The largest Latino book awards in the USA, The International Latino Book Awards, is now accepting entries for the 2015 Awards. Over the last 16 years the Awards has honored 1,668 authors and publishers, including 231 winners in 2014. Winners were from across the USA and from 18 countries outside the USA. The 2014 Awards were presented as part of the American Library Association’s Annual Conference.
According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, only 3.3% of children’s books are by or about a Latino. In a country where well over 20% of the children are Latino something is wrong with that 3.3%. These awards and Latino Literacy Now are working to change that.
Winners have included many of the best-known Latino authors including Roldofo Acuña, Alma Flor Ada, Isabel Allende, Rudy Anaya, Mary J. Andrade, José Antonio Buciaga, Denise Chavéz, Paulo Coelho, Dr. Camilo Cruz, Gabriel García Márquez, Reyna Grande, Oscar Hijuelos, Edna Iturralde, Mario Vargas Llosa, Josefina López, Pablo Neruda, Ana Nogales, Jose Luis Orozco, Luis Rodriguez, Alisa Valdes, and Victor Villaseñor.
Winners have also included well-known figures from other professions including Entertainers like Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, Cheech Marin, screenwriter Rick Najera, the late singer Jenni Rivera, singer Linda Ronstadt and TV personality Lilliana Vasquez; Sports notables Oscar de la Hoya and Jorge Posada; Media figures like Martín Llorens, Jorge Ramos, Teresa Rodriguez, and Ray Suarez; Public figures like Henry Cisneros and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; and Chefs like Paulina Abascal, Jose Garces, Pati Jinich, and Daisy Martinez. Past winners have been almost equally divided between the three groups of major publishing houses; smaller publishing houses; and self published books or publishers doing on a few books a year.
2014 is an amazing year for books for Latinos – and the market’s rapid growth is merely one reflection of how solid the market is. Latinos in the USA will purchase over $700 million in books in both English and Spanish – up nearly $200 million in four years. The number of books by and about Latinos has risen substantially. Amazingly, sales of books by past ILBA winning authors have totaled more than 200 million copies! The bottom line is that books targeting Latinos are a growing segment because of the rapid growth of the market and the current gaps in relevant topics being presented.
Latino Literacy Now, the producer of the ILBAs, is a nonprofit co-founded by Edward James Olmos and Kirk Whisler that has also produced 54 Latino Book & Family Festivals around the USA attended by a combined nearly 900,000 people, and the Latino Books into Movies Awards. The Award sponsors included Libros Publishing as a Gold Sponsor, Scholastic Books as a Silver Sponsor, and Vaso Roto Ediciones. Award partners include Las Comadres de las Americas and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and is an affiliate of the American Library Association. More about the Awards can be found at www.LBFF.us and the 2015 entry form is now available. The final deadline to enter the Awards is January 20, 2015, and the discounted deadline is October 1, 2014.