Category Archives: News

#WWE Reading Challenge

When you think of wrestling do you think of books? I never did. When I thought of wrestling, I thought of big, loud-mouth, trash talking wrestlers pounding someone into the mat, or jumping on them from ropes, or hitting them upside the head with a chair. Yeah…that’s how people usually think of wrestling and the WWE I’m guessing.

But hold on! There’s another side to the WWE – a softer, gentler side of those somewhat rowdy folk. They’re big believers in helping to promote literacy which also happens to be a huge passion of mine and the reason I began this blog over seven years ago. I wanted to promote books, get people excited about reading and mainly, get kids excited about it. I serve on the Cybils for the same reasons. So when I heard about this amazing thing the WWE was doing for literacy, I got right behind it.

The WWE is working with YALSA (we know that acronym pretty darned well here at AmoXcalli) and We Give Books in this most splendid initiative. Through Friday, March 7, students can sign up for the WrestleMania Reading Challenge at Through WWE’s expanded partnership with Pearson Foundation’s digital reading initiative, We Give Books, and YALSA, children between ages 4 and 12 can select a WWE Superstar Reading Buddy and read digital books to participate, while teens ages 13 to 18 can select a WWE Superstar Pen Pal, read a book and write an essay.

How cool is that?

But wait, there’s more!

WWE will make a financial contribution to We Give Books and YALSA to support literacy initiatives and provide access to books for children across the United States. The WWE and its Superstars will also continue to host reading celebrations, visiting kids at local schools and libraries to stress the importance of reading. The celebrations will include special visits from the We Give Books ReadMobile. We Give Books is a digital initiative created by the Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation to equip families, classrooms and libraries with print and online books for children. What kid wouldn’t want a WWW Superstar in their classroom?

Additionally, WWE will utilize all of its platforms, including TV broadcasts, Live Events, digital and social media to encourage children to read at school, at home, in their local library or wherever they’re inspired to read.

So sign up your kids, get teachers and students involved, let the schools in your community know about this initiative.

Random House Children’s Books To Publish Ballet Star Michaela DePrince’s Inspirational Teen Memoir


                Youngest soloist at the Dance Theatre of Harlem to make publishing debut in Fall 2014


New York, NY, July 24, 2013—Random House Children’s Books has acquired 18-year-old ballet star Michaela DePrince’s debut memoir, it was announced today by Nancy Hinkel, Vice President and Publishing Director of Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Executive Editor Erin Clarke will edit the book, which does not yet have a title.


DePrince was born in Sierra Leone and orphaned by a brutal civil war at the age of three. It was there that she found a picture of a ballerina that ultimately changed the course of her life. In her memoir, Michaela will share her experiences growing up as an orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone and her journey to becoming a professional ballet dancer in New York City. It will include a photo insert highlighting moments from her incredible story.


“When I was four and a half years old, and with my adoptive family, I sat down with my mom and shared with her the story of my experiences in Sierra Leone. I didn’t know then that this memoir would be the end result of that sharing,” says DePrince. “This writing experience has enabled me to relive my past, appreciate my present, and continue to set goals for my future. I couldn’t be happier that through my memoir I will be able to reach out to young people all over the world and encourage them to make their dreams come true.”


DePrince will co-write with her adoptive mother, Elaine DePrince. Alfred A. Knopf will also publish a Step into Reading chapter book edition for younger readers titled Ballerina Dreams: The Story of Michaela DePrince.


“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to share Michaela’s extraordinarily inspiring story, and reach both teens and young readers.” says Hinkel.


Clarke negotiated the book deal for Alfred A. Knopf with Adriana Dominguez of Full Circle Literary, representing Michaela and Elaine DePrince.


On July 28th, DePrince will begin dancing with the Dutch National Ballet, considered to be one of the top classical ballet companies in the world.


Michaela DePrince was one of the stars in the ballet documentary, First Position, which was nominated for a 2013 NAACP Image Award. She was also an AT&T guest artist on Dancing with the Stars, and has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, the BBC World News, and other news programs in the United States and internationally. In 2012, she received the Trailblazer Award from the American Skin Association. In addition to dancing in guest principal roles in South Africa and the Netherlands, Michaela has been invited by the U.S. Embassy in South Africa to give motivational talks to youth, and by the United Nations to represent children affected by war. In late 2012, Michaela received an invitation to join the Dutch National Ballet, considered to be one of the top classical ballet companies in the world. In 2013, Michaela participated in Newsweek and The Daily Beast’s Women in the World Summit along with Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, and Tina Brown.


