Latinx KidLit Festival: The 'Once Upon a Time' that Inspires Children and Adults
Organized by the women's and non-binary collective, Las Musas, this pioneering festival is what Latinx readers need.
For the first time, a Latinx children's literature festival brought together some of the best minds in illustration, poetry and youth literature to build bridges with their young readers and educators that guide the citizens of tomorrow.
The first edition of the Latinx KidLit Book Festival took place virtually on Dec. 4 and 5 with free access sessions for anyone, inspiring events and question and answer sessions on topics of concern for the community: Latino identity, the power of storytelling to fight racism, and colorism and hosted roundtables with Latino LGBTQ writers.
Organized by Las Musas, a collective of women and non-binary (identified on the female spectrum), the Latinx KidLit Festival also featured some of the best voices in youth and children's literature and in the world of comics and graphic novels.
Among them was National Book Award winner Elizabeth Acevedo, author of Poet X, who took advantage of the event to share one of her poems and answer questions from children around the country.
Also, America Chavez comic book writer, Gabby Rivera, spoke on her panel about the potential of storytelling to inspire young readers, especially those who are not represented in fiction and do not see themselves as storybook superheroes.
Rivera is the first Latina to write for Marvel and her character America Chavez is a queer Latino heroine who has managed to captivate and fill a necessary gap in the American franchise's universe.
Another of the most anticipated panels was that of the National Book Award finalist and NYT bestselling author, Ibi Zoboi, who dedicated her presentation to reflecting on Haitian literature, race and culture, which is rarely represented in the mainstream media and cultural sections.
Her most recent and successful novel is Punching The Air, which she wrote with Yusef Salaam and revolves around the story of Amal Shahid, an artist and poet who is a victim of a biased system and is accused of a crime he did not commit. Throughout the story, he finds refuge in art.
The writer Julia Alvarez, winner of the National Medal of Arts, together with Anika Aldamuy Denise (author of the biography of Pura Belpré, among others) also spoke about her new picture book, Already a Butterfly, and her work with the Mariposa Foundation in addition to the meditation practices that inspired her work.
It was two intense days, full of animation, color, questions from small and restless readers and, above all, books, which will have their brand new editions in 2021.
In the meantime, keep reading.