Authors and books

2018 Choices

La Distancia entre Nosotros

Born in Mexico and raised by her grandparents after her parents left to find work in the U.S., at nine years old, Reyna enters the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant to live with her father. Filled with hope, she quickly realizes that life in America is far from perfect. Her father isn’t the man she dreamed about all those years in Mexico. His big dreams for his children are what gets them across the border, but his alcoholism and rage undermine all his hard work and good intentions. Reyna finds solace from a violent home in books and writing, inspired by the Latina voices she reads.


The Author

Reyna Grande 

Born in Iguala, Guerrero, she moved to the US at age 10 as an undocumented immigrant and later went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.  After attending Pasadena City College for two years, Reyna obtained a B.A. in creative writing and film & video from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She later received her M.F.A. in creative writing from Antioch University. Now, in addition to being a published author, she is also a sought-after motivational speaker at high schools, colleges, and universities across the nation. At a time when immigration politics are at a boiling point in America, Reyna Grande is an important public voice for Mexican Americans and immigrants of every origin.


Las Cajas de China

Jerónimo Tajín is a nine year old Mexican child whose only concern is getting the latest video game. But everything changes for him when his adventurous Uncle Gustavo a mysterious gift from his travels around the world: the Chinese boxes.  They are seven boxes, one within another and each one wrapped in a different color.  Uncle Gustavo has given very precise instructions; his nephew can only open them one per day or else… suffer the Chinese curse!



El Pais de las Piramides

Fourteen year old Mirai is having trouble adapting to her new life with her father and sister in Mexico.  She misses her mother who lives in the United States and she doesn’t understand Mexican customs.  One day, on a class trip to the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, she, without knowing it, activates a powerful spell that allows her to enter the pyramid and travel back in time.  An ancient god chooses her to save humankind but her tasks are daunting.  Will Mirai be able to complete her challenges and return to her world?


The Author

María García Esperón

Maria is a Mexican writer of young adult and children’s literature.  She studied humanities at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana and studied the Classics at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.  She is the great niece of the famous Manuel Esperon Gonzalez.  She has been a journalist, founded the group of flamenco dancers ‘Triana’ and widely promotes literacy and poetry for children.  She moved to San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato in 2018.


2017 Choices

La Vida Util de Pillo Polilla


A delightful story about a moth that, upon learning to read, can no longer continue his diet of books out of respect for literature.  How could he destroy the written form of art?  What was the purpose of his existence?  This little moth decides to leave the comforts and stability of his life in the library to explore the world and find a book that will give his life meaning and answer some big questions.



Flor de Rayo

In a small community that sits at the foot of the imposing volcano, Popocatepetl, the role of ‘granicero’ is very important.  The ‘granicero’ is the town’s leader and is responsible for communicating directly with the volcano and the role has always been reserved for a grown man.  Until now.  When an adolescent girl is ‘chosen’ by the volcano for this role, the town is shocked and the shock is made greater by the fact that the girl is deaf.  This book is a wonderful coming of age story for all children, but particularly for girls, because it shows that leadership and strength are traits not assigned to a particular gender.


The Author

Vivian Mansour

Born in Mexico City, Vivan Mansour is a very celebrated author of books for children and has traveled the world sharing her works and promoting literature.   Her charisma and her love of literature and children has made her an ideal partner for Libros para Todos. She studied Communication at the Universidad Iberoamericana.


2016 Choices

Ana, ¿verdad?  


Ana, the protagonist of Ana, ¿verdad? (Ana, right?), is a girl with her head in the clouds. One day, on the way to the bakery, she gets lost and discovers she is in a strange land with strange names and customs.




La fórmula del doctor Funes

 La fórmula del doctor Funes (Doctor Funes’s Formula) is a disgusting potion that reverses the aging process. When a boy named Martin seeks out Doctor Funes, the potion’s inventor, he finds the doctor has used the potion to convert himself into young Pablo, an eccentric child who drinks coffee and reads the newspaper. Then, the elders of the town begin to vanish, and babies miraculously appear in their place…. What is going on?


