"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Post Up On the New AmoXcalli Website

Want to find out what I thought of The Ballad of Wilbur and the Moose? Head on over to AmoXcalli's new home and find out!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

AmoXcalli and Cuentecitos Are Moving

AmoxCalli and Cuentecitos are moving. I found that having blogs scattered all over the place was wearing me out and decided to consolidate to make it easy on myself and for everyone else. I'm still working on moving over the link lists and fixing glitches but I've imported all the posts from both blogs to the new website and will be posting anything new there. The homepage is www.ginaruiz.com and from there you can link to all the sub-domains like AmoXcalli (amoxcalli.ginaruiz.com) and Cuentecitos (cuentecitos.ginaruiz.com). Hope to see you all there!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Author: Kristen Cashore
Publisher: Harcourt
ISBN: ISBN 9780152063962

In a world of seven kingdoms where seven very different kings rule there are . A special people called the Graced. The Graced have eyes of different colors and their graces manifest in different ways. Katsa has been graced with killing and the rumors of her bare-handed and terrible skill is famed throughout the kingdoms. Katsa has learned to live with her grace but it is a lonely life. She is a key player in a secret organization called the Council and tries to make use of her grace in a positive way.

One day a venerable grandfather of kings has been kidnapped and Kasta is determined to find out what lies behind it. In her quest, she meets Po, a prince of another kingdom unlike anyone she’s ever met, with a fighting grace that is uncanny and mysterious. With Po, she has found a friend and together they set out to solve the mystery of who kidnapped the grandfather.

Not all is as it seems with Po or the very creepy King Leck who is known for his kindness to animals and children. There is something strangely unsettling about this king who lives very far away.

Katsa and Po are wonderful characters, rich and breathing life, fire and intelligence. I found myself completely caught up in this wonderful story of intrigue, mystery and romance. I was almost breathless at the adventure and admired the loner Katsa more and more as the story progressed. Prince Po is equally wonderful and complex, his mysterious fighting grace coupled with his sensitivity to nature, his deep kindness and warm heart made him a hero worth cheering for.

Kristen Cashore
in her publishing debut has penned a rollicking good read. Political intrigue, adventure, a richly imagined world with well-defined characters that leap off the page make this book one that will be read again and again. I sense a sequel and I can’t wait! Katsa is my new favorite heroine and the brave Princess Bitterblue is someone I want to hear more about. Both boys and girls will want to read this story if they can wrest the book away from their parents.

BEA in L.A.

BookExpo America is over now and I’ve finally finished unpacking my books. I’m settling in for a long summer of reading and it looks like it will be a good one based on what I’ve read so far. It’s a darn good thing I quit my day job and am now freelancing which gives me time to catch up on my reviewing and reading.

Having BEA in Los Angeles this year was a special treat for me. It had both pros and cons but no matter what, it remains my favorite event each year and one I eagerly look forward to.

Exhibitors setting up on Thursday

No shipping meant I could pick up whatever I wanted without worrying about the cost of shipping it or those agonizing moments in line going through boxes and deciding what to leave and what to take. That was sheer joy. On the other hand, I missed my visit to New York and quite honestly, I prefer the Javits Convention Center. To me, it makes perfect sense. It goes straight across on two floors of convention hall making it easy to navigate and easy to get back and forth to shipping with piles of heavy books. The Los Angeles Convention Center (sorry L.A.) is a nightmare. Granted it’s huge and beautiful but why in God’s name does it meander so? The Children’s Book section was in the West Hall miles away it seemed from the shipping area. The panels were spread out all over the place and I missed several just trying to find them. The Main section was nice and the booths were easy to find but trying to get from there to the West Hall and the theatre was like visiting another country. At the end of each day, I was too exhausted to go socializing at parties and events. Instead, I went home and passed out with throbbing feet.

oooooooooooooh Inkdeath!

Another detriment to having BookExpo in L.A. for me meant I missed out on seeing publishing friends I know who live in New York and couldn’t make it out for the trip. For those of you who stayed in NYC this year, I missed you. I miss Times Square and shopping and oh God, I missed the food and the pizza. New York, I missed you!

I so did not win the signed Led Zepplin guitar.

Donald Kaplan and Jeph Loeb

BEA in Los Angeles also meant that my five-year old granddaughter Jasmine and my two-year old grandson Aiden got to come for a bit. Their mom and my photographer Marissa Ruiz, brought them for a couple of hours on Saturday. J & A got to meet Carl the dog, who was quite taken with Aiden and they played catch for a bit while we blocked the aisle. Jasmine was able to come with me to a Candlewick Press event in the theatre where the likes of Katherine Paterson, Jane Yolen, Kate DiCamillo and MT Anderson discussed their portions of the marvelous new book Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Jane Yolen, one of my literary heroes read her piece for the book – a poem of an imagined conversation between John and Abigail Adams. Jasmine was entranced. The artwork for the book looks astounding and you’ll be seeing my review later.

Good Dog Carl and Aiden Ruiz play ball in the aisle

First Book has a great new campaign to promote books. Posters of famous book characters lined the halls at BEA with the taglines, What if you had never met this explorer, this bunny, this mouse? It was fantastic.

Here is Jasmine with the Dora poster - um live action anyone?

BookExpo for Rachel meant a surprising meeting on Friday in the shipping area with her long-lost, never met before Australian cousin. We were trying to find out if we could find a dolly and the man in front of us turned around to answer Rachel and he turned out to be her cousin from the Australian branch of the family! That was wild.

Rachel B and her new found cousin Tony Nash

I had a chance to meet Brittany Duncan, the publicist at Candlewick that keeps me up to date on everything Candlewick is doing. She’s just as lovely in person as she is in our email correspondence and it was a pleasure meeting her.

The Dragonology event

I had also gone to the previous Candlewick Press Dragonology event with Donald Kaplan, the son of our local booksellers Debbie and Jeremy Kaplan who were at BEA. The Kaplans own Read Books, a fine establishment of used books and new magazines. We spend lots of time there and it was fun to hang out with them at the show. Donald got to play the new Dragonology game for Nintendo Wii and I was quite taken with the animation and graphics on it. I learned of Monsterology, publication date of 8/12 and Spyology (10/28) and I can’t wait.

I ran into Yoda

If I were still working for AWN, I’d be nagging them to write about that game and the announcement that was made that day that Universal had optioned the Dragonology books film rights. A Dragonology movie! We used to have this tally at the office of how many books I could call that would be optioned. I seem to have this uncanny sense of what will be picked up and Dragonology was one of my calls, along with Tale of Despereaux, Spiderwick, Eragon, Coraline, Skullduggery Pleasant and many others. I wonder if I could turn that into a job…and yes I know I should have dragged myself away from the books to go to the Books to Film panels.

I met new friends at BookExpo in Los Angeles too. I missed the Latino panels because I got lost in the books. There were some that really caught my eye and a few I went hunting like Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Corneila Funke’s long awaited Inkdeath. The convention center was packed and I often heard exclamations of people oohing and ahing over the books. I’m not the only book geek in town, which makes me very happy.

