The American Booksellers Association is asking booksellers, authors, and publishers attending the upcoming Winter Institute 14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to donate Spanish-language books for refugees waiting at the U.S.-Mexico border.
ABA’s “Libros Para el Viaje” (“Books for the Journey”) book drive at Winter Institute will collect books of all genres for children and adults, which will be distributed to families, individuals, parents, and children who have arrived at the southern border from Central America and Mexico. Participating attendees are asked to drop off new or gently used books at the Wi14 welcome desk at the Albuquerque Convention Center, where booksellers pick up their badges. In addition, ABA will contribute 50 Spanish-language books to the collection.
The idea for the drive originated with Denise Chávez, owner of Casa Camino Real Book Store and Art Gallery in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Since summer 2018, Chávez has been distributing books to refugees in her hometown of Las Cruces via Peace Lutheran Church, under the direction of the Border Servant Corps (BSC), a refugee hospitality center that partners with other centers in the region.
Chávez has created a detailed list of specific guidelines for booksellers, authors, and publishers to follow when it comes to choosing the right Spanish-language book. In addition, Veronica Liu, founder of Word Up Community Bookshop in Washington Heights, New York, and BrocheAroe Fabian, owner of River Dog Book Co. bookmobile in Wisconsin, have also come up with their own lists of books, which are now posted on BookWeb. Liu, Fabian, and Chávez are all founding members of ABA’s Diversity Task Force.
After the books are collected at the Institute, Chávez will work with local volunteers to distribute them to refugees staying at local hospitality centers that connect refugees with their sponsors. Many of them have arrived from larger hospitality centers like Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas, one of four that assist reunited families detained and separated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Booksellers and others are invited to contact Chávez via e-mail for even more suggestions of Spanish-language books.