Forthcoming Book: “Puerto Rican Folktales/Cuentos folclóricos puertorriqueños”


Lisa Sánchez González (who, I am proud to say, is a former student from my UCLA years) is awaiting the publication of her beautiful collection of updated, traditional oral Puerto Rican folk tales. Puerto Rican Folktales/Cuentos folclóricos puertorriqueños (2Leaf Press, Nuyorican World Series) includes translations by Bayrex and illustrations by Teofilo Olivieri.

Description: PUERTO RICAN FOLKTALES is the first offering in nearly 50 years of traditional oral Puerto Rican folktales and legends presented in book form. Rendered as wonderful short stories for both children and adults alike, author Sánchez González researched these colonial stories and has provided updated versions from a contemporary perspective with the beauty, humor, and urgent honesty they deserve. Readers will discover the real story of Yuisa and Pedro Mejías. A tale of a girl who goes on an adventure and rides home triumphantly on a magical horse with a rainbow mane. Talking trees and plants and magical machetes. The supreme goddess, Atabey, and her sister, Katsí, the moon, hovering over the night sky, protecting the young and the innocent. Axé. PUERTO RICAN FOLKTALES will transport, transform and translate to readers a whole new universe of a quintessentially Caribbean culture that’s alive and well in Puerto Rico in a bilingual format rendered by Bayrex with beautiful illustrations by Teofilo Olivieri.

LISA SÁNCHEZ GONZÁLEZ is a professor, scholar and folklorist. Her essays have appeared in scholarly journals and anthologies. Among her awards and nominations, she received an international appointment as a Fulbright Scholar in American Studies in 2000. Sánchez is the author of Boricua Literature: A Literary History of the Puerto Rican Diaspora (NYU Press, 2001) and The Stories I Read to the Children: The Life and Writing of Pura Belpré (Centro Press, 2013). An Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, Sánchez currently teaches courses in American, Caribbean, and western literary history. PUERTO RICAN FOLKTALES/CUENTOS FOLCLÓRICOS PUERTORRIQUEÑOS, a bilingual collection of “decolonial” short stories, is Sánchez González’ much anticipated first collection of folklore.

BAYREX is a composer, arranger, pianist and producer. Formerly with the hit pop group Cultura Profética, he now plays with artists such as Mima, Welmo and his own project Betún. His film credits include the soundtrack for the Emmy award winning documentary film Isla chatarra (2008) and Maldeamores (2007). His many engineering, arrangement and performance credits include a recording with Facundo Cabral, América canta en vivo (1998). An accomplished musician, Cuentos folclóricos puertorriqueños is Bayrex’s debut as a translator.

TEOFILO OLIVIERI grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey where he taught himself to draw, first using traditional media and then employing computer technology. His illustrations have brought a unique and powerful energy to national ad campaigns, magazines, journals, books and CD liner notes. His client list includes: The New York Times, Washington Post, Soul Train Awards and Arista to name a few. Extremely versatile, from book covers to massive murals, Olivieri’s work is very prolific and reminiscent of futuristic tribalism. It evokes an esoteric and timeless tone.

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