2021 Authors, Illustrators, Presenters
Alexandra Diaz is the award winning children's book author of The Only
Road (Pura Belpré Honor and Américas Award) and its sequel, The Crossroads (Parent's Choice Silver Honor and Southwest Book Award). Her newest book, Santiago's Road Home, came out in May and has received starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist and was an ALA Notable Book. All three of these books are available in English and Spanish. Alexandra is the daughter of Cuban Refugees and lives in Santa Fe, NM.
Amy Córdova y Boone
Amy Córdova y Boone is an award winning artist, educator, author and illustrator of children’s books. She has twice won the prestigious ALA Pura Belpre award for illustration within a cultural context. Working with New Mexico legends Rudolfo Anaya and Enrique Lamadrid, she has illustrated several bilingual books for children with UNM Press. Currently, she is working on a re-release of Dream Carver, written by Diana Cohn, a magical book that takes place in Mexico. It was published several years ago by Chronicle Books. She is updating images and creating it as a bilingual version. She will be joining us from her new home in Mexico.
Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher, an award-winning Brazilian children’s author, and a published author in the Foreign Language educational market - EL PATO QUIERE UVAS. Her forthcoming picture books include BELLA’S RECIPE FOR DISASTER/SUCCESS (Beaming Books, 2021) and IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA/ CUANDO TU NIÑERA ES UNA BRUJA (SimonKids,2022), and other books that can’t be announced yet. Ana is a member of SCBWI, Las Musas Book, and co-founder of LatinxPitchBesides writing, Ana loves to read, teach, and play with her Cuban-Brazilian-American grandchildren.
Anna M. Nogar, Ph.D.
Dr. Anna M. Nogar is Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico. She specializes in New Mexican literature and cultural studies, as well as colonial Mexican literature and readers. She is the author or editor of many books (Quill and Cross in the Borderlands: Sor María de Ágreda and the Lady in Blue, A History of Mexican Literature, El feliz ingenio neomexicano: Felipe M. Chacón and Poesía y prosa), including the prizewinning bilingual young readers book Sisters in Blue/Hermanas de azul (University of New Mexico Press) which she created with Dr. Enrique Lamadrid and artist Amy Córdova.
Breena is an Afro Salvadoran-Guatemalan cartoonist based in occupied Ohlone land, also known as San Francisco. She draws, prints, folds, and staples autobiographical zines/comics that center the nuances of existing as an Afrodescendiente from the Bay Area. Breena is also a part-time professor at California College of the Arts in the Critical Ethnic Studies Department. Their hope as a cartoonist & educator is to help BIPOC folks give themselves permission to cry or laugh through the language of comics and to value the stories they want to share.
Brianna Peña-Begay is 2021 Young Miss Latinita Mexico US, loves to read, swim and hang out with friends. Brianna’s grandmother is an author from Shiprock, New Mexico. Brianna is 11 years old and loves to read and share the story. Brianna collects books and delivers them to Free Little Libraries in San Juan County.
Cathy Camper is the author of the award-winning Lowriders in Space graphic novel series, the picture book Ten Ways to Hear Snow (2020), Bugs Before Time, and a forthcoming 2022 picture book, Arab Arab All Year Long. Lowriders to the Center of the Earth won the Pura Belpre Award for Latino Illustration in 2017. She is a graduate of VONA/Voices writing workshops for people of color in Berkeley, California. Cathy’s an author, artist and librarian who lives in Portland, Oregon.
Concepción Saucedo Martinez, Ph.D.
Dra. Concepción Saucedo Martinez. Chicana-Yaqui y activista. Fundadora del Instituto Familiar de la Raza (IFR) en San Francisco. Talita Concha ha trabajado con diferentes culturas, desarrollado una
metodología basada en el conocimiento y medicina tradicional para lograr el empoderamiento en las comunidades de color.
Concepción Saucedo Martinez PHD. Chicana-Yaqui She is the founder of Instituto Familiar de la Raza (IFR), in San Francisco. She is also an activist who incorporates traditional medicine into the Western perspective in order to achieve community empowerment.
Damián Vergara Wilson, Ph.D.
A native of Ojo Caliente, NM, Damián Vergara Wilson directs the Spanish as a Heritage Language (SHL) program at UNM's Department of Spanish and Portuguese, where he is also Associate Professor. Through the SHL program he promotes the idea that the Spanish of New Mexico and the Southwest is a valuable cultural resource that need to be maintained and not replaced. Bringing culturally relevant materials into the classroom is part of his mission and the rich array of children's literature in Spanish is an important resource for learners, even at the college level. When not directing the SHL program, he teaches and conducts sociolinguistic research on the Spanish of New Mexico.
