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