Thursday, December 2, 2010

Johnny Byrd: Our Man in Guadalajara

Johnny Byrd with Domi (Domitila Dominguez), Antonio Ramirez 
at their house in Tlaquepaque outside Guadalajara.

Every year Johnny Byrd travels down to Guadalajara to attend the Feria Internacional del Libro, aka la FIL. His job is to sell rights of our books to publishers from other countries, or buy rights for books we think may do well here. It was at the FIL that we discovered, through the help of good friends, La Historia de los colores / The Story of Colors written by Subcomandante Marcos and illustrated by the incomparable Domi (aka Domitila Dominguez). The Story of Colors is the book that got written up on the front page of the New York Times and made us famous for a few days in 1996. That in turn helped us sell over 100,000 copies of the book. Domi, her husband Antonio Ramirez and their family (together they form el Colectivo Callejero) have been close friends of ours ever since (see below) our first meeting them. Domi and Antonio collaborated to illustrate our other book by El Sup, The Question of Swords / Folktales of the Zapatista Revolution, one of my all-time favorite CPP books although it didn't come close to the kind of publicity or sales of The Story of Colors. And it is through The Story of Colors in a roundabout way we met our very good friend and colleague Patsy Aldana of Groundwood Books (Toronto). Patsy is one of the great ladies of independent children's book publishing. A wise and generous woman. [Note: I wish there was a good profile of Patsy online but there's not.] So the FIL has been an important part of what Cinco Puntos Press is and, we hope, will be.

Anyway, Johnny has been in Guadalajara since Sunday--eating the delicious food, drinking the delicious beer, enjoying the weather, and talking the book talk. Since Johnny doesn't carry a camera, I'm putting up some photos from last year when I accompanied him. It's hard work, exhausting work, but it's a good time too.

Patsy Aldana (4th from right) of Groundwood Books asked us to co-host 
an open house at the home of Domi and Antonio. We were 
delighted to do so. Our guests were librarians from all over 
the United States and a few distributors to libraries. 
It was a great day, and Domi and Antonio sold some work!

Los Angeles was the FIL's "featured country" in 2009.
One day, walking around, we ran into our friend Luis Rodriguez.
How cool can that be!
Children's Book Press was also at the 2009 FIL.
Here we are with our friend Janet (Sales and Marketing)
and Dana Goldberg (Executive Director)
We had just enjoyed a wonderful lonche de mariscos!

But it's time for Johnny Byrd to come on home. 
We hope he brings good news.

1 comment:

Oliver Flores said...

This controversial story about 'La historia de los colores; honestly, I didn't know it, but it's very interesting. I knew Domi's work in an exhibition last year at the Ex Convento del Carmen here in Guadalajara. Thanks for sharing.