Diego Mathieu is 10 years old, originally from Shiprock, New Mexico, the Bitter Water Clan. Diego enjoys reading, playing basketball, soccer, playing the piano, writing, and storytelling. Diego volunteers and facilitates the Lego Club at the local library. Diego has a dream to work for NASA one day.
Edward Wemytewa is a former Zuni Tribal Councilman, and his connection to his Zuni cultural heritage is through art and language. He is the founding director of Idiwanan An Chawe, a storytelling theater. A playwright, performer, and visual artist, Edward's prizewinning paintings and sculptures have been exhibited in museums in Arizona and New Mexico.
Enrique R. Lamadrid, Ph.D.
When his grandchildren Inti and Amalia came along, Enrique vowed to put books on the shelves for them. He is an author / co-author / collaborator / translator for more than a dozen bilingual books for children and their mentors. Through collaboration, Rudolfo Anaya introduced him to the world of publishing for younger readers. Lamadrid's most notable award winning children's books include La Acequia de Juan del Oso (with Estevan Arellano, on the great bear's son and the history of the acequias of the Mora Valley), Amadito y los Niños Héroes de la Vacuna (on the pandemic of 1918 and the role of children in the smallpox epidemics of the 18th century), and Sisters in Blue: María de Agreda Comes to NM (with Anna Nogar, on the famous nun and her mystical travels to New Mexico).
Professor Lamadrid (Ph.D. University of Southern California) taught folklore, literature, and cultural history in UNM’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese. He edits UNM Press' celebrated Querencias Series, that recently published two anthologies, Querencias: Reflections on the New Mexico Homeland, and Nación Genízara: Ethnogenesis, Place, and Identity in NM. In 2019, he was awarded the Premio Nacional "Enrique Anderson Imbert" de la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española in recognition of his advocacy for the Spanish language and traditions of Nuevo México. The same year he received the John D. Robb Award for Excellence in Music of the Southwest in recognition of his dedication to music education and scholarship. He still organizes local and international field schools in ethnographic documentation and cultural cartography, most recently based in Ecuador, Mora and Rudolfo Anaya's home town, Puerto de Luna. He was awarded the Chicago folklore prize for his 2003 ethnography Hermanitos Comanchitos: Indo-Hispano Rituals of Captivity and Redemption and the Américo Paredes Prize for his cultural activism and museum curatorial projects.
Lamadrid has worked on curatorial teams for a number of national and international exhibits and festivals, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. He also led the design team for the Camino Real International Heritage Center in New Mexico.
Eric Velasquez earned his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and has illustrated over 30 children’s books. His first picture book “The Piano Man” by Debbie Chocolate, published by Bloomsbury won the Coretta-Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent, and in 2010 Eric was awarded an NAACP Image award for his work in “Our Children Can Soar” which he collaborated on with 12 notable children’s book illustrators. Eric also wrote and illustrated “Grandma’s Records” and its follow up “Grandma’s Gift” which won the 2011 Pura Belpre’ Award for illustration. Recently Eric’s illustrated “Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library” by Carole Boston Weatherford which earned five starred reviews and won the 2018 Walter Award from the WNDB organization as well as the SCBWI’s The Golden Kite Award. In 2019 Eric wrote and illustrated “Octopus Stew” which has gathered rave reviews and is sure to make you laugh and his newest book the much anticipated “She Was The First! The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm” has just been published by Lee and Low Books.
Eric teaches book illustration at FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC. For more information, please visit his web site EricVelasquez.com
Gabriela Gonzalez in the 8th grade at Mesa View Middle School in Farmington, New Mexico. School. Gabriela is second Vice President of her student council, and a cheerleader. Gabriela enjoys dance and art. Gabriela is a member of the Atomic Teen Cafe, Mayor's Teen Advisory Council and models for fashion shows and is 2021 Young Miss Latinita New Mexico.
Isabela Esperanza Teresa Gonzalez is a Sophomore and cheerleader at Piedra Vista High School in Farmington, New Mexico.
