These moms couldn’t find bilingual books. So they started a publishing company

Original post by the incomparable Melissa Gomez for LA Times:

Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein started Lil’ Libros in 2014 because they had trouble finding children’s books in both English and Spanish. The Huntington Park company now has 14 titles, all written by the co-founders, and brought in $1 million in sales last year, a feat the pair never thought possible, Rodriguez said.

Spanish as a first language

Both Rodriguez and Stein, whose last name was Sauceda before she married, learned Spanish first because it dominated their home lives. That meant studying English as a second language, or ESL, at school.

“Other kids will shame you for it,” Rodriguez recalled.

They soon grew out of the ESL classes but embraced their culture at home, Rodriguez said. Her family had frequent parties, watched soccer games on TV and spent Saturdays watching old Mexican movies, she said.

Longtime friends

Rodriguez and Stein met in seventh grade in Lynwood, where they grew up. Stein, who was new to the area, introduced herself to Rodriguez and asked if she wanted to be friends. They became inseparable, hanging out at each other’s homes. They shared a similar upbringing — children of Mexican immigrants who came to the U.S. to give them a better future.

“It was just a good sisterhood,” Stein said.

Diverging paths

After they graduated from high school, their paths diverged, but the friends remained close.

Stein had aspired to attend art school, but her parents told her it wasn’t practical. She landed as a business major at Cal State Dominguez Hills, and she worked full time to pay for her education.

Rodriguez didn’t plan to go to college, but her mother told her a common refrain: I didn’t work this hard for you not to continue your education. So Rodriguez enrolled in community college and worked full time while continuing an internship at KIIS-FM (102.7), which she had started in high school. She was soon offered a part-time position at the radio station and dropped out of school to pursue it, with her mother’s support and approval.


Feeling like an imposter

Stein became a facilities manager for a commercial real estate company. Rodriguez eventually became a full-time producer at the radio station alongside Ryan Seacrest, and she still works there today.

Despite their success, both Rodriguez and Stein constantly felt that others would realize they weren’t good at their jobs — the all-too-common “imposter syndrome.”

“You doubt yourself, and I think it’s part of growing up as a first-generation Latina,” Stein said.

“Yeah, you can’t go home and talk to anybody about this,” Rodriguez said. “You’re working in these spaces that are so hard to reach.”

Brainstorming, failing, restarting

Rodriguez and Stein pursued some business ideas together.

They founded a bilingual celebrity news website, but it quickly flamed out. They tried to create a public relations firm, but after one potential client turned them down, they moved on.

The pair tried to break into the retail industry by making shirts with David Beckham when the soccer star came to L.A.’s Galaxy, but the only one who wore one was Stein’s husband. They almost got into street vending, going as far as scouting out a spot in downtown Los Angeles, but it never panned out.

Still, Stein says, “It was natural…”

“To always go to each other whenever these ideas would come to us,” Rodriguez continued.

“And we still do it,” Stein added.

“Yeah,” Rodriguez finished with a laugh, “’Cause we still have so many ideas.”

Finding the courage

Rodriguez was pregnant with her first child when she first started looking for quality bilingual books for children. When she found none, she considered creating a manuscript herself and began pitching a bilingual book to publishing companies.

In 2013, Rodriguez received a response from one company representative, who said, “Reaching out to Hispanic mothers is a very appealing idea, but I am afraid I just find the range of subjects a bit disparate and challenging.”

Discouraged, Rodriguez gave up on the plan until a fire destroyed her Lynwood home, and she and her family lost everything. She began to wonder what legacy she would leave for her son and came back to the manuscript idea. “I’m going to find the courage inside me to do this,” she told herself.

Finding success

This time as she pitched the idea, Rodriguez was told that Latinos don’t read to their children.

“You realize that as a person of color, you’ve heard this in many, many shapes, ways and forms,” she said. This time, she doubled down.

Stein, who was pregnant, also wanted to make sure her child was bilingual. In 2014, the pair established Lil’ Libros. They started with three titles, including a picture book about Frida Kahlo and one on Loteria, a bingo game popular in Mexican culture. They used their savings to start it, finding a printing company and hiring an illustrator. They commissioned 6,000 copies of the three books, thinking the supply would last years.

The interest was immediate. At a book festival in East Los Angeles, they walked away with 1,000 pre-orders, Stein said. They soon landed a deal with Target, where they have six shelf spots in the books section. Their books have also been featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Something to call their own

Stein left her job to work for Lil’ Libros full time, a risk that has paid off. The company is looking for investors to help increase its yearly output, she said, from four titles to 12, including working with other authors. The company’s books are aimed at children 5 or younger, but the two want to cater to older kids as well.

