Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014 El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros

(LtoR) Me-Pat Mora-Carolyn
At the TLA conference last week, I met the author and founder of El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros, Pat Mora. It was such an honor to meet with her and talk a little about El Día and the many events that are coming up for that celebration during the month of April. I am proud that my illustrator daughter, Carolyn Dee Flores, and I will be participating in El Día in Houston with readings and presentations to celebrate children, books, and literacy.
While at the San Antonio Book Festival a couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed for a video by My Story, Click here to view the video: My Story – Lupe Ruiz-Flores. 
I also did a blog post interview for an event, Día Blog Hop, where several authors were interviewed as well. Here is the link to that post on the Other Side of the Tortilla blog. 
Since April is Poetry Month, here is a great post that appeared on the Cynsations blog, “National Poetry Month: Guest Post from Naomi Shihab Nye: On Language-Energy.” I’ve enjoyed reading her poetry and have most of her books. I once took a class with her and was inspired to try my hand at poetry.   

Have a wonderful Easter!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 Texas Library Association Conference in San Antonio, TX

Another fantastic week! This time it was the Texas Library Association (TLA) conference held in San Antonio this year. Thousands of librarians from all over Texas attended the event. In fact, according to an announcement made on the last day, over 7,000 people had been at the conference. There were sessions, speakers, vendors, publishers, food, and books, books, books. 
I was on a panel with five award-winning authors and the topic was, “Latino Bookfest: A Celebración of the Best in Latino Literature for Youth.” I also joined many other authors in the Author Signing Area and my books sold out. Hurray! It was an exhausting three days, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I renewed friendships with writers I hadn’t seen in a while because they are scattered all over the nation. It was an awesome three days. 

Author and Daughter- Illustrator Carolyn Dee Flores

San Antonio River

(Middle) Author Pat Mora - Founder of El Dia de los ninos/
El Dia de los libros

Author Monica Brown and me

"I write as a participant, to see what will happen. I see that I write books about brothers and sisters, about what makes up a family, what works and what is nurturning." -- Patricia MacLachlan

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Post 2014 San Antonio Book Festival

Children's Tent
Fantastic is all I can say about the 2014 second annual San Antonio Book Festival held yesterday, April 5, at the Central Library in downtown San Antonio, Texas! Hundreds of people showed up despite the chilly weather. Make that thousands. I just read in today’s Express-News that there were close to 8,000 people attending. 
Over 90 national and regional authors did readings, signings, panels, and autographed books for the booklovers who attended the readings and bought books. Colorful tents were everywhere including a “cooking demonstration” tent.  There were plenty of activities for the children. Music filled the air and food trucks catered to anyone with an appetite. Hundreds of people roamed the grounds and the crowds continued to grow as the day went on.  

Authors & Illustrators

"Take a step, breathe in the world, give it
out again, into a story, poem, song, art."
--Jane Yolen

Here are some pictures of me with some award-winning authors and illustrators, (left to right) Brian Floca, Carolyn Dee Flores, Duncan Tonatiuh, Lupe Ruiz-Flores, and Malin Alegria

Author With Duncan Tonatiuh
and his award-winning book.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

San Antonio Book Festival, April 5, 2014

If you live in San Antonio or nearby, be sure to visit the San Antonio Book Festival downtown at the Central Library on Saturday, April 5. It is free to the public. There will be lots of local authors and authors from other states as well. The list is impressive. There will be music, presentations, food and books, books, books! Click here to view the lineup of authors. 

I will be doing a reading of Lupita’s First Dance/El Primer Baile de Lupita, under the Children’s Tent at 1:30 p.m. Come by.

A good writer is always a people watcher. – Judy Blume

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2014 Reading Rock Stars in the Rio Grande Valley

(L to R) Cynthia Weill, Rene Saldana, Jr., Carmen Tafolla,
Diana Lopez, Lupe Ruiz-Flores, Duncan Tonatiuh,
and Diane Gonzales Bertrand
What fun it was doing school visits with six other authors as part of Reading Rock Stars down in the Rio Grande Valley. In the schools I visited, Emiliano Zapata Elementary in Mission, Texas, and Robert E. Lee Elementary in Edinburg, the students were ready to welcome me and two other authors as soon as we walked through the door. Banners, posters, drawings, and signs greeted us upon our arrival. 
Lupe Ruiz-Flores "Hall" at Zapata Elementary
Some students even went so far as to practice doing and signing petitions just like my character, Estela, in the book, Let’s Salsa. They put these up on a huge bulletin board in my “Lupe Ruiz-Flores Hall.” I autographed all
the posters on the walls as the librarians  walked me through. 
I enjoyed doing the reading/presentation and interacting with the students. The big surprise came at the end when I told them that each and every one of them would get an autographed book of the story I had just read. Cheers went up. Smiles spread across their faces. It was heartwarming to see student after student come up and receive a book.
Librarian Ms. Carrillo at Robert E. Lee
School and Author - Books! Books!
They were extremely polite and all said thank you or gracias. I hope I inspired the students to read and write more and hopefully to become lifelong readers. Thank you Texas Book Festival and Reading Rock Stars. Thank you Target for providing the books. And thank you faculty and librarians for all that you do for your students. We really appreciate you!

Teachers at Zapata Elementary


Author "signs" petition! - Robert E. Lee Elementary

Thank you, Target!

"The best books come from someplace deep inside.... Become emotionally involved. If you don't care about your characters, your readers won't either.” – Judy Blume

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Is it middle grade or chapter book?

Mexican Pottery
Are you sometimes confused about the difference between chapter books and middle-grade books? I must admit many of us often wonder. Here is an interesting article written by Marty Banks on the Chapter Book Chat blog that addresses this topic.  In it, Banks quotes Emma D. Dryden, founder of drydenbks, a children’s book editorial and publishing consultancy firm, who says: “Even though many books for middle grade readership have chapters, they’re not normally referred to as ‘chapter books’ by publishers; they are, however, often referred to as ‘chapter books’ by booksellers and librarians, and others, which is why I believe there’s confusion about this.” There’s more.
If you’re thinking of writing in this genre, read the entire post to get a better understanding of chapter books vs middle-grade ones. 
And if you’ve polished up your manuscript and are ready to submit, Albert Whiteman & Company is accepting unsolicited submissions right now. So take that leap of faith and send your story out. Best of luck!

"Most new writers think it's easy to write for children, but it's not. You have to get in a beginning, middle and end, tell a great story, write well, not be condescending--all in a few pages."  -- Andrea Brown

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Auctions

Have you ever wondered how the process of a book “auction” works? Well, wonder no more. This post on the DearEditor blog, appeared on the Cynsations blog the other day. It is titled, “How Manuscript Auctions Work,” by editor Deborah Halverson. Although very brief, the article details the process your manuscript might go through if several publishers wish to acquire it. We should all be so lucky, right? It can happen. 
And here is another interesting link where five top agents reveal what they are looking for in your manuscript before making an offer. Five Agents Share What Makes Them Stop Reading Sample Pages appears in the Adventures in YA Publishing blog. Again this link appeared on the sensational Cynsations blog. 
If you’re planning to attend the San Antonio Book Festival on April 5, here is a lineup of the authors presenting that day. Hope to see you there!

“A book is a wonderful present. Though it may grow worn, it will never grow old.” – Jane Yolen