Blog Archives

The Remembering Day – El dia de los muertos

By Pat Mora

Illustrations by Robert Casilla

Publisher: Piñata Books – Arte Público Press, Houston, Texas

The author has skillfully crafted a story which involves a grandmother and her granddaughter as they navigate through life together. The story focuses on the great relationship between both individuals as well as insight into the cultural observation of el dia de los muertos.

The relationship is shown through great storytelling. Although I realize the book was written for a younger audience, I felt as if the story spoke to me as well. This is credited to a good writer. The story took me back to relationships with loved ones who have departed and still remain very much a part of my everyday life today. Read more ›

The Place Where You Live – El lugar donde vives

By James Luna

Illustrations by Thelma Muraida

Publisher: Piñata Books – Arte Público Press, Houston, Texas

James Luna does it again. He has created a book that will warm the hearts of all your children by using rhyme to engage his young audience. This sing-song style of telling a story will capture a child’s ear with great effect.

Mr. Luna takes the young reader on a typical day adventure by using common elements and surroundings close to home. He includes things such as schools, playgrounds, and parks; things that a child can identify with. This quickly allows the reader to become one with the story and to appreciate all their surroundings. Read more ›

The Story Circle – El círculo de cuentos

By Diane Gonzales Bertrand

Illustrations by Wendy Martin

Publisher: Piñata Books – Arte Público Press, Houston, Texas

Due to a major storm, a classroom has been rearranged. It quickly becomes apparent that the books have been removed due to water damage. The children enter the room and are quickly disappointed that there are no books to be had. The teacher quickly assesses the situation and creates The Story Circle – El círculo de cuentos. See, no books are needed! Read more ›

Estas manos: Manitas de mi familia – These Hands: My Family’s Hands

By Samuel Caraballo

Illustrations by Shawn Costello

Publisher: Piñata Books – Arte Público Press, Houston, Texas

The author combines natural world surroundings and the relationship of family members to showcase the family bonds created within the story. He uses the symbolism of various plants to tell this story giving thought to how they relate to a Latino family environment and the many different characters involved. Read more ›

Creepy Vampire Drive-in

By Ronnie Stich

Remember the old classic Vampire movies? The timeless images of theater monsters, and the diminished chord playing music that plays over and over to create that anticipation and scary feeling? Well this book brings it all together in a masterfully written way.

It includes spaceships roaming above the earth, vampires, ghosts, and it definitely has all the elements of a vintage Hollywood sci-fi novel you’ve read or heard about. The book Creepy Vampire Drive-in written by Ronnie Stich is sure to become a favorite among young readers that are looking for a delightfully-scary adventure. Is this an oxymoron? Yes it is, but there is no other way to describe it. Mrs. Stitch masterfully maneuvers fantasy, sci-fi, and ghoulish characters seamlessly and has created a fast-paced book that is perfect for young readers looking to escape into a world of fantasy and mystery. Read more ›

Nights of Indigo Blue

By Theresa Varela

Publisher: Aignos Publishing

This is an intriguing book that revolves around a murder mystery at Windsor Medical Center. Daisy Muniz is promoted as assistant to one of the hospital administrators. With her promotion she decides to try and get her finances in order and also volunteers for some extra work on a Saturday.  She quickly becomes a suspect in the murder.

The author does a great job of interlacing the characters and the plot. This keeps you glued to the book and truly becomes a page turner. The author captures the work and home life of all the characters splendidly to tell a great story. Ms. Varela does an excellent job of focusing on the problems Daisy has to deal with in order to keep her personal life from her coworkers, but then the protagonist finds that she eventually has to disclose her personal life to the Administrator and the Detective in order to help solve the murder. After the demise of Dr. Campbell, Daisy finds out that she isn’t the only one at the Medical Center that Dr. Campbell has been involved with. This creates a whole new set of problems and this will lead her on a different path that she hadn’t imagined. Read more ›

The Water of Life Remains in the Dead

By Maria Nieto

Publisher: FloricantoTM Press and Berkeley Press

The story begins with Alexandra Marisol, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, being assigned to cover the story of five murdered bodies found in a truck. As the investigation progresses the lead homicide investigator has his mind set on who the killer is. Alexandra is not so sure and her diligence and resolve is unrelenting to catch the right killer. This meticulousness takes her on a path she didn’t think possible. Read more ›

Latina Authors & Their Muses

Edited by Mayra Calvani

Foreward by Leticia Gomez

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

The book is a collection of 40 interviews with multi-talented and accomplished women. This project was the brainchild of Ms. Calvani after having read another anthology titled Puerto Rican Voices in English. As a result, this new anthology Latina Authors & Their Muses endeavor was created with much respect for the many gifted woman that Ms. Calvani encountered across her career.  Read more ›

On the Other Side of the Bridge

By: Ray Villarreal

Publisher: Piñata Books, Arte Público Press, Houston Texas

The book, On the Other Side of the Bridge, is about a young boy named Lon Chaney Rodriguez, mostly called Lonnie throughout the story. When we first meet Lonnie, he is introduced as a typical teenage boy–a dirty room, a great affinity for horror movies, occasionally getting into trouble with friends, and is captivated by the opposite sex. Lonnie is also a very smart individual; however, he is not willing to put forth the extra effort to complete his schoolwork. That being said, not only is he doing poorly in school, but his father is also unemployed, depressed, and is an alcoholic. Because of this, Lonnie’s mother is constantly nagging– for Lonnie to put forth more effort and for her husband to get a job to help fulfill his parental and household duties. Read more ›

Across The Border: Interview With a Refugee

By: I.C. Rivera

Publisher: El Yunque Publishing

This is an intriguing fictional story that revolves around an Assyrian refugee in the Netherlands named Samir and an Hispanic girl Isabel who moves to the Netherlands on a whim. Isabel leaves her job in the states because she doesn’t get a promotion that she has been working towards and believes it is rightfully hers. The promotion is given to her best friend and this is the catalyst that will change Isabel’s life forever. This move will take her on a ride of her life that she hadn’t bargained for. Read more ›

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