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Guest Award

us_flagJust love this award. Quality books. Excellent illustrations. Every year it comes around it is a real treat. Particularly one for Spanish speaking Australians, The Américas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature is given in recognition of U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected non-fiction (from picture books to works for young adults) published in the previous year in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. By combining both and linking the Americas, the award reaches beyond geographic borders, as well as multicultural-international boundaries, focusing instead upon cultural heritages within the hemisphere. The award is sponsored by the national Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP).

The award winners and commended titles are selected for their:1) distinctive literary quality2) culturalcontextualization 3) exceptional integration of text, illustration and design; and 4) potential for classroom use.

2009 Américas Award Winners

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom
Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet BookJust in Case:  A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales.  Roaring Brook Press (A NealPorter Book), 2008.   32 pgs.  ISBN 978-1-59643-329-8    

In this companion to her award-winning "Just a Minute," Morales brings back Seor Calvera, the skeleton from Day of the Dead celebrations. This stunning picture book functions both as a Spanish alphabet book and an engaging story about finding a birthday gift for Grandma Beetle. Full color.  

The Surrender Tree:  Poems of  Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle.  Holt, 2008.  169 pgs.  ISBN 978-0-8050-8674-4

It is 1896. Cuba has fought three wars for independence and still is not tree. People have been rounded up in reconcentration camps with too little food and too much illness. Rosa is a nurse, but she dares not go to the camps. So shDark Dudee El Mejor Regalo del Mundo/The Best Gift of All: La Leyenda de La Vieja Belen/The Legend of La Vieja Belenturns hidden caves into hospitals for those who know how to find her.

Black, white, Cuban, Spanish--Rosa does her best for everyone. Yet who can heal a country so torn apart by war?Acclaimed poet Margarita Engle has created another breathtaking portrait of Cuba.

Américas Award Honorable Mentions

The Best Gift of All:  The Legend of La Vieja Belén / El Mejor Regalo del Mundo:  La Leyenda de la Vieja Belén by Julia Alvarez.  Illustrated by Ruddy Nuñez.  Alfaguara/Santillana, 2008. 32 pgs.  ISBN 978-1-60396-325-1

Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos.   Atheneum, 2008.  440 pgs.      978-1-4169-4804-9

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love" makes his teen fiction debut with a gritty coming-of-age novel that is full of details and icons of teenage life in the 1960s: the lure of the hippie culture, the fight to fit in, and the desperate need to break away.

The Storyteller's Candle/La Velita de Los Cuentos | Animal Poems of the Iguazu/Animalario del Iguazu | Dance, Nana, Dance/Baila, Nana, Baila: Cuban Folktales in English and Spanish | Cesar Chavez: Crusader for Social Change | The Disappeared

The Storyteller's Candle / La velita de los cuentos by Lucía González.  Illustrated by Lulu Delacre.  Children's Book Press, 2008.   32 pgs.  ISBN 978-0-89239-222-3 

It is the winter of 1929, and cousins Hildamar and Santiago have just moved to enormous, chilly New York from their native Puerto Rico. As Three Kings' Day approaches, Hildamar and Santiago mourn the loss of their sunny home and wonder about their future in their adopted city. But when a storyteller and librarian named Pura Belpre arrives in their classroom, the children begin to understand just what a library can mean to a community. In this fitting tribute to a remarkable woman, Lucia Gonzalez and Lulu Delacre have captured the truly astounding effect that Belpre had on the city of New York.  

Américas Award Commended Titles

Animal Poems of the Iguazú/Animalario del Iguazú by Francisco X. Alarcón.  Illustrated by Maya Christina González.  Children's Book Press, 2008.   32 pgs.  ISBN 978-0-89239-225-4  

Presented in both English and Spanish, this lively poetry collection features the endangered flora and fauna of the Iguaz rain forest in Argentina, and addresses environmental issues in a fun, engaging way. Full color.     

