Levine Querido launches Spanish language imprint Ediciones Levine Querido
MÁS EN ESTA SECCIÓN
Levine Querido (LQ) is an independent publisher located in Hoboken, NJ. In September, LQ announced the launching of a Spanish language imprint Ediciones Levine Querido—focused on bringing great literature to Spanish- language readers and communities.
The inaugural list consists of three titles, La Última Cuentista (The Last Cuentista) by Donna Barba Higuera, which is a Newbery- award winning book composed of Mexican folklore and science- fiction. I had the opportunity to interview and review this book— a poetically magical story honoring the storytelling of ancestors. Buenos Espíritus (High Spirits) by Camille Gomera- Tavarez discusses stories about the Dominican Diaspora, and reminds me of my own relationship with my culture. Lastly, La tímida Willow (Shy Willow) by Cat Min, is a captivating children’s book about a shy girl who lives in an abandoned mailbox where she is protected from the scary outside world.
“When I was a child there were few books, if any, in Spanish,” Donna Barba Higuera said. “It makes me so proud that my books will be part of something special at Ediciones Levine Querido. Kids like I’d been will now not only be able to read in both English and Spanish, but are given a bridge to connect them to stories they can now share with others.”
There is a high demand for Spanish language titles, with the U.S having the second largest Spanish speaking population in the world, it is no surprise that Donna’s first book Lupe Wong No Baila sold out within the first year.
“The Spanish-language market continues to be underserved by mainstream publishers, especially in Texas, California, and Florida,” LQ Marketing Director and founding member of Latinx in Publishing Antonio Gonzalez Cerna said.
Arthur A. Levine, founder of Levine Querido understands the importance of language, representation, and reaching underrepresented communities—which is the company’s mission.
Creating Ediciones Levine Querido “was concretizing and formalizing our commitment to Spanish language books and trying to do two or three titles per season,” Irene Vázquez, Assistant Editor and Publicist at Levine Querido explained.
The independent publisher is accepting writers that aren’t necessarily Latinx and putting their creative material in Spanish, “because I feel strongly that those stories would resonate with the communities,” Cerna emphasized.
“[The goal is to] expand the readership and get more people reading these books—to remind American publishers and American booksellers that this community is vibrant and needs its own [platform] to make books for children in the U.S.”
Authors like Camille and Donna were extremely passionate about having a Spanish language edition of their respective books.
“When I was first writing High Spirits, I wrote with the intent of the target audience being native Caribbean Spanish speakers,” author Camille Gomera-Tavarez said. “It feels like such a privilege to have my work translated with such care and for my own family members to be able to finally read it along with other Dominicans and Spanish-speaking readers. As I've mentioned before, to me, the Spanish language edition is personally the more valuable version.”
This only solidified Ediciones Levine Querido’s efforts in how imperative it was to find the right translator for the project.
According to NPD Bookscan, there was a growth of 2% over 2021 as of April 2022 and 43% over 2020, of Spanish- language titles, increasing the visibility and demand by publishers, media, entertainment to acknowledge the power of the Spanish language and its ability to reach more people.
Spanish speakers are known to “hold onto their language” Vazquez explained.
But now, more parents are understanding the importance of immersive language schools because “they recognize that being multilingual is a super power—they are able to think and stimulate the brain in different ways,” Cerna assured.
It is crucial to translate already popular books that Spanish speakers are yet to read because of the language barrier. Ediciones Levine Querido was to provide a platform for writers beyond the Latinx community to have their work be seen and read by Spanish speakers.
“I would love to explore indigenous stories from the Caribe. Because I think there’s culture there that is not being discussed or talked about—The introduction of what was already indigenous in those communities— the opportunity is there and I would love for LQ to take a stand,” Antonio emphasized. A sentiment shared by Irene, who points out the indigenous and native voices books currently available at Levine Querido; Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask by Anton Truer and Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth.