follow this link to read an interview where Joe talks about this great legend which is certainly an integral part of the culture where we live. And you can go to the CPP website page to hear Joe tell the story first in English and then in Spanish.  --Bobby Byrd

As told by Joe Hayes and illustrations by Honorio Robledo
(Sorry. Temporarily out of stock! These are hard to keep in stock.)

If La Llorona comes around, be careful. You know El Cucuy is somewhere in the neighborhood.

Growing up every one hears at least one teasing reference to the “bogeyman,” but not everyone knows him by name. In the Southwest and much of Mexico, he’s known as el Cucuy (pronounced coo-COO-ee, drawing the COO syllable out like the hoot of a lonely night bird).

With his humped back and his big red ear, el Cucuy was once a standard part of child rearing. Many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans will tell you, “I grew up with el Cucuy.” And there are plenty of stories of lazy, disobedient children whose feet were set back on the straight and narrow path by an encounter with this ogre.

Although today’s parents no longer think it appropriate to rely on calling the local bogeyman to come and carry their children away, the young still delight in tales of bad boys and girls—ones that are much worse than they are!—getting the good scare they deserve from el Cucuy. Of course, the best tales, like this one, always have a happy ending!

So, kids, listen to your parents and grandparents, or el Cucuy might get you!

Joe Hayes
Black and white spot illustrations by Mona Pennypacker

Winner of the 2006-2007 Texas Bluebonnet Award 

Do you believe in ghosts?

Well, Elena Padilla’s father didn’t, and that’s a shame, because his disbelief ends up making Elena a very sick girl. In his classic bilingual style, Joe Hayes tells the story of Elena’s ghost fever. The story starts in an old rundown house in a dusty little town in Arizona. Nobody in their right mind will rent that house because…well, a ghost haunts it. The landlord can’t even rent it out for free! That is, not until foolish old Frank Padilla comes along thinking he can save some money.

Lucky for Elena that her grandmother knows all about the mysterious ways of ghosts. With her grandmother’s help and advice, Elena solves the mystery of the ghost girl, recuperates from her ghost fever and, in the process, learns a valuable lesson about life.

Here’s what the late great magazine Criticas, an off-shoot of School Library Journal, had to say about Ghost Fever:

In his first novel-length chapter book, Hayes stays true to his southwestern storytelling roots while also expanding his base. Set in a small Arizona town in the 1950s and told as a childhood memoir, Hayes’s latest story presents a more modern world—with decrepit pickup trucks, family desertion, and the interaction of Hispanic and Anglo residents—than that of his earlier bilingual offerings, which mostly reflected colonial New Mexico. Traditional culture has not disappeared completely, however. While some of the characters in the story scoff at the idea of ghosts and haunted houses, others are convinced of their existence. At the heart of this story lies a haunted house with such a bad reputation that its owner has to lure his new tenants—a father and his 14-year-old daughter—with six months of free rent. While the father ignores the noises and strange occurrences in the house, his daughter cannot—she is not only aware of the ghost in the house, she also knows that it wants her help.

The English and Spanish text flows smoothly and invitingly, and Hayes’s short chapters make this perfect for classroom read-alouds, as well as for independent reading. Sure to be popular with young chapter book readers who enjoy a chill running down the spine, Ghost Fever is also recommended for reluctant older readers. Librarians and booksellers would do well to display and hand-sell this title.

Cinco Puntos Press Books are distributed to the trade 

Friday, August 8, 2014

PIG PARK, a new Young Adult Novel by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez

If you don’t know Mexican-America very well, you might not know what that is on the cover of Claudia Guadalupe’s new YA novel Pig Park. That’s a “marronito,” a little brown cookie that looks like a pig. You can buy some marronitos at any Mexican bakery. Take, for instance, the Burciaga Bakery. It’s across the street from Pig Park in the fictional Chicago barrio of the same name. The bakery, says Masi Burciaga—the novel’s street smart narrator—“like most of Pig Park, sprouted in the boom and shadow of the American Lard Company. The company had even donated land right in the middle of everything for the park our neighborhood was named after. That’s why our neighborhood got named Pig Park, because pig fat made lard and lard had more or less made our neighborhood.”

Sound crazy?

Well, it’s all crazy! Fifteen-year-old Masi Burciaga's Pig Park neighborhood is becoming more and more of a ghost town since the American Lard Compay moved away. Her school closed down. Her family's bakery and the other surviving businesses may soon follow. As a last resort, the neighborhood grown-ups enlist all the remaining able-bodied boys and girls to haul bricks to help build a giant pyramid in the park in hopes of luring visitors.

A pyramid? How weird is that?

But something's not right about the entrepreneur behind this whole scheme. What kind of entrepreneur wants to fund a  pyramid of bricks in the middle of Pig Park. Then there's the new boy who came to help, the one with the softest of lips. Oh, Masi became confused—“I couldn’t help myself. My thoughts shifted to the boy from the park. I don’t know why I had looked at his mouth, but when I did the world around us stopped. He had masa lips, textured with fingerprints, soft as if molded, soft like warm rolls, probably soft to kiss…”

CLOTH ISBN 9781935955‑76-4, $15.95
PAPER ISBN 978193595577‑1, $9.95
EBOOK ISBN 978-1935955962, $9.95

Publishes September 2014

Are you interested in reviewing Pig ParkRequest a digital review copy on Edelweiss. You will need to create an account with Edelweiss, but the service is free."  Just follow the directions and soon you and Masi will be waiting to tell you her story about Pig Park! Come September you can buy a book at the Cinco Puntos website or from any of your favorite retailers and etailers.

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez

“My father taught me that letters form words, by making me read the subtitles of old westerns out loud. By the time I was six, I knew how to write too, and I was going to write a book…I was 11 when he passed. The loss was so great that I didn’t think I could share it with anyone. But I never forgot the smells, the sounds and the vast darkness.”—from an interview for the BEA/ALA Special Edition of Kirkus Reviews.

Pig Park is Claudia Guadalupe Martinez’ second young adult novel. Her first book, The Smell of Old Lady Perfume (Cinco Puntos, 2007) won the Best Young Adult Book from the Texas Institute of Letters, a Southwest Books Award and many other awards. Claudia grew up in El Paso’s Segundo Barrio between the Rio Grande and Interstate-10 that cuts through downtown. She graduated from Claremont McKenna and moved to Chicago where she administers an education-related NPO and continues to pursue her career as a writer. She is married and has a daughter and another baby on the way!

Awards for The Smell of Old Lady Perfume

Texas Institute of Letters’ Best Young Adult Book Award
Southwest Books of the Year Award, 2009, Pima County Public Library
Américas Award Commended Title, 2009
Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, 2009
Latinidad’s Best Middle Grade Book of 2008
Hispanic Magazine Summer MUST READ 2008
BEST OF THE BEST, 2008, Chicago Public Library
ALAN’s Picks, July 2008
YA Top Forty, Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA)
Recommended further reading in the Spring 2009 One Book, One Chicago program

Praise for The Smell of Old Lady Perfume

REFORMA Newsletter
Tweens will easily relate to Chela’s struggles and triumphs, particularly immigrant tweens. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

“…readers will also find the book’s loving portrayal of Chela’s family, its nicely realized setting, and its artful exploration of the problems of assimilation to be both engaging and heartfelt.”

School Library Journal
“This is a sweet coming-of-age story, telling of the cruelties of children toward one another and dealing with the loss of a parent. The story should appeal to readers dealing with their own tween years.”

Southwest Books of the Year, 2008
Setting her story in El Paso, Claudia Guadalupe Martinez gives us the gift of a real world, filled with authentic kids and family dynamics…Martinez’s prose, always animated and descriptive, is frequently quite beautiful. She is an author to watch.
—Cathy Jacobus,

Children's Literature
This sensitively-written novel provides unique insights into a bicultural family.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.,

ALAN's Picks
While Spanish words are interspersed with English, there are not so many that the book is difficult to read for a non-Spanish speaking person but just enough to actualize the Hispanic culture in Chela's home life and the circumstances of a bilingual student in an English-speaking school environment.

San Antonio Express News
The original title gives a glimpse of the poetic lines peppered throughout this poignant debut.