“Our goal is to grow with a child,” Stein said.

Their books have been featured on social media by celebrities including comedian Ali Wong and actress Jessica Alba, and even made an appearance at rapper Cardi B’s elaborate baby shower. They have a bilingual board game and will soon be putting out a doll of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Through the company, Rodriguez said, they have seen how the Latino community has connected with the bilingual products.

“Finally, it’s something that they can call their own,” Rodriguez said.


Brothers co-author New Mexican folklore novel

by Elena Mendoza for KRQE:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A fictional children’s book based on real New Mexican folklore started as a dream for two local brothers and now they’re trying to make it a reality—but they’ll need your help getting it onto bookshelves.

Set in the village of Algodones in 1949, “Under the Cottonwood Tree: El Susto de la Curandera” incorporates New Mexico’s rich history while sharing a valuable lesson about forgiveness and friendship.

“It’s highlighting just the same way Mark Twain highlighted that culture of that time, we’re hoping to highlight our culture,” said co-author Carlos Meyer.

It’s a fictional tale of a curandera who lives alone in the bosque. She casts a spell on a village boy that turns him into a calf, and the rest of the book involves a quest to turn him back.

“The children have an adventure that day amongst the cottonwood trees in the Bosque, and they would discover why the curandera has turned into a witch,” said co-author Paul Meyer.

Albuquerque natives, co-authors and brothers Paul and Carlos, grew up playing in the bosque.

The book itself is based off a dream Paul had as a boy about a talking calf.

“I said, ‘Wow, that’s a pretty cool dream,’ so I wrote it down. I wrote it down and I said I’m going to write a little story about it,” said Carlos.

Over the years it’s taken on many forms. A short version was even picked up by famed Chicano publisher Octavio I. Romano.

This latest one has been eight years in the making.

“Being a native New Mexican, I really wanted to shine a light on this culture that isn’t represented a lot in television or literature,” said Paul.

The 166-page graphic novel is now complete.

The brothers have reached out to the public via Kickstarter to help raise money to print the first set of books.

“There’s a lot of expenses for printing a book so that’s what we’re hoping to do. We’re hoping to help with the printing cost,” said Carlos.

“It started as a literal dream, and now is metaphorically a dream that is coming to fruition,” said Paul.

The brothers are currently about a third of the way to their $6,000 goal.

Book Rev. of My Shoes and I by René Colato Laínez

coming soon to a bookstore near you!


A pair of shoes serves as the constant in a grueling trek across three borders.

Young René and Papá together begin a northbound journey, by foot and bus, away from their native El Salvador. As they cross into Guatemala, then Mexico, and finally the United States, the story repeats a chorus of “Uno, dos, tres,” representing the number of borders they must cross. It is uncertain whether the father-son team is crossing these borders with required documentation until they are waist-deep in a rushing river before joining Mamá on the other side. If there’s a moment when readers realize the perils of their journey, it’s here. Nevertheless, Colato Laínez handles the narration gently. Framing the narrative deliberately and at the center of Vanden Broeck’s illustrations are René’s shoes, often depicted from low angles or bird’s-eye views. Brush-stroked spreads depicting various landscapes—lush, green scenes, muddy trails, mountains, cities, the river—are reminiscent of Central American artwork often depicted on murals, souvenir trinkets, or postcards. Not until the last spread does Vanden Broeck finally unveil René’s smiling face in its entirety. The bilingual narrative is told in short sentences and enlivened with repetition, running metaphors, and sound effects, easily engaging readers.

Inspired by the author’s own story, this tale of a young boy’s arduous escape serves as a crucial, insightful, and timely light shone on a sensitive, highly relevant subject. (author’s note) (Bilingual picture book. 6-10)

Meg Medina on Winning the Newbery Medal

Meg Medina has gotten “the call” before. It came on a Sunday night in January 2014 when the chairperson of the American Library Association’s Pura Belpré committee telephoned to say that her YA novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (Candlewick), had won its gold medal for narrative. That award goes to a writer whose work best portrays the Latinx cultural experience in a work of literature for children or teens.