Jessica Gonzalez is a native-born New Yorker of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent who loves to travel, learn languages, cook, write, and fence. She attended Queens College where she studies Psychology and found her spark for the concept of Luna, Yes! Luna ¡Sí! She has been actively involved with the autism community since she was 8-year-old when her then 1-year-old sister was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. She has raised money for local schools and after school programs, taught dance classes for those who are neurotypical, and led a high school workshop on the disabled community. She hopes to further spread autism awareness through this book as well as pursue a career in Speech-Language Pathology to help those with disabilities.
Lee Francis 4, Ph.D.
Dr. Lee Francis 4 (Pueblo of Laguna) is the Head Indigenerd and CEO of Native Realities, the only Native and Indigenous pop culture company in the United States with the hope to change the perceptions of Native and Indigenous people through dynamic and imaginative pop culture representations. He has been published in multiple publications ranging from poetry to short stories. His first comic book is Sixkiller which debuted June 2018 and Ghost River, which was published in 2019, have both been lauded throughout the US and abroad. He is a strong advocate for Native youth, with a focus on community literacy and entrepreneurship. He lives in Albuquerque with his family.
Leila Flores-Dueñas, Ph.D.
Dr. Leila Flores-Dueñas is a professor at the University of New Mexico College of Education and Human Sciences. She holds a Ph.D. in Multilingual Studies: Bilingual Education and Literacy Education from the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches courses in educación bilingüe, la lectoescritura, y justicia social para maestros. Her academic teaching and research interests address topics related to social justice and education, the role of culture in literacy learning, Latinx family literacy, and creative expression/arts-based learning.
Las Flores del Valle (Carol Vigil and Leila Flores-Dueñas) are a singing dueto from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Together, they have performed throughout the US Southwest and México performing historical musical shows such as “Mujeres Mexicanas y Su Música” and “Soldadera: Bringing to Light Women’s Participation in the Mexican Revolution. Through song, history, and storytelling, Las Flores del Valle also bring to life bilingual storybooks for school-age children.
Maria Gomez grew up in Santa Rosa, NM, where she enjoyed the simple pleasures of small town
life - family, community and the outdoors. After graduating from Santa Rosa High School, she
moved to Albuquerque and received her bachelor’s degree from The University of New Mexico. She majored in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Multimedia Journalism. Wanting to explore more creative writing, lead her to publishing her first short story with the guidance of Plot Duckies. Plot Duckies gave her the tools to share a story that she’s always wanted to bring to life about her childhood, growing up with her Grandmother and the lesson she learned to never underestimate the power and comfort of a fresh tortilla.
Matt de la Peña
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of six young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and The Living) and four picture books (including Love and Last Stop on Market Street). In 2016 he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific where he attended school on a full basketball scholarship. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn NY. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.
Naibe Reynoso is a Mexican-American Multi-Emmy award-winning journalist and mom based in Los Angeles California. Throughout her journalism career, she has worked and contributed to various regional, national and international networks.
In 2018 she created Con Todo Press, a publishing company that creates books to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities. Her first children's book, “Be Bold, Be Brave: 11 Latinas who made U.S. History,” was an Amazon #1 best seller, and highlights 11 women who excelled in medicine, science, sports, the arts, journalism and politics. It was also awarded best nonfiction picture book in the 2020 International Latino Book Awards, was a 2020 Moon Beam Gold winner for best multicultural non-fiction book, and was listed on the Tejas Star Reading 2021-2022 list.
“When I looked for books to read to my children, I noticed a lack of children’s publications highlighting Latina women who have greatly contributed to U.S. and World history,” said author Naibe Reynoso adding “now more than ever, it was important to publish media that portrays my community, especially women, in a positive light.”
She is also the author of “Fearless Trailblazers: 11 Latinos who made U.S. History” and “How to Fold a Taco” a fun, whimsical adventure book. “Courageous History Makers” will be her fifth title, with three more titles slated for a 2021 release.
Her books have been included in recommended kid’s books that promote diversity and inclusion and they have been featured on the Washington Post, Forbes, BuzzFeed, Library School Journal and more.
She lives in her native Los Angeles with her husband, her daughter and son and dog Pongo.
Raynelda A. Calderon
Raynelda grew up in the Dominican Republic, on a healthy diet of romance novels, comic strips, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's books, and the strict watch of her mother. She has a doctorate in leadership in higher education and works as a public librarian. As a librarian, working with children inspires her to write about the accomplishments of Hispanic women in history hoping to inspire young readers to follow their passions and never take "no" for an answer.
