It was such an amazing honor to be recognized by the Pura Belpre committee at this year’s ALA awards ceremony. One of the consistent themes running through all my work over the years (I’ve now been publishing books for almost a decade — I’m so old!) is the “mixed-race” experience. A lot of folks view me as a Latino author, which I’m very proud of, but if you look more closely you’ll find that the mixed characters in my books are all grappling with what it means to not feel “Mexican enough.” Many of them feel whitewashed and removed from their families. Less than. But this is very common experience in the Latino community today. And I’m so happy the Pura Belpre committee acknowledged that.
To take it one step further, I always wished I was a little more on the inside of the Mexican-American side of my family growing up in San Diego. It’s probably why I write so much from that POV. When I heard The Living was being honored for it’s depiction of the Latino experience . . . it made me feel on the inside for a little while. And that really moved me. My goal was to write a more commercial novel starring mixed-race characters — with a subversive, class-conscious undercurrent that I hope would resonate. Getting an award like this hopefully means the book will get into the hands of more readers.
Also, congrats to Meg Medina for winning the medal for Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, fantastic novel that I highly recommend. Mrs. Medina is one of my favorite authors around. She’s so gracious and intelligent and fun.
Yuyi Morales won for illustration for her book Niño Wrestles the World. I really, really want to collaborate with Yuyi one day! Please??!!
I’m also honored to have The Living make the 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults list as well as the 2014 ALSC Notable Children’s Book list.
And last but not least, I’m about to head to Texas for ten days.
Here’s the breakdown:
February 5th: San Antonio
– Jones Middle School, Taft High School, Hobby Middle School
February 6th: San Antonio
– Jay High School, Vale Middle School, Pease Middle School
February 8th and 9th: Austin
– Austin SCBW Conference
February 10th: Houston
– Clear Creek High School, Clear Brook High School
February 11th: Houston
– Two events with the Houston Public Library (open to the public)
February 13th: Wichita Falls
– Wichita Falls Literary Conference
February 14th: Rio Grande Valley
– Rio Grande Valley Spring Conference