I’m checking out another great indi bookstore. It’s Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, and I’m going to their 14th and V location for the first time this Friday.
That’s because it’s time for the awards ceremony for the Las Américas prize. This year, top prize went to the lovely picture book Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan Roth and Cindy Trumbore, an especially delightful pick from Lee and Low, a smaller publisher that has long been advocating and promoting diverse children’s literature.
It’s the story of the near extinction of wild parrots in Puerto Rico and how that sad situation was turned around. I hope you’ll stop in to the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress to see an exhibit of the book and its art, which runs through the end of October.
As part of the festivities, Las Américas also sponsors an annual educator workshop – hosted by Busboys and Poets – where teachers and librarians can get hands-on ideas and materials for bringing high quality Latino literature into their classroom or library. I’m so happy to be able to present alongside Duncan Tonatiuh this year. (9:30 – noon). Duncan won honorable mention, as well as a Pura Belpré Honor medal, for his exquisite book Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale. My own novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, was selected as a commended title this year (along with all of these).
If you’re a teacher or librarian, it’s not too late to register. The reasonable $25 registration fee gets you breakfast, a free book, and ideas from Duncan and me on how to use our books in the classroom to help students explore culture and identity. (Registration info here: I’ll even have swag, people.
I know it’s a busy time at the start of a school year. And I know it’s easy to think that you don’t really need a workshop like this if you’ve got mostly non-Latino students. But please consider this: Empathy is part of the 21st century skill set, and books give kids a chance to build that. There’s nothing like getting inside someone else’s skin for a while to help you consider new points of view.
Anyway, I’ll be trekking up on my favorite Amtrak. (I love you DC, but you can keep your traffic!) Hope you can be there. And don’t forget, you can join us for the author reception, 3 PM – 5 PM inside the Pickford Theater/Madison Building of the Library of Congress. Please email here to say you’re coming: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you then!
Directions to Busboys and Poets: U Street Metrorail stop Yellow/Green line
PDF on the teacher workshops: aateacherworkshop