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By Kirk Whisler
Empowering Latino Futures 

International Latino Book Awards to announce winners Sept. 12


Last updated 8/26/2020 at 4:07am

The 22nd International Latino Book Awards ceremony will be held virtually Saturday, Sept. 12, at 2:30 p.m. with entertainment and the award ceremony at 3 p.m. at http://www. or via YouTube with master of ceremonies Edward James Olmos.

For 2020, Empowering Latino Futures has named five awards for writers and the Latino community overall. They included the Rudy Anaya Best Latino-focused Fiction Award in honor of the late great-grandfather of Chicano literature, the Isabel Allende Best Inspirational Fiction Award in honor of the bestselling Latina author in the world, the Alma Flor Ada Best Latino-focused Children’s Picture Book Award for a luminary of children’s literature, the Juan Felipe Herrera Best Poetry Book Award for the first Latino U.S. Poet Laureate and the Victor Villaseñor Best Latino-focused Nonfiction Award for the trailblazing author.

In 2021, Empowering Latino Futures will add five more legends to its award list. They include the Charlie Ericksen Best Book Written by a Youth Award for the editor who mentored more Latino journalists than anyone, the Dolores Huerta Best Community Service Book Award for the woman who has inspired millions, the Hank Lacayo Best Labor Book Award for the labor leader, the Mimi Lozano Best Family History Book Award for the woman lives to see family histories created, the Ambassador Julian Nava Best Educational Themed Book Award and the Raul Yzaguirre Best Political/Current Affairs Book Award for the man of many firsts.

About 40% of the winners were from major U.S. and international publishers, 25% were from medium-sized publishing houses and 35% were from small publishing houses or were self-published.

The 2020 International Latino Book Awards has 297 finalists in 96 categories. Handling the large number of books were 214 judges in 2020, including librarians, educators, media professionals, leaders of national organizations and Pulitzer Prize winners. The awards celebrate books in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Finalists are from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well as from 17 other countries.

All finalists listed will receive either a first place, second place or honorable mention when the awards are presented.

Empowering Latino Futures, formerly Latino Literacy Now, is a nonprofit organization co-founded in 1997 by Edward James Olmos and Kirk Whisler.

Other ELF programs include the 68th annual Virtual Latino Book & Family Festival in association with MiraCosta College in Oceanside. The Empowering Students Futures program has reached 182,000 students. The International Society of Latino Authors now has over 160 members. Education Begins in the Home has impacted literacy for more than 135,000 people, and more than 70 episodes of the Latino Reads podcast have now aired.

The Award Winning Author tour is not doing in-person events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Empowering Latino Futures’ 2020 partners include California State University San Bernardino, Comadres para las Americas, Flatiron Books, Gloves for Humanity LLC, GrupoMex, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Community College District, Masksquerade Enterprises LLC, REFORMA and Route 78 Rotary Club. Its media partners include El Perico, Latino Lubbock and Para Todos. For more information, contact 760-579-1696 or visit


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