My roommate Rachel came along to photograph the event on Friday and quickly became a BEA fan. She was a joy to have around and often spotted things I missed. Her effervescence and joyful energy made it that much more fun. At one point I turned and asked Debbie Kaplan, “Where’s Rachel?” and she said, “Oh she’s back there with some guy. I think his name is Slash.” Sure enough, there was Rachel B chatting away in the HarperCollins booth to Slash of Guns ‘n Roses who was nice as nice can be. We both got pictures taken, although my face looks a little bizarrely twisted.


Rachel and Slash

Slash, me and my strangely twisted face

Rachel and I also met the marvelously talented team of Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart at the First Book booth and got the Peter Pan pop up and Megabeasts signed. Rachel works for GLAD, Inc. (The Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness) and it just popped into my head to ask if they had ever considered writing a pop-up book on signing. Turns out they have and that’s all I’m saying at this juncture other than I’m a long time fan of paper engineering and arts as well as a huge pop-up/mechanical book collector.

Sabuda and Reinhart signing

I missed Neil Gaiman who I would have dearly loved to speak with, Barbara Walters whom I admire greatly and Jamie Lee Curtis whom I had met at the Glad Gospel Brunch a couple of weeks beforehand. I met John Dean who signed his book on Barry Goldwater, Laura Numeroff, Elizabeth Blumel who was an absolute darling and more authors than I can count. I missed out on Susan Orlean’s (The Orchid Thief) first book for children and one I am dying to find. I missed Cory Doctorow, whom I greatly admire (sigh) and Cecil Castelucci, of whom I’m a great fan. She is local I hear, so maybe I’ll meet her one of these days. One of my biggest thrills was meeting Nikki Giovanni on Sunday. She is one of my favorite poets and to meet her was a great honor. A lovely, sweet and gracious lady she was too. Another special moment was meeting the very sweet Jessica Barksdale Inclan (featured on La Bloga by Daniel Olivas) whom I met through Event Mingle, the BEA social calendaring tool. Darn it! I just now realized I missed one of my favorite authors signing one of my all time favorite books….Christopher Moore and the special edition of Lamb which has to be one of the funniest books I ever read and completely twisted too. That hurts that I missed him. My idea of heaven - lunch with James Morrow (Only Begotten Daughter, Towing Jehovah) and Christopher Moore (Lamb, Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nuns). Yeah, I know, I’m probably a little twisted too. Have you read Towing Jehovah? Oh. My. God. And Lamb? Oh please tell me you have…it’s absolutely wonderful and completely irreverent.

Jessica Barksdale Inclan and me

The books! The books were there in all their glory; big, beautiful stacks of them. There were so many that I missed and so many that I brought home. I can’t wait to get to reading and reviewing them all. Some of the books that made it home and onto my reading list are:

I Am Apache
Edward Hopper, Painter of Light and Shadow
The Toss of a Lemon
Sea of Poppies
The Enchantress of Florence
Pure Goldwater
Planet Walker
War Journal
Too Many Toys
Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out (gorgeous)
Inkdeath (highly anticipated)
The White Mary
2666 (OMG Roberto Bolano!)
The Graveyard Book (highly anticipated)
I’m With the Band
River of Words
The Viewer (Shaun Tan!)
A Growling Place
The Runaway Dolls (oooh Selznic did the illustrations)
and many, many more.

Nikki Giovanni and me

One of the panels I did manage to make it to (late) was one on marketing and one of the panelists was Mark Sarvas of the Elegant Variation. There was a woman (didn’t catch her name) who started a company pushing literary events to big companies (sounds like a dream job to me) and it resonated as I knew exactly how she felt to be bursting with new ideas that would take a company to a new level and direction but be ignored because people are adverse to anything that is out of the box thinking and think you’re doing something wrong. Yeah, that’s one reason I quit my day job. (If you ever think of starting an L.A. branch of your company I want to work for you).

I also stopped by the Dark Horse booth, which was busy and fun. I stopped and spoke to Jeremy Atkins and met Dirk Wolf. I also noticed a particularly interesting book on cartoonists and animators that I’m terribly interested in. I’ll have to look into it.

Jeremy & Dirk at Dark Horse Comics

Everywhere I went, people were doing the brisk, interesting business of books. Rights were being bought and sold, authors were signing, publishers were stacking rapidly decreasing piles of books, meetings were being held. Librarians, those wonderful heroes were everywhere loading up for their local libraries. I have an extra soft spot in my heart for librarians. When I was ten years old, we moved to a crappy little town called Cudahy or as we called it, Crudahy. I hated it and wanted nothing more than to get out of that town as fast as I could and never go back. There was one bright side. One day I found the local library that was attached to the park. I’d never been in a library before. I walked in and roamed amongst the stacks mesmerized but not knowing what to do. I was super shy too and would never even have asked. The librarian there found me and took a long time explaining the library, how to get a card and how it worked. I took my application for a library card home to my mother to sign and was back the next day. That librarian took me aside and talked to me long enough to figure out what she thought I’d like. I loved the book she handed me and it forever changed me. I became a book person overnight. I went to that little library every day, wrote book reports for the Summer Reading Program and read everything that I could get my hands on. It pains me know that libraries are in danger, that our tax money is more geared to war than literacy. That nameless librarian all those years ago changed my life, she touched me, and who knows how many countless other children’s lives were changed, made better, more expanded by the books she recommended. How many people’s lives have been touched by their local librarian? It makes me happy to see the librarians, so many of them at BookExpo. I always have the best time speaking with them and in each that I speak to is that unquenchable love of books and their desire to share them with the world within and without their libraries. Whatever would we do without them? Let’s hope we never have to find out.

HarperCollins was a fun booth to visit, as was Scholastic where I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Inkdeath, which I coveted. Penguin, Random House, Harry Abrams, McGraw Hill all were fun booths. At Taschen, Rachel and I were mesmerized by the beautiful art books. We opened The Big Penis Book, which was (not so surprisingly) about penises, lots of them and very big ones, very BIG. We were in shock and couldn’t stop turning the pages and exclaiming. A crowd had formed behind us and there was a lot of exclaiming and murmuring as we turned the pages. The books photography was beautiful, if bizarre and it certainly was a conversation piece. I didn’t know one could actually tie a penis into a knot. This is one coffee table book sure to entertain.

All in all, I’d say BookExpo, the City of Angels version was quite the show and I had the best time. According to the BookExpo America website BEA 2008 was a great success with over 37,000 registered attendees representing over 80 countries. Please do visit the BEA website and check out the podcasts of all the sessions I missed. There is also a touching tribute to Tim Russert and a podcast of his 2006 BEA appearance.