“They called about 10 at night, so when the phone didn’t ring this time, I thought, ‘Oh well, that’s it,’” Medina said. She went to bed and rose early to go to the YMCA for her cardio class. But Merci Suárez Changes Gears(Candlewick) had received five starred reviews. Medina was right to think her middle-grade novel about an irrepressible Cuban-American girl might have been on the radar of one of ALA’s many award committees. “Psychologically, you fight expectation, but there is this tiny seed of hope that you’ve won something, that one of these awards will have your name on it, but you’re afraid to hope too much.”

And as it turned out, the phone did ring at 10 at Medina’s home in Richmond, Va., but this time it was 10 a.m., which was 7 a.m. in Seattle where the Newbery committee members had assembled to make their calls. Medina was back from the gym and getting into the shower when she saw an unfamiliar number on her phone’s and answered by saying, “Who is this?”

“When she [chairperson Ellen Riordan] said it was the Newbery committee and I had won the medal, all of the emotion I had been holding back, not only for this day, but over the entire course of my career as a writer, just came crashing forward and I sank to the floor of my bathroom and had a big messy cry,” Medina said. “Those poor people. I have no idea what I even said to them but I’m so grateful that they loved Merci and the Suárez family.”


Merci Suarez is Medina’s seventh book but only her second middle grade novel. She also won recognition from the Pura Belpré committee in 2016 for Mango, Abuela, and Me, a picture book. Other than her first novel, Milagros: Girl from Away (Holt, 2008), all of her books have been edited by Candlewick’s Kate Fletcher.

“And she doesn’t speak a word of Spanish!” Medina said. “I am working on her, though.”

The novel, which stars 11-year-old Merci but prominently features her extended Cuban-American family, began as a short story Medina contributed to Flying Lessons and Other Stories, an anthology edited by Ellen Oh (Crown), and produced in cooperation with We Need Diverse Books. The collection included short stories by Matt de la Peña, Jacqueline Woodson, Kwame Alexander and others. “All the heavyweights and me,” Medina said. Medina gave Merci her own childhood love of bike-riding and her birthplace, setting the story in South Florida, where Medina’s parents emigrated to when they left Cuba in 1960. Medina was the first of her family to be born in America.

She found that even after turning in the story for the anthology, Merci had a lot more to say. “I wasn’t finished with her, or she wasn’t finished with me,” Medina said. “You know how Merci is. She keeps coming at you.”

Medina also felt strongly that the moment was right for a story about the particularities of the immigrant experience and the universal truths about growing up.

“I worry for children right now, especially in Latino families, around the issue of immigration,” she said. “These children are not deaf. They are hearing all of this political talk. We need books that sound and look the way we as Americans look, books that get into the corners of children’s experiences.” And though her Pura Belpré Awards are cherished achievements—“It’s the award of your language, of your home, of your parents,” she said—the Newbery will bring a much wider audience to Merci’s story. “That sticker is like a magic portal,” she said.

There is also this: the Newbery conveys on a book something close to immortality, and on its author membership in a very exclusive club. “Just to join the amazing authors who have already won, that my name is going to be part of that list, that is why my knees buckled, why I wept,” Medina said. “One day, my grandchild will walk into a library and see the title of my book as a Newbery winner and say, ‘My abuela wrote that.’”

Not that she is an abuela, yet, mind you. “No, right, don’t make me a grandmother yet,” she said. “Someday in the future, my grandchild will say that.”

New Book: The Crossroads by Alexandra Diaz

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  •             Grade Level: 3 – 7
  •             Hardcover: 336 pages
  •             Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
  •             Language: English
  •             ISBN-10: 153441455X
  •             ISBN-13: 978-1534414556


After crossing Mexico into the United States, Jaime Rivera thinks the worst is over. Starting a new school can’t be that bad. Except it is, and not just because he can barely speak English. While his cousin Ángela fits in quickly, with new friends and after-school activities, Jaime struggles with even the idea of calling this strange place “home.” His real home is with his parents, abuela, and the rest of the family; not here where cacti and cattle outnumber people, where he can no longer be himself—a boy from Guatemala.

When bad news arrives from his parents back home, feelings of helplessness and guilt gnaw at Jaime. Gang violence in Guatemala means he can’t return home, but he’s not sure if he wants to stay either. The US is not the great place everyone said it would be, especially if you’re sin papeles—undocumented—like Jaime. When things look bleak, hope arrives from unexpected places: a quiet boy on the bus, a music teacher, an old ranch hand. With his sketchbook always close by, Jaime uses his drawings to show what it means to be a true citizen.

