Oh, What a Night! The First Biennial Best Spanish Language Picture Book Awards in Spanish

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Cynthia S. Weill

Director of The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College of Education opening the program festivities. 

On March 10th, I had the privilege of attending the first biennial Best Spanish Language Picture Book Awards in Spanish given by The Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education (CBC). The 2020 prizes were given to books that were published or translated in 2018 and 2019, and selected by the CBC’s Spanish Language Affiliate (SLA), Bank Street College faculty and alumni, professors from City University, and by librarians from the New York Public Library. The books were judged on “cultural authenticity, richness of language and illustration, appeal to children as well as other criteria.” (Source: Event Program)

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Shael Polakow-Suransky, President of Bank Street College of Education

Shael Polakow-Suransky, President of Bank Street College of Education, emphasized the importance of having high quality Spanish texts for children, noting that 41% of NYC Public School students are from Latinx ancestry; 15% are from Spanish-speaking families; and that thousands of NYC children are currently receiving bilingual education services in over 500 dual language programs.

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Keynote Yuyi Morales

The incredible, Yuyi Morales, six-time winner of the Pura Belpré Award for Illustration, gave a moving keynote about her migration to the United States from Mexico, which ultimately became her book, Dreamers (2019). Not able to speak or read in English when she arrived in the U.S., her mother-in-law one day dropped her and her infant son at the library. And it was at the library where she not only found her new home but also her family. It is where she read stories about people just like her, written by people just like her, and for people who were just like her—immigrants.

Now, without further ado, the winners of 2020 Best Spanish Language Picture Book Awards are:

Gold Medal

MI PAPI TIENE UNA MOTO / MY PAPI HAS A MOTORCYCLE

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by Isabel Quintero; Illustrated by Zeke Peña

Translator: Andrea Montejo

(Kokila, Penguin/Random House)

Silver Medals

¿DE DÓNDE ERES? / WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

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by Yamile Saied Méndez; Illustrated by Jaime Kim (Harper Collins Publishers)

SEMBRANDO HISTORIAS: PURA BELPRÉ: BIBLIOTECARIA Y NARRADORA DE CUENTOS / PLANTING STORIES: THE LIFE OF LIBRARIAN AND STORYTELLER PURA BELPRÉ

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by Anika Aldamuy Denise; Illustrated by Paola Escobar

Translated by Omayra Ortiz (Harper Collins Publishers)

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Anika Aldamuy Denise accepting her award. 

MARIO Y EL AGUJERO EN EL CIELO: CÓMO UN QUÍMICO SALVÓ NUESTRO PLANETA / MARIO AND THE HOLE IN THE SKY: HOW A CHEMIST SAVED OUR PLANET

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by Elizabeth Rusch; Illustrated by Teresa Martínez

Translated by Carlos E. Calvo (Charlesbridge Publishers)

2020 Honorable Mentions

SOÑADORES / DREAMERS by YuYi Morales (Holiday House)

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ALMA Y COMO OBTUVO SU NOMBRE / ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME

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by Juana Martinez Neal (Candlewick)

The program was recorded in its entirety by KidLit TV. 

Below are a few photographic highlights:

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The seal imprinted on the winning books was designed

twenty-five years ago and adapted by Lauren Linn. 

Muchas gracias to The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature for una noche increible.

Where’s Waldo? No, not Waldo! Where’s Robin?

 

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Sincere apologies for being M.I.A. from the blog lately but the fall has been crazy busy with book festivals, conferences, revisions, writing, and book deals.

Reader: Wait one second! Did she say book deals?

Why, yes I did.

I am thrilled to finally announce that the third book in The Wilcox & Griswold Mystery Series, The Case of the Bad Apples, illustrated by the amazing Deborah Zemke, will be out fall 2020. Heartfelt thanks to Liza Fleissig, Ginger Harris, Marissa Moss, and to everyone who read, reread, and re-reread drafts of the book.

There’s more good news to come on this front . . . so please stay tuned. YIPPEE KI YAY!