René Colato Laínez
René Colato Laínez is an educator and author of several bilingual/multicultural award winning children's books. His books reflect the Hispanic immigrant experience from a child’s point of view, covering topics such as cultural identity issues, the difficulties of learning a second language, and missing a loved one. Most of his books are based on his own experiences. He has a master's degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children & Young Adults.
René’s goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children's literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future. He wants to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States.
Robert Liu-Trujillo is an Oakland native, raised by student activists who watched lots of science fiction and took him to many demonstrations. Always drawing, Rob grew up to be an artist falling in love with graffiti, fine art, illustration, murals, and children’s books. In that order, sort of. Through storytelling he’s been able to scratch the surface of so many untold stories. Rob is the author and illustrator of Furqan’s First Flat Top. He’s a dad of a teen and a toddler He loves ice cream and his wife who laughs big and corrects his grammar every chance she gets. Down with the system and soggy french fries! www.robdontstop.com
Rocío Cervantes Garcia
Rocío Cervantes Garcia. Danzante de tradición, con una formación como psicóloga y antropóloga. Hizo sus estudios en la UNAM y la Universidad del Estado de California. Rocío ha investigado las
dimensiones del canto de ceremonia y sus efectos en la adquisición del lenguaje y la revitalización de las lenguas maternas; así también la migración y la construcción de las identidades.
Rocio Cervantes Garcia. Of Mixtec origin, she is a traditional dancer of the Conchera Tradition. She holds a degree in Psychology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and a master's degree in Anthropology from California State University, East Bay. Rocio has researched the dimensions of song, and its effect on language acquisition. Identity, migration and native language revitalization.
Sarah Sierra is a student, writer and actor. In 2015, at the age of six, she joined an after-school program called Still Waters in a Storm. Sarah has been a founding member of the Kid Quixotes since 2016 and plays the lead role in The Traveling Serialized Adventures of Kid Quixote. She loves to tell imaginative and creative stories that will make you believe anything is possible.
Stephen Haff, author of KID QUIXOTES, is the Founder and Chief of Still Waters in a Storm. He has taught English, Latin, Mathematics and Theater for twenty years, at high schools, middle schools and colleges in New York City, Vermont and Canada. At Bushwick High School in Brooklyn, he co-founded Real People Theater (RPT) with his students. The company received great acclaim in the worlds of education and theater, and toured North America and Europe. The VILLAGE VOICE called RPT, “Nothing less than a revolution.” Stephen has spoken at a number of pedagogical conferences and designed curriculum for the CUNY GearUp program, Youth Communication and The Center for Social and Emotional Education. He used to make his living writing for the VILLAGE VOICE, AMERICAN THEATRE, BOMB, and other publications, and earned his Masters in Theater Studies at Yale University.
Cherokee Nation citizen and award-winning author Traci Sorell writes fiction and nonfiction works for young people.
Traci’s debut nonfiction picture book We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga won a 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award (AIYLA) Picture Book Honor, a 2019 Sibert Honor, a 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor and a 2019 Orbis Pictus Honor. It also received a 2020 Odyssey Honor Award for the audiobook produced by Live Oak Media. She is the co-author of Indian No More, an AIYLA middle grade winner, and At the Mountain's Base, a fiction picture book and an AIYLA Picture Book Honor recipient.
In 2021, she has two more nonfiction picture books out into the world - Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer (Millbrook) and We Are Still Here: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know (Charlesbridge), both of which are Junior Library Guild Gold Selections and have received starred reviews.
You can find out more about Traci and her work online at www.tracisorell.com and by following her (@tracisorell) via Twitter and Instagram.
Viviana is a 12 year old girl who likes drawing, making crafts with her friends, and writing - a lot. She lives in Queens, NY with her mom, dad, older brother, and their new rescue dog, Argento. Anacaona is her first book. You can follow her on Instagram @vivianawrites.
Xavier Garza is an award-winning author of Creepy Creatures and Other Cucuys; Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask: A Bilingual Cuento; Juan and the Chupacabras/ Juan y el Chupacabras; Charro Claus and the Texas Kid; Zulema and the Witch Owl / Zulema Y La Bruja Lechuza; Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil and Other Stories / Kid Ciclon Se Enfrenta an El Diablo y Otras Historias; Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller; Maximilian & the Bingo Rematch: A Lucha Libre Sequel; The Great and Mighty Nikko; The Donkey Lady Fights la Llorona and Other Stories; and Maximilian & the Lucha Libre Club: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller. He has been honored with the Pure Belpre Honor and his books are on several reading lists including Tejas Star and Texas Institute of Letters.
