Monthly Archives: October 2013

Reach Out and Read on Uptown Lit

ROR Article about Uptown Lit

One great thing that came out of our working on Uptown Lit: A Festival of Readers and Writers is that we had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of local organizations with similar or overlapping aims of celebrating literature and literacy in our neighborhood. One such group is the staff of Reach Out and Read, a program of the Ambulatory Care Network of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center. Reach Out and Read dispatches volunteer readers to waiting rooms in the various clinics in the area, so that young readers and potential readers are turned onto the joys of books at a young age. ROR has also created literacy fairs in past years, in collaboration with LiteracyINC, the New York Public Library, and others. Here is what ROR volunteer Edna Suarez had to say about Uptown Lit:

On October 19, 2013, Reach Out and Read of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Ambulatory Care Network partnered with Word-Up, Literacy Inc and many other community organizations to host a family literacy event for all ages at the United Palace.

It was hard to ignore a feeling of magic as soon as one entered the United Palace and looked towards the red-carpeted staircase in the center of its gilded and fabulously decorated lobby. The faces of small children walking up the stairs told a story of wonderment and anticipation. What they found at the top of the stairs did not fail to delight them as a small stage occupied by a pretty lady wearing butterfly wings was the first thing they set their eyes on. She was singing and telling stories to other children who were seated directly in front of the stage.

Smiling Uptown-Lit volunteers, would gently invite the curious children to sit and listen to the music. Older more adventurous children opted to check out the other activities. What they found were wonderful free books to take home. Trying to make the big decision of “what book to read,” didn’t seem too hard. Young mothers juggled their babies with one arm and, new chapter books in another as they followed their big readers around to the different tables.

Signing up for a library card was special. The children listened intently to the NYPL volunteer explain the rules for their card membership. The excitement was palpable as the children listened to a new book being read to them by its author. Neal Hoffman was there, with his 6 year old daughter, Shirley. He marveled at the amazing volunteers and especially liked the New York Public Libraries presence at the event, pointing out that getting library cards to children in this way was very smart. When asked her opinion of the festival Shirley replied “I like it a lot, I made two spiders and I got a ‘Nate the Great Book.'”

Shirley was referring to the wonderful literary arts and crafts offered to the children by Literacy Inc and Reach Out & Read. Ten year old, Araceli, was there with his mother Evgenia. She told me that she doesn’t read English, but that Araceli loves reading and she is always picking up a book to read. Sebastian and Emanuel 9 and 8 respectively, read to their 3 year old brother Emanuel. “ I try to read to them every day but they read a lot on their own,” said their mother. Sebastian added that he “loves to read long books.”

Sarah Durham and her 7 year old daughter, Alice thought, “it was great to have an event like this in our neighborhood.” Eight year old Adrian was there with his mother, Car-la, she described him as “big reader.” She was glad that they were also able to find beautiful picture books at the festival for his three year old brother Dylan to enjoy. Nayeli, a young mother who is learning to read English said that she tries to read to her son Billy, who is 4, everyday.


Junot Díaz at the United Palace


About a year ago, we collaborated on the launch party for the United Palace of Cultural Arts—which took the form of a multi-arts showcase throughout the ornate rooms of the third-largest theater in Manhattan.

And we’ll be at it again, this time on Friday, November 15th, 6 PM.

And, this time, we’ll be ending the night with a special guest on the main stage at 7:30 PM: Junot Díaz, in conversation with Publishers Weekly editor Calvin Reid.

Junot’s writing is something a lot of us have read, felt, sensed: besides that Washington Heights and its people live on many of Junot’s pages, it’s also clear that tons of our neighbors have read his work and carry those words close. But what happens with those words are reinterpreted in another form? What happens when another Latino artistic hero—say, comic book artist Jaime Hernandez, of the long-running series Love and Rockets, which Jaime created with his brothers*—reimagines Junot’s characters in graphic form?

We’re as excited to find out, with the release of the deluxe edition of This Is How You Lose Her, coming out this week, featuring illustrations by Jaime Hernandez. And we’ll be looking forward to seeing those images projected on the United Palace’s 50-foot screen, as Junot discusses the adaptation, representation, and much more with Calvin Reid, the senior news editor at Publishers Weekly who has championed graphic novels and comics coverage at PW and beyond.

From a recent Washington Post article, which calls this deluxe edition one of the Best Books of 2013:

“Honestly, I am over-the-moon giddy,” Diaz tells Comic Riffs this week, ahead of the Oct. 31 release of the deluxe edition. “I’ve got to tell you, I have never been the kind of person who [marvels] at his own work. I’m never over-the-top happy [about it]. I don’t even have parties … or go out for drinks with friends [when a new book of mine comes out].

“But,” continues Diaz, who began reading “Love and Rockets” in the ‘80s, “this is one publication that I’m so elated over because I’m such an enormous fan of Jaime’s. … To have someone of his caliber — I think everybody knew I was a huge fan.” . . .

“I discovered ‘Love and Rockets’ in 1987, while I was living in Jersey, during my first year of university [Rutgers],” Diaz says of the long-running comic by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (sibling Mario sometimes contributes). “What’s sort of important to me is that Jaime and his brother Gilberto have been at the forefront of representing the U.S.-Latino and the Latino experience in a profound and human and complicated way. Back when everyone else was creating shows, these guys were talking about young, bisexual punk-rock girls from Oxnard. That’s the universe I [recognized].”

This event is brought to you by Word Up Community Bookshop, United Palace of Cultural Arts, and Riverhead Books, and takes place during PAMAR’s Latin American Cultural Week. Admission is a pay-what-you-can donation at the door to support arts interactions. See you at the Palace on November 15th!

*Side note: We’re also excited that the Hernandez Brothers have been celebrating the 30th anniversary of Love and Rockets throughout this past year!

The Minecraft Event

Minecraft_WordUpFINALMinecraft fans: Come find out about the man behind the game! Saturday, November 9th @ 6pm, at Word Up Community Bookshop.


Uptown Lit books still available!

2013-10-22 20.59.48

We got in a ton of great books by the authors who participated in Uptown Lit, and many are still available at Word Up. Come by during our store hours and pick up that poem you just haven’t gotten out of your head since last Saturday . . . 

Here is Time Out New York’s take on the highlights at Uptown Lit:TimeOutNY_UL

Bosch para todos

Photo by Jeremy Ricardo

Photo: Jeremy Ricardo

Hace un par de semanas, nos encontramos con Mattias Bosch de la Fundación Juan Bosch y ahora nos sentimos orgullosos de poder ofrecer muchas obras de Juan Bosch, inclusive la nueve serie, Bosch para todos. Cada libro se vende por diez dólares.

A few weeks ago, we met with Mattias Bosch, of the Juan Bosch Foundation, at Word Up. We are now the proud carriers of many of Juan Bosch’s works, including the new Bosch For All series. Each title is available for $10.