December 31, 2003

American Library Association showcases best-selling Latino authors Ángeles Mastretta, Richard Rodriguez

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, January 9 - 14, 2004, San Diego, will host a series of events that showcase the literary works of some of the world’s most celebrated Latino authors. Events feature the Pura Belpré Award, one of the most prestigious literary honors given to Latino children’s book authors and illustrators, and author lectures hosted by Ángeles Mastretta and Richard Rodriguez.

The ALA will honor Latino writers and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for youth. The Pura Belpré Award will be presented during the Meeting’s Youth Media Awards Press Conference, Monday, January 12th. The award is named in honor of Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library and a pioneer in preserving and disseminating Puerto Rican folklore.

The Belpré Award was first presented in 1996 to Judith Ortiz Cofer, author of “An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio” and to Susan Guevara, illustrator for “Chato’s Kitchen.” The award is administered every other year by ALA’s Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) and its National Association to Promote Library Services to the Spanish Speaking . 

Ángeles Mastretta, is one of the authors highlighted in the Meeting’s Best-Selling Author Forum, Friday, January 9, 4 - 5:15 p.m., San Diego Convention Center, room 15 A/B. Mastretta will read from her international number-one bestseller “Women with Big Eyes,” and will participate in a question and answer session with attendees.

Born in Puebla, Mexico, Mastretta is a stunning success in both her home country and abroad. A warm, charming and fiercely intelligent presence, Mastretta is famous for artfully crafting fiction that comments on social and political realities of her country, and for giving birth to some of the most memorable and magical female characters ever caught between the cover of a book.

“Women with Big Eyes,” her most widely read work, is now available for the first time in an English translation. Each of the stories in this work reveals a different woman, yet they all are linked by a single thread: the revelation that women share an unnamed force, whether it comes in the form of iron resolve, flaming passion, or simply the knowing and mystical ways to nurture a soul.

Author and essayist Richard Rodriguez will deliver the Meeting’s fifth annual Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture, at 3 p.m., Saturday, January 10, 2004. The lecture entitled “The Color Brown, and the Meaning of the Library,” will be held at the San Diego Convention Center Room 16 A/B.

Rodriguez will discuss the mixing of races and cultures taking place throughout the world, but particularly in America. Rodriguez refers to this mixing of cultures and races as “browning” of America, and will discuss how “browning” impacts the way we think about libraries.

At the core of his latest book, “Brown: The Last Discovery of America,” Rodriguez gives an assessment of the meaning of Hispanics to the life in America. Reflecting upon the new demographic profile of the United States, Rodriguez observes that Hispanics are becoming Americanized at the same rate that the United States is becoming Latinized. Hispanics are coloring an American identity that traditionally has chosen to describe itself as black and white.

Return to the Frontpage