Last fall, Libros Schmibros started the Young Writers Program to inspire a new generation of writers in Boyle Heights. The program brings professional writers to the classroom to mentor students on developing their literary voices. Last fall, Abel Salas, editor of the local magazine, Brooklyn & Boyle, worked with journalism students at Roosevelt High School to revive the student newspaper. In January, they published their stories in the first print edition of The Roosevelt Rough Rider in many years.
Earlier this year, the Young Writers Program continued with two new writers, Alex Espinoza and Emory Holmes II. Alex is working with students in Ms. Williams’ English class at Roosevelt High School, and Emory is working with students in Mr. Ball’s Creative Writing class at Mendez High School. Alex has published two novels, Still Water Saints and The Five Acts of Diego Leon. He currently teaches creative writing at Cal State LA. Emory has published works of journalism and fiction in numerous publications. His crime story “aka Moises Rockafella” was included in the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 2006. Students at Roosevelt and Mendez High Schools are enjoying learning from Alex and Emory, and are currently hard at work finishing their own stories.
We look forward to reading their work and sharing their writing with Libros Schmibros supporters.
Libros Schmibros proudly co-sponsors a reading group for parents of Roosevelt High School students. Last November, parents started reading Luis Alberto Urrea’s The Hummingbird’s Daughter, which follows the life of an extraordinary woman, Teresa Urrea, in pre-Revolutionary Mexico. They met twice a month, discussing the meaning of this epic novel and how it has changed the way they see themselves and the world.
Anji Williams, an English professor at Roosevelt High School, organizes and leads the reading group. She explained:
“Of all the beautiful things I’ve been involved in this year, I don’t know of any as gratifying as the work with the parents and Urrea’s The Hummingbird’s Daughter. In light of the current political situation, I feel that this particular group of women are empowered by the written word. It feels truly revolutionary, and, after all, at the start of a revolution, the first thing the new regime does is burn books. So here’s to reading and discussing books and ideas, and best of all, to finishing all 500+ pages of them!”
After finishing this book in March, the parent’s reading group began reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Libros Schmibros will continue to encourage reading in Boyle Heights and beyond among people of all ages!
This fall, Libros Schmibros began the Young Writers Program at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights. To inspire a new generation of writers from Boyle Heights and neighboring communities, the program brings professional writers to the classrooms of local high schools to mentor students on developing their literary voices.
Our first writer to participate in the program is Abel Salas, founder and editor of Brooklyn & Boyle, a local monthly news, art and culture magazine, which focuses on the interests and accomplishments of Los Angeles’ Latino community. He has also published articles in the Los Angeles Review of Books, LA Weekly and other national publications. Abel has been working with Ms. Anji Williams’ journalism class on reviving Roosevelt’s student newspaper. Students have been excited to work with Abel, and they are currently writing stories that are meaningful to them and that speak to the concerns and interests of their community.
Libros Schmibros’ Young Writers Program will continue this winter with more writers working with local high schools. We hope to encourage students to become the next great reporters and novelists. The Young Writers Programs is one part of our continuing effort to promote reading and writing in the community by going beyond the confines of our library space.
On Sunday, October 16th CicLAvia came to Boyle Heights. The streets adjacent to Libros Schmibros were closed to cars allowing people to bike and walk the roads freely. Mariachi Plaza was a lively hub on a route that went through Downtown LA to MacArthur Park.
Hundreds visited Libros Schmibros, discovering it for the first time or coming back to visit. We took this opportunity to ride our Bicycle Libraries to Downtown, giving away as many free books and memberships as possible along the way.
Bike Libraries, do you want to ride?
Bicycle Libraries are a way to bring the library experience directly to the people. We don’t just give away books, but also engage the community in a dialogue about the value of reading. Riders select their own books and try to match the people they meet with the right book for them.
Expect more rides to come. If you like books, bikes and people sign up to become a volunteer rider. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On August 5th, hundreds gathered at the historic John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood to watch the 50th anniversary screening of the classic Mexican western Tiempo de Morir. The film, co-written by Gabriel García Márquez and Carlos Fuentes, and directed by Arturo Ripstein, attracted people from all across Los Angeles, some familiar with Libros Schmibros and others not. Before the screening began, guests enjoyed food and drinks with family and friends on the newly renovated Ford Theatre grounds.
David Kipen opened the event by warmly welcoming the crowd and sharing with them the origin and mission of Libros Schmibros. Next, Los Angeles Times film critic Mark Olsen interviewed Gabriel García Márquez’s son Rodrigo García, an acclaimed director and screenwriter who released his latest film, Last Days in the Desert, earlier this year. They discussed his father’s career in cinema and the ideas behind the story for Tiempo de Morir. Although García Márquez allowed some of his novels to become films, he never adapted them himself, recognizing how difficult that would be. Rodrigo, however, remarked that perhaps now with the help of the latest digital technology it would be possible for a director to do justice to his father’s greatest novel, the wildly imaginative One Hundred Years of Solitude. Continue reading
Pergentino José Ruíz reads The Midnight Bird at Libros Schmibros, August 2016
Pergentino José Ruíz reads The Midnight Bird at Libros Schmibros, as Chris translates
Pergentino José Ruíz and Chris
Libros staff member Chris translates for the non-Spanish speaking audience members
Pergentino José Ruíz and Chris
Audience members listen as Pergentino José Ruíz reads and Chris translates
On August 13, Libros Schmibros was proud to support indigenous literature in Los Angeles by hosting a trilingual reading of the short story “Midnight Bird” by its Mexican author, Pergentino José Ruíz, and its English translator and Libros Schmibros employee, Chris Ortega. Continue reading
Staff Wall: Chris
Hometown: East Los Angeles
Chris has been a volunteer since 2015 and is also a member of our 2016 summer staff.
How are you?
Good and busy!
How many languages do you speak?
English, Spanish, and Spanglish (Spanglish is totally a valid language, what with all its different dialects and ever-evolving vocabulary…)
How did you first discover Libros?
I was looking for Los Angeles bookstores online and found this quixotic independent library that offered free books to the community. I came in and was so impressed that I wanted in, and now here I am.
What is one hidden gem in Libros Schmibros?
We have a stellar art book section right in the front of the library, and hidden inside it is one of my favorite sub-subsections: the comic book/graphic novel section. My pet project is to grow that collection into something even more beautiful, so if you have comics/graphic novels you want to donate please do so!
How would you describe Mariachi Plaza?
I like how there’s always strains of music in the air.
What book did you choose to keep when you first got your membership to Libros?
I was very happy to grab a copy of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest on my first visit. I’m working my way through it a little at a time, but that book is a beast. Continue reading