Random House Children’s Books is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, ebooks, and apps, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series. The company’s website, Kids @ Random ( offers an array of activities, games, and resources for children, teens, parents, and educators. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.


BookExpo America’s Global Market Forum 2013 Highlights Mexico

Bringing the Growing Mexican Book Market to New York
BookExpo America’s Global Market Forum 2013 Highlights Mexico

Norwalk, CT, April 24, 2013: BEA officials have today announced that BEA’s annual Global Market Forum will focus on Mexico. The Global Market Forum, which honors countries from around the world by providing educational panels and cultural exchange opportunities, has become a cornerstone of BEA’s international outreach. Last year’s initiative, which focused on Russia, included a wide range of activities throughout New York City. BookExpo America is North America’s leading book industry event and will take place in New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Center, May 29 – June 1, 2013.

Mexico is a book market worth 10,084 million pesos ($830 million) in 2011, and it has grown 2.7 percent in volume and 13.2 percent in value since 2010. Mexico, the 13th largest economy of the world, with a growth in GDP of 5.5% in 2010, occupies a significant position among today’s emerging economies, and – not the least through the NAFTA agreement – is a privileged trading partner of the USA. 45 million people in the US speak Spanish as their first or second language.

When it comes to books and publishing, however, the picture is more complex. Continue reading

Random House Children’s Books to Release Robert Cormier’s Award Winning Classics as eBooks

The Chocolate War, I Am the Cheese and others will be available as eBooks on March 19, 2013

New York, NY (March 19, 2013)— Beverly Horowitz, VP & Publisher, Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, announced today that Robert Cormier’s classic young adult novels will be released in eBook format for the first time. Horowitz believes that “for Robert Cormier there were no taboos. What mattered was the way that difficult topics were handled. These dynamic novels still speak to readers and are now more relevant and accessible than ever.” Cormier’s novels have delighted, challenged and generated discussion among readers for more than 30 years in print, and now they will be available to a new generation of readers as eBooks. The new editions will be available March 19th wherever eBooks are sold.

Random House will launch the program with twelve titles: Fade, Heroes, In the Middle of the Night, Tunes for Bears to Dance To, We All Fall Down, After the First Death, 8 Plus 1, Beyond the Chocolate War, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, I Am the Cheese, The Chocolate War and Tenderness. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, publishes Robert Cormier’s classic novels in hardcover, and the Ember and Laurel-Leaf imprints will continue to publish his trade paperback editions.

A tireless warrior in the crusade for realistic young adult fiction, Cormier not only changed the landscape of young adult literature but also pushed the boundaries of what could be discussed in the classroom. He was ahead of his time in dealing with issues of bullying and the importance of independent thought. “I take real people and put them in extraordinary situations,” he said in an interview with School Library Journal. “I’m very interested in intimidation. And the way people manipulate other people, [as well as] the obvious abuse of authority.”

In 1974, The Chocolate War, was published to instant critical praise and secured Cormier a perennial spot in the annals of classic teen fiction. The New York Times praised its “powerful integration of the personal, political and moral.”

Robert Cormier is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his lifetime contributions in writing for teens, for The Chocolate War, I Am the Cheese and After the First Death. He was born, and lived the entirety of his life, in Leominster, Massachusetts. As a freshman at Fitchburg State College, Cormier published his first short story, The Sign, in a national Catholic magazine. After a brief stint scripting radio commercials after college, Cormier went on to become an award-winning journalist and author. Despite his fame, he never stopped writing for his local newspaper, The Fitchburg Sentinel.

Alfred A. Knopf Books For Young Readers | March 19, 2013 | $7.99 | Ages 12 and up



The Chocolate War


I Am the Cheese


The Bumblebee

Flies Anyway


Beyond the

Chocolate War


8 Plus 1


After the First Death


We All Fall Down


Tunes for Bears

to Dance To


In the Middle

of the Night






Random House Books for Young Readers is an imprint of the Random House Children’s Books division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann. Visit us on the Web at

Get the latest updates and news from Random House Children’s Books!

