Guest Post with Ruth Behar: The Island that Remains in Us

Letters From Cuba by author Ruth BeharHi everyone,

From time to time, I have the pleasure of hosting guest authors on this site. Today it’s my honor to kick off Hispanic Heritage month with a lovely guest post by 2018 award-winner Ruth Behar. Her latest book, Letters from Cuba, is historical fiction and was published last month (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House.) Read full article…

The Story behind the Cover Art for Letters from Cuba

Ruth Behar interviews John Parra

As an author, it is always exciting to see how an artist evokes the heart of your story in one single compelling image for the book cover. I was thrilled when my editor, Nancy Paulsen, sent me the beautiful art that John Parra created for the cover of Letters from Cuba. She and I, and everyone on the team at Penguin Random House, felt that the art conveyed stunningly the spirit of hope that my character, Esther, a Jewish-Polish refugee, finds in Cuba on the eve of WWII.

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Read Ruth’s Pura Belpré Award acceptance speech

Ruth Behar received the 2018
(Pura) Belpré Author Award for Lucky Broken Girl (Nancy Paulsen/Penguin Random). Her acceptance remarks were delivered at the Belpré Celebración on Sunday, June 24, 2018, during the American Library Association Annual Conference.
Click here To see all the ALSC award speeches.

Getting the Call about the Pura Belpré Award

I was out dancing tango on a Sunday night with a small group of friends at the Agave Tequila Bar on Main Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Then I got the call.

Bittersweet love tunes filling the room where we danced, I didn’t hear my cell phone ringing. It was only when I sat down to rest between tunes that I noticed three lost calls. I didn’t recognize the number and assumed it was spam, so I continued dancing.
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From Real Life to the Magic of Fiction

Illustration by Rolando Estévez

I’ve spent most of my life writing nonfiction. But I always dreamed of being a fiction writer. Now, at the age of sixty, I am making my debut as a fiction writer. My first novel is a book for middle-grade readers and it is based on a true experience from my childhood.

Why did it take so long?

As a young woman, I read fiction voraciously. I loved it when a story or a novel cast a spell on me and I had to drop everything and read breathlessly to the end. Whether it’s The Velveteen Rabbit, or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or the Elena Ferrante novels, the magic of fiction is still hard for me to describe, but the grip it has on my body and soul is undeniable. Read more