I look forward to it being in New York next year and maybe this time, I’ll finally make it to the Guggenheim.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

In Memorium - Paula Gunn Allen

I just returned from a long day at BookExpo America and was deeply saddened to find this message of Paula Gunn Allen's passing in my email from Denise Chavez:

Dear BBF Friends,
We received this news from Feroza Jusawalla, now teaching at UNM, about the passing of Paula Gunn Allen. I have loved Paula and her vital and impassioned work for many years and read with her several years ago. Please keep her in light and lift her to the ancestors.
Denise Chavez
-----Forwarded message-----
Paula Gunn Allen, b.1939, Laguna Pueblo/Sioux/Scots/Lebanese New Mexico native, passed away peacefully on the night of May 29, 2008 at her home in Fort Bragg, California, after a long and courageous battle with lung cancer. Family and friends were at her side.
This poet, philosopher, scholar, and teacher grew up in Cubero, New Mexico. She received her doctorate in American Studies from UNM in 1976; that dissertation evolved into The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions(1986), a pioneering work in Native American , feminist, and GLB studies. She also edited the benchmark book for the MLA about teaching Native Studies: Studies in American Indian Literature: Curriculum and Course Designs. She was also a prolific writer of poems, fiction, essays; her last scholarly book, on Pocahontas, was a nominee for the National Book Award. She retired from UCLA in 1999, but always checked back into New Mexico, never stopped being a teacher and mentor, never stopped cracking and appreciating outrageous jokes and bad puns. (The last one she and I shared, about 3 weeks ago, was "Well, you know what they say: What happens in the Zuni Mountains stays in the Zuni mountains,,,"---oh, my, her laugh. )

Her posthumous volume of poems, America The Beautiful, will be published by West End Press within the year.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

How Cool is This? Get Your Buffy Fix Now.

I so want the Tarot deck!!

Press release from Dark Horse Comics:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Mystical Parlor Games

MILWAUKIE, OR—Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising and Dark Horse Comics are proud to present two magical products that are sure to provide hours of sleepless slumber parties this fall. Joss Whedon's mythology comes alive with the official Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tarot Deck and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Conversations with Dead People” Board!

Named for an award-winning episode from Season Seven of the BVS television series—and written by Buffy Season Eight: Wolves at the Gate author Drew Goddard—the Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Conversations with Dead People” Board is a great game for fans, in this world and the next, to communicate with each other about life, death, and other mysteries. In the tradition of the Sunnydale Hellmouth, through which countless entities gained entry, fearless souls can let voices from the other side guide the planchette along the board to spell out the answers to their queries. Folks can channel their inner Willow and hone their witchy skills, providing hours of fun for the whole séance! Accompanying the game board and planchette, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Conversations with Dead People” Board includes an exclusive, comic-style instruction book featuring sequential art by Buffy SeasonEight guest illustrator Paul Lee!

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tarot Deck was written and conceived by renowned tarot writer Rachel Pollack, author of twelve books on the tarot, including the renowned 78 Degrees of Wisdom. She teams with long-time Buffy artist Paul Lee to create this fully painted 78-card deck, drawing on characters, themes, and legends from all eight seasons of Whedon's masterpiece. This special deck was created by Pollack not merely as a collector's item, but as an actual, working tarot deck: the cards come with a book explaining their divinatory meanings and use. The traditional symbols of the tarot are reinterpreted through the vision of Whedon's Buffy universe.
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Conversations with Dead People” Board and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tarot Deck will both be available in September 2008 and retail at $14.99-$29.99

About Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising
A recognized industry leader, Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising licenses and markets properties worldwide on behalf of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Twentieth Television and Fox Broadcasting Company, as well as third-party lines. The division is aligned with Twentieth Century Fox Television, one of the top suppliers of prime-time entertainment programming to the broadcast networks.

About Dark Horse Comics

Since 1986, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. In addition to publishing comics from top talent like Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, and comics legend Will Eisner, their highly successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Aliens, Conan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Emily the Strange, Tim Burton, Trigun, and The Incredibles. Today Dark Horse Comics is the third-largest comic-book publisher in the U.S. and is recognized as the world's leading publisher of licensed comics material.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fundraising for China Earthquake Victims

I read this in my email this morning from the childlit list_serv. I've copied the message and hope it helps.

Hello everyone,

Below is an email from a University of Illinois student. Please feel
free to share this email with your students and colleagues - it is in
regards to the earthquake in China. The email has some facts as well
as ways to help. I'm sure there are many similar emails circulating
around too. Thanks!

Dear friends,
As you may know, an earthquake struck the Sichuan province on Monday,
causing massive amounts of damage to property, infrastucture, and over
ten thousand deaths, lives which will never be recovered; students
whose studies came to a terrible, unexpected end, fathers who will
never return home, and children who, most tragically of all, will
never get a chance at life. If you didn't know the details, please
take a few moments to look over the cold, hard facts presented below,
and to think of the human lives who are still in desperate need of

- The Sichuan province was hit by a earthquake rated 7.9 on the
Richter scale on Monday
- There are nearly 900 trapped students in Juyuan Middle School this
moment, only ONE survivor has been found so far.
- In some areas, 80% of the buildings were reported to have been destroyed
- Over 12,000 reported dead or injured
- Dozens of aftershocks felt as far away as Beijing (960 miles away)
and the Thai capitol Bangkok (1,200 miles away)
- 3.5 million homes were damaged or destroyed
- 25,000 may be trapped
- Sichuan, not historically known for earthquakes, was unprepared for
an earthquake of any magnitude
- This is the largest earthquake on record in China for over 30 years
China is still reeling from the massive and catastrophic snowstorms
earlier this year. In the face of another disaster only three months
later, an earthquake whose death toll will eclipse that of the
snowstorm, the people of China need all the help they can get.

These are some donations methods. There are on-campus donations
available through OCEF and CSSA.

(1) Red Cross in China or in US
Go to www.redcross.org.cn, Click the " " and follow the instruction
there. Visa Credit Card is accepted and
international transction fee is around $1.94 for $100 transaction.
Simply www.redcross.org and under FIND IT FAST, click Response to

(2) Hong Kong Red Cross
Click the "Donations" Button at the left upper corner.

(3) American Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter
Mail check to:
404 Ginger Bend Dr., Champaign, IL 61822
Please make the check payable to American Red Cross, and please
CLEARLY MEMO it : for disaster relief of earthquake in China.

(4) Tsinghua Alumni Association in Greater Chicago Area (registered
501(c)(3) non-profit organization)
Please make your check payable to
Tsinghua Alumni Association in Greater Chicago Area.
Also indicate "China Earthquake Relief" in the memo
area of the check.
All transactions of donations will be published online
with the last name listed, also the company match will
go with the donation to earthquake and will be listed
Receipts will be provided by request.
For more Information or stories:
If you have any personal questions or concern, feel free to contact me.
Thank you and please help spread awareness of this catastrophe!
Yankun Guo
Yankun Guo
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
Asian American Association | Outreach Chair
Minority Student Business Association | Publicity Chair
Actuarial Science Club | Newsletter Chair
Cell: 224.622.7124
Email: y.guo.521@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Countdown to Book Expo America Begins!

Book Expo America is in Los Angeles this year and I'm thrilled because L.A is my home town. I'll miss New York this spring but I'm happy to be close to home. AmoXcalli will be covering the event each evening. There will be photos, tales from the busy floor, hopefully interviews with authors if I can get them and party coverage. Most of all BEA is about the books and I'll be doing a lot of reporting on the books.