Arco Iris de Poesía:  Poemas de las Américas y España selected by Sergio Andricaín.  Illustrated by Olga Cuellar. Lectorum, 2008.  40pgs.  ISBN 978-1-930332-59-1

This wonderful collection of poetry from the Americas and Spain is sure to spark young readers' interest in major authors, while entertaining them with its delightful illustrations. Featured poets include Federico Garcia Lorca (Spain), Jose Marti (Cuba), Shel Silverstein (U.S.), Gabriela Mistral (Chile), Ruben Dario (Nicaragua), Amado Nervo (Mexico), and Ester Feliciano Mendoza (Puerto Rico). Full color.

Baila, Nana, Baila / Dance, Nana, Dance:  Cuban Folktales in English and Spanish retold by Joe Hayes.  Illustrated by Mauricio Trenard Sayago.  Cinco Puntos, 2008.  128 pgs.  ISBN 978-1-933693-17-0 

Cesar Chavez:  Crusader for Social Change by Brenda Haugen.  Compass Point, 2008.  112 pgs.  978-0-7565-3321-2          

The Disappeared by Gloria Whelan.        Dial / Penguin, 2008.            136 pgs.  978-0-8037-3275-9

The National Book Award-winning author of "Homeless Bird" returns with this riveting tale of love and sacrifice, featuring a brother and sister who pursue freedom within the shadow of Argentina's dictatorial government.

Divali Rose| Dolores Huerta: Labor Leader and Civil Rights Activist | Down to the Bone | Facts of Life | He Forgot to Say Goodbye

Divali Rose by Vashanti Rahaman.  Illustrated by Jamel Akib.  Boyds Mills, 2008.  32 pgs.

Ricki is looking forward to Divali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. Hes also waiting for two special rosebuds to bloom. The buds are on the bush that his grandfather had planted in the front yard. His grandfather promises that the roses will be the color of Divali.

Dolores Huerta:  Labor Leader and Civil Rights Activist by Robin S. Doak.   Compass Point, 2008.  112 pgs.  978-0-7565-3477-6

Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazara Dole.  HarperCollins, 2008.  351 pgs.  978-0-06-084311-3

In a first novel as crazy, joyful, hilarious, and painful as first love, Dole offers a striking, original debut about a Cuban-American girl who comes out as a lesbian and is kicked out of her home only to find a new kind of family.

Facts of Life by Gary Soto.  Harcourt, 2008.        174 pgs.  978-0-15-206181-4

What do Gaby Lopez, Michael Robles, and Cynthia Rodriguez have in common? These three kids join other teens and tweens in Gary Soto's new short story collection, in which the hard-knock facts of growing up are captured with humour and poignancy.Filled with annoying siblings, difficult parents, and first loves, these stories are a masterful reminder of why adolescence is one of the most frustrating and fascinating times of life.

He Forgot to Say Goodbye by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.  Simon & Schuster, 2008.  321 pgs.  978-1-4169-4963-3

The award-winning author of "Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood" delivers this tale of two boys--one a Mexican American, the other a rich WASP--whose friendship develops after both boys' fathers abandon their families.

Kitchen Dance | Pablo | Peacejam: A Billion Simple Acts of Peace [With DVD] | Reaching Out

Kitchen Dance by Maurie J.  Manning.  Clarion. 2008.  32 pgs.  ISBN 978-0-618-99110-5

A little girl and her brother hear inviting noises from the kitchen and discover their parents dancing and singing. There's music in the air in this ideal bedtime story, with lyrical text that changes from p

Pablo (Cuando los Grandes Eran Pequeños) by Georgina Lázaro.  Illustrated by Marcela Donoso.  Lectorum, 2008.  32 pgs.  ISBN 978-1-930332-09-2                       

Peace Jam:  A Billion Simple Acts of Peace  by Ivan Suvanjieff and Dawn Gifford Engle.   Puffin/Penguin, 2008.  197 pgs.  ISBN 978-0-14-241234-3 

