Chicano Literature Index

This is a general website about Chicano literature created and maintained by Patricia Portales, M.A. from the San Antonio College in San Antonio, TX.  Portales describes the site as an “index of authors [that] will provide bilbliographic information for each author, including links to other World Wide Web resources. It is also my hope that this site will serve as a forum for students; thus, papers on Chicano Literature will be considered for publication on this site.”

The resources on the site are divided up into the following categories: General Resources on Chicano Literature, Chicano Resources, Upcoming Multicultural Events (mostly in the San Antonio area) and Authors. The site does not seem to be updated very frequently, but it is still a valuable resource. The most useful part of this website is the extensive list of Chicana/o authors, linking to brief bios and external sources for each one.

I recommend this website as a good starting place for students, readers, librarians and educators who are interested in learning more about a broad range of Chicana/o authors. The strength of this site is the breadth of its focus, and its links to other websites.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Calaca Press

This is the website for California based publisher Calaca Press, which describes itself as “a Chicano family-owned small publishing house dedicated to publishing and producing unknown, emerging, and established progressive Chicano and Latino voices. With a commitment to social justice and human rights Calaca Press strives to bring about change through the literary arts.”

This is by far the most FUN of any of the publishers’ websites I evaluated. This website also contains pages for the “Red CalacaArts Collective,” a “CalacaVision” page containing videos related to the activist work the Press performs, and even a link to the Press’s MySpace page. The beautifully constructed, colorful site is full of links and pages and looks like it could be hours of entertainment.

I have only one criticism of the site, but unfortunately it is a fairly major one. The link to the “CalacaCatalog” takes visitors and potential shoppers to a page where they can download a PDF of the print catalog, rather than allowing for searching and shopping online. There are search functions and a title list on the website that allow visitors to view some of the Press’s offerings directly from the site, but for visitors used to the ease of Amazon may have trouble slowing down enough to download the catalog.

I highly recommend this site to anyone wishing to learn more about the activist aspects of Chicana/o literature, and Calaca Press’s offerings are worth searching out, but librarians, educators and readers may want to request a print catalog if they are serious about ordering.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 5:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bilingual Review Press

This is the website for the Bilingual Review Press, which is affiliated with Arizona State University’s Hispanic Research Center. The press describes itself as follows:  Bilingual Review Press publishes literary works, scholarship, and art books by or about U.S. Hispanics under the name Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe.

The website acts as a catalog for individuals, universities and libraries purchasing materials for their collections. The titles and authors are indexed and searchable, and there are also pages for recent releases, upcoming titles, and the complete backlist of the press. Additionally, the press website serves as a distribution and ordering point for “Commemorative Posters” depicting various events in the history of Hispanic Civil Rights, and the journal The Billingual Review/La Revista Bilingue. 

This website and its large catalog of Chicano/a books is an excellent resources for library selectors, librarians providing readers’ advisory service, educators and individuals with an interest in this literature.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Arte Publico Press

 This is the website for Arte Publico Press, which is an affiliate of the University of Houston. The press describes itself as a “publisher of fiction, poetry, drama, literary criticism, and art by writers of Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and US Hispanic literature.”

In addition to functioning as a searchable, well-indexed catalog, this website features the Pinata Press (for children’s books), a link to the Recovery Project which is a research and teaching initiative intended to recover the “lost” literary heritage of the United States, and a section on the press’s Hispanic Civil Rights series.

The “Quick Links” options on the website connect visitors with pages for ordering, submissions, an FAQ, and study guides for educators teaching the literature of Hispanic people in the United States.

This website is invaluable for librarians and educators looking for a source for Chicano/a literature. I think the Arte Publico Press has a qualitative advantage, in that it is an affiliate of a university press.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cinco Puntos Press

This is the website for El Paso based publisher, Cinco Puntos Press, which describes itself as “a nationally-known, independent, NOT non-profit, literary press that specializes in publishing the literature (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and books for kids) from the U.S./Mexico border, Mexico and the American Southwest.” The site functions as an online catalog, with the books divided into audience-based categories including: Books for Kids, Young Adults, Fiction, Poetry, Non-Fiction, On Sale and Coming soon.