Is anyone going? Would you like to meet up? I'd love to hang out over coffee or a drink. First time in L.A.? Need suggestions of things to do after the show? I'm an Angeleno born and raised and LA is my town. I know where the best out of the way (non-fancy) places to eat are in downtown. Send me an email or a comment and I'll do my best to answer your L.A. questions.

Authors and illustrators, publishers and booksellers, I want to meet as many of you as I can and find out what's new, what's hot, what you're doing.

If you're a Latino children's or YA author, illustrator or publisher, I'd love to do interviews for Cuentecitos, my other blog that focuses on Latino Children's and YA literature. I'll also be covering the Latino panels, the graphic novel panels and all the editor buzz sessions. I'm going to be a busy, busy girl. Good thing I'll have help from my lovely photographer/daughter-in-law Marissa and a few other friends who are attending to get news, photographs and maybe even some video for AmoXcalli and Cuentecitos.

It's going to be fun! Welcome to L.A. Book Expo!

Monday, May 05, 2008

What Do Children Read?

Interesting article in the Washington Post about the reading habits of children. It may surprise you. There's also a PDF'd 56-page report on the study. Very interesting reading, indeed.

The article in the Post is here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Want One!

It's totally cute!

Read more at Chronicle books website

and Chronicle Books has a blog!!

News from That Yarn Store

Here's news from my local yarn store, That Yarn Store. If you don't live in the area, they have a website and amazing yarns. Be a pal, help them stay in business. Sign up for their newsletter, visit them in the store and one the web, read my recommendation of them on LinkedIn.com. That Yarn Store customers are big readers and support the local bookstores. Let's return the favor.

AmoXcalli supports local and independent businesses. The economy isn't too great right now and we all need to pitch in and help small businesses stay in business. Buy local, by often. That's my preachy soapbox for the day. On to the news...

Now you have two flavors of sock classes, and a few sock
yarns to choose.

Frannie teaches her sock class on Saturdays at 1:30

Julia Hiser will be teaching a two-part class covering all your
sock-knitting basics - Heels, toes, the whole-shebang!
First-timers and the newly sock-conscious all welcome.
Learn to make a pair of lovely foot-coverings or improve upon
your techniques.
Items required: Set of size #3 douple-pointed needles and
Sport weight yarn.
Bring them, or buy them here.
Thursdays at 7 pm $45
You have to pre-register for this class.


Learn to Knit Lace, Tuesday nights at 6. $30

Atelier Zero is an email newsletter that lists cool Los Angeles
events and shops. Even if they hadn't listed That Yarn Store
events we would still love the list.
Check them out at http://atelierzero.com/

Here is the link for our Ravelry group:

Knit in Public Day, June 14th
Knitting in public is a wonderful way to spread the craft and
inspire all those would be knitters and crocheters to join in.

Beverly, Suzanne, and Deborah have been kind enough to
make suggestions on what we can do to celebrate the
World Wide Knit in Public Day on June 14th
Help us make this a memorable event please send us your ideas!

We're thinking about sitting outside at SWORKS,
and a Pic-Knit under the trees at Eagle Rock or Yosemite Rec Centers

Spring Craftaganza. May 10, 1 to 5 pm
Thea from across the pond, and Mila, one of the 15 or so vendors,
have been planning this year's biannual event. Please come!
We've made an Evite,
so you can send it to friends.

What: Spring Craftaganza, a hand-made craft fair
When: May 10, 1-5pm
Where: That Yarn Store - 5028 Eagle Rock Blvd
Why: Handmade is better! Plus free refreshments.

Spring Craftaganza is our yearly arts and crafts event where you
can purchase funky and unique handmade products created by
local artisans and crafters.
They offer everything from jewelry to clothes to handspun yarn.
Pick up a one-of-a-kind gift for your Mom (the next day is Mother's Day),
start your holiday shopping early, or snag something cool for yourself.
We’ll have free refreshments.


We have a space at the Los Angeles County Fair in September.
We can't sell our goods, apparently, but we can show them off,
including our knitting and crocheting samples and even give lessons
and demonstrations. You are invited to help us hang out and show
stuff and answer knitting questions.
Other things where you can participate – submitting your projects for a
blue ribbon, and a fashion show.
Free admission to volunteers, a hefty perk for participating.


You've asked for them….
Sewing Classes

Beginning Sewing *
Learn use a sewing machine and sew in straight lines
and curves. Bring home a pillowcase you’ll make yourself.
Materials provided.
~~Thursday, May 6, at 7pm~~ $30

Beginning Sewing, Part 2: pattern reading*
bring a simple pattern and your own material and supplies.
~~Thursday, May 29, at 7pm~~ $30
~~Saturday, May 31, at 11:30 am~~

Skirts Without Patterns*
Bring in measurements,
and your own fabric, thread and tools.
~~Thursday, May 1, at 7pm~~ $30
~~Saturday, May 3, at 11:30 am~~

*Please note that we have limited space and limited
sewing machines available for these classes.
When registering, please tell us if you will
need to borrow one of our sewing machines.
And please sign up early.

Since we keep eccentric hours, we'll always include..

Hour Ours

Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 pm

Monday closed

Tuesday 11:07 to 7:35
Closed 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Wednesday 11:30 to 8:30 ish
Closed 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Thursday 11:00 to 7:00 pm
(we will often be open evenings)

Friday 11:30 to 8:00 ish
Closed 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Saturday 11:00 to 6:00 pm

Ask a Mexican at Vroman's Bookstore

Everyone's favorite Mexican, Gustavo Arrellano will be signing his book, Ask a Mexican at one of my favorite Booksense bookstores, Vroman's in Pasadena.

Saturday, May 3, 2008 4:00 p.m.
Gustavo Arellano discusses and signs Ask a Mexican
Location: Vroman's Bookstore

Vroman's has a pretty interesting slate of authors coming up...check their event calendar for details and the site for directions to a truly fabulous bookstore.

Lisa Alvarado's New Installation

From my friend Lisa Alvarado, the following bit of news. Congratulations Lisa!!

Lisa Alvarado's Mexican Woman's Toolkit, Sin Fronteras is a large floral
tote bag hanging on wooden pegs, which visitors are invited to rummage
through. The bag belongs to a Mexican domestic in WWII-era Chicago: her
life is service to others, she has no privacy.


Reimagining The Distaff Toolkit

"Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit" is an exhibition of contemporary art,
each of which has, at its visible core, a tool that was important for
women's domestic labor in the past (the 18th century through World War
II). The old tool becomes the fulcrum for a work of art. Each work and the
exhibit as a whole have the power to speak to viewers independently,
Artists are placing objects such as a dressmaker’s figure, diapers,
graters, grinders, needles, pins, pots, pans, baskets,
garden-seed-packets, rakes, hoes, dress patterns, dish-rags, rolling pins,
brooms, buckets, darning eggs, knives, rug-beaters, and other tools at the
center of their work. One piece will have an early 19th century distaff at
its visible core. Part of the point of this exhibition project is to
explore the idea of "seeing as context." As I imagine the process here, I
look at a tool that facilitated very hard and repetitive labor and that
evokes women's degradation as domestic drudges. I look again, through my
early 21st century eyes, at a moment when "old tools" have become
commodified and expensive, and I see costly beauty. Reimagining the
distaff toolkit for the purposes of this exhibition might include
(overlapping) gestures in any of the following directions – or other
directions – history / memory / gender / labor / material culture /
household objects / family relations / power and powerlessness / drudgery
/ craft and beauty. Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit puts utility in
conversation with art, the past in conversation with the present.

