December 21, 2009

2009 Wrap-up

Hello everyone!
I want to begin this post by thanking the increasingly large number of followers of this blog. You are the reason I continue to write it, despite a very busy schedule. The holidays have been busier than usual and I don't plan on writing again until next year, so this wrap up will include a number of items I've been meaning to share with you for some time now. Happy holidays!

Another Record Broken

You may have read about Planeta’s million-copy printing of the Spanish edition of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, but you may not be aware of the ways in which the Spanish publisher’s publicity efforts have crossed new frontiers. Want to see the best-selling author speak Spanish? Then, visit Tinta Fresca, the site for reviews of Spanish language books, where you can see a short introductory clip featuring Mr. Brown welcoming the magazine’s readers in Spanish, atop a full Spanish language interview. But that's not all, El símbolo perdido, as the Spanish language edition is called, made history in my own hometown of New York on November 26th , when it was advertised on the Times Square big screen. It is the first time in PR Newswire history that a Spanish book is shown on the famous screen.

The Spanish language edition of "The Lost Symbol" displayed on the famous Times Square "big screen."

For more information on El símbolo perdido, visit the book’s official site.

Why I’m Thankful

This year, I was offered a wonderful opportunity to work with a dear friend when I was asked to translate Pat Mora’s exquisite bilingual picture book Gracias/Thanks, in which a young boy tells about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful. I am thankful for having a small part in the making of this wonderful book, which represents one of those rare, perfect combinations of text and images. Pat’s poetic text, beautiful in its simplicity, is perfectly matched by John Parra’s warm illustrations.

But don’t take my word for it, read some of the glowing reviews it has received:

From School Library Journal/Críticas® magazine:

“The poetic writing flows in both Spanish and English and carries a sense of happiness brought by the simple things in life. The cheery and brightly colored acrylic illustrations are full of fun details and add depth to the text.” (Full review.)

From Booklist® (starred review):

“These blessings are remarkable for their childlike imagination and fresh imagery…Books of thanks can run toward clichés, but the originality and liveliness of language and art in this one will inspire children to consider their own blessings." (Full review only available to subscribers.)

From Kirkus Reviews® (starred review):

“Mora has a keen sense of the concrete, child-friendly detail, and it’s put to splendid use here. Readers will find themselves nodding in agreement as the unnamed narrator gives thanks to the ladybug that lands on his finger, the bees that don’t sting him and his little brother, who throws mashed peas at their sister. Parra’s folk-art–style acrylics evoke a suburban neighborhood replete with twining morning glories, green lawns, and red-tiled roofs. Domínguez’s Spanish translation precedes the English text of this bilingual tale on each spread, a thoughtful touch that honors both the book’s creators and its Latino audience. For this graceful celebration, ¡gracias!" (Full review.)

If you are looking for a wonderful bilingual book with a great message, make sure you pick up this one. You’ll be glad you did!

My Favorite Books of 2009

Here is a short list of some of my favorite books of 2009. It is by no means exhaustive, since my schedule this year did not permit me to put out my usual call to publishers to evaluate their full lists. It is also uniquely mine, and includes books that I’ve worked on, authors I’ve worked with, stories that left me hungry for more from the same author, and some children’s books that I think every Latino parent should have.

If you don’t see your favorite, add it to the list in the comments section! Together, we can come up with a fantastic list of Latino and Spanish language titles for those looking to give books as presents this year. And if you haven’t yet, run out and buy a book for a friend or a family member, or many books! Remember: “a home without books is a body without a soul.”

For Children:

"In My..." series of finger puppet books, illustrated by Argentine artist Lorena Siminovich.

Some fun and educational choices in Spanish from Rufus Butler Seder and Georgina Lázaro.

Some wonderful bilingual choices from René Colato Laínez, Guadalupe Rivera Marín (Diego Rivera's daughter), and Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy.

Tween and teen choices by some of our best Latino authors: Julia Alvarez, Diana López. and Matt de la Peña.

For Adults:

The Invisible Mountain by Carolina de Robertis

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

Ruins By Achy Obejas

Dancing with Butterflies by Reyna Grande

Espejos by Eduardo Galeano (also available in English as "Mirrors")

Sweet Mary by Liz Balmaseda

America Libre (in English) by Raul Ramos y Sánchez

B as in Beauty by Alberto Ferreras

Happy Reading!


  1. Great! Thanks a lot for recommending these wonderful books. I will definitely catch up with my reading during my vacation. Happy Holidays Adriana!

  2. Thanks for the interesting post, Adriana. I love finding out about new books and authors.

    Happy Holidays!

  3. Thanks Adriana for the great list of books. My TBR pile grows and grows. ha ha

    Jo Ann

  4. Into the Beautiful North is the "One Book, One Town" selection for my hometown this year and it is unbelievable. I listened to the book on CD, while I was driving, cooking and house has never been cleaner!

    Mr. Urrea will be coming to speak here on March 24th; I can't wait.