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Américas Award Celebrated in Washington, DC

October 2, 2017

Américas Award Celebrated in Washington, DC

Photograph of authors, illustrators, award coordinators, review committee members, and affiliated CLASP representatives all gathered together at the Library of Congress.


The 2017 Américas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature was celebrated recently at the Library of Congress with an award ceremony honoring the 2017 award winners and honorable mention authors. The ceremony was held Friday, September 22, at the Library of Congress and acknowledged the exemplary work of this year’s award winning author Susan Hood and illustrator Sally Wern Comport for their book Ada’s Violin (Simon & Schuster); award winning author Alexandra Díaz for The Only Road (Simon & Schuster); honorable mention author Nadia Hohn for Malaika’s Costume (Groundwood Books); and honorable mention author Reyna Grande for The Distance Between Us (Simon & Schuster). The ceremony included comments from Library of Congress staff, award coordinators, and review committee members.

In addition to the award ceremony, area K-12 educators were invited to participate in CLASP's complementary, annual Américas Award K-12 educator workshop, which was hosted by American University’s School of Education this year. The workshop highlighted three Américas Award books that portray different perspectives of migration. Authors Alexandra Díaz, Reyna Grande, and Nadia Hohn shared and discussed their books - each of which explores the topic of immigration from a different perspective. Curriculum specialist Rebeca Gamez also presented at the workshop to offer curricular strategies for teaching about immigration. Lastly, Teaching for Change, which co-sponsored the evening, was part of the agenda as their staff member, community organizer and educator Fayette Colon, shared additional resources for participants.

Award winning authors continued the momentum of the award ceremony and workshop with visits to nearby schools, where they presented on their work and the creative writing process to students.

Organized by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP), the Américas Award is given annually in recognition of US published works of fiction, poetry, folklore, and non-fiction that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos/Hispanics in the United States. To support using the award winning titles in classrooms, CLASP provides an annotated list of all recognized titles.

CLASP founded the América's Award in 1993 to encourage and commend authors, illustrators, and publishers who produce quality children's and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States, and to provide teachers with recommendations for classroom use. CLASP offers up to two annual book awards, together with a commended list of titles. For more information about CLASP and the Américas Award, visit the CLASP website.

The UNM LAII is a member of CLASP and proud sponsor of the Américas Award. For more information about using literacy to teach about Latin America in K-12 classrooms, visit the LAII's blog on this topic: Vamos a Leer.