Now, as we all know, being crazy busy for an author is AWESOME! Below is a quick recap of where I’ve been.

First stop, the Highlights Foundation, Honesdale, PA. If you’ve never been, I have one word for you. Go! Actually, two words. Go now! You won’t regret it. Not sure if it’s the pixie dust in the Honesdale air or just the to-die-for food, but Highlights is pure magic. It was beyond wonderful to have a few days to focus on work, and then just be able to ask an editor a question or two.

Sample Author-Editor Discussion Simulation 

Me:  Do you have a minute to read something? Is this working? Does it need another beat? Is it funny enough because my dogs always laugh when I read that line.

Editor: Do you give your dogs treats when you read that line?

Me: Maybe.

I’d like to shout out a very big thank you to Jennifer Jacobson, Juana Martinez-Neal, Gareth Hinds, Nikki Grimes, Padma Venkatraman, Neal Porter, Kathleen Merz, Laurie Calkhoven, and Alison Morris for sharing their words of wisdom, time, and for their encouragement and support, and to the above and beyond amazing Highlights staff for making the weekend extraordinarily special.

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My adorable cabin. 

Second stop, Collingswood Book Festival, Collingswood, NJ. This is one of my all-time favorite book festivals and it was such a treat to be there with so many author friends, including Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Laura Shovan, as well as so many friends from the KidLit Authors Club, including Hallee Adelman, Jodi Moore, Charlotte Bennardo, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, David Neilsen, Jeffry Johnston, Jennifer Robin Barr, and Kell Andrews.

Third stop, West Jersey Reading Council’s Fall Conference, Pennsauken, NJ. The West Jersey Reading Council provides educators, administrators, and parents with literacy-based enrichment programs. This year Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and I presented on Using Picture Books to Teach Empowerment and Inclusion. We also participated in the author meet and greet.

(Note: If we look like drowned rats in the photos, it’s because it was POURING cats and dogs.)

Fourth stop, Easton Book Festival, Easton, PA. Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the first ever Easton Book Festival. The book festival was the brainchild of Andy Laities, the former manager of the Bank Street Bookstore. In a word, it was AWESOME!

A quick side story . . . one of my first book signings was at the Bank Street Bookstore. Since I have a detective book, naturally I thought the kids would enjoy a fingerprinting activity. Well, this was a very bad idea. Not just a very bad idea but an exceptionally bad idea. The children were running around the store with ink on their hands while Andy was chasing them down with wipes. (So, if you have a detective book, I strongly advise against any kind of fingerprinting activities.) P.s. I’d like to note that I LOVE Bank Street Bookstore and am so thrilled that I wasn’t banished from the store.

Here are a few photographic highlights from Easton:

There was a spectacular author dinner, with belly dancers. 

I’d like to shout out a super huge THANK YOU to Andy Laities, Sarah Laities, and to all the volunteers for making the Easton Book Festival unforgettable. Can’t wait for next year’s festival.

Where will Robin be next? NerdCampLI on November 2nd and the Huntington Public Library’s Picture Book Palooza on November 10th.

And in the words of the great Porky Pig . . .

 

 

KidLit TV’s Live Stream Read Aloud

I’m a tad late to the party in posting about this AMAZING event hosted by KidLit TV, but better late than never.

March is National Reading Awareness Month and to celebrate KidLit TV invited authors and illustrators to read their picture books for their first Live Stream Read Aloud Marathon on Friday, March 3, 2017.

The Read Aloud received over 3,000 views and was featured in Publisher’s Weekly column, In Brief.

Below are a few photographic highlights:

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Rocco Stanno and Katya Szewczuk

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Cynthia Weill and Orel Protopopescu

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Laurie Wallmark 

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Roxie Munro, Barbara McClintock and Elizabeth Upton

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Kat Yeh

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Me, Laurie Wallmark and Orel Protopopescu

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Roxie Munro and Carol Weston 

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Julie Gribble 

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Steve Light 

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Selene Castrovilla

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Me and Rosanne Kurstedt

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Kelly Light

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Susanna Reich

Katya Szewczuk and Laurie Wallmark 

That’s one scary witch! 

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Erica Rand Silverman and David Weinstone 

Orel Protopopescu, Cynthia Weill and Susanna Reich 

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Rosanne Kurstedt 

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Laura Sassi 

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The Reading Ninjas 

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Ender, a super adorable Reading Ninja, reading Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep.

 (This made my day!) 

A GINORMOUS THANK YOU to the amazing Julie Gribble, Erica Rand Silverman, Katya Szewczuk, Rocco Staino, and to everyone at KidLit TV who made this extraordinary celebration of reading so very special. Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Bank Street Book Store’s Grand Opening

 

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It was a day of celebration for the Upper West Side, as Bank Street Book Store cut the red ribbon and opened its doors at its new location on 107th Street and Broadway. Children, parents, authors, illustrators, politicians, and friends of Bank Street from near and far came out in droves to show their love and support for the bookstore.

I am thrilled beyond words to have been a part of this great day.

Here are some highlights (contributing photography and videography by Zoe Newman Sachs, Donna Marie and Eric Pearl).

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 (Left to right) Council Member Mark Levine, Borough President Gale Brewer, Bank Street President Shael Polakow-Suransky

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 A dream come true to see my book at Bank Street Book Store

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Jerry Pinkney 

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Rebecca Stead and me 

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Deborah Heiligman and Andrew Laties

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Betsy Bird 

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Robie Harris and Amy Hest

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 Shael Polakow-Suransky and Cynthia Weill

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Todd Tarpley

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Vin Vogel and me 

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Sandra Jordan 

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Donna Marie 

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Peter Lerangis 

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Me and Chris Grabenstein 

My niece, Zoe, is a HUGE fan of Chris Grabenstein. She couldn’t make it in time for his reading so he was kind enough to make this video for her.

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Jill Davis and James Grimaldi 

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Jill Davis and her adoring, super adorable fans

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Me and Jill Davis 

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Nina and Leslie Zampetti

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Mawrters in the House!

Annina Luck Wildermuth (Bryn Mawr ’84) and me (Bryn Mawr ’89) 

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Francoise Newman, Vanessa Rule (Bryn Mawr ’91), Hilary Newman (Bryn Mawr ’89) and Zoe Newman Sachs (Bryn Mawr Year T/B/D) 

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Rory Deutsch, Judith Meehan, and me

If you love Bank Street as much as I do, please show your support for the bookstore. Become a frequent customer, encourage friends, neighbors and family to become frequent customers, and become a friend of Bank Street Book Store. To learn more about how you can become a friend of Bank Street, please contact the store.

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Three cheers for Bank Street Book Store! Congratulations and thanks so much for a wonderful day!!!

Mark Your Calendars for Bank Street Book Store’s Grand Opening

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On March 7, 2015, Bank Street Book Store is having their Grand Opening at their new location at 2780 Broadway (corner of 107th Street and Broadway).

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:00 am will be followed by an all day Story Time Festival featuring over twenty children’s book authors. Please come by to check out the new space, schmooze and enjoy refreshments.

Guest Authors:

Peter Ackerman

Meg Akabas

Betsy Bird

Jill Davis

Alix Delinois

Monica Edinger

Tim Federle

Isabel Gillies

Chris Grabenstein

Robie Harris

Deborah Heiligman

Amy Hest

Nina Jaffe

Sandra Jordan

Susan Kuklin

Patricia Lakin

Peter Lerangis

Carolyn Mackler

Robin Newman – Reading at 4:00 pm!!!

Jerry Pinkney

Doreen Rappaport

Chris Raschka

Jill Santopolo

Eliot Schrefer

Rebecca Stead

Rachel Vail

Cynthia Weill

Carol Weston

I will be reading The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, A Wilcox & Griswold Mystery, illustrated by Deborah Zemke (Creston Books, Spring 2015), at 4:00 pm. Hope to see you there!