Xóchitl Guerrero Artista del Área de la Bahía. Comenzó su carrera hace 50 años en Oakland, California, creando murales, pinturas y mosaicos. Xóchitl tiene una licenciatura en bellas artes. Su inspiración han sido Raymundo Zala Nevel y Lupe Nevel. Participó
en el movimiento de arte chicano. Su lema es crear arte usando la medicina tradicional, inspirando, empoderando y transformando.
Xóchitl Guerrero is a Bay Area practicing artist. She began her career 50 years ago in Oakland, California, creating murals, painting, making mosaics and crafting gourds. Xóchitl received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Fine Arts. She was inspired and influenced by Raymundo Zala Nevel and Lupe Nevel, and was active in the Chicano Art Movement. Xóchitl uses traditional medicine to create art. The art she creates also becomes the medicine as she believes that art should inspire empowerment and be used as a tool for transformation.
Yolpaki Xihuit (Diana Karina Flores de La Cruz) originaria de la Ciudad de México, intérprete, canta-autora y hablante de la lengua Mexicano (Náhuatl) de la Huasteca Hidalguense. Ha
participado en distintos eventos con organizaciones
independientes y colectivos. Estudió Ciencias de la Tierra en la
facultad de Ciencias de la UNAM.
Yolpaki Xihuit (Diana Karina Flores de La Cruz) originally from Mexico City, is a translator, interpreter and speaker of the Mexican language Huasteca Hidalguense (Náhuatl). She is also a
singer-author of songs in Spanish and Náhuatl and has participated in various events with independent and collective organizations. She studied Earth Sciences at the Faculty of Sciences at UNAM, and is currently
pursuing a degree of Indigenous Education at the UPN (National Pedagogical University) in
Facebook: name LA-libreria @la/libreria.en.LA
Las Flores del Valle
Leila Flores-Dueñas & Carol Vigil of Las Flores del Valle (The Flowers of the Valley) have been making music together for more than 10 years at venues that range from the Gene Autry Theatre in L.A. and the National Hispanic Cultural Center to public school classrooms. Whether they are singing for huge audiences or private guests, they are sure to deliver smooth harmonies and thoughtful tunes with passion and heartfelt joy.
Carol and Leila's interests include researching and performing songs that have formed part of our rich cultural heritage in the US/Mexican Borderlands. Through various genres of music, they address social topics such as equal rights, social justice, women's history and simple hope for all age levels and across all cultures.
Red Planet Books & Comics
Founded by Dr. Lee Francis 4 in 2017, Red Planet Books and Comics is the only Native comic shop in the world. We feature comics, books, games, toys and collectibles for all the Indigenerds in the crowd. Red Planet is also the headquarters for both the Indigenous Comic Con and Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.
Established in 1971 as an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), REFORMA has actively sought to promote the development of library collections to include Spanish-language and Latino oriented materials; the recruitment of more bilingual and bicultural library professionals and support staff; the development of library services and programs that meet the needs of the Latino community; the establishment of a national information and support network among individuals who share our goals; the education of the U.S. Latino population in regards to the availability and types of library services; and lobbying efforts to preserve existing library resource centers serving the interests of Latinos.
Still Waters in a Storm
Still Waters in a Storm is a one-room schoolhouse, a reading and writing sanctuary for children ages 5-17 in the neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn.
The structure of our meetings is the same in English, Spanish, Latin and Musical Notation: children and grown-ups study a text together, each writes something inspired by the text, then they take turns reading their writings out loud while everyone listens in a sacred hush. The one rule is, “Everyone listens to everyone.” The simple grace of this ritual changes lives for the better.
SWOP (SouthWest Organizing Project)
Lisa Padilla (SWOP) is a native Burqeña whose family is deeply rooted in Nuevo Mexico. She has raised three sons to young adulthood, reading them and their classmates' stories in Spanish. As the daughter of a first generation college student who went on to get his PhD and then to become a professor at UNM, education and books are very important to her. Her strong Chicana mother also went on to pursue her PhD in psychology after raising four daughters. Lisa is lucky to have had the chance to learn about Chicana/o studies and to pursue social justice for her community at the SouthWest Organizing Project. A proud resident of Barelas, she enjoys leading the board of the neighborhood association when she isn’t gardening, reading good books, or studying Social Work and current affairs.
University of New Mexico - Latin American & Iberian Institute - http://laii.unm.edu/