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Houston Public Library Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Authors Oscar Casares and Gwendolyn Zepeda visit local libraries

Houston Public Library (HPL) celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with special presentations by awarding-winning authors Gwendolyn Zepeda and Oscar Casares. Author Oscar Casares is debuting his first novel “Amigoland.” Everyone will also have the opportunity to meet and greet the author.

Crowd-pleasing author Gwendolyn Zepeda will be visiting several HPL neighborhood locations to entertain everyone as she reads her latest children’s bilingual book “I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón.” This special storytime will appeal to children and adults alike and it will give everyone the opportunity to meet and greet the author. These programs are free and open to the public.

For more details visit or call 832-393-1313.

HPL and Texas Latino Voices Present: An Afternoon with Author Oscar Casares

Saturday, October 8 | 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Park Place Regional Library, 8145 Park Place Blvd., 77017, 832-393-1970
HPL invites the community to celebrate Hispanic American Heritage Month with a special visit from author Oscar Casares, who will discuss and sign copies of his debut novel, “Amigoland.” This is a bilingual event.

About ”Amigoland”
In a small town on the Mexican border live two brothers, Don Fidencio and Don Celestino. Stubborn and independent, they now must face the facts: they are old, and they have let a family argument stand between them for too long. Don Celestino’s good-natured housekeeper encourages him to make amends—while he still can. They secretly liberate Don Fidencio from his nursing home and travel into Mexico to solve the mystery at the heart of their dispute: the family legend of their grandfather’s kidnapping. As the unlikely trio travels, the brothers learn it’s never too late for a new beginning.

About Oscar Casares
Oscar Casares was born in the border town of Brownsville, Texas, the setting for his critically acclaimed story collection. The recipient of a 2006 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Casares is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and now teaches creative writing at the University of Texas in Austin, where he lives with his wife and young son. “Amigoland” is his first novel.

This program is made possible in part by a donation from Humanities Texas, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Texas Latino Voices programs are sponsored by the Texas Center for the Book, and the Houston, Laredo, and Palestine Public Libraries.

Children’s Programs with Author Gwendolyn Zepeda

Wednesday, October 5 |10:30 a.m.
Flores Neighborhood Library, 110 North Milby, Houston, 77003, 832-393-1780

Wednesday, October 12 | 10:30 a.m.
Carnegie Neighborhood Library, 1050 Quitman, Houston, 77009, 832-393-1720

Tuesday, October 18 | 10:30 a.m.
Collier Regional Library, 6200 Pinemont, Houston, 77092, 832-393-1740

Tuesday, October 25 | 10:30 a.m.
Park Place Regional Library, 8145 Park Place Blvd, 77017, 832-393-1970

About ”I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón”
“I Kick the Ball. BAM! BOOM! POW!” Young Toñito dreams constantly about playing soccer. He imagines himself hitting the ball with his knee, his foot, his head. In his mind’s eye, Toñito can run as fast as a race car. He can leap into the air like a fish jumping out of the ocean. He sees his name on the back of his red jersey. He hears the roar of the crowd as he scores a goal.

They chant his name: “Toñito! Toñito! Toñito!” But then his mother yells louder than the crowd in his head, and she reminds him about homework, dinner and family time. When he goes to bed, he knows that tomorrow he’ll have to go to school and do his homework. But he also knows he’ll play soccer again. “I’ll dream what I do. I’ll do what I dream. I’ll kick the ball tomorrow. Bam! Boom! Pow!” Zepeda writes a dynamic story about a young soccer player that is sure to spark readers’ enthusiasm for both reading and dreaming big.

The lively text is complemented by Pablo Torrecilla’s vibrant and spirited illustrations of Toñito buzzing around a field, hitting soccer balls with every part of his body. Children ages 4-8 will be inspired to go outside and play the world’s most popular sport. (Publishers description.)

About the Gwendolyn Zepeda
Zepeda’s first children’s book was “Growing Up with Tamales” and in 2009 received the Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended Title. Her first novel was “Houston, We Have a Problema” which won praises from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist for its wit and upbeat story. Novelist Alisa Valdez Rodriguez calls Zepeda “a master wordsmith.”

She began her writing career on the Web in 1997, with her long-running site and as one of the founding writers of entertainment site “Television Without Pity.”

Her first book was a short-story collection called “To the Last Man I Slept with and All the Jerks Just Like Him.”

A two-time Houston Arts Alliance literary fellowship winner and award-winning poet, Zepeda regularly lectures at universities throughout Texas. Zepeda was born in Houston, Texas in 1971 and attended the University of Texas at Austin.

About Hispanic Heritage Month
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day, or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

About the Houston Public Library
The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 35 neighborhood libraries, three HPL Express Libraries, a Central Library, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, The African American Library at the Gregory School, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children’s Museum of Houston.

Serving more than 4 million customers per year, HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs by providing library customers with free use of a diverse collection of printed materials and electronic resources, Internet, laptop and computer use, and a variety of database and reference resources with live assistance online 24/7.

For further information, visit the Houston Public Library at or call 832-393-1313.


Contact: Sandra Fernandez
Manager of Public Relations
Houston Public Library
832.393.1381; cell 713.435.9448

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