Follow us on Twitter: @RandomHouseKids


ALA President expresses deep concern and dismay about closure of Georgia Archives to the public

CHICAGO — American Library Association (ALA) President Maureen Sullivan sent  the following letter to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal regarding the recent announcement to close the Georgia Archives to the public:

“As President of the American Library Association, with more than 60,000 members across the country (including over 1,500 public, school, and academic librarians, archivists and trustees in Georgia), I write to express our deep concern and dismay about the recent announcement by Secretary of State Brian Kemp that the Georgia Archives will be closed to the public (except for very limited appointments) on November 1.

“The Georgia Archives is a treasure trove of unique documents and official records. As one of the original 13 colonies, Georgia has a rich and colorful history. Events of historic importance continue to occur. The State of Georgia established the Archives to preserve the history of Georgia, and access to that resource is vitally important to the future of Georgia and its citizens.

“Although some of the materials at the Georgia Archives have been digitized, the vast majority are still only accessible through a personal visit. Closing the Archives to the public is counter to the tenets of open government and to the principle of open access to information that undergirds our democracy. This is why no other state has closed access to its state archives to the public.

“All Georgians will be affected directly or indirectly by the closure of the Georgia Archives. Faculty and students from all institutions in the University System of Georgia and private colleges and universities will lose ready access to primary sources for undergraduate and graduate research. Children in kindergarten through high school will lose the opportunity to visit a place where history comes to life via original manuscripts, documents, and maps.

“One of the largest groups affected will be genealogical researchers who use the Archives to trace their Georgia roots. Authors trying to piece together the history of certain Georgia events, people, and places will lose one of their most important resources. Fewer books, journal articles, and documentaries about the history and cultural heritage of Georgia will be produced.

“I urge you to reverse this decision and to find a way to help the Georgia Archives remain open to the public. Its impending closure will be a major impediment to historical research and will affect not only future generations of Georgia residents but also anyone outside of Georgia who will study Georgia history and culture.”

Source: American Library Association

Dollar General Literacy Foundation grants funds to ALSC, YALSA

CHICAGO — The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded a Youth Literacy grant in the amount of $226,876 to the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

ALSC and YALSA will use the grant to support two important initiatives, El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), Teen Read Week™ and summer reading for teens.

“As one of the most important celebrations in children’s librarianship, we’re very excited to have Dollar General Literacy Foundation continue its support of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day),” said ALSC President Carolyn Brodie. “The Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s strong commitment to multiculturalism in children’s library services is highly admirable.”

“Summer reading and Teen Read Week™ are valuable tools used by libraries all over the country to support teen literacy efforts,” said YALSA President Jack Martin. “YALSA is thrilled to have the Dollar General Literacy Foundation continuing to support these important efforts.”

“The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is pleased to support El día de los Niños and Teen Read Week™,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “By engaging children and teens in reading, a foundation for future success is built. We applaud the life enriching work of ALSC and YALSA and value our partnership.”

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s Youth Literacy grants are awarded to assist with implementing new or expanding existing youth literacy programs; to purchase new technology or equipment to support youth literacy initiatives; or to purchase books, materials or software for youth literary programs.

In August, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded grants totaling more than $2 million to 564 non-profit organizations, community groups, schools and libraries throughout the United States. It is estimated that approximately 315,000 youth will be served as a result of these grants.

Since its founding, Dollar General has been committed to supporting literacy and education. To further this support, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation was established in 1993 to improve the functional literacy of adults and families by providing grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to the advancement of literacy.

For more information about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation or for a complete list of grant recipients, visit

About Dollar General
Dollar General is a leading discount retailer with 10,000 stores in 40 states. Dollar General stores provide convenience and value to customers by offering consumable basic items such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids and cleaning supplies, as well as basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at everyday low prices. The company has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $74 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 4.4 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about Dollar General, visit

For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve and empower teens. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail:

About ALSC
ALSC, a division of the ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC visit


Source: American Library Association


NEW YORK – August 29, 2012 – Kobo, a leader in eReading with over 10 million registered users worldwide, and the American Booksellers Association (ABA) today announced a new partnership to bring Kobo’s world-class eReading platform to independent bookstores across the United States.  By partnering with the nearly 2,000 ABA-member stores, Kobo continues its successful strategy of working with booksellers around the world, and America’s indie booksellers grow their ability to discover and deliver great reads, in any format, to their customers.

