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June 25, 2019

6/12/2019 3:06:00 PM
Need Amazing Children's Books in Spanish? Ms. Hilda's Got Your Back
Photo from EPL
Photo from EPL
By Betsy Bird

I’m continually fascinated by those people who specialize in specific forms of literature. Let us say, for example, that you wanted the latest, greatest list of children's books being released. Easy enough, but what if you wanted those books in Spanish? This is a question our public schools and libraries have been trying to tackle. The answer to the problem is simple, though.

You want to know what the best of the best is?

Who you gonna call? Ms. Hilda.

Not too long ago Hilda Gonzalez came to work for the Evanston Public Library. She started out with me in the Technical Services department, but soon it was clear that her passion for literature and connecting kids with books could not be limited to mere ordering. Just like that, Ms. Hilda applied to a program to get her Master’s in Library and Information Science and she began working in the children’s department.

Now for years the library has worked to get our Spanish language materials up-to-date, informative and interesting. With Ms. Hilda’s help we’re going far beyond a title here and a title there.

Did you see our gigantic Dia de los Muertos display a year ago on the first floor?

Did you see how Hilda integrated two Latinx children’s programs (Dia de los Ninos/Dia de los Libros and Dia de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead) and partnered with a local self-taught Mexican artist?

Did you notice that we now have a prominent display area at the front of the children’s room with all the latest Spanish-language children’s titles?

I dare say you won’t find anyone in town as adept at navigating the intricacies of purchasing these books. As she says, “The Spanish children’s book market is continuously evolving. Publishers from all over Latin America are partnering with American distributors. I have been doing what I can to make sure there are diverse perspectives in the Spanish books I’m ordering with representations from various Latin American countries.”

Hopefully someday the library will find ways to fully partner with the schools in selecting books for our Spanish-language book battles and the District 65 Spanish summer reading list. If ever they need an expert, Ms. Hilda’s on call.

So need a recommendation for a fun, interesting book in Spanish for kids?

Want to know what's out there? What's fresh? What's interesting?

Ms. Hilda has your back. Because after all, as she puts it, “I'm really passionate about the social responsibility that comes with the role of being a children’s librarian. It’s important for children of all backgrounds to see themselves not only in the books they read but in the staff providing services in their community.”

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