The 19th International Latino Book Awards:
A Reflection of the Quality of Books By & For Latinos
By Kirk Whisler
The Int’l Latino Book Awards is a major reflection that the fastest growing group in the USA has truly arrived. The Awards are now by far the largest Latino cultural Awards in the USA and with the 233 finalists this year in 91 categories, it has honored the greatness of 2,404 authors and publishers over the past two decades. These books are a great reflection that books by and about Latinos are in high demand. In 2017 Latinos will purchase nearly $700 million in books in English and Spanish.
The 2017 Finalists for the 19th Annual Int’l Latino Book Awards are another reflection of the growing quality of books by and about Latinos. In order to handle this large number of books, the Awards had 196 judges. The judges glowed more than ever about how hard the choices were. Judges shared how the books “Enriched my life” and how much they “Loved the books”. Another judge stated ‘This book appears as candy for the soul and senses’. Several dozen judges exclaimed ‘I could not put the book down until I finished.’ The Awards celebrates books in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Finalists are from across the USA and Puerto Rico, as well as from 20 countries outside the USA.
This has been a great year of growth for Latino Literacy Now’s efforts. Our most recent Latino Book & Family Festival in San Bernardino was our 61st – and brought our combined attendance to over 900,000. The Int’l Society of Latino Authors is now just under a hundred members. Education Begins in the Home, a Latino Literacy Now program, has impacted literacy for over 25,000 people. The first formal event for the 2017 Finalist will be at the American Library Associations Conference at the end of June in Chicago. Latino Literacy Now is now an Affiliate of the ALA. The Award Winning Author Tour has 10 more events in just 2017.
The Awards Cermony will be held September 9, 2017 in Los Angeles at the Dominguez Ballroom at California State University Dominguez Hills. This is part of the Award Winning Author Recognition Weekend that also includes the Award Winning Author Celebration Night on Friday, September 8th and the Los Angeles Latino Book & Family Festival at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes on the 10th. The Awards are produced by Latino Literacy Now, an organization co-founded by Edward James Olmos and Kirk Whisler, and co-presented by Las Comadres de las Americas and REFORMA. Major sponsors include the California State University Dominguez Hills, Libros Publishing, and Scholastic.