Thursday, May 21, 2009

Love Those Awards #1

Charro Claus & The Tejas Kid
Written & illustrated by Xavier Garza

We love Xavier Garza's work and his vision. A native of the Rio Grande Valley, Xavier is a prolific author, artist, teacher and storyteller whose work is a lively documentation of the dreams, superstitions, and heroes in the bigger-than-life world of South Texas. Here's a very cool review of Charro Claus from the always-cool San Antonio Current:

"Even Santa Claus sends the jobs he is unable or unwilling to do to Mexico. The jolly old outsourcer enlists his primo Pancho to deliver presents along the Texas-Mexico border, and his young nephew Vincent stows away in the present sack. Pancho, dressed in a mariachi suit, pilots a wagon hauled by flying burritos (the non-delicious, non-musical sort). The simple South Texas Christmas tale is printed in both English and Spanish, allowing for several different bilingual reading opportunities, a logical choice for a book that pointedly asserts: 'Not even rain or cloudy skies or walls or wire fences keep them from crossing back and forth to El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, to Roma and Miguel Aleman, to Rio Grande City and to Camargo.' Charro Claus is the perfect gift for the children of your Minute Men relatives."

Tejas Star Book Award List, 2009-2010

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Love Those Awards #2

Dance, Nana, Dance / Baila, Nana, Baila
by Joe Hayes
with illustrations from Mauricio Trenard Sayago

For Joe Hayes, the most magical thing about telling stories is the bond that it forms with his listeners, especially with children. "Once you’ve told someone a story," Joe says, "you’re no longer a stranger." That's how Joe feels now when he travels back and forth to Cuba to exchange stories with Cuban storytellers: that he's no longer a stranger. His stories have made him a friend on the island and his book, Dance, Nana, Dance has garnered important awards and attention.

Recipient of the Ninth Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award

Américas Book Award honor book

Skipping Stones Honor Award

Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2009

Love Those Awards #3

A Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un tiempo perfecto para soñar

with illustrations from Esau Andrade Valencia

A Perfect Season for Dreaming got lots of awards and a big shining starred review from Publisher's Weekly: "Sáenz's haunting work is part short story, part fable. Andrade Valencia gives these visions an odd and wonderful dignity; his folk art illustrations lie somewhere between Frida Kahlo and Grant Wood.

Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2009

Friends of the Austin Public Library Award for Best Book for Children, Texas Institute of Letters (TIL)

Winter 2008-09 Kids' Indie Next List

Paterson Prize for Books for Young People

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Love Those Awards #4

Youme Landowne is one of the most courageous and interesting people we know. She's fearless. She travels all over the world, collaborating with children and adults on art and humanitarian work. She feels that part of her art is listening, and she opens herself up to listen to people others might not care to hear. That's how the story of Pitch Black began, when she decided to listen to Anthony Horton, a resident of the New York City subway underground, a man who clearly needed someone to lend an ear. Thus began a two-year collaboration which ended in this remarkable graphic novel, our first and the winner of many prizes.

Skipping Stones Honor Award

Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2009
(Bank Street Books is the wonderful children's bookstore on the upper west side of NYC near Bank Street College and Columbian University. It's the place to go on-line or in person if you want to know what's happening in literature for young readers.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Love Those Awards #5

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez is a puro voice from the U.S. Mexico border. Her style comes out of the tradition of Francisco Jimenez, author of The Circuit and other books that speak of the melancholy and the loneliness of people on the edge. She sent us her manuscript several years ago. We saw immediately that she knew what she was doing. She has a clean, lyrical voice. But the book wasn't ready. We sent it back to her, said it needed work. She didn't reply. Six months later, it came back to us, still clean, still lyrical, still not ready. We sent it back. No word. Six months later it came back again, much cleaner. This went on for several years, until finally The Smell of Old Lady Perfume was ready. We're very proud of it and amazed at what Claudia has accomplished. She is persistent!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Love Those Awards #6

Some years ago, we ran the Radium Springs Hotel in Radium Spring, New Mexico. It was 1976, I think. We didn't know what we were doing. A group of treasure hunters came through. They were looking for gold at Victorio Peak. They spent several nights, we served them breakfast and dinner. We talked. That was why, when Robert Boswell told us that he and David Schweidel had been researching the story of Victorio Peak and were looking for a publisher, we knew exactly what they were talking about. We understood the history and its importance in the peculiar, always unsettling, always miraculous history of the Southwest. This has been a particularly important book for us.