Powerful and moving, this touching sequel to The Only Road explores overcoming homesickness, finding ways to connect despite a language barrier, and discovering what it means to start over in a new place that alternates between being wonderful and completely unwelcoming.

En Español

Jaime y Ángela descubren lo que es vivir como inmigrantes indocumentados en los Estados Unidos en la continuación de El único destino, libro ganador del premio Pura Belpré Honor.


“An incredibly heartfelt depiction of immigrants and refugees in a land full of uncertainty.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Diaz paints an insightful, realistic picture of a place that’s filled with opportunity but simultaneously rife with discrimination, which is especially important reading for today’s children.” —Booklist

“Fans of The Only Road will appreciate following Jaime and Ángela on the next phase of their lives, while teachers and librarians may find the text useful to counter unsubstantiated myths about Central Americans fleeing to the US.” —School Library Journal

Jaime and Ángela discover what it means to be living as undocumented immigrants in the United States in this timely sequel to the Pura Belpré Honor Book The Only Road.

Alexandra Diaz is a Cuban-American spending her time between Bath, England, Santa Fe, NM, and the rest of the world. She has an MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University and has led various workshops since she was fourteen. As a result of being homeschooled for most of high school, she’s fascinated by teenage school life and the drama that occurs in those quarters. One of the reasons she writes is to experience life in someone else’s shoes. She is a “jenny of all trades” having worked as a nanny, teacher, film extra, tour guide, and dairy goat judge (seriously). She currently teaches creative writing and circus arts, though not at the same time. For more information, got to


Original post by Rene Colato Lainez found here:

New Book: Vincent Ventura and the Mystery of the Chupacabras by Xavier Garza

This looks like a great new bilingual book for children.

ISBN: 978-1-55885-869-5

Publication Date: October 31, 2018

Bind: Trade Paperback

Pages: 64

Award-winning author returns with thrilling new bilingual series for intermediate readers!

When stray dogs start disappearing from the neighborhood, Vincent’s dad thinks that maybe the Animal Control Department is finally doing its job. But then, Mrs. Rangel’s celebrity chihuahua Chato, who appeared in television commercials promoting tacos, disappears. And Mrs. García’s weiner dog and Mrs. West’s poodle go missing. Everyone in the neighborhood is puzzled, but Vincent Ventura has a theory.

The disappearances started when Mr. Calaveras moved into the house at 666 Duende Street, which is rumored to be haunted. Vincent knows he’s not the harmless but grumpy guy that everyone else sees. He’s convinced the old man is behind the rash of missing dogs. In fact, Vincent is sure he’s a monster, a blood-sucking beast known as el chupacabras!

Vincent enlists the aid of his cousin Michelle, the smartest student at their school, and her twin brother Bobby to spy on the suspected killer. Vincent Ventura, monster fighter extraordinaire, is determined to catch him in the act, even if it puts them all in danger! Accompanied by the author’s dramatic black and white illustrations, this exciting short novel for ages 8 – 12 will introduce Latino creepy creatures to a new generation of readers.



“Older middle-grade readers will find these Latin American horror stories deliciously short but spooky.”—Kirkus Reviews on The Donkey Lady Fights La Llorona and Other Stories / La señora Asno se enfrenta a la Llorona y otros cuentos

“With its quick pace, humor and endearing characters, this is sure to turn more kids into lucha libre fans.”—Booklist on Maximillian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel

XAVIER GARZA is the author of numerous books for kids, including The Donkey Lady Fights La Llorona and Other Stories / La señora Asno se enfrenta a la Llorona y otros cuentos (Piñata Books, 2015), Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016) and Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil and Other Stories / Kid Ciclón se enfrenta a El Diablo y otras historias (Piñata Books, 2010). He lives with his family in San Antonio, Texas.

New Book: They Call Me Güero by David Bowles

Check out this new book by David Bowles with AMAZING illustrations by Zeke Peña.


Twelve-year-old Güero is Mexican American, at home with Spanish or English and on both sides of the river. He’s starting 7th grade with a woke English teacher who knows how to make poetry cool.

In Spanish, “Güero” is a nickname for guys with pale skin, Latino or Anglo. But make no mistake: our red-headed, freckled hero is puro mexicano, like Canelo Álvarez, the Mexican boxer. Güero is also a nerd—reader, gamer, musician—who runs with a squad of misfits like him, Los Bobbys. Sure, they get in trouble like anybody else, and like other middle-school boys, they discover girls. Watch out for Joanna! She’s tough as nails.