The Author

Francisco Hinojosa

Born in Mexico City in 1954, Francisco Hinojosa is a poet, fiction writer, educator, and one of the prominent authors of children’s books in Spanish. His work has been widely translated, and he has conducted workshops in children’s literature throughout Mexico, and in other countries.


2015 Choice

El libro salvaje

El libro salvaje (The Wild Book) is the story of Juan, a teenage Mexican boy. Juan has made summer plans, but his mother ignores his wishes, and leaves him at his Uncle Tito’s house. Tito is an eccentric book lover, and in the uncle’s vast library, Juan discovers “El libro salvaje,” a volume that resists being read. Its pages hold an amazing secret if you’re capable of catching it.



The Author

Juan Villoro

Novelist, playwright and journalist Juan Villoro (Mexico, 1956) has been a professor of literature at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City; and a visiting professor at Yale University, Princeton University, and the Universidad Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.  He is equally adept at writing for children as he is for adults.


2014 Choice

El Gusano de Tequila

El Gusano de Tequila (The Tequila Worm) is the story of Sofia, a young girl growing up in a predominately Latino neighborhood along the Texas-Mexico border. The novel is ripe with the magic and mystery of family traditions: making Easter cascarones, celebrating el Día de los Muertos, preparing for quinceañera, rejoicing in the Christmas nacimiento, and curing homesickness by eating the tequila worm.

The story follows Sofia as she leaves her family and neighborhood, and embarks on a journey to a boarding school as a scholarship recipient. Her experiences in the new world of privilege within the boarding school add meaning to the family traditions she has experienced throughout her childhood. Viola Canales’s young adult novel won the Pura Belpré Award in 2006 “for its portrayal, affirmation, and celebration of the Latino cultural experience.”


The Author

Viola Canales

Viola Canales grew up in McAllen, Texas, in a Spanish-speaking household steeped in family traditions. Canales left home at fifteen, after receiving a scholarship to attend an elite boarding school in Austin, Texas. From there, she attended Harvard University, and graduated from Harvard Law School. Canales served as a captain in the United States Army; worked as a community organizer for the United Farm Workers; and had a Presidential-level appointment with the Clinton Administration. Throughout her adventures, she never forgot her neighborhood or her family traditions.

Viola Canales had this to say about her experience as Libros para Todos’s featured author for 2014: “Libros para Todos pulls people together around a book. As if by magic, this works to make us — whether students, parents, teachers, team members, sponsors or authors — into a close family, one enchanted  and energized by the alchemizing force of art, of sharing a story, inspiring us to seek and see the richness and wonder of our own personal, everyday lives, as well as of those around us.”

2013 Choice

Cajas de cartón

“‘La frontera’… I heard it for the first time back in the late 1940s when Papa and Mama told me and Roberto, my older brother, that someday we would take a long trip north, cross la frontera, enter California, and leave our poverty behind” So begins Cajas de cartón (The Circuit), an honest and powerful account of a Mexican family’s journey to the fields of California — from strawberry fields to cotton fields, from tent cities to one-room shacks.  Seen through the eyes of a boy who longs for an education and the right to call one place home, this is a story of survival, hope, and determination, and a powerful example of how a person’s life can be transformed from poverty to success.


The Author

Francisco Jiménez

Born in 1943, Francisco Jiménez attended Santa Clara University in California as a scholarship student, and went on to earn his doctorate at Columbia University in New York. He has taught literature and ethnic studies at Santa Clara University, where he recently retired as director of the division of Arts and Humanities. His books have been translated into many languages and won numerous awards.

“My participation in Libros para Todos was a rewarding and enriching experience,” Jiménez says.  “I was impressed by the leadership and commitment of the founders and organizers of this wonderful program to promote reading in the San Miguel de Allende community and, most of all, I was inspired by the children who read my work and were eager to learn. They give us all hope for a better future.”