In partnership with the ABA, Kobo has developed a unique program designed for independent booksellers and their customers.   Booksellers will be able to offer a total experience for their customers including a full line of eReaders, eReading accessories, and ebooks from Kobo’s catalog of nearly 3 million titles. ABA members will share in the revenue on every sale.  The program includes valuable training, in-store merchandising, marketing, sales, and logistics solutions to help independents be successful. ABA members will also be able to offer ebooks directly to their customers online.   Kobo expects to launch with the first 400 bookstores this fall.

“We are very excited to work with the ABA and independent bookstores across America to bring an Indie alternative to the eReading market,” said Mike Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. “With this partnership, we are confident that independents will a world class offering for their loyal customers and a voice in the digital transformation.”

“We are pleased to offer our ABA members a competitive eBook retailing solution uniquely crafted to meet the needs of independent booksellers and their customers,” said Oren Teicher, CEO, American Booksellers Association. “Through this partnership with Kobo, indie bookstore customers will have access to a broad and diverse inventory of eBooks.  Today’s readers want a first-class shopping experience, both in-store and online, and this new partnership allows indie booksellers to meet the ever-changing needs of shoppers in a dynamic marketplace.”


Since its inception in 2009, Kobo has built a global base of over 10 million registered users in 190 countries, and one of the largest eBook stores in the world with 3 million books, newspapers and magazines with titles ranging from the NYT bestseller list, the hottest new releases, Indie Next List and Bestseller List titles, and over a million free books with titles in 60 languages.  With one of the largest content catalogs in the world, a line of award winning eReaders available in 7 languages, free eReading Apps, and the newly launched self-publishing program, Kobo Writing Life – Kobo has a rich eReading ecosystem and a unique win-win approach to the market.


Kobo and the ABA share fundamental values that are rooted in the love of reading. The ABA and its independent bookstore members introduce newly discovered titles to readers, as well as support freedom of speech, literacy, and programs that encourage reading. Kobo’s Read Freely philosophy supports an open platform and adoption of industry standards to ensure that people own the books they buy and are never locked to one device or service. Additionally Kobo offers free eReading apps so people can read conveniently anytime, anyplace from a device they already own. With Kobo, consumers can easily browse and shop from the Kobo eBookstore and automatically sync their library across most popular devices including iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, and smartphones, as well as all Kobo eReaders.


In less than three years since the company was founded, Kobo has developed a successful turnkey solution that enables a wide variety of retailers – both large and small – to capitalize on the eReading growth occurring around the world. First-class brick-and-mortar booksellers like Indigo, Fnac, WHSmith, Mondadori, Collins, Future Shop/Best Buy, Target and others have taken advantage of what has become known as Kobo’s “Playbook” to quickly introduce eReading to their customers and ultimately creating new streams of revenue by making eBooks more accessible around the world. Through the partnership with ABA, Kobo adds to this network nearly 2,000 independent bookstores that will be able to take advantage of Kobo’s unique services, including one of the largest content catalogs available today and line-up of accessible eReading devices and free eReading applications.

“This partnership signifies a tipping point for independent booksellers around the world and Kobo is leading the way,” said Serbinis. “We expect to quickly bring our unique offering to independents globally.”

About Kobo Inc.

Founded in 2009, Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services offering 3-million eBooks, magazines and newspapers. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo has built an open-standards platform to provide consumers with a choice when reading. Inspired by a “Read Freely” philosophy and a passion for innovation, Kobo has expanded to 190 countries, where millions of consumers have access to localized eBook catalogues and award-winning eReaders, like the Kobo Touch. With top-ranked eReading applications for Apple, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows products, Kobo allows consumers to make eReading social through Facebook Timeline and Reading Life, an industry-first social experience that lets users earn awards for time spent reading and encourage others to join in. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains across the globe.