But trusting in his family’s traditions, his accordion and his bookworm squad, he faces seventh grade with book smarts and a big heart.

DAVID BOWLES grew up and lives in the Río Grande Valley of South Texas. A many-faceted writer and scholar, he’s the author of Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico.His middle-grade fantasy The Smoking Mirror was selected as a 2016 Pura Belpré Author Honor by the American Library Association.

Islandborn Is More Than Just A Children’s Book–It’s ‘the Book of Our Childhoods’

Original post by Christina Miranda found here:

Last month, Junot Díaz resurfaced with his new book Islandborn; this time, however, his targeted audience is below the age of ten. Islandborn serves as more than just a story about finding one’s origin, it brings recognition to a real history while directing it towards children—something long overdue.

Islandborn tells the story of Lola, who is assigned to draw a picture of where her family is from, but comes to a standstill when she realizes that she has no memory of her home in the Dominican Republic. As she talks to her elders, she begins to imagine what the island might be like based on their descriptions alone. Immersed in a vibrant family and culture, she is also taught the harsh realities that have affected the island, including national disasters and the thirty year dictatorship of former Dominican Republic president Rafael Trujillo, presented in the book as the Monster.

On Díaz’s book tour, he took the time to sit down with Latinx Spaces to discuss his new book and the progress and acceptance he hopes it will bring to readers both young and adult. Here is an excerpt of our conversation:

How difficult is writing a children’s book compared to writing a novel or story collection?

It took just as long to get the idea. The execution was shorter. It still took an incredibly long time: again, I feel perhaps someone else would be able to knock these things out a lot faster, that’s my fantasy. It hasn’t been true for me, I’m very very slow, but it’s true that once I finally got the idea I was able to execute it. The problem was that I spent hundreds of pages getting the idea. If anyone out there is an artist and requires consolation, just reflect somewhat on my embarrassing career and I think that that will at least give you some encouragement.

In a New York Times article you mention that this book, which you wrote for your goddaughters, took you almost 20 years to write. How do your goddaughters like the book as adults?
It’s hard to say because I always feel it’s impolite to speak for other people in that way. They’ve told me that it meant the world to them, but it’s for them to say. In a way, I think that it’s hard to communicate what books do for us. Especially if they work well. A part of me is hoping that there is nothing that they can say immediately because it speaks to a book that’s doing its work when it takes you a long time to get your arms around it.

You don’t shy away from serious issues like racial identity and political corruption in history, unlike most children’s books. Why did you decide to mix it in this type of storyline?

Because that is the book of our childhoods as people of color. As immigrants. As people who were captured and forced to be slaves. This is a book that has many traumas in them. If we are only going to write children’s books, comprised of fictions of innocence, we will, by that very act, erase ourselves. And therefore I did not want my community or myself to be erased.

“What we’ve always wanted from everyone, whether it is inside or outside of our community, is to understand at the most profound level how human we are, and how deserving we are of sympathy and love, which is something that society spend an enormous amount of energy denying.”

I come from difficult struggles, I come from savage histories, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t feel less of a human, I’m not less joyous, and less alive to the possibilities of the world. I feel that this is a culture that pushes us towards a false pretend happiness so that we can’t achieve real, organic happiness. And I would argue that real organic happiness for communities like ours is to be able to live with all the troubles that we have endured, and yet, to feel an endless, generative love towards ourselves, our community, and the world.

On top of that children live their lives beset by horrors. Why are children so interested in monster stories? Why are children interested in scary stories? Because they know how scary this darn world is. There’s nothing about that book that would even compare to a day in the life of the average, loved, stable, well-taken care of child. Their lives are so full of fears, uncertainty, and threats. Children are vulnerable. They understand vulnerability and they understand overcoming fears. The only person who want these narratives of innocence are more or less adults. Adults who I think want to maintain their own innocence around children, and around larger social questions.

In today’s social environment, people of color are not getting the voice that they deserve. Do you think it will be harder for people in literature to receive that voice? Do they have more work ahead of them? Or do you think there will be more of a push, that it will be easier?
Well I think we have so many writers and artists of color who are doing this work. I’m not some innovation. I’m part of a long, long train of people who are doing this work. When you look at our field, I’m sort of a special cupcake that appears every now and then on the menu. But the truth of it is that there are all these people in the field who’ve been in the trenches doing all this remarkable work.