March-May 2008 Bennington (VT) Museum
Oct-Dec 2008 The Mead Museum, Amherst College
Jan-Feb 2009 Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ
March 2009 Oklahoma State University
Sept-Dec Union College, Schnectady, NY


Lisa Alvarado, poet, novelist, literary critic

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Curse Dark as Gold

A Curse Dark as Gold
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
ISBN-10: 0439895766
ISBN-13: 978-0439895767

Do you love fairy tales? How about re-imagined ones? I do. I’ve always been fascinated by fairy tales and am always keenly interested when someone comes up with a new spin on an old tale. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t, sometimes I’m bored and sometimes I really love them. A Curse Dark as Gold completely blew me out of the water. Elizabeth Bunce took the tale of Rumplestiltskin and not only brought something completely new and innovative to the story, but also completely changed it around to something completely wonderful.

A Curse Dark as Gold is the story of Charlotte Miller, a young woman struggling to save the family mill. Charlotte is a fascinating character. Her inner turmoils, her thoughts, hopes and dreams are all completely normal with a few exceptions, but intensely interesting. She is one of the strongest female characters that I’ve read in quite a while and I found myself completely entranced in her story and routing for her all the way. She is no vapid ingénue and there is no greedy, gold-loving king.

The story is complex, magical, dark and deep. There is whimsy, romance, normalcy, struggles and of course, a curse. There’s a mill to save and the lives that are entangled in it. It’s more than just a mill; it’s the town that depends on it. The story is set in the England of the pre-industrial revolution age and it resonates with whispers of big conglomerates taking over the small business owners of today.

This is tight writing. Each paragraph is well crafted and fluid. The book had me on the edge of my seat throughout and I could not put it down. Highly recommended!

Book Description from the Publisher:

"If you'll allow me to demonstrate, I do think I could be of some help to you here."

I smiled tightly. "You'd have to be able to make gold appear from thin air to be much help to us now, I'm afraid."

"Gold, you say?" he said quietly. "Well, not out of the air, maybe, but--" He reached toward Rosie and drew a length of straw free from her hat. From out of a pocket in his jacket appeared an old-fashioned handheld drop spindle, the kind no one uses anymore, and he sent it spinning with a turn of his hand. Slowly, as we watched, he drew out the straw and spun it--spun it!

As if it were a roving of wool! Rosie and I stood there and watched him, moment by moment, as the spindle bobbed and twirled. Something pulled out from the brown straw and through his knobby fingers, and where it should have gone onto the spindle, the finest strands of gleaming gold threads appeared. Round and round the spindle went, and the gleaming of gold turned with it. I don't know how long we watched it, turning and turning, flashing gold with every revolution. I could not take my eyes away.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pat Mora's Bookjoy

Pat Mora, one of my favorite authors has entered the wonderful world of blogging. Her Bookjoy Blog is all about finding the joy in books. She's hoping that we all contribute and comment on ideas for El día de los niños. What gives you bookjoy? Visit Pat often at She'll be a permanent link on the sidebars of both Cuentecitos and AmoXcalli. http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif

From Cuentecitos and AmoXcalli, welcome to the kidlitosphere Pat!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A History of Western Art: From Prehistory to the 20th Century

A History of Western Art: From Prehistory to the 20th Century
Author: Antony Mason
Editor: John T. Spike
Publisher: Abrams Young Readers
ISBN: 0-8109-9421-6
EAN: 9780810994218

The publishers aren’t exaggerating when they write that this book is lavishly illustrated. Each page is sumptuously, decadently illustrated with amazing works of art. It’s a visual feast as well as an informational one. The book is set up in format that makes it the subject easy to understand. There are well-defined descriptions of not only the art depicted but in some instances, of the process involved in creating it. I loved simple, yet clear arrows pointing from a description or a process or symbology of a particular piece of art to the section of work that it’s describing. I found the descriptions of how mosaics were made particularly fascinating.

I loved that this book depicted time periods and movements in art like Surrealism or Rococco. I had a lot of fun teaching my grandchildren about sculpture or architecture which is Jasmine’s favorite part of the book. She loves how the illustrations of the buildings like the Guggenheim have a slice taken off so that you can see the inside. I find it remarkable that a five-year old is this keenly interested in Frank Lloyd Wright and I attribute her interest in a large part to this excellent book with its friendly style.

This is a book that spans age groups. I get so much out of it each time we open it to another page and the grandchildren, ages 2 and 5 find so much to love about it. They ask me to pull it down from the shelf again and again and each one has pages that they just love to touch and point at. I on the other hand am entranced by the quality of the paper, the illustrations and photographs of the artwork and can gaze in awe of the David Hockney collage for hours on end.

I wish our schools could have copies of this book in every classroom for every student. I think this book and books like this are timeless and should be every child’s right. Art is so very important and this book does so much to educate about it. You can’t help but fall in love with art after reading this and it inspires the creativity within. I know that for me, its shown me new meaning to a painting I’ve loved and lit a spark in me to find out even more. Books that fuel the thirst for knowledge are treasures.

Highly, highly recommended for anyone of any age.

Book Description from publisher:

Lavishly illustrated with more than 250 full-color reproductions of artworks, details, photographs, and documents, this informative book provides a sweeping overview of Western art. The book begins with the cave paintings at Lascaux, France, and continues on with the art and architecture of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome through Early Christian, Byzantine, and medieval art and on to the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. Then it proceeds from Neoclassicism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Modernism up to the art of the late twentieth century. The book is filled with paintings, sculpture, mosaics, and architecture by such renowned artists as Paolo Uccello, Jan van Eyck, Filippo Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Goya, Turner, Monet, Renoir, Auguste Rodin, Georges Braque, Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock, David Hockney, and Andy Warhol.

An essential tool for classrooms and libraries as well as a wonderful gift for young people interested in art.

About the author

Antony Mason is the author of more than sixty books. In addition to more general histories of art, he has written biographies for children on Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Monet, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Chagall. He lives in London, England. John T. Spike is an internationally recognized art critic, curator, and noted historian of Italian art of the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries. He was born in New York City and resides in Florence, Italy.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shameless Promotion of the Best New/Used Bookstore in L.A.

Come see this free, fascinating presentation & signing by acclaimed author, Gary Marcus. He's going to have an LCD projector!

READ Books Presents:
Gary Marcus
Discussing & Signing
His New Book:
Kluge: The Haphazard
Construction of the Human Mind

“Are we noble in reason? Perfect, in God's image? Far from it, says New York University psychologist Gary Marcus. In this lucid and revealing book, Marcus argues that the mind is not an elegantly designed organ but rather a "kluge," a clumsy, cobbled-together contraption. He unveils a fundamentally new way of looking at the human mind -- think duct tape, not supercomputer -- that sheds light on some of the most mysterious aspects of human nature.”

