Tuesday, March 28, 2017

First Time Ever: TIL comes to El Paso

El Paso Hosts
Texas Institute of Letters Annual Conference, April 7 & 8

Here at the very edge of Texas, we have this joke.

People ask us, Where are you from?
We say, El Paso.
Oh, they say, you’re from Texas. 
No, we say, we’re from El Paso.

Well, the prestigious TEXAS INSTITUTE OF LETTERS (TIL) wants to put an end to our wise-cracking. For the first time in its 81-year existence, El Paso is hosting the TIL’s Annual Conference and Book Awards. And the TIL is pulling out all the stops with a great series of events and a celebration banquet that features El Paso writers. AND a couple of tunes by 2017 TIL inductee Joe Ely. What? Honky-tonk, Texas-country, Tex-Mex, rock-&-roller Joe Ely? Yep! All this thanks to the hard work and joyful enthusiasm of TIL President Steve Davis, Vice-President Carmen Tafolla and council member, El Paso’s own Sergio Troncoso.

The El Paso Connection

El Paso writers will be front and center. At the Saturday night banquet, award winning novelist, poet and children’s book author Benjamin Alire Saenz will read; nationally acclaimed poet and children’s book author Pat Mora will receive the Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement at the banquet; and author and anthologist Marcia H. Daudistel will present a short video of El Paso's literary landscape. On Saturday, novelist, poet, journalist C.M. Mayo and novelist / poet Alicia Gaspar de Alba will read at their inductions into the TIL at 1 p.m event. 

Novelist (a Dobie fellow!) and co-publisher of El Paso’s Cinco Puntos Press, Lee Merrill Byrd will read at her induction Friday evening, 7:30 p.m. Poet, essayist and co-publisher of El Paso’s Cinco Puntos Press, Bobby Byrd will read at his induction Friday evening, 7:30 p.m.

Playing for the Devil's Fire Honored by the Texas Institute of Letters

Cinco Puntos author Phillippe Diederich won the 2017 H-E-B Award for Best Young Adult Book for Playing for the Devil's Fire. Phillippe is coming to El Paso to receive his award at the Children Awards on Saturday morning and to attend the banquet.

To honor the arrival of the TIL in El Paso, Cinco Puntos will be open on Friday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), April 7-8. Cinco Puntos is a pleasant ten-minute walk from the conference (some street construction not withstanding), which will include a peep at the Luis Jimenez alligator sculpture if you go through the beautiful remodeled plaza.

Cinco Puntos Press invites the 300 members of the Texas Institute of Letters to come by for a 50% discount, and invites the rest of El Paso to come through the store and congratulate the Byrds on decades of diverse publishing.

Events to Remember

9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Children's Book Awards in the Sky Lounge at the Downtown Doubletree by Hilton. Reception and breakfast/brunch refreshments, followed by an awards ceremony. Introduction of new TIL members, David Bowles and Elaine Scott. Cinco Puntos Press author Phillippe Diederich will recieve his award for Best Young Adult Fiction. Free and open to the public.

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. New TIL Member Reception and Reading in the Sky Lounge at the Downtown Doubletree by Hilton. Introduction of new TIL members, including El Paso's own Alice Gaspar de Alba and C.M. Mayo, plus Celeste Bedford Walker, Cary Clack, Elizabeth Harris, Cliff Hudder, Baine Kerr and Rosalyn Story. Free and open to the public.

5:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Reception followed by 8 p.m. Texas Institute of Letters Banquet at Ardovino's Desert Crossing. TIL President Steve Davis and Vice President Carmen Tafolla serve as hosts and emcees. Special guests: New TIL member Joe Ely, PEN/Faulkner winning author and TIL member Benjamin Alire Saenz. Nationally acclaimed author and El Paso native Pat Mora will receive the Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement. Literary El Paso editor Marcia Hatfield Daudistel will present a video celebrating El Paso's literary ambiente. Plus Stephen Harrigan, Skip Hollandsworth and Paulette Jiles will receive TIL Book Awards. A great evening.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Cynthia Weill’s Enchanting Bilingual Board Book Collection

Cynthia Weill’s Enchanting Bilingual Board Book Collection

A new collection of board books, based on the popular First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art series. In Spanish & English for children 3 and older.

All five of Cynthia’s bilingual series First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art are now board books! Each book features different kinds of alebrijes―brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of wood, clay and paper mache. The figures depict magically real animals and people created by some of the greatest folk artisans in the world. And each book teaches a different concept for very young learners―ABCs, opposites, colors, counting and animals talking—in English and Spanish! 

The set includes:

ABCs in Spanish and English
Hand-painted animals by Moisés and Armando Jiménez
Board Book 978-1-941026-66-3 / 32 pages | $9.95
“An outstanding alphabet book, this is highly recommended...” —Críticas

Opposites in Spanish and English

Hand-carved and painted animals by Martin and Santiago Quirino
Board Book 978-1-941026-68-7 / 32 pages | $9.95
“Direct and charming.” —Publishers Weekly

Colors in Spanish and English

Illustrated by a variety of artists from the mountains of Oaxaca
Board Book 978-1-941026-67-0 / 32 pages | $9.95
“The sculptures are hypnotic.” —Publishers Weekly
Numbers in Spanish and English
Clay figures created and hand-painted by the famous Aguilar Sisters

Board Book 978-1-941026-70-0 / 32 pages | $9.95
“This peek into Mexico’s art and traditions is certainly one of the most joyous children will encounter.” —Kirkus Reviews

Animal Sounds in Spanish and English
Hand-carved and painted by Rubi Fuentes and Efrain Broa

Board Book 978-1-941026-69-4 / 32 pages | $9.95
“This interactive picture book is sure to be a young crowd-pleaser and storytime favorite.” —School Library Journal

Cynthia Weill is the director of the Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College in New York. She received her PhD from the Teachers College of Columbia University. She is trained as an art historian and has worked as both an educator and art historian. She works with folk artists from around the world to illustrate basic concepts for children. She lives in New York City.

Praise for the First Concepts Collection

“These five adorable bilingual concept books introduce the littlest learners to the alphabet, colors, counting, opposites and animal sounds.” —De Colores

“A beautiful, playful, child-centric approach to language learning.” —Kirkus Reviews