So many of our people are in children’s literature making organizations, making communities. You think about the work Julia Alvarez who’s been working in children’s literature for a long time. You think about Edwidge Danticat, you think about Jacqueline Woodson, you think about Yuyi Morales, you think about in the Chicanolands Pat Mora. You think about the stuff that Arte Público has done.

I mean, my God, would we as a community have survived our childhoods if it wasn’t for something like Arte Público doing this work for us when we were all being erased? And so we’re in there and now I feel like finally the numbers are turning, and our awareness, and our refusal to live in this just unbearable white world is also turning.

That is the book of our childhoods as people of color. As immigrants. As people who were captured and forced to be slaves. This is a book that has many traumas in them. If we are only going to write children’s books, comprised of fictions of innocence, we will, by that very act, erase ourselves.”

What do you hope that non-children and adults of color will take away from this book?

What we’ve always wanted from everyone, whether it is inside or outside of our community, is to understand at the most profound level how human we are, and how deserving we are of sympathy and love, which is something that society spend an enormous amount of energy denying. And often we ourselves don’t give our communities sympathy or love. It’s a lesson we could all benefit from.

Where do you see children’s literature going in the next ten years?

I would argue that it has become very difficult to sell books. One can say that YA is blowing up, sure, but it’s mostly cannibalizing the adult market. Fiction numbers have dropped across the board. We’re in a tough situation in literary culture. Sorry if I’m a standard Asian-American kid, or if I’m a standard Latinx kid, there’s more that speaks to me online than there often is in literature, and I understand that.

We also live in a culture where no one is encouraged to preserve contemplative spaces. Which means that it’s harder to read. Despite these conditions, there’s no question we continue to maintain a robust literary culture even as it’s under assault. We’ll see. Hopefully we will be able to stop the crease and begin to some ways feel stronger, reach more readers, and hopefully the culture might slow down and give more space for things like reading.

Do you think you’ll write something like this again someday?

I’ve already written another book, so we’ll see. It’ll get to the artist soon – probably a year, year and a half. Now it’s time to get back to my novel. It’s been fun.

Junot Díaz’s Islandborn is in bookstores now from Dial Books for Young Readers.

Book rev. of Greña / Crazy Hair by Kianny Antigua

Gerald A. Padilla provides this book review for Check it out here:—grentildeacrazy-hair–latino-book-review.html


An endearing story about a young girl and her curly hair. Greña / Crazy Hair is a short yet empowering, bilingual, children’s book that addresses multiple themes of self-esteem and family love for parents and children to enjoy.

The energetic, curly haired girl, Kiara, teaches us how beautiful, strong, enigmatic and free her hair is, as she demonstrates its beauty and uniqueness through various positive activities. In this story, we witness a girl who embraces her appearance, giving a valuable example for the children of today.

The author, Kianny N. Angtigua has a clear goal in mind—that is to create culturally relevant children’s literature with strong and loving characters. Meanwhile, the illustrator, Vanessa Balleza, fills the pages with soft, fun and distinctive illustrations that will surely paint a smile on the readers face. 

Kianny N. Antigua (San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic) is a Spanish Lecturer and writer. She has published Mía y el regalo de Guaguau / Mía and the Gift from Guaguau (C. Lit. 2017), Caléndula (Novel, 2016), among others. She received the XV Concurso Nacional de Cuento Sociedad Cultural Alianza Cibaeña, 2016 and the Premio Letras de Ultramar, Children’s Lit., 2015. Some of her stories have been translated to Italian, French and English.

Greña / Crazy Hair is a publication by Kianny N. Antigua. Click here to purchase.  

Junot Diaz coming to Austin

Wednesday, April 4th at 6:30 pm

speaking & signing

More information here:


  • The speaking portion of this event is free & open to the public.
  • Tickets are required to join the signing line. 
  • Tickets are only available with the purchase of a copy of Islandborn from BookPeople.
  • Books & tickets are now available to pre-order. Purchasing a book online automatically assigns you a ticket for the signing. There is no separate “ticket” item to add to your cart.
  • Tickets are lettered. The line for the signing will form according to ticket letter after the author speaks.
  • Keep checking this page for further guidelines as the event date approaches.

If you cannot make it to the event, you can still order a signed copy! Simply add the book to your cart and indicate SIGNED COPY. We ship all over the world!


Every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else.

Hers was a school of faraway places.

So when Lola’s teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can’t remember The Island—she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories—joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola’s imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. As she draws closer to the heart of her family’s story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela’s words: “Just because you don’t remember a place doesn’t mean it’s not in you.”