Arte Público Press: Latino Children’s and Young Adult Literature Prizes

Generations of Hispanic children in US schools had to do without books reflecting their culture and heritage. In 2019, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 225 of the 4,029 children’s books published were written by Latinos; only 235 were about Latinos.

To fill that gap, Arte Público Press is accepting children’s book manuscripts to be considered for two awards: the Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature and The Reyes-Olivas Award for Best First Book of Latino Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Both seek to stimulate the work begun by Arte Público Press and its imprint, Piñata Books, which is dedicated to the publication of children’s and young adult literature that authentically and realistically portrays themes, characters and customs unique to US Hispanic culture. In addition to the publication of the book and royalties from sales, the winning authors will receive a $5,000 prize. Submissions for both awards are accepted year-round. The winners will be announced shortly before the publication of the book. Entries—in English, Spanish or bilingually—should be submitted in PDF format online at

Specifically for children’s picture books, The SALINAS DE ALBA AWARD is named in honor of Hermila Lidia Salinas de Alba (1921-2017), a mother, grandmother and primary schoolteacher who loved children and reading. Born and raised in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Hermila was educated at the Escuela Normal in Saltillo, Coahuila, and taught at a primary school in Piedras Negras. She married Samuel Alba in 1943 and together they raised ten children. In addition to various business ventures in Piedras Negras, they pursued migrant farm work in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho before settling in Salt Lake City, Utah. She stressed the importance of education and left a legacy of love and lifelong learning for her nine surviving children, 33 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

The Reyes-Olivas Award, created to inspire first-time authors of books for children or teens, is funded by and named after retired University of Houston professors, Drs. Augustina Reyes and Michael A. Olivas. Dr. Olivas chaired the press’ advisory board for a decade and published two scholarly books with Arte Público, and Dr. Reyes has worked to expose immigrant and migrant children to Arte Público’s books. Dr. Tina Reyes, Professor Emerita in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies in the College of Education, is an expert in urban educational leadership in environments with diverse populations. Her research—on issues such as language and race, the roles and responsibilities of principals in high-poverty and one-race schools and Latino immigrant children and public policy—has been widely published. Dr. Michael A. Olivas, the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law (Emeritus) at the University of Houston Law Center, is the author or co-author of sixteen books.

Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by US Hispanic authors.  Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Books published under the imprint serve as a bridge from home to school to support family literacy and elementary school education. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity.