Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

The Library of Congress Hosts Annual Américas Award Ceremony

September 26th, 2016

On September 23, 2016 the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs awarded the 2016 Américas Award to Ashley Hope Pérez for her work Out of Darkness (Carolrhoda Lab) and Pam Muñoz Ryan for Echo (Scholastic).

The award is given each year to recognize U.S. published works of children’s and young adult literature that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. An additional two titles may be recognized as Honorable Mentions, along with a list of Commended Titles.

This year, the book award ceremony fell right before the National Book Festival, September 25th, 2016. The timing of this year’s ceremony welcomed a friendly crowd of past award winners and long-time friends of the award such as Meg Medina, Lulu Delacre, Alma Flor Ada, and Isabel Campoy. Joining our program once again was Oyster Adams Bilingual School who prepared a reader’s theater presentation of an excerpt of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Echo. The Library of Congress’ Hispanic Division and the Center for the Book co-sponsored the program.

An educator workshop, co-sponsored by Teaching for Change followed the event. Twenty – two educators from around the DC area came out after the ceremony to engage with Ashley Hope Pérez and Alma Flor Ada on how to diversify classroom libraries. Presentations were also made by curriculum writer, Katrina Dillon of the University of New Mexico and Executive Director of Teaching for Change, Deborah Menkart. Participants in the workshop brought home a copy of Out of Darkness and Alma Flor Ada’s commended title, Island Treasures.

On Friday, September 24th Ashley Hope Pérez and Alma Flor Ada visited a local public school, the Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC) Middle and High School. The school is predominantly Spanish speaking and was eager to learn more about the Américas Award and to hear firsthand from these award winning authors. The school librarians prepared a small exhibit for Hispanic Heritage month highlighting both authors’ work. Over 150 students and their teachers came out to learn more about Alma Flor Ada’s experience as a bilingual author and educator. The high school was excited to meet Ashley Hope Pérez where CLASP donated classroom copies of this year’s award winner, Out of Darkness.

CHEC High School students with Ashley Hope Pérez.