Book descriptions include reviews from external sources and “You May Also Like” suggestions, making this a very helpful resource for anyone wanting to know more about books written by and about Chicanas/os.

This publisher’s website is recommended librarians, collection development officers and library selectors looking for sources for Chicano/a books. Readers and gift-shoppers will also find this site enjoyable and informative for shopping or just browsing.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 4:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Floricanto Press

This is a website for Floricanto Press, a Californian publisher of Mexican and Latino/a books, including literature, poetry, non-fiction and reference books. They are known for publishing the Bilindex, an index to bilingual resources for librarians. Floricanto Press organizes their online offerings into subject guides, but their entire catalog is searchable as well. The site contains an excellent links page, with web resource links on Mexican American and Latino/a arts and culture organized topically.

 This publishers website is essential for librarians, collection development officers and library selectors looking for sources for Chicano/a books not available in mainstream publishing houses.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sandra Cisneros

 This is the official site of award winning and tremendously popular Chicana author Sandra Cisneros, best known for her books including: The House on Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek,  and Caramelo.The site contains links to the usual biographical and bibliographic information. The site also links to articles, interviews, news and events, including scheduled appearances, about Cisneros.

The website is distinguished by its inclusion of study guides for book groups and classrooms studying Cisneros’s work, as well as links to the the foundations started by Cisneros, including The Macondo Foundation for budding writers, Los MacArturos for Latino/a recipients of MacArthur Foundation awards, and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, named for Cisneros’s father and awarded to Texas writers.

This site is an excellent resource for fans of Cisneros’s work, writers, librarians and teachers.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Luis Alberto Urrea

Another author website, this time for 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist, novelist Luis Albero Urrea. Urrea’s books, including Across the Wire and, most recently The Hummingbird’s Daughter have won numerous awards. The website contains extensive biographical information, a bibliography, Urrea’s frequently updated blog that tends to focus on issues of Chicano identity in the United States, and a calendar of events. There is a page devoted to Santa Teresita de Cabora, who constitutes the focus of his most recent novel.

There is an excellent “Etc.” page listing links to resources on human rights organizations concerned with border issues, and music, book, publishing and writing information that Urrea finds relevant.

This is a useful website for librarians doing readers advisory, fans of Urrea’s work, and readers and browsers interested in issues related to the Mexican/US border and immigration.

Published in: on November 29, 2007 at 4:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Gary Soto

This is the official website of Chicano author Gary Soto. Soto is best know for his works for children and young adults, though he has also published a number of works of fiction and poetry for adults. His children’s books include Chato’s Kitchen and Baseball in April and his most notable book for adults is his 1995 New and Selected Poems. This website contains biographical and bibliographical information. There is a “Catalog” section where users can order his books. The catalog is organized by age group, allowing browsers to select from a number of categories.

There is also and FAQ, a “What’s Up” section with an excerpt from a work in progress, contact information and information for students and teachers.

The website is maintained by Soto and his publisher, Putnam House. It is worth visiting for readers of Soto’s work, students and teachers studying Soto and his work, and librarians who do reader’s advisory for children and young adults. This resource is especially useful to children’s librarians and teachers looking to expand their knowledge of children’s literature by and and about Hispanic Americans.

Published in: on November 29, 2007 at 4:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sandra Benitez

This is another excellent author page for Chicana novelist Sandra Benitez, who is best known for her sweeping novels, including Bitter Grounds, The Weight of All Things, and Night of the Radishes. Like most author websites this page includes biographical information, a list of Benitez’s books, and contact information, including information on how to request the author as a speaker. In addition to this basic information, this website sets itself apart by providing Book Group guides for each of Benitez’s novels, with discussion questions and links to background information about issues in the books.

Additionally, there are links to a variety of web resources related to Chicana writing, Mexico, Mexican Americans and reading and literacy in general.

This website is has a very personal feel and Sandra Benitez herself seems closely involved with its maintenance. I highly recommend the site to fans of Benitez’s writing, librarians, and especially book groups. The advice and resources for book group discussions of the novels make the site exceptional. Benitez writes on the site that she is sometimes able to attend book group meetings in person or via Internet or teleconferencing!

Published in: on November 29, 2007 at 3:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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