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Teresa Mlawer

Evelyn Del Rey se muda is an Audie Finalist

By Awards and news, picture books
This week, I got a note from Candlewick telling me that Evelyn Del Rey se muda has been named an Audie finalist in the Spanish language category. The Audie’s are the highest award in audiobooks, and this year they received over 1500 submissions across all categories, the largest amount they have ever received. The news has come at such a poignant time. It has been almost a year since my friend, Teresa Mlawer, the celebrated Spanish language publishing icon, passed away. Even if you’re not up to speed on publishing en español, you’ll recognize her name as the translator of many famous children’s books, like Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon. I’m proud to say that she was also the translator of most of my own books, including Evelyn Del Rey se muda, bringing to each work the vocabulary and idioms of Cuban Spanish, the language I hear in my heart whenever I write about family. Evelyn, Teresa told me when we last spoke, was the final book project that she would work on. Many beautiful things have happened to the English edition of Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away, but I am proud to say, that with Teresa’s fine translation, the Spanish edition has been well-received, too. It was recently named by Bank Street College as one of the best Spanish-language picture books for kids in 2020. And now, of course, we have this unexpected nomination for an Audie. I want to point here to...
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!Ganamos! [Translation: We Won.] But, hmm, how about triunfamos?]

By Awards and news

You might have seen that the International Book Awards were announced on Friday. I’m a little late to the game because I was in Pennsylvania, But behold the (seriously long) list of amazing titles that have won and take note, mi gente, of the new voices coming to the table. If you’re unfamiliar with the work of these authors, please take the chance now to gather their books and enjoy. All the winners – some of them my heroes and dear friends (…looking at you Isabel Campoy, Pam Muñoz, Sonia Manzano, Margarita Engle, Daniel José Older, and more…) have my deepest respect and congratulations. So, I am excited to say that Mango Abuela and Me earned second place as best picture book in English, and Burn Baby Burn earned an honorable mention in Young Adult. But I am hugely proud to announce that Teresa Mlawer won first place in translation for both Mango Abuela y Yo and Yaqui Delgado Quiere Darte Una Paliza.  An industry veteran, Teresa has translated the likes of Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon. I had the pleasure of meeting her on the faculty of the 2014 Latino National Children’s Literature Conference at the University of Alabama. (Proof positive of the value of going to conferences…) So, when Candlewick hired her as my translator a couple of years later, I knew I was in good hands. Having the work of Latino authors available in translation matters. It’s a statement of respect for multiple literacies,…

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Notes from the road: writing with depth, finding the joy & honoring your roots

By Appearances, The Writing Life

I’m finally home after a long stretch in Northern Virginia. This weekend was the SCBWI Midatlantic annual writers conference, where I taught an intensive for the first time on how to write characters with depth, and how to develop a compelling voice in writing. Yikes. I had forgotten how hard it is to teach writing – and how much you learn from doing so. What I came to was this: Layers, depth and voice in writing really come from how deeply you want to go inside yourself and how honestly you can lay bare what you find.  I hope my SCBWI colleagues who attended were able to find something useful during our session. I’m wishing them lots of time to remember, to record, and to write. Then it was on to the Arlington Central Library. You could fit all of my hometown, Richmond, inside the hip pocket of Arlington. What a busy and vibrant place – especially its library. (Favorite feature: a vegetable garden planted in the beds that border the entrance.) Lisa Cosgrove-Davies, Youth Services Librarian, worked with the Arlington Teen Advisory Board to coordinate two school visits at Jefferson Middle School and Washington Lee High School, followed by an evening talk at the library. Now, was I feeling confident? No, I was not. It’s always a crap shoot on whether people come to an evening library event, and Dallas was playing Washington to boot. But I kept channeling the words of Pat Cummings, who reminded me at the conference that the real joy in…

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A Kid Lit Conference Con Sabor

By Appearances, The Writing Life

Snow outside – AGAIN. Thank goodness for the leftover cozy feelings from the  National Latino Children’s Literature Conference this past weekend. On a scale of 1 – 10 in warmth and  camaraderie, it ranks about a 50. One reason was the  faculty, a solid collection of Latinas in publishing. It included the fabulous former editor and literary agent Adriana Dominguez; color goddess illustrator Laura Lacámara; multiple-award winning poet and prose author Margarita Engle; Lila Quintero Weaver (who we’ve talked about here); bilingual library pro and storyteller Irania Patterson (how can anyone imitate every accent in the Spanish-speaking world?); longtime publishing icon Teresa Mlawer (“sounds like flour, with an m”); and me. For three days we worked side by side with teachers and librarians from all over the country who wanted to know how to use multicultural books to serve all kids. Inevitably, we all drew close as we asked ourselves hard questions and generated new ideas. “I’m so glad you guys aren’t divas,” one of them told me as we all sat together. Some of my personal highlights and favorite ideas: Margarita Engle. Poet, feminist, botanist, historian. If you want your students to experience history’s most unknown and shocking corners, seek out her books. Who else can tell you about pirates in the 1400s, search-and-rescue mountain dogs, Cuba’s first feminist, and how the Panama Canal was dug by hand… in a single presentation? It was astounding. Make a simple move with a big implication. Print out the list of Pura Belpré winners and have…

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