The Dalai Lama, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Costa Rican president Oscar Arias and political rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi are just some of the Nobel Peace Laureates who have joined the PeaceJam Foundation in their Global Call to Action. This book profiles all of these laureates and their work with teens around the world as they combine forces to help stop the spread of disease, promote womenas rights, provide equitable access to food and water, and more. Combining profiles of the laureatesa including personal biosaheartwarming tales of the youth and their projects, and tips on how readers can get involved, this is a comprehensive guide to the PeaceJam Foundation.                                      

A Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un Tiempo Perfecto Para Soaar

A Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un tiempo perfecto para soñar by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.  Illustrated by Esau Andrade Valencia.  Cinco Puntos, 2008.   36 pgs.  ISBN 978-1-933693-01-9 

Ninety-two-year-old Octavio Rivera is a beautiful dreamer. And lately he has been visited by some very interesting dreams-dreams about piatas that spill their treasures before him, revealing kissing turtles, winged pigs, hitchhiking armadillos, and many more fantastic things! Octavio doesn't tell anyone about his dreams except his young granddaughter Regina because she alone understands beautiful and fantastic dreams. On the ninth afternoon, Octavio prepares for his daily siesta, hoping to be blessed with one last lovely dream. That afternoon he dreams of a sky full of sweet and perfect hummingbirds calling his name over and over again . . .

Like Margaret Wild's marvelous book Old Pig, A Perfect Season for Dreaming unfolds the sweet possibilities in the relationships between the very old and the very young.

Reaching Out by Francisco Jiménez.      Houghton Mifflin, 2008.  194 pgs.  978-0-618-03851-0

From the perspective of the young adult he was then, Jimnez describes the challenges he faced in his efforts to continue his education, in this absorbing, tender, and honest sequel to his award-winning "Breaking Through."

The Secret Legacy

The Secret Legacy by Rigoberta Menchú.  Illustrated by Domi.  Groundwood, 2008.  64 pgs.  ISBN 978-0-88899-896-5                        

Rigoberta Menchu returns to the world of childhood in this, her third book. The novel's seven-year-old heroine, Ixkem, is chosen to tend to the prized cornfields once her grandfather has passed away. But Ixkem isn't sure she can accept this great responsibility. Out in the fields, she discovers a legion of tiny people, no bigger than bananas. They are "b'e'n, nahuales" -- secret animal spirits -- and when they take Ixkem into the underworld where they live, she regales them with tales of the surface. What they offer in return helps Ixkem to accept both her grandfather's wishes for her and the fact that she must soon wish him goodbye. This moving story is rich with emotion and Mayan folklore, perfect to captivate any young reader.

The Smell of Old Lady Perfume | Voices in First Person: Reflections on Latino Identity | The Walls of Cartagena

The Smell of Old Lady Perfume by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez.  Cinco Puntos, 2008.  249 pgs.  978-1-933693-18-7

Voices in First Person: Reflections on Latino Identity  by Lori Marie Carlson.   Photographs by Manuel Rivera-Ortiz.  Illustrated by Flavio Morais.  Atheneum, 2008.  84 pgs.  ISBN 978-1-4169-0635-3    

In this eclectic, groundbreaking, and highly visual collection of short monologues, 21 of the most respected Latino authors give voice to what it's like to be a Latino teen in America. Photos & illustrations.

The Walls of Cartagena by Julia Durango.  Illustrated by Tom Pohrt.  Simon & Schuster, 2008.  150 pgs.   978-1-4169-4102-6

In her first novel, the author of such picture books as "Cha-Cha Chimps" and "Pest Fest" combines unparalleled research with sharp, accessible prose to create a tale ripe with adventure and courage. Illustrations.

What Can You Do with a Rebozo?

What Can You Do With a Rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla.  Illustrated by Amy Córdova.  Tricycle Press, 2008.   28 pgs.  ISBN 978-1-58246-220-2 

cradle for baby, a superheros cape, a warm blanket on a cool nightthere are so many things you can do with a rebozo. Through the eyes of a young girl, readers are introduced to the traditional shawl found in many Mexican and Mexican-American households. Lively rhyme and illustrations as brightly colored as the woven cloths themselves celebrate a warm cultural icon that, with a little imagination, can be used in many different ways.

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