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Books in Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature. Commended series

  • Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

    Javaka Steptoe

    Hardcover (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Oct. 25, 2016)
    Handpicked by Amazon kids’ books editor, Seira Wilson, for Prime Book Box – a children’s subscription that inspires a love of reading.Winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator AwardJean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe's vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat's own introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn't always have to be neat or clean--and definitely not inside the lines--to be beautiful.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

    Benjamin Alire Sáenz

    Hardcover (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Feb. 21, 2012)
    A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
  • The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes

    Duncan Tonatiuh

    Hardcover (Abrams Books for Young Readers, Sept. 20, 2016)
    Award-winning author Duncan Tonatiuh reimagines one of Mexico’s cherished legends. Princess Izta had many wealthy suitors but dismissed them all. When a mere warrior, Popoca, promised to be true to her and stay always by her side, Izta fell in love. The emperor promised Popoca if he could defeat their enemy Jaguar Claw, then Popoca and Izta could wed. When Popoca was near to defeating Jaguar Claw, his opponent sent a messenger to Izta saying Popoca was dead. Izta fell into a deep sleep and, upon his return, even Popoca could not wake her. As promised Popoca stayed by her side. So two volcanoes were formed: Iztaccíhuatl, who continues to sleep, and Popocatépetl, who spews ash and smoke, trying to wake his love.
  • I Love Saturdays y Domingos

    Alma Flor Ada, Elivia Savadier

    Hardcover (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Jan. 1, 2002)
    Saturdays and Sundays are very special days for the child in this story. On Saturdays, she visits Grandma and Grandpa, who come from a European-American background, and on Sundays -- los domingos -- she visits Abuelito y Abuelita, who are Mexican-American. While the two sets of grandparents are different in many ways, they also have a great deal in common -- in particular, their love for their granddaughter. While we follow our narrator to the circus and the pier, share stories from her grandparents' pasts, and celebrate her birthday, the depth and joy of both cultures are conveyed in Spanish and English. This affirmation of both heritages will speak to all children who want to know more about their own families and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Elena's Serenade

    Campbell Geeslin, Ana Juan

    Hardcover (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, March 1, 2004)
    Who ever heard of a girl glassblower? In Mexico, where the sun is called el sol and the moon is called la luna, a little girl called Elena wants to blow into a long pipe...and make bottles appear, like magic. But girls can't be glassblowers. Or can they? Join Elena on her fantastic journey to Monterrey -- home of the great glassblowers! -- in an enchanting story filled with magic realism.
  • The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer: A Huichol Indian Story

    James Endredy, María Hernández de la Cruz, Casimiro de la Cruz López

    Hardcover (Bear Cub Books, Oct. 31, 2003)
    A contemporary adaptation of an indigenous Huichol teaching tale, illustrated with traditional yarn drawings by Huichol artisans• Shares the hidden treasures of a nature-based indigenous culture• A teaching tool for multicultural studies for children ages 6 to 9• Explains who the Huichol people are and the symbolism of the images used by the artistsThe Huichol Indians live in the remote regions of the Sierra Madre Mountains of western Mexico, where geographic isolation has allowed them to retain their culture and spiritual traditions in the face of colonization. Their nature-based way of life makes no distinction between the sacred and the secular, and they express their reverence for the powers of the earth by regarding all elements in nature as family. The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer is a modern adaptation of a traditional Huichol story depicting a young child finding his (or her) personal task in life by connecting with the powers of nature. The story is told through the experiences of young Tunuri, who becomes lost in the woods. He meets the magical Blue Deer--a messenger between the worlds of mortals and deities--who introduces Tunuri to Father Sun, Mother Earth, and others in the natural world, while leading him back to his human family. Through this lovely tale and the vivid illustrations done in the medium of traditional Huichol yarn drawings, children can learn about their place in the sacred web of life.
  • The Remembering Stone