For more information, visit

About American Booksellers Association (

Founded in 1900, the American Booksellers Association is a not-for-profit trade organization devoted to meeting the needs of its core members — independently owned bookstores with storefront locations — through education, information dissemination, business products and services, and advocacy. ABA exists to protect and promote the interests of independent retail book businesses, as well as to protect the First Amendment rights of every American. The association actively supports free speech, literacy, and programs that support local and independent retail shops. A board of 10 booksellers governs the Association. ABA is headquartered in Tarrytown, New York.


Source: Kobo, Inc.

Rest in Peace Gore Vidal

Just as I was finally home and putting up the post on the passing of Maeve Binchy, I saw on my local news channel that Gore Vidal had died. Sigh. This year has been incredibly rough for the literary world. It seems every couple of weeks another favorite or believed author has passed. Granted, they have all been up there in years, have lived very full and amazing lives, but still….it’s sad, incredibly sad to lose so many wonderful and powerful voices of literature.

I feel bereft.

Gore Vidal was a tremendous voice in literature and film. He was an author, playwright, screenwriter, activist and essayist. He began his writing career at age 19 and to my knowledge, never stopped writing or voicing his opinions. I deeply respected him for his elegant writing, his bravery and for how outspoken he was. He was a giant.

Rest in peace.

The Round-up

The New York Times
Salt Lake Tribune
CBS News
John Williams at the NYT Blog
Los Angeles Times
Christian Science Monitor
Washington Post
Wall Street Journal
New York Daily News
The Guardian
The Atlantic
The Telegraph

Rest in Peace Margaret Mahy

I awoke to the sad news that Children’s book author, the great Margaret Mahy passed away at age 76 after a brief illness.  Mahy wrote over 200 books and poems, and is considered to be one of New Zealand’s finest and most acclaimed writers.  Her books have been translated into 15 languages and she has won numerous awards and honors for her body of work. Ms. Mahy has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Hans Christian Anderson award.  She wrote her first book at age seven.

I know I am only one among so many that are deeply saddened by the loss of such a strong voice for children’s literature.  It has been a very sad year as we have lost many greats in the genre.  I am sure there will be a huge outpouring from the children’s literature community and I will do my best to gather as many links to the tributes as I can find.

Rest in peace Margaret Mahy, you touched the world and generations with your work and you will be terribly missed.


Beattie’s Book Blog


New Zealand Herald

Stuff – Book Section

The Guardian


TNT Magazine

Stuff NZ

Perth Now

The Daily Post

Bookshelves of Doom

Judith Ridge at Misrule

¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xicana/o Literature

I have the great honor to be one of the authors in a new anthology of works by Chicano writers.  It is incredible to be published and have my story in a book with some really amazing authors and people I have long admired.  I don’t even have words for how thrilled I am to be a part of this book.

Check out the list of authors:

Here is a list of the authors in this amazing book:

Adrianna Simone
Alejandro Dennis Morales
Andrea J. Serrano
Annemarie Pérez
Art Meza
David Cid
Del Zamora
Francisco X. Alarcón
Frank Mundo
Frank S. Lechuga
Gina Ruiz
Gustavo Arellano
Hector Chavana Jr.
Jessica Lopez Lyman
Jim Marquez
Johnathan Gomez
José-Ariel Cuevas
Karina Oliva
Lalo Alcaraz
Lauro Vasquez
Lizz Huerta
Luis Alberto Urrea
Luisa Leija
Maria Cesena
Mario Barrera
Matt Sedillo
Miguel Jimenez
Milo M. Alvarez
Noemi Martinez
Odilia Galván Rodríguez
Phyllis Victoria Lopez
Roberto “Dr. Cintli” Rodriguez
Rodolfo Acuna
Sara Ines Calderon
Santino J. Rivera
Vincent Cooper
Xicano X

Wow right?  It’s an phenomenal list.  So check it out, buy it and let me know what you think.  I’m pretty proud of it.

In a time when Chicano books are being banned in Arizona, our voices are stronger than ever.  You can’t hush us with censorship.  You can’t silence us with miseducation and by denying us our culture.  We are used to using our voices, our writings, our flor y canto (poetry) to preserve our traditions and culture.  If the Conquistadores couldn’t shut us up, I seriously doubt a bunch of tontos at the TUSD can’t. We’ll keep writing and creating.  We will tell our stories and share them at will.

Censorship is NEVER a good thing, but you just try banning this.

You can purchase the book here.