Latin Baby Launches Book Club and New Blog for Parents

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One of the nation's leading on-line boutiques for baby products with a Hispanic theme has launched a book club and blog to help parents find bilingual books and games. The book club is designed to encourage parents to read to their children to ensure their success in academic life and beyond. Several stellar Latina entrepreneurs across the country will be contributing bloggers.

With literacy levels in the Unites States hovering at around 75 percent -- an embarrassing rate for one of the world's most powerful economies -- and literacy a key issue in many Hispanic communities, Latin Baby has launched a new blog for Latino parents as part of its new Book Club.

The book club was created to help parents find bilingual books and selections that describe Hispanic culture and traditions. Most of the books are either bilingual or help parents maintain a connection to traditional children's games, Latin American folk songs and nursery rhymes that are being forgotten as younger generations of Hispanics assimilate ever faster into the U.S. mainstream.

"I'm all for progress, but many of our cultural traditions are being lost with the passing of our abuelitos and the creeping influence of electronic games and toys that don't really teach our children how to truly think and develop their imaginations," said Monica Olivera Hazelton, founder and president of Latin Baby. "Latinos have a rich cultural heritage that is evolving as it merges with the best of U.S. creativity and innovation. I believe our grandparents' wisdom and time-honored customs are an essential part of our U.S. identity and can take us to new levels of achievement."

Both the book club and blog are designed to encourage parents to read to their children. Reading has become increasingly crucial as major studies emerge showing that unless a child can read by third grade, it is unlikely that child will succeed in school.

Through the book club, Ms. Olivera also sees much benefit in supporting Latino authors and songwriters who are writing and maintaining Latino traditions for future generations. "Like all great art with universal themes, the works of Latino artists help us see the present through the prism of history. These artists are the whispers of our past. They give voice to la sangre hispana -- Hispanic blood -- that is coursing through our veins, and not only help us understand ourselves, but help others to understand us, as well."

The blog (http://latinbabybookclub.blogspot.com) will feature reviews of bilingual songs and literature for children, ages infant to young adult; book suggestions for parents; interviews with emerging and established authors; and special events held at local libraries and book stores. Of particular interest will be the LBBC's Libro del Mes/Book of the Month, which will highlight must-have books for Latino or bilingual family libraries.

Besides Ms. Olivera, other stellar bloggers will submit reviews to the blog, including:

  •     Aurora Anaya-Cerda, owner of La Casa Azul Bookstore, (http://www.lacasaazulbookstore.com) an independent bookstore offering new and used books and music. She is an active member of the East Harlem community as a participant and supporter of cultural and educational events. She was awarded the Juanita Centeno Leadership Award and the UCLA Women for Change Leadership Award, both for outstanding dedication and service to her community.
  •     Violeta Garcia-Mendoza, born in Madrid, Spain, is a writer, poet, and blogger from Multi-Culti Mámi. The Pennsylvania resident is Co-Editor and Columnist for Literary Mama and a book reviewer for RainbowKids Magazine. Her poetry and prose have appeared in a variety of publications. She conducts writing workshops on-line in creative nonfiction and poetry through her website (http://www.TurnPeoplePurple.com).
  •     Carrie Ferguson Weir has four gigs going at once -- she co-owns Los Pollitos Dicen, a boutique line of Spanish baby T-shirts, does public relations for small businesses, writes freelance, and posts for her own blog, Bilingual in the Boonies. Weir's love of all things Spanish, Latino and bilingual comes from her Miami-bred, Cuban-American heritage, which she honors by regularly dousing her house with pine-scented cleanser and making a memorable flan.
  •     Christianne Meneses Jacobs is the Nicaragua-born publisher/editor of Iguana Magazine. In 2007, she was honored as one of the recipients of the "Anna Maria Arias Memorial Business Fund" for her entrepreneurial spirit and service to the Latino community through Iguana, the only Spanish-language children's magazine in the U.S.

For more information, contact Ms. Olivera at 252-826-9956 or go to the web site, http://latinbabybookclub.blogspot.com.

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