Zapata is home to a bilingual book publishing company

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In the small community of Zapata, there is an unlikely company that wants to make a big impact in the country.

Recognized as one of the few exclusively Hispanic book publishing companies in the country, Zapata County is home to one of the first bilingual book publishing companies in the country. Del Alma Publications, LLC adapts books for Hispanic and Latino children statewide and nationwide. Its influence only grows as the need for more bilingual books increases nationally and even to some extent internationally.

“Del Alma Publications, LLC is an independent book publishing company,” said Maricia Pérez Rodriguez, MBA, sales and marketing spokesperson for Del Alma Publications, LLC. “We are proud to offer bilingual and Spanish original works written by Latin American authors based in the United States.”

Rodriguez said that Zapata not only offers the convenience of being their home, but also a good strategic location for their business.

“We are long-time residents of Zapata,” Rodriguez said. “Posting, as the pandemic has shown, can be done from home, so the location of the business is no longer a critical factor. In South Texas in particular, Zapata is also a short drive from Laredo, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley, which are home to a predominantly Hispanic population, which is our target demographic.

The target audience for the small publishing house just 45 miles south of Laredo are children. However, as they grow older, they look forward to expanding their collection to include all types of literature for the elderly and even school resources.

“Our target audience is the Hispanic child born in the United States, and our goal is to provide them mirror books that accurately reflect their cultural heritage,” Rodriguez said. “We specialize in bilingual children’s picture books and Spanish / bilingual poetry, but we also plan to publish mid-level chapters, young adult novels and regional history books on the Mexican experience- American. In addition, we anticipate the publication of educational resources for bilingual / bilingual and English as a second language (ESL) teachers in the coming years.

In addition to publishing books, the Del Alma Publications company also has a blog that focuses on different topics related to the education of border school students and how the lack of bilingual books is stagnating the learning of young Hispanic children who cannot. not identify with the characters. The company’s mission is to help Hispanic children and young adults find literature that reflects who they are.

“With the ever-increasing number of Hispanic enrollments in classrooms in the United States, Del Alma Publications, LLC believes that addressing the challenges of bi-literate Hispanic learner has become more imperative than ever,” said Rodriguez. “Therefore, he is committed to producing quality, culturally appropriate books and educational resources to bridge the gap between Hispanic success stories.

“We strongly believe that it is especially important for teachers, librarians, administrators and parents, especially along the border area between the United States and Mexico, to incorporate culturally relevant literature into their lessons. . Bilingual books are excellent sources for the development of literacy and cultural literacy which are vital skills for children fortunate enough to be raised in the middle of two worlds. More importantly, when topics are discussed at school that are also familiar at home, the student can not only apply their previous knowledge to understand new ideas and concepts, but realize their importance and value. This is just as important in the early years of school as it is throughout a child’s schooling.

They began by publishing books by their founder, Dr María Alma G. Pérez, before becoming a traditional full-service publisher. According to Rodriguez, the company acquires the rights to an author’s manuscript and then produces it, publishes it and markets the book. The author is then paid for the royalties related to the sales of the book.

Although the company is always on the lookout for authors to work with, the authors it publishes usually come to them.

“So far, the manuscripts we have received have come from authors who have found us on the Internet,” Rodriguez said. “We also network with many aspiring writers through conferences and social media, and we promote our publishing house online through various websites.”

The authors the company works with are mainly from the region, including Laredo. Rodriguez said that in addition to Dr Pérez, a native of Zapata, the publishing house also acquired manuscripts from Elsa Martínez de Laredo and Gerónima Garza de Cotulla.

As they seek to promote all the perpetrators, Rodriguez said the impact of the pandemic has been felt most severely in their outreach efforts.

“Before quarantine, we would share our books with teachers, students and the general public through school tours, conferences and community events,” Rodriguez said. “The cancellation of these sites affected our book sales and as a result we had to shift our business model to a fully online presence.”

However, since the publishing house has always operated from a home and not from an official business site, this transition to remote working was not too difficult. The company easily connected with its partners across the state during the pandemic, as they also all left remotely.

“We offer our products through our website and through book wholesalers. As a result, much of our business is conducted electronically, ”Rodriguez said. “Our book production team is also located in different cities in Texas, so we’re used to working with each other virtually.”

Some of the selections they offer are “Cantos del Alma y del Corazón – Poesía Original” and their popular bilingual alphabet series for children, including “¡Todos a Comer! – An alphabet of Mexican cuisine ”,“ ¡Todos a Celebrar! – A Hispanic Customs & Traditions Alphabet Book ”and“ ¡Todos al Rodeo! – A Vaquero Alphabet Book ”written by Dr Pérez who were warmly received across the country. The company also posted “Hello, Zapata! ” Hello ! », A book for city children presenting local curiosities.

The books are available for purchase for individuals and schools. Schools and school districts can purchase directly from the company and also automatically receive a 20% discount on bulk orders.

For individuals who wish to purchase books, they are available on their website delalmapublications.com with Amazon, Barnes & Noble and various independent bookstores and library book wholesalers.

All interested authors can contact them for possible publication, but their work should focus on bilingual picture books for children, average readers and young adults reflecting the bilingual / bicultural experience, and bilingual / Spanish poetry collections. Interested authors can send an email to [email protected]

[email protected]


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