Elgin authors among semifinalists in Illinois librarians' book contest
At 15, Raúl Castillo Ontiveros began traveling across his native Mexico in search of adventures.
"I used to travel from my hometown (Monterrey) to the most famous places in Mexico," said Ontiveros, 58, of Elgin, who teaches Advanced Placement Spanish at Elgin High School.
Ontiveros' bilingual memoir, "Grandes Aventuras de un Pequeño Viajero," and a fantasy historical romance novel, "Demon's Bane," by fellow Elgin author India Powers are semifinalists in the eighth annual Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project Indie Book Competition.
"The contest itself is good because it promotes writing," said Ontiveros, who has been teaching in Elgin Area School District U-46 for 23 years.
Volunteer Illinois librarians read and evaluate the works of lesser-known local authors entered in the contest. Ontiveros and Powers are patrons of Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin. The library's staff members helped spread the word about the contest and received submissions and nominations of authors.
Eight years ago, a group of Illinois librarians created the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project with the goal of demonstrating the power of libraries to promote the works of unknown local authors. Previous contest winners have seen higher book sales, increased visibility on library platforms, and at least one publishing contract.
This year, the group launched the Spanish language contest, De la Página a la Fama, the brainchild of Tina Viglucci, Gail Borden's director of Hispanic services.
"We're representing our communities, and our Elgin community is half Latino," Viglucci said. "If we are really representing our communities and giving them a voice ... everyone can benefit by hearing diverse voices."
The goal is magnifying diverse authors' voices and benefiting readers from their perspectives, she added.
Ten adult fiction novels, five young adult fiction works, and six Spanish language works were chosen as semifinalists in this year's competition. Winners in each category will receive a cash prize, opportunities to promote their books at libraries and author fairs throughout Illinois, and a chance to compete with winners from other state competitions to be named Indie Author of the Year.
Three finalists will be selected in September and a winner will be announced in October. For more information, visit soontobefamous.info.
Paul Chavez, the son of the late American labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, will talk about the "Lessons Learned From My Father" on Sept. 15 at Elmhurst University.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Cesar Chavez Intercultural Lecture series, created in 1996 as part of Hispanic Heritage Month activities at Elmhurst.
In the early 1960s, Paul Chavez joined his seven brothers and sisters in handing out leaflets in farm towns throughout California's Central Valley, helping his father build the union that would become the United Farm Workers.
Chavez has spent his life with the farmworker movement as a union organizer, negotiator and assistant to his father. Since 1991, he also has led the Cesar Chavez Foundation, which works to improve the lives of farmworkers and poor working families throughout the Southwest.
His talk will begin at 4 p.m. in the Founders Lounge of the Frick Center, 190 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. Admission is free. For reservations, visit elmhurst.edu/cultural.
The Illinois Community College Board recently endorsed the Illinois Higher Education Strategic plan for 2021, which includes 25 strategies to improve equity, sustainability, and economic growth for students.
The plan was developed by the Illinois Board of Higher Education in collaboration with the college board and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Its main goals are closing equity gaps for students who historically have been left behind, building a stronger financial future for individuals and institutions, and increasing talent and innovation to drive economic growth.
To view the complete report, visit ibhestrategicplan.ibhe.org/.
The National Indo-American Museum has found a new home at 815 S. Main St., in Lombard. The museum's inaugural exhibit opens Sept. 24.
- Courtesy of the National Indo-American Museum
The National Indo-American Museum, which aims to build bridges across generations and connect cultures through diverse, colorful stories of Indian Americans, has found a new home in Lombard.
Named the Umang and Paragi Patel Center, it is at 815 S. Main St.
The museum's inaugural exhibition, "E/Merge: Art of the Indian Diaspora," opens Sept. 24. Opening hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Curated by Shaurya Kumar, chair of faculty and associate professor at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition showcases contemporary, cutting-edge works created by nine Indian-American visual artists from across the United States, including Kushala Vora of Chicago.
Monthly programming during the run of the exhibition is in development. Current plans call for artist talks, scholarly panels, family art-making days, and a dance performance featuring art-inspired original choreography.
Adult admission at the door is $5; student admission is $3; and entry is free for those attending art classes and children younger than 12 years. Group tours are available by appointment. For information, visit niam.org.
9/11 school resources
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has released a guide with tips and educational resources teachers can use to teach about the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks using reliable sources that do not contain anti-Arab or anti-Muslim content.
The resource was developed in response to reports of anti-Muslim bullying and Islamophobic rhetoric in classrooms on the anniversaries of Sept. 11, 2001. In CAIR surveys, large numbers of Muslim students have reported being mocked, verbally harassed, or physically abused because of their faith or ethnicity.
The guide includes a list of general lesson plans created by educators, documentaries, news reports and stories covering the attacks and their impact on people across America, including American Muslims. View the resource guide at cair.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/SchoolResources.pdf.
Celia Ramirez of Mount Prospect stands among the many piñatas she created for a tent representing Mexico as part of the celebration of Cultures in downtown Mount Prospect Sunday.
- Patrick Kunzer for the Daily Herald
Mount Prospect hosted its third annual Celebration of Cultures festival Sunday in downtown.
It featured booths with information, traditional clothing and artifacts, fair trade crafts and food from around the world, and culturally diverse entertainment, including Indian, Bulgarian, Hawaiian, Mexican and Eastern European dancers and musicians.
The event included children's activities, a kid's zone and arts and crafts tent.
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