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Celia C. Pérez

About Celia C. Pérez

Celia C. Pérez is a reference and instruction librarian at Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL. She is a former co-chair of REFORMA's Children and Young Adult Services Committee and served on the 2014 Pura Belpré Award committee. Her middle-grade novel, The First Rule of Punk (Viking), was a Pura Belpré Author Honor book winner.

The First Rule of Punk: Celia C. Pérez’s 2018 BGHB Fiction & Poetry Honor Speech

I didn’t always know I wanted to write for children. I always knew I loved books, and I knew writing was something I enjoyed, but the idea of writing as work, for an audience, and especially the idea of writing books — which were these things I only ever had access to through someone else, […]

The Book That Changed My Life: Write What’s Missing

It started in seventh grade, the day my best friend brought a beat-up paperback to school and asked me to hold it for her. Garla’s mom was very religious, so at times I found myself keeping stuff for her at my house, things her mother wouldn’t approve of, like her DeBarge and Prince records. That […]

Martí’s Song for Freedom

When I was a kid, my father installed two gold-painted busts of famous Cubans in our front yard. One was of Antonio Maceo, the Afro-Cuban general who was a leader in the island’s struggle for independence from Spain. The other was of José Martí. Friends would sometimes ask, seeing the head of Martí (the larger […]

Review of All the Way to Havana

All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle; illus. by Mike Curato Primary    Godwin/Holt    40 pages 8/17    978-1-62779-642-2    $17.99 A contemporary Cuban boy takes readers on a trip across the island as he and his family travel from their home in the country to Havana to visit his new baby cousin “on his zero-year birthday.” […]

Review of Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words

Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words by Margarita Engle Middle School    Atheneum    163 pp. 8/16    978-1-4814-6112-2    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6114-6    $10.99 In this last chapter in her series of verse novels about the struggle “against forced labor in nineteenth-century Cuba” (The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano, rev. 7/06, and […]

When Google Translate Gives You Arroz con Mango: Erroneous Español and the Need for #ownvoices

I recently had a Twitter conversation with three writer and librarian colleagues, two of whom are native Spanish speakers, about the use of Spanish in primarily English-language children’s books. The conversation started after one of us wrote about finding incorrect Spanish in a book. Each of us chimed in, able to produce at least one […]

Review of ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / 
Olinguito, from A to Z!

¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / 
Olinguito, from A to Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Unveiling the Cloud Forest by Lulu Delacre; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Children’s Book Press/Lee & Low    40 pp. 2/16    978-0-89239-327-5    $18.95    g In 2013, a team of scientists discovered a new species, the olinguito, in […]

Funny Bones

You know that skeleton woman with the big flowered hat? Guess what? Her name is la Catrina, and she wasn’t created by Russell Stover. You may not recognize the name José Guadalupe Posada, but you’re probably familiar with his most iconic illustration. La Catrina is everywhere these days, especially since el dia de los muertos […]

Review of Flutter & Hum / 
Aleteo y Zumbido: Animal Poem / Poemas de Animales

Flutter & Hum / 
Aleteo y Zumbido: Animal Poems / Poemas de Animales by Julie Paschkis; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Holt   32 pp. 8/15   978-1-62779-103-8   $17.99 A turtle hides treasures in its shell. Whales dance with the ocean. A cat sleeps on a map and wakes to stretch across the world, from Arequipa […]

Review of Shadows of Sherwood: A Robyn Hoodlum Adventure

Shadows of Sherwood: A Robyn Hoodlum Adventure by Kekla Magoon Intermediate, Middle School   Bloomsbury   359 pp. 8/15   978-1-61963-634-7   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-61963-635-4   $13.99 When twelve-year-old Robyn Loxley sneaks out in search of a voltage adapter for her latest project, she has no idea that the junkyard’s guard dog will be the least of her […]