Building Diverse Bookshelves **** Review

Very thankful for the beautifully written, comprehensive review of Evangelina Takes Flight by Jupiter Brown. Near the bottom of her post, you’ll find an excellent resource for more information about Texas/Mexico history during the Mexican Revolution.

Check it out!


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Black Bean Salad – Perfect for a Picnic or Potluck

Toss together in large serving bowl:

3 cans black beans, drained, rinsed (let as much water drain off as possible)

2-3 fresh ears of corn, corn cut off cob (leave it raw), or 1 c frozen corn, thawed

1/2 red onion, finely diced

1/2 c cilantro – well rinsed and chopped

1/2 jalapeño, de-veined, seeded and finely chopped

1 red or orange pepper, cored, seeded, de-veined, chopped

Whisk together and pour over bean mixture:

juice of 2 limes

1/2 c apple cider vinegar (red wine vinegar works as well)

1 T mustard (yellow, Dijon or coarse ground)

1 t ground cumin

2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1 t sugar

1 t salt or to taste

1/2 t ground pepper or to taste

dash red pepper chili flakes

1/3 c canola or corn oil

Stir dressing and bean mixture well, let sit for at least an hour before serving to let the flavors blend. SERVES 6-8.

You can also serve this with tortilla chips as an appetizer. Great with grilled meats (fajitas!) or to eat with cheese quesadillas.


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Texas Teen Book Festival October 7, 2017

Texas Teen Book FesitvalHonored to be in the lineup at the Texas Teen Book Festival this fall! Check out the other authors via the link below – looks like it’ll be a great event!

The Texas Book Festival is in November, and I’ll be a guest panelist there, too.


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Evangelina Takes Flight – 2 New Reviews

Book List Online and You Decide: Should I Read It or Not? (blog)

Check  “Book Reviews” on the menu bar above or click on this link:


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School Desegregation Landmark Case

The following is from Mimi Lozano, editor of “Somos Primos”, a free, online publication dedicated to past and present articles, events and information concerning Hispanic heritage issues. The 1946 case of Mendez versus Westminster is highly relevant to Evangelina Takes Flight, because her new hometown of Seneca, Texas also proposes segregation of all “foreigners and negroes” from the only school in the area.

Dear familia, primos y amigos. . . . .

2017 is the 70-year anniversary of the Orange County, California Mendez v. Westminster school desegregation landmark case. This WWII case involved five Latino families fighting against 4 school districts on behalf of 5,000 children who were being denied access to equal education and opportunity by being segregated to inferior schools and demeaned social status.  Mendez helped pave the way to the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education seven years later but most American, even among Mexican Americans and other Latinos have no idea that segregation took place all across America, targeting Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, as well as African-Americans.

8+ minute PBS video on the case:

The August Somos Primos Newsletter can be found here:

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My 3 Answers

THE QUESTIONS posed to me by the good folks at the book festival I’m attending in October:

  1. We heard you based your book loosely on your grandmother’s life. What prompted you to write her story?
  2. If you were guaranteed an answer to one question, what would it be?
  3. What book have you read that you’d like to see on our official “Read Everything” booklist for the 2017 conference?


  1. Since I was a little girl, I knew my Abuelita (Grandmother) and her large family fled northern Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. Her family owned a ranch on thousands of acres. If they stayed, they would have suffered greatly or even been killed at the hands of Pancho Villa and his band of rebel soldiers. That information alone was enough to fire up my curiosity and imagination. But, more importantly, I wanted to portray a regular Mexican family full of tradition, compassion, loyalty and determination in a challenging time. I grew up in a Mexican-American home surrounded by the most beautiful people you can imagine. Evangelina Takes Flight is a love letter to them. The book’s message is more important now than ever.
  2. I’d be too afraid to ask! What if I didn’t like the answer, and how would it affect my life? Besides, I believe the best way to predict your future is to create it (lifted from Stephen Covey), so every day, I try to visualize and sculpt my life and the legacy I want to leave, without the answers to life’s big questions.
  3. One of my very favorite books is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver for the way it takes me to a place and time I never would have imagined on my own. It weaves a fascinating story (told from multiple points of view) of a preacher and his family in the Congo as the Congolese people rebel against Belgian rule. For a teen book, I would say, “Speak”, by Laurie Halse Anderson. What a powerful message about incomprehensible hurt, healing, hard-won transformation and finding your own voice.
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Whirlwind Tour Through Texas

I had two author events in the past week, both of which went swimmingly! Here are some favorite photos. Special thanks to everyone who helped out – Renee at the Laredo Public Library, Anna, Judy, Amparo, Russ and the kids (okay, so they’re adults), Kay at Barnes & Noble and my parents, Arturo & Belinda. I also appreciated the support of Marina Tristan from Arte Público Press at the Houston event.

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