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Award-winning children’s book author Diana López serving as keynote speaker during annual Mexican-American Studies Summer Seminar scheduled July 20-21

Article by: Rosa Linda Reynoso

During the Del Mar College (DMC) Mexican-American Studies Fifth Annual Summer Seminar, award-winning author Diana López will serve as this year’s keynote speaker. Her children’s middle-grade novel, Coco: A Story About Music, Shoes and Family, was inspired by the Oscar-winning Disney/PIXAR Animation Studio feature film, “Coco,” and expands on the main character’s family.

López’s presentation, “Mother Goose is not my Abuela: Why Children Need Brown Faces in Their Books,” will draw from her experience as a teacher, writer and reader and will cover diversity in children’s books, especially as it relates to the Mexican-American experience.

Scheduled Friday and Saturday, July 20-21, the Mexican-American Studies’ FREE educational event also features sessions and activities focused on literature, music, art, the humanities, history, politics and the Spanish language, among other topics. Attending the two-day seminar is like taking a crash course and gives participants a taste of what the College’s associates degree program offers.

Sessions run from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on July 20 and 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on July 21 at the DMC Center for Economic Development (3209 S. Staples). Participants can even earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) through the DMC Career and Community Education Department. The College’s Title V Program is sponsoring López’s keynote address, guest artist Zamora’s presentation and folklorico dancer Saldivar’s performance.

For seminar information, contact Social Sciences Department faculty member Elizabeth N. Flores at 361-698-1218 or email eflores@delmar.edu.


Friday (June 20) activities include a colorful presentation, “Mira Mayra: Artista y mucho MAS!,” by artist Mayra Zamora, who will highlight her personal and artistic journey into the Corpus Christi art scene. Other activities include a Merienda (afternoon break) with tamales and other refreshments, along with entertainment featuring Folklorico dancer and instructor Teresa Saldivar performing dances inspired by Coco.

On Saturday (June 21) following a complimentary breakfast, López will give her keynote address and explore questions, such as: What are the consequences for young readers when they fail to see people of color in their books? How are educators and publishers addressing this issue? What can families and communities do to make sure our children feel story-worthy?

López is a Del Mar College graduate, an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Houston-Victoria and managing editor of Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature. She has authored several books, including the adult novel Sofia’s Saints (Bilingual Review Press, 2002), before she shifted to writing middle-grade novels including Confetti Girl (Little Brown Books, 2009), Choke (Scholastic, 2012), Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel (Little Brown Books, 2013), Instructor’s Manual for Bedford St. Martin’s Mexican American Literature: A Portable Anthology in 2015 and Nothing Up My Sleeve (Little Brown Books, 2016).

Confetti Girl won the William Allen White Award, was selected as a featured title for Scholastic Book Fairs, a Commended Title for the Américas Book Award and named Latinidad’s “Top Latino Book of the Year” in the Middle-Grade Category. Her book Choke was adapted into a television movie called The Choking Game for the Lifetime Movie Network.

Her newest novel, Lucky Luna, is scheduled for release in August and set in Corpus Christi.

Among her credits, López received writing fellowships from the Texas Commission for the Arts and the 2004 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award. National Public Radio has featured her on Latino USA, and her short stories have appeared in Sycamore Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, New Texas Journal, The San Antonio Current and Texas Monthly.

For more information about López, visit http://dianalopezbooks.com

Ongoing exhibits include:

• South Texas Life: Genealogy

• Chicano Coastal Bend

• The Bonus of Bilingualism

Sessions include:

• Mujeres of Teatro

• Guardians of the Corn: The Snake, The Bat and the Toad in Pre-Columbian Mayan Art

• Querer es Poder: Lieutenant Colonel Olga Custodio’s Quest to Democratize the Sky

• Chicano Coastal Bend: A History of the Chicana/o Movement in Robstown, Texas

• From France to Spain to Texas: An Examination of the Balli Family based on Three Family Trees Dating from 1545 to the Present

• Seguin’s Soldados: The Untold Story of the Texas Revolution for Independence

• . . . something about a piñata

• Heritage Language Learners of Spanish

• Generation Z

• Mexican American Women, Feminism and Ways of Knowing

• The Hype, the Hope and the Hypocrisy of Hispanic Serving Institutions: A Call for Creating Xicanx-Centered Colleges and Universities

• The Battle over the 27th Texas U.S. Congressional District: Ethnicity, Partisanship, Gerrymandering and the Law


About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.