Houston Public Library 
Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15 - October 15, 2016

Saturday, October 1, 2016 | 1PM - 5PM
Central Library Plaza | 500 McKinney St., 77002

Join us for the 5th Annual Houston LibroFEST, a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month that spotlights books, art, history and culture through library presentations, activities, performances and more. Local literary organizations, community groups, writers, artists and notable speakers take part in the festivities. This free event is for all to enjoy! 

Follow #HOULibroFest on Facebook and Twitter

12:45 PM  |  KICK OFF: HPL Welcome + Performance by High School for the Performing and Visual Arts group, Mariachi Los Pasajeros

1 PM  |  Two Trailblazing Latina Leaders: Former Texas State Representative, Diana Dávila Martínez, and former Houston City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Houston, Gracie Saenz, share their experiences as Latina civic leaders.

2 PM  |  Aliens, Mothers and Family Trees: Bilingual storytime with Salvadoran children’s author, René Colato Laínez!

2:45 PM  |  Music performed by Dan Oviedo & Friends

3 PM  |  Readings by local writers sponsored by Gulf Coast Literary Journal, Writespace, Public Poetry, and the University of Houston’s Center for Mexican American Studies

4 PM  |  American Dreams: Poet Javier O. Huerta and Wall Street executive-turned-author Julissa Arce speak about their immigrant experiences and remarkable accomplishments; moderated by Claudia Kolker.

From North to South in Parents Magazine

I am so happy to see my book From North to South/ Del Norte al Sur included in Parents Magazine’s list of "5 Books to Help You Raise a Globally Minded Child". 
This is a picture of the magazine, to read it on line visit
#kidlit #wndb

LibroMobile Presents: A Bilingual Children's Reading Hour!


CSUF Grand Central Art Center 
125 N Broadway,
Santa Ana, CA 92701

con/with René Colato Laínez & Amy Costales

Descripción del Evento/Event Description:

1:30-2:00pm Tiempo para “Colorear con la Comunidad”/
“Coloring with the Community” Time

2:00-3:00pm Lectura en Vivo por los Autores/
Live Reading by Authors 
René Colato Laínez & Amy Costales

3:00-3:30pm Firma de Libros y Fotografías/Book Signing & Pictures

This literary event is supported & co-hosted by Grand Central Art Center. “Coloring with the Community” is brought to you by Community Engagement ( & supported by local artist Dino Perez.

Conoce los Autores/Meet the Authors:

René Colato Laínez

Yo soy René Colato Laínez, el premiado autor salvadoreño de muchos libros bilingües/ multiculturales para niños. Yo obtuve mi maestría en Creación Literaria para Niños y Jóvenes en la Universidad de las Artes de Vermont y soy maestro en la escuela primaria Fernangeles. Mi meta como autor es producir buena literatura multicultural para niños; historias donde niños latinos sean presentados en maneras positivas, donde ellos puedan verse como héroes, y donde ellos puedan soñar y tener esperanza en el futuro. Yo quiero escribir historias autenticas de niños latinoamericanos que viven en los Estados Unidos.

I am René Colato Laínez, the Salvadoran award winning author of many bilingual/ multicultural children's books. I have a master's degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children & Young Adults. My goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children's literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future. I want to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States.

Amy Costales

Escuché mis primeras palabras de español en el regazo de mi abuelo. El hijo de una inmigrante siciliana y un cubano/español que fue exiliado cuando EEUU invadió Cuba en 1898, hablaba inglés, español e italiano. Cuando era adolescente, mi familia se mudó inesperadamente a California, pegado a la frontera con México. Para ese entonces, me identificaba como española. Me casé con un joven inmigrante mexicano, y pronto nació mi hija. A él lo dejé, pero nunca a la comunidad mexicana a la cual me introdujo. Desde entonces, he enseñado tercer grado bilingüe, quinto grado, español, ciencias sociales e inglés como segunda lengua. He enseñado en escuelas internacionales en Tailandia y la India y en escuelas públicas en Oregón y California. Actualmente enseño español y español para hablantes de herencia en la Universidad de Oregón, donde soy también consejera para el Programa de Español para Hablantes de Herencia. El aspecto de mi trabajo que más me fascina es invitarles a los estudiantes a escribir sobre sus historias, sus familias y sus sueños. Siempre me ha encantado escribir. Empecé el intento de publicar libros en vez de escribir nada más para mi hija. Las vidas de todos los niños deben de ser legitimizados, no tan solo a ellos mismos, sino a todos los niños. Por eso no son los niños latinos los que tienen que leer sobre niños latinos, sino que todos los niños deben leer sobre niños latinos. Y los niños latinos tienen que leer sobre todo tipo de niño. Los niños van a comprender mejor la complejidad del país y del mundo si están expuestos a ella.

I heard my first words of Spanish on my grandfather's lap. The son of a Sicilian immigrant and a Spanish/Cuban who was exiled when the U.S invaded Cuba in 1898, he spoke Spanish, English and Italian. When I was in my teens, my family unexpectedly move to California along the Mexican border. By then, I indentified as Spanish. I married a young Mexican immigrant, and soon had a daughter. I left him, but never the Mexican community to which he introduced me. Since then, I have taught bilingual third grade, fifth grade, Spanish, Social Studies, and ELD. I have taught in public school in California and Oregon and in international schools in India and Thailand. I currently teach Spanish and Spanish for Heritage Speakers at the University of Oregon where I am also an advisor to the Spanish Heritage Language program. An aspect I particularly love about teaching is inviting my students to write about their stories, their families, and their dreams. I have always loved writing. Raising my daughter, who is now a grown woman, inspired me to write picture books. The lives of all children need to be legitimized, not just to themselves, but to all children. Therefore Latino kids do not need to read books about Latino kids. All kids need to read books about Latino kids. And Latino kids need to read books about all kind of kids. Children will better understand the complexity of the country and the world if they are exposed to it.


To celebrate the release of Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestreauthor René Colato Laínez will be stopping by the following blogs from August 15th to the 24th! Follow along as René Colato Laínez discusses his writing process, his thoughts on diversity in kidlit, and the recent debate over the term “illegal alien.”

Below is the schedule of the Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestre Blog Tour:

August 17: Mommy Maestra
August 19: Latinaish
August 22: Pragmatic Mom
August 23: Reading Authors
August 24: The Logonauts

And in case you missed it, here’s René Colato Laínez’s post about his experience being called an “illegal alien” when he was young.

To find out more about René Colato Laínez and Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestre, check out his blog and follow him on Twitter. And if you are a blogger interested in being included on this or future blog tours, please reach out to us at publicity [at] leeandlow [dot] com.

Author René Colato Laínez and Illustrator Laura Lacámara

Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre

Written by René Colato Laínez
Illustrated by Laura Lacámara

I am so happy that my new bilingual book Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre is available now. Last week, I received my author's copies. It is always great to see, feel and hug a book for the first time.

 The box is here!

Fantastic! My new book!

Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre 

When Mamá’s purse falls on the floor, Sofia gets a peek at Mamá’s old Resident Alien card and comes to the conclusion that Mamá might be an alien from outer space.

Sofía heads to the library to do some research. She finds out that aliens can be small, or tall. Some have four fingers on each hand, and some have big round eyes. Their skin can be gray or blue or green. But she and Mamá look like human people. Could Mamá really be an alien from another planet? 

Filled with imagination and humor, Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestre is a sweet and timely immigration story, and a tender celebration of family, no matter which country (or planet) you come from. 


