Children’s book publisher Levine Querido is launching its own Spanish-language imprint, Ediciones Levine Querido, this fall, translating several of its own authors’ works. The inaugural list features three titles: La Última Cuentista (The Last Cuentista) by Donna Barba Higuera, translated by Aurora Humarán (the English edition was a Newbery Medalist and Pura Belpré Award winner); Buenos espíritus (High Spirits) by Camille Gomera-Tavarez, translated by Lorraine Avila; and La tímida Willow (Shy Willow) by Cat Min, translated by Alexis Romay and Valerie Block.
The plan is to publish three titles per season. In spring 2023, Levine Querido will release Noche antigua (Ancient Night) by David Álvarez and David Bowles; La forma de un hogar (The Shape of Home) by Rashin Kheriyeh; and Lo que le contó el jajguar (What the Jaguar Told Her) by Alexandra V. Méndez.
“The Spanish-language market continues to be underserved by mainstream publishers, especially in Texas, California, and Florida,” says Antonio Gonzalez Cerna, marketing director of Levine Querido. “At the Texas Library Association meeting, many librarians approached our booth specifically asking for Spanish-language and bilingual books to share with their classrooms.”
The company has a strong connection with the Spanish language, with three of its six staff members having grown up reading in Spanish, as well as with the market, having used its Em Querido imprint to offer translations from Spanish into English.
“We’ve also found that for many of the U.S.-based Latinx authors we publish, having their books accessible in Spanish is invaluable,” says Irene Vázquez, assistant editor and publicist. “Not only are they able to connect with more readers across the country but now their families—who may not always speak or read English—can share their works as well. It means that they can visit Spanish classrooms or ESL classrooms around the country and share their stories.”
Vázquez offers assurances that care will be taken to translate the books using authentic, colloquial Spanish from the country of origin of each author. “The Spanish-language market is not a monolith—far from it,” Vázquez says. “With each book, we do our best to work with translators who are right for each project and can capture the nuances and cultural specificity of Mexican, or Colombian, or Dominican Spanish, and everything in between. We Spanish readers occupy the same digital and media spaces as English readers. You just have to speak our language—both figuratively and literally.”
Levine Querido president and editor-in-chief Arthur A. Levine and Cerna are attending the Guadalajara International Book Fair at the end of November to begin promoting the books abroad, and the company is working with Al Dia News and digital content creators like TikTok and Instagram influencer Carmen Alvarez of @tomesandtextiles for promotion at home.
Levine says, “When I chose the word Querido as half of our company name it was to signal many things: a tribute to Emanuel Querido, the great Dutch publisher whose bravery and taste continue to inspire us; a desire that the books we make become beloved to those who read them; and as a testament to our ambition to introduce a new wave of great writers in translation from the Spanish, as well as our commitment to Latine authors in the United States. With the launch of Ediciones Levine Querido, we are taking another step in furtherance of these ideals.”