April 20th, 2008, Sunday @ 2:00
4972 Eagle Rock Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 259-9068
Call or email to pre-order books

Poetry Friday - Save the Tacos!

Ok Gente,
For Poetry Friday, I just want to save the LA Taco Trucks and street vendors (mmmm esquites). Sign the petition and I'll love you forever.

After all, some of my favorite poets are The Taco Shop poets.

The round-up today is being hosted at The Well Read Child, thank you for hosting!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Las Comadres and El día de los niños

My comadres over at Las Comadres Para Las Americas have sent the folowing email about a very important teleconference.

To learn more about Las Comadres please click here.

Queridas comadres...it's TELECONFERENCE TIME! To


We ask that you consider purchasing the children's
book we selected for April and donating it to an
elementary school in your area.

In celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los
libros (Children's Day/Book Day)on April 30, we are
combining an interview with authors of a children's
bilingual book on activism with a university professor
studying when and how children should be taught about
racism. This is a different format just for the month
of April. In May we'll be starting our partnership
with the American Association of Publishers and
Borders, Inc. Reading With Las Comadres where we
interview Latina authors about their newly
published book and their work.

DATE: April 24, 2008 / duration approximately 1 hour
6:00 PM MST
7:00 PM CST
8:00 PM EST

Call in number (long distance charges will apply)
1-712-432-2323 / Access Code: 162718#

That's Not Fair! / ¡No Es Justo!

by Carmen Tafolla and Sharyll Teneyuca

Illustrated by Terry Ybáñez, Spanish translation by
Carmen Tafolla, Translation editors: Celina Marroquín
and Amalia Mondríguez, Ph.D.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the pecan shellers of San
Antonio, Texas, were some of the lowest-paid workers
in the nation. They were all Mexican-Americans, who
had fled the revolution in their home country. Pecan
shellers worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week,
for as little as six cents a pound. In addition, they
had to work in dusty, closed rooms. This made many of
them ill. And then, in 1938, their wages were cut in
half. They needed someone to be a voice for them,
someone both brave and caring. They needed a hero. A
young woman, barely twenty-one, answered their call.
Her name was Emma.

But Emma Tenayuca was not born a hero of the poor.
That's Not Fair! / ¡No Es Justo! tells how the seeds
of Emma's awareness and activism were sown when she
was very young. This story of courage and compassion
shows how each of us, no matter how young, can help to
make the world more fair for everyone.


White Children More Positive Toward Blacks
After Learning About Racism, Study Shows

Challenging the idea that racism education could be
harmful to students, a new study from The University
of Texas at Austin found the results of learning about
historical racism are primarily positive. The study
appears in the November/December issue of the journal
Child Development.

"There is considerable debate about when and how
children should be taught about racism," says Bigler,
director of the university's Gender and Racial
Attitudes Lab. "But little research has examined
elementary-school-aged children's cognitive and
emotional reactions to such lessons."


Carmen Tafolla is one of the most anthologized of all
Latina writers with work for both adults and children
appearing in more than two hundred anthologies. With
work translated into Spanish, German, and Bengali,
Tafolla has been published in a great variety of
genres. Carmen Tafolla has also published five adult
poetry books, seven children's television screenplays,

and numerous short stories and articles.

Sharyll Tenayuca is an attorney in San Antonio and the
niece of Emma Tenayuca.

UT Professor of Psychology Dr. Rebecca Bigler,
of the University of Texas at Austin, Gender and
Attitudes Lab

Interviewed by:
Adriana Dominguez is the Executive Editor who manages
the children's division of HarperCollins' Latino
imprint, Rayo. Before joining Harper, she was Críticas
magazine's Children's Review Editor. She has many
years of publishing experience in the children's
market, and has worked for most major publishers.

Nora de Hoyos Comstock, Ph.D.
Connecting Latinas Everywhere!
http://www.lascomadres.org ;
Comstock Connections, Austin, TX
512-928-8780 voice/fax; 512-751-7837c

Las Comadres is not responsible for the content of
this email, and text in this email does not necessarily
reflect Las Comadres views or opinions.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

10th Annual Walk for Cesar Chavez

I'll be there, will you? Register here.

Join thousands in continuing the call for social justice by participating in the 10th Annual CESAR CHAVEZ WALK

Walk alongside Chavez family members, students, elected officials, celebrities, and community members and celebrate Cesar Chavez Day 2008. Walk sponsors include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa and Councilmember Jose Huizar, 14th District.

SATURDAY, March 29, 2008
at Historic Olvera Street
125 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012
(Main Street between Arcadia and Cesar Chavez Avenue)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cuentecitos News

Adriana Dominguez of HarperCollins has joined Cuentecitos as a contributor and her first post is up. Learn about el dia de los ninos by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ask a Mexican on YouTube

I guess this 'splains why my blog is so ahem colorful...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

URGENT!!! F1rst Pages Conference

Four New York editors, an agent, and a bestselling
author are coming to Connecticut on Saturday, April
26th for another F1rst Pages conference, one with a
new imprint launching in Fall 2008! One of those
prominent editors, making her own path in the business
is Adriana Dominguez, Executive Editor of Latino
imprint, Rayo, at HarperCollins. If you want to learn
more about publishing in the Latino market and receive
feedback on your work, make sure not to miss Adriana's
workshop. (See link below)

So if you can make it, the networking experience will
be worth your while and there are opportunities to
work with professional editors and an agent in an
intimate group and have the chance to submit. There
is an opportunity to be acquired if you have the right

Just make sure you read the guidelines carefully.
Just a reminder that the navigation bar is at the top
of the page and the payment links are at the bottom of
each publishing professional's page.

Go to www.f1rstpages.com - click on conference tab or
go directly to the conference at

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Super Chicana

Saw this on Ana Castillo's blog which I read religiously and had to re-post. It's awesome.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Poetry Friday

In memory of a dear friend who's birthday would have been today. You died too young and you're missed every single day. You were a shining light and the world is a far darker and drearier place without you.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
by John Donne

As virtuous men pass mildly away,

And whisper to their souls to go,

Whilst some of their sad friends do say,

"The breath goes now," and some say, "No,"

So let us melt, and make no noise,

No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;

'Twere profanation of our joys

To tell the laity our love.

Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,

Men reckon what it did and meant;

But trepidation of the spheres,

Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love

(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit

Absence, because it doth remove

Those things which elemented it.

But we, by a love so much refined

That our selves know not what it is,

Inter-assured of the mind,

Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,

Though I must go, endure not yet

A breach, but an expansion.

Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so

As stiff twin compasses are two:

Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show

To move, but doth, if the other do;

And though it in the center sit,

Yet when the other far doth roam,

It leans, and hearkens after it,

And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,

Like the other foot, obliquely run;

Thy firmness makes my circle just,

And makes me end where I begun.

