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Nicolás Kanellos: 1945—: Publisher, Editor

Began Publishing Children's Books

In 1994 Arte Público received a grant from the Mellon Foundation to publish children's books that accurately portray U.S. Hispanic culture. This resulted in the creation of Piñata Books, Arte Público's children's imprint. Piñata Books publishes bilingual picture books as well as novels for young adults, and its titles have won numerous awards. "For our children," Kanellos told Los Angeles Times writer Maria Elena Fernandez, "the world of Dick and Jane and middle-class suburbia is a big leap, as it is also a big leap to ask them to relate to stories about mid-century villages in Mexico."

By publishing children's works by such esteemed writers as Judith Ortiz Cofer, Pat Mora, Irene Beltrán Hernández, Ofelia Dumas Lachtman, and Gloria Velásquez, Piñata Books has made a significant contribution to cultural awareness and literacy. "For the first time," wrote Fernandez, "Latinos of all ages can find books in stores, libraries and their classrooms about children who live in two worlds but no longer feel torn. These bilingual children do not have to look far from their neighborhoods to find the voices of writers who use and understand language in their particular way: English prose that expresses American ideas in the rhythmic cadences of Spanish."

A tenured professor in the department of romance languages at the University of Houston, Kanellos has published widely in academic journals and has written five books on Hispanic culture, including Two Centuries of Hispanic Theater in the Southwest, Mexican American Theater: Legacy and Reality, and A History of Hispanic Theater in the United States. In addition, he has edited numerous anthologies, volumes of criticism, and other reference texts on Hispanic literature and culture in the United States. These include such history-based works as Chronology of Hispanic-American History: From Pre-Columbian Times to the Present and Hispanic Firsts: 500 Years of Extraordinary Achievement, as well as collections of short stories, poetry, and even Christmas stories.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dan Jacobson Biography - Dan Jacobson comments: to Barbara Knutson (1959–2005) Biography - PersonalNicolás Kanellos: 1945—: Publisher, Editor Biography - Founded Arte Público, Began Publishing Children's Books, Supported Latino Theater, Anthology Hailed As Landmark Achievement