A delightful, original, clever, purposeful, multicultural alien tale.- Kirkus Reviews

… an exceptional story about immigration with a new twist. – Booklist

Book Trailers

Thank you, Fabiola and Ms. Hernández

René Colato Laínez has written more than a dozen award-winning books for young readers. A native of El Salvador, his goal is to write stories in which children of color are portrayed positively, with hopes and dreams for the future. This story was inspired by the many children of immigrants who have experienced the same misunderstanding as Sofía. When not writing or presenting at conferences or workshops, Colato Laínez teaches in a bilingual elementary school. He lives in Arleta, California, and you can find him online at

Laura Lacámara is the creator of several award-winning children’s books; and she is a popular presenter at schools, festivals, and conferences. Born in Cuba, Lacámara was delighted to illustrate this story because it is clever as well as meaningful, especially since she was the same age as Sofía in the story when her own mamá became a United States citizen. Lacámara also had fun creating her own versions of aliens! She lives in Venice, California, with her husband and their daughter. Visit her online at

My ALA 2016 Schedule

I will be presenting and signing books in ALA Orlando Conference . This is my schedule.

Learning Times Two - REFORMA President's Program

Saturday, June 25
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
HYATT Regency Orlando, Room Manatee Springs I

Every day the demand for children’s bilingual (English/Spanish) books grows as more children in the United States learn Spanish as their first or second language. Books written and illustrated by Latinos/as are important for all children, but also essential to Latino families and the schools and libraries serving them.

How do bilingual books strengthen families, foster empathy, and improve school performance? What are the current barriers to more wide spread publication and use?

Join award-winning authors Monica Brown, René Colato Laínez, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Angela Dominguez, and Meg Medina as they discuss the importance of creating and promoting Latino bilingual books for children and youth.

Meet the Authors: René Colato Laínez 
(Children's Book Press an imprint of Lee & Low Books Inc.)

Saturday, June 25
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM
Booth 1469

Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre
This cheerful and timely bilingual picture book explores the path to American citizenship and what it means to be a "resident alien."

Meet the Authors: René Colato Laínez (Holiday House, Inc.)

Saturday, June 25
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Booth 2019

¡Vámonos! Let's Go! : An adaptation of "The Wheels on the Bus" in English and Spanish
You may know that the wheels on the bus go round and round, but did you know that las ruedas del bus ruedan y ruedan? Or that while the horn on the truck goes honk, honk, honk, la bocina del camión goes tut tuu tuu?

Young readers are in for a cheerful and cacophonous ride in this bilingual picture book that introduces them to the sounds of motorcycles, fire trucks and more in both English and Spanish. But the best sounds of all are the ones from the children as they reach the state park at the end of their trip.

Meet the Authors: René Colato Laínez  (Arte Público Press)

Sunday, June 26
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Booth 1474

Arte Público Press and its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, will display books—in English, Spanish, and bilingual formats—by U.S. Hispanic authors.

Books by René Colato Laínez: Waiting for Papá/ Esperando a Papá, I Am René, the Boy/ Soy René, el niño and René Has Two Last Names/ René tiene dos apellidos

Immigration and Children’s Literature: The Role of Heritage in Storytelling

The Young Readers Center and the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress convenes a symposium to explore the contribution of diverse cultural experiences to literature for children and youth. This exchange comes at a critical time in our national conversation about America and its immigrants. Award-winning author and Cuban American, Meg Medina, will moderate the discussion with author/educator René Colato Laínez who came to America at age 14 from El Salvador; author Aisha Saeed whose parents emigrated from Pakistan; Wendy Shang, author and former attorney, whose family is from China; and Illustrator Elizabeth Zunon who was born in Albany, N.Y. and spent her childhood in her family homeland in the Ivory Coast of West Africa.

Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 
Program Time: 1:00 to 2:00 PM

Book Signing: 2:00 PM—3:00 PM 
Location: Mumford Room, Room 649, 
Madison Building

Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. S.E. 
Washington, D.C. 

This program, open to the public, requires reservation.
Please contact YRC@LOC.GOV with your name, title, and organizational/institutional affiliation to RSVP. 

Kirkus Starred Review

A Kirkus starred review for Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre

A young Latina is convinced her mother is an alien from another planet ... A delightful, original, clever, purposeful, multicultural alien tale.

To read the starred review, visit

ESL Family Night

Pictures from the ESL Family night presentation at Crandall ISD in Texas.

CABE- 2016

Hilton San Francisco Union Square
March 23-26