The roundup is over where it began at Big A, little a. Thank you for hosting Kelly!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Poetry Friday

I was going to post about raulsalinas, who died a few days ago and reference some of his marvelous Chicanindio poetry but I remembered that I did post about him when I learned that he had he died and I stumbled onto this while looking for something else and, well I just had to post it. It made me laugh out loud when I was feeling very sad about the loss of a great poet like Raul. The wry sense of humor in the poem that chose me for Poetry Friday reminded me of my grandfather and his jokes and I thought to myself, "this is perfect for today."

My Affair with Rumpelstiltskin
by Ina Loewenberg

He wasn't really bad to look at
if you don't mind your men so short.
His head was disproportionate
but forceful, and his neck was taut,
his eyebrows were pointed and curly
and of course his black eyes burned
with mad glee, his arms were fully
muscled, his booted feet neatly turned.

He made his offer, good as gold,
so confident I would accept his special skill
to save my skin, but I, surprisingly bold,
countered with the skin itself, the heart, the will.
The straw was scratchy but the man was smooth,
he brought down pillows to cushion our elation;
I slept then while he labored to produce
the glitter that insured my royal station.

Read the rest here. The round-up is here at Hip Writer Mama's. Thanks for hosting!

Cybils Award Winners Announced

The 2008 Cybils Awards were just announced. I had the honor of serving as a panelist in the graphic novel category and am excited to Artemis Fowl in the winners list.

You can view all the winners here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

raulsalinas has died

The great Xicano poet, writer and activist Raul Salinas, known as raulsalinas died last night in Austin. I, along with many others are saddened by the loss of this amazing and enduring spirit of a man.

Descanse en pas hermano.

raulsalinas was a longtime fixture at South Austin's La Resistencia Bookstore. He wrote several influential books of Chicano poetry, including "East of the Freeway: Reflections de mi Pueblo," and "Un Trip Through the Mind Jail y Otras Excursions."

His most recent book, "raúl salinas and the Jail Machine: Selected Writings of raúl salinas" was published in 2006 by University of Texas Press.

To learn more about raulsalinas, you can check out his website.

Raul will be greatly missed.

A BIO OF RAUL SALINAS (quoted from the announcement I received this morning)

Raúl Roy “Tapon” Salinas was born in San Antonio, Texas on March 17,
1934. He was raised in Austin, Texas from 1936 to 1956, when he moved to Los
Angeles. In 1957 he was sentenced to prison in Soleded State Prison in
California. Over the span of the next 15 years, Salinas spent 11 years
behind the walls of state and federal penitentiaries. It was during his
incarceration in some of the nation’s most brutal prison systems, that
Salinas’ social and political consciousness were intensified, and so it is
with keen insight into the subhuman conditions of prisons and an inhuman
world that the pinto aesthetics that inform his poetry were formulated.

His prison years were prolific ones, including creative, political, and
legal writings, as well as an abundance of correspondence. In 1963, while in
Huntsville, he began writing a jazz column entitled “The Quarter Note”
which ran consistently for 1-1/2 years. In Leavenworth he played a key role
in founding and producing two important prison journals, Aztlán de
Leavenworth and New Era Prison Magazine, through which his poetry first
circulated and gained recognition within and outside of the walls. As a
spokesperson, ideologue, educator, and jailhouse lawyer of the Prisoner
Rights Movement, Salinas also became an internationalist who saw the
necessity of making alliances with others. This vision continues to inform
his political and poetic practice. Initially published in the inaugural
issue of Aztlán de Leavernworth, “Trip through a Mind Jail” (1970)
became the title piece for a book of poetry published by Editorial Pocho-Che
in 1980.

With the assistance of several professors and students at the University of
Washington - Seattle, Salinas gained early release from Marion Federal
Penitentiary in 1972. As a student at the University of Washington, Salinas
was involved with community empowerment projects and began making alliances
with Native American groups in the Northwest, a relationship that was to
intensify over the next 15 years. Although Salinas writes of his experiences
as a participant in the Native American Movement, it is a dimension of his
life that has received scant attention. In the 22 years since his release
from Marion, Salinas’ involvement with various political movements has
earned him an international reputation as an eloquent spokesperson for
justice. Along the way he has continued to refine and produce his unique
blend of poetry and politics.

Salinas’ literary reputation in Austin earned him recognition as the poet
laureate of the East Side and the title of “maestro” from emerging poets
who seek his advice and a mentor. While his literary work is probably most
widely known for his street aesthetics and sensibility, which document the
interactions, hardships, and intra- and intercultural strife of barrio life
and prison in vernacular, bilingual language, few people have examined the
influence of Jazz in his obra that make him part of the Beat Generation of
poets, musicians, and songwriters. His poetry collections included
dedications, references, and responses to Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac,
Charles Bukowski, Charlie Parker, Herschel Evans, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles
Davis, for example. Academics have primarily classified Salinas as an
important formative poet of the Chicano Movement; yet, while he may have
received initial wide-scale recognition during the era, it would be unfair
to limit a reading of his style, content, and literary influence to the

There were many dimensions to Salinas’ literary and political life.
Though, at times, some are perplexed at the multiple foci of Salinas’
life, the different strands of his life perhaps best exemplify what it means
to be mestizo, in a society whose official national culture suppresses
difference: his life’s work is testimony to the uneasy, sometimes violent,
sometimes blessed synthesis of Indigenous, Mexican, African, and
Euro-American cultures. Salinas currently resides in Austin, Texas, were he
is the proprietor of Resistencia Bookstore and Red Salmon Press, located in
South Austin. Arte Público Press reissued Salinas’ classic poetry
collection, Un Trip through the Mind Jail y otras Excursiones (1999), as
part of its Pioneers of Modern U.S. Hispanic Literature Series. He is also
the author of another collection of poetry, East of the Freeway: Reflections
de Mi Pueblo (1994).

Salinas resided in Austin, Texas, were he was the proprietor of Resistencia
Bookstore and Red Salmon Press, located in South Austin. Arte Público Press
reissued Salinas’ classic poetry collection, Un Trip through the Mind Jail
y otras Excursiones (1999), as part of its Pioneers of Modern U.S. Hispanic
Literature Series. He is also the author of another collection of poetry,
East of the Freeway: Reflections de Mi Pueblo (1994).

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Poetry Friday - Post Annies Round Up

My apologies for the delayed round-up. As indicated in the previous post, I was crazed getting ready for the Annie Awards, the animation industry's biggest night. It was an amazing night too. The food was great, Ratatouille and Brad Bird won just about everything there was to win, one of my favorite shows El Tigre and it's creator Jorge Gutierrez won awards and I met and saw lots of interesting and fun people. I thought you'd might like to take a peek at the dress I ended up with so I'm tacking in a picture. There's this kind of weird guy in between me and my date, maybe you'll recognize him. He's a really nice guy.

I apologize if I didn't get to comment on your poems, I'll be swinging by throughout the week to do so. I did read them all and they were wonderful and I've so many new poets to add to my list.

On to the round up, I really enjoyed making these mashed up nonsensical story poems of our postings so I'm going to give it another shot.