    Barbara Timberlake Russell, Claire B. Cotts

    Hardcover (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), April 2, 2004)
    A surprising journey of self-discoveryIn early fall, the blackbirds creak like rusty wheels behind our apartment . . . "One day I will return like you," my mother tells the birds. "But for now, you go. Que les vaya bien. Safe journey."Ana doesn't understand the pull of this faraway place until one night she puts her favorite thing -- a stone spit from the volcanoes of Costa Rica - underneath her pillow. She imagines herself a blackbird flying to this country her mother longs to see again, with "mountains [that] stretch over steamy cedar and ebony forests, noisy with bright birds . . . [her] grandfather and uncles gathering cacao pods from the trees." And as Ana imagines what she would see, she develops her own emotional link to this place and people, who, while far away, are part of her.This evocative picture book with its striking, bold art celebrates the importance of hope, dreams, and cultural roots -- and will have special resonance for all thos who find themselves at the crossroads of two cultures.
  • Xochitl and the Flowers/Xochitl, la niña de las flores

    Jorge Argueta, Carl Angel

    Hardcover (Children's Book Press, June 19, 2003)
    Miles away from their home in El Salvador, Xochitl (Soh-cheel) and her family make a home in America. Xochitl misses her family’s small flower business and garden back home. By selling flowers on the street the Flores family begin to make friends with their new neighbors. But it is not until the family decides to start a nursery that Xochitl learns the value of community. Award-winning writer Jorge Argueta has crafted a moving story about a family’s determination to set down roots and about their child’s blooming in a new environment. Carl Angel’s artwork splendidly documents this quintessentially American immigration story.
  • Grandma and Me at the Flea / Los Meros Meros Remateros

    Juan Felipe Herrera, Anita De Lucio-Brock

    Hardcover (Children's Book Press, Feb. 20, 2002)
    Every Sunday Juanito helps his grandmother sell old clothes at the flea market. Romping from booth to booth among the rainbow-colored tents under the sun, Juanito and his friends fulfill Grandma’s vision of the flea market as a sharing community of friendly give and take. With every trade and barter, Juanito learns firsthand what it means to be a true rematero — a flea marketeer — and discovers that the value of community can never be measured in dollars.
  • Me in the Middle

    Ana Maria Machado, Caroline Merola, David Unger

    Hardcover (Groundwood Books, March 15, 2002)
    When ten-year-old Bel finds a photograph of her greatgrandmother Beatrice, or Bisa Bea, she convinces her mother to let her borrow it. When the picture inexplicably vanishes, Bisa Bea's voice suddenly emerges inside Bel, telling stories of the old days and counseling her on proper behavior by young girls. Then another voice emerges that tells her to be strong; this one belongs to her future granddaughter, and the key to how these voices came to live inside her lies in the lost photo of her greatgrandmother. This whimsical, witty novel shows how knowledge of the past can strengthen the wisdom of future generations. Author Ana Maria Machado won the 2000 Hans Christian Andersen Award.
  • The Santero's Miracle: A Bilingual Story

    Amy CĂłrdova, Enrique R. Lamadrid

    Hardcover (University of New Mexico Press, Dec. 15, 2004)
    In this bilingual story of faith, Don Jacobo has a dream that, in the end, is a reminder that miracles do happen. Jacobo is teaching his visiting grandson Andrés how to become a santero. Christmas is coming, snow is falling in the village, and the two are working on a carving of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers. The half-finished carving stands in the living room beside the two oxen and the angel that don Jacobo carved earlier in the month. The snow-covered mountains are beautiful, but the road to the village is impassable. Andrés's parents will not be able to get to the house for the holiday, and Jacobo's neighbor Leopoldo is desperately ill but cannot get to the hospital.Then comes Jacobo's dream; San Isidro is plowing with the two oxen and the angel is helping. "But we don't plow 'til April," don Jacobo muses upon awakening. "What does it mean?" The night had been bitterly cold and don Jacobo must bundle up to go to the barn to feed his cows and chickens. As he steps outside, he can hardly believe his eyes. The snow-packed road is clear.Rudolfo Anaya's story of the power of faith, hope, and love will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
  • Messengers of Rain: And Other Poems from Latin America

    Claudia M. Lee, Rafael Yockteng

    Hardcover (Groundwood Books, Aug. 9, 2002)
    This anthology of poems introduces readers to an eclectic mix of new and established Latin American poets. The beautifully illustrated collection from 19 Latin American countries features traditional pre-Columbian work that is represented alongside contemporary poetry, and a significant portion of the book comes from the indigenous community. Divided into four groups — Magic Recipes, Traditional Songs and Cooings, The Cricket Sings in the Mountain, and Words and Books — the poems range from celebrations of nature and nonsense to musings on politics and magic. The book includes the work of Roque Dalton, Humberto A’kabal, and Emilia Gallego.