Thursday, August 19, 2010

Multicultural Middle Grade Books

One of the workshops I attended at the SCBWI-LA conference was hosted by three Latina writers, Jennifer Cervantes, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall. The topic was multiculturalism. According to this panel, multicultural is a buzz word now. Young Hispanics want to see their contemporary culture in books, the panel noted. The readership in this genre is growing in numbers. It was an excellent session with great information on writing for this genre. I bought and read Cervantes’ book, Tortilla Sun, and Gonzalez’ book, The Red Umbrella. Both were amazing reads, which I really enjoyed. McCall’s book, Under the Mesquite, comes out in the fall. All three are middle grade novels.

Gonzalez, McCall, Cervantes

Author Marion Dane Bauer, one of the keynote speakers, spoke about the struggles we have in life and how that can lead to a story. “In writing your story,” she said, “Discover your own personal truth.”

Bauer and Ruiz-Flores

Author and illustrator, Ashley Bryan, another keynote speaker, inspired us with his poetry. Some of his comments during his speech: “Open up the spirit of play. Find the spirit of play in voice. Try to bring the words alive. In reading your book, the reader should feel the storyteller.”

Ashley Bryan

Before returning home, I took a side trip to New Mexico. Now I'm in the middle of unpacking the heavy suitcase loaded with books I bought at the LA conference. Time to get back to my writing and trying to digest all that I learned at the conference. Happy writing!


  1. Lupe, I am so impressed with your blog, especially with the beautiful pictures--something I haven't learned to do yet. Thanks for sharing your experience in LA with the rest of us.

  2. Thanks, Peggy. The speakers were inspirational and the workshops were really helpful. Enjoyed the conference and met a lot of interesting people from the U.S. and around the world.