It began in Frenzy over at the little house
Where Billy, charming Billy was looking for a pearl.
At the Wild Rose, there's everything from Lincoln to Moses, so why dream?
"Well" said The Blue Rose Girls, "how about a love poem with toast?"
Each of us has a name given by God, even when the clouds come.
The red wheel barrow puzzles us while the mother in the refugee camp
breaks out hearts and Lady Macbeth reminds us to be ourselves.
Wherever in the wastes of our days, there should always be time for haiku
At the very least poetry in 15 words or less
or things like painting in the sweet spring.
In every heart there is a room still and quiet
when it is peace.

Though I am old with wandering
(welcome Laurel!),
I imagine children's faces are replacing flower pots
in a fabulous March to the Sea.
Oh to be of use!
Beetle-bop, beetle-bop!
The mouse of Amherst calls
It's time for Langston's train ride.
There's a conference you see, on the neuroscience of Mother Goose.

In the land of Nod
there is a fury of overshoes
Death's second self, the Armadillo is preening
as much as the books that fillt it.
A clear midnight, in an Irish winter
they are getting ready as if for a Bronx masquerade
He is already beside me, that honeybee
and if you will be my valentine
and write me epyllions of love
then i will stop forcing spring

Climb inside a poem

puppy poems
are good to start with.
This little bag of poetry is becoming heavy
or maybe it's just that
I'm tired.
Defenseless under the night,
the blind men and the elephant dream
of Snow White and apples, while
Miss Lee and Mrs. Fuller end Poetry Friday.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Poetry Friday Hosting

I love hosting Poetry Friday. It's something that I am quick to sign up for and eagerly look forward to as well as every Poetry Friday whether I am hosting or not. This month is crazier than usual in my insanely paced life.

February is here and with it the heavy convention season begins for my company, of deals, heavy workload, trying to find rooms at Comic Con (come on San Diego be a little more organized will ya), trying to keep my food blog updated, starting up my book reviewing again for BOTH AmoXcalli and Cuentecitos along with my regular duties of being a grandma, trying to have a social life, trying not to be a total laptop hermit when I get home and just darn cleaning the house.

Before I even realized I was hosting sometime in February, my trusty Blackberry calendar pinged at me and told me it was tomorrow. TOMORROW!!! Holy crap! Tomorrow is the Annie Awards and I'm going crazy. I have to find a dress, decide on shoes, get my hair done, get my nails done, get back home and get ready by 4:00 p.m. To add to my stress, I have a date. My first real date since the ex who shall be nameless and I broke up. I haven't dated in 12 years! ACK!

My frenzy reminded me of a poem I've always loved by Anne Sexton, (one of my favorite poets) and I thought I'd share it and ask the Poetry Friday question, what makes you frenzied? What helps to ease it? For me, it's the realization that it always turns out right in the end and if not, well there's always poetry.

I'll be out and about tomorrow getting early Saturday getting my hair done, etc. then I will be at the awards ceremony till late. I'll be checking in and putting up your posts as much as I can, but the round-up will be most likely be a separate post as always and it will be up on Saturday morning. Leave your lovely offerings with Mr. Linky and do remember to stop back to see what poem we collectively come up with in the round-up on Saturday. Don't forget to leave a comment. Happy Poetry Friday everyone!

Anne Sexton - Frenzy

I am not lazy.
I am on the amphetamine of the soul.
I am, each day,
typing out the God
my typewriter believes in.
Very quick. Very intense,
like a wolf at a live heart.
Not lazy.
When a lazy man, they say,
looks toward heaven,
the angels close the windows.

Oh angels,
keep the windows open
so that I may reach in
and steal each object,
objects that tell me the sea is not dying,
objects that tell me the dirt has a life-wish,
that the Christ who walked for me,
walked on true ground
and that this frenzy,
like bees stinging the heart all morning,
will keep the angels
with their windows open,
wide as an English bathtub.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Poetry Friday

I found this and thought it was lovely. The round up is over at Karen Edmenstein's shockingly clever blog.

On Speaking French after Twenty Years by Catherine Jagoe

for Massan

Strange, these words in my mouth—
the disappeared returned.
I am no longer agile,
but I offer them hamfistedly to you,
new to America from Mali,
your print skirt
the cloth of my childhood in west Africa,
the tongue between us
the green summer
I spent in France feasting
on freedom and being

Strange, what is still here
and what has been removed
to somewhere deeper.
Tomorrow and today are here
but yesterday is gone
as is the verb for missing.
Low is here, but high
has vanished.

Read the rest of the poem here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Poetry Friday

It's been raining here in Eagle Rock for days off and on, but last night it never stopped and is still going strong. Great torrents and sheets of hard rain, a blessing on drought-ridden Southern California but I've had enough of it. I've been sick with the flu and if I go out into the wet, I start coughing. Blah. Puts me in a mood because I know I have to go out in a few hours to the doctor's office and then from there to work.

I heard a bird singing outside my bedroom window this morning, just a few minutes ago and it changed my mood. How can it sing so sweetly? It must be drenched, the poor thing. I hope it's found shelter in some strange, dry spot in the huge magnolia tree in our backyard. I hope its song isn't a cry of despair.

The brave bird (for somehow in my mind, he is now a he and a very brave he) gave me some of his courage to go out and slog through the rain and cold. He put a smile on my face and got me to thinking about birds in general. I found a poem about swallows that I fell in love with from a poet I didn't know. The bird brought me courage, a smile, a poem and a new poet whose beautiful name I covet, think is perfect for a poet and makes me smile more. I think that makes my bird an angel.

Swallow by Paige Hill Starzinger

barbs of outer wing-feather
recurved into minute hooklets
from base to tip a rasping

dusky throated northern rough

as a bolus is pushed pons and pharynx
the anterior tongue lifts to hard palate
elevates to soft and seals

lores darker than eyes bill black
forager with forked tail weak feet
more wing than any other song

To read the rest of this magnificent poem click here. Poetry Friday is being hosted by Mentor Texts and More. Thanks for hosting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The AWN 2008 Oscar Showcase

Woohoo! The AWN (I work there) 2008 Oscar Showcase is up and running, with no glitches or errors. I'm home sick today but Deron, Darlene, Bill, Kevin and Rick did an outstanding job preparing this thing to go off without a hitch. So much behind the scenes work goes into our Oscar Showcase for Animated Features and Short Subjects that I just have to stop and give the team a big shout out for being so fabulous.

Take a look below at the end product of weeks of work, getting permissions to use content, tracking down the right people, writing articles, posting images, designing things, making sure the voting mechanism works, the clips play, etc. AWN has the best people and they do the best work. They care and it shows. Stop by and show them some love. You can even vote for your favorites to win.

The AWN 2008 Oscar Showcase.

By the Hair of My Chinny, Chin, Chin

We love pigs at AmoXcalli. In fact, we review Piglit just for my granddaughter Jasmine who loves pigs so much that instead of a princess party for her 4th birthday, she wanted a pig party. Yay Jasmine! She marches to the beat of her own drum and isn't afraid to be herself in spite of pre-school peer pressure to be princessy. She and I review piglit together in our own special series.

I found this article on Washington Post and couldn't resist adding the link to AmoXcalli. Jasmine, we've got quite the list to review. We'll hold off on Lord of the Flies and the like till you're a bit older.

To read the Post article, click here.