Friday, October 26, 2012

Texas Association for Bilingual Education

Yesterday I attended the 2012 Texas Association for Bilingual Education conference at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio. It was a fun-filled day with teachers from all over Texas in attendance. I spoke to many of them and autographed some of my books. I browsed through the huge hall and was impressed with the many publishers and educators who are involved in bilingual education. It was a great event and I’m glad I attended.

La Villita

Later that afternoon, I walked across to La Villita, the historic arts village where you can shop at many art galleries, arts shops, gift stores, and restaurants. 
 If you’re interested in writing picture books, author Pat Mora has an article, “Twenty Tips for Writing Picture Books,” on the Lee & Low Publisher blog. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Mora at some writer events. She has written numerous award-winning books.
"The longer you put off getting serious about writing, the longer you put off success. Procrastination is a writer's biggest enemy." -- Barbara Seuling

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Writer and Illustrator Interviews

Here’s an interesting interview on the Paper Tigers blog about my fellow writer, Rene Colato Lainez. Originally from El Salvador, he now lives in California where he is an elementary school teacher. His books are bilingual as well.
For illustrators, here’s another interview on the same blog. This one is about illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi. She was at the SCBWI-LA conference this past August. Her picture book, I’m Bored, should be out by now.
Pumpkin Patch
 You need to hurry if you want to submit to the Children’s Writer YA Short Story Writing Contest. The deadline is October 31, 2012. Best of luck!
And if you really don’t know what to do with all those books that you love but still want to keep,  here’s a far-out way to do it. A headboard! Really. Take a peek.

"The feeling for words, the driving need to tell a story, the love of characters who constantly inhabit your mind waiting to be born, these are the inherent things that make us writers." -- Eve Bunting

Friday, October 12, 2012

School Library Journal and Alicia's Fruity Drinks

Today I made a school visit where the librarian and her helpers made the healthy fruit drinks, aguas frescas, for the students to drink right after the reading of my bilingual picture book, Alicia’s Fruity Drinks/Las aguas frescas de Alicia. It was a delightful visit and, as usual, the students were enthusiastic and asked really good questions after the presentation. They were also happy to have refreshing aguas frescas like those mentioned in my book.
I am very proud that this same book was mentioned in an article, “Building Collections and Connections: A Taste of Latino Culture | Libro por libro,” in the School Library Journal. Written by Tim Wadham, the article reads: “… Rather than simply offering random reviews, the focus of this column will be building core collections and using those books to create connections with readers. With each column I’ll be introducing a topic(s) or theme(s) and I’ll include both new and backlist titles, and discuss how they can be effectively used in schools and public libraries. The books reviewed in this column are all recommended for school or public library collections that serve bilingual and Spanish-speaking readers. And they are not recommended simply because they are good books. These books also provide young Spanish-speaking readers with something more intangible, yet vitally important: a sense of their cultural heritage. In these books, they will see themselves, they will hear the music of the Spanish language, and they will explore the many varieties of the Latino cultural experience.”

Aguas Frescas
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you do; but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Saturday, October 6, 2012

School visits and book sales

Once your book is published and out there in the universe, you might want to do school visits to connect the students with your books. I came across this article, “The Truth About School Visits: Book Sales,” written by Alexis O’Neill and printed with permission on the Lee & Low publisher blog. It covers not only school visits, but sales of your books at the schools. Sometimes schools allow this, sometimes not.
At my recent school visit two weeks ago, the librarian had printed out order forms for my books before my presentation date. Based on how many were ordered by the parents, she was able to order the books from my publisher with plenty of time before my visit. She placed the order form with the student’s name inside each book and after the presentation, I autographed each one while the students returned to class. Later that day, she distributed the signed books to the teachers of those students. I was impressed with this librarian’s efficiency and orderly way of getting my books into the student’s hands.
Below is a welcome sign made by the students during one of my school visits where I read, The Battle of the Snow Cones.
School visit sign
"The struggle to master a medium, whether it's words, notes, paint, or marble, is the heroic part of making art." -- Chris Van Allsburg

Monday, October 1, 2012

Great time for children's books

This is a great time for children’s books. According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch blog, “Market in children’s books thrives, with promise found in fall releases,” written by Susan Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times, there is still hope for these books. She mentions in her article that, “Naysayers forecasting ‘the end of books,’ however, haven’t explored the children’s section lately or considered the releases for the coming season — from picture books to teen titles. The autumn offerings, which span a variety of topics, suggest why children’s books have become the fastest-growing segment of the publishing industry.”
This, of course, is encouraging news for authors of children’s books. This is indeed inspiring news for all of us. In fact, Ms. Carpenter has another article on the Los Angeles Times blog that addresses the topic of adult books being republished in kid version ones. Interesting read.  

Also, read the latest book review of Alicia’s Fruity Drinks by MAMIVERSE (Universal Empowerment for Latina Moms and Families).
“Identifying research needs is a project-specific task. The best time to do this is during the outlining stage. As you add each scene, make note of any research required to complete that section.” – Writing Tip from Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner