November 24, 2017

Lucía González | Movers & Shakers 2008

Storyteller

As a child in postrevolutionary Cuba, Lucía González would sit enthralled in the unelectrified dark as her great-aunt told stories. Growing up in Miami, she savored memories of that magic, which paved the way for her career as a children’s librarian, storyteller, and writer. She’s been reaching out to the Spanish-speaking children of South Florida and their parents since she started at Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS) in 1991, where an all-day storytelling workshop made her fall in love with children’s librarianship.

Through her programs at the Imagination Factory (an MDPLS program promoting reading through storytelling), she encouraged Hispanic children to read and their parents to read to them. Now with the Broward County Library, she’s developed bilingual children’s story times for libraries, public schools, and daycare centers throughout the county. Her efforts to expand the library’s Dia de Los Niños/El Dia de Los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) helped the library win the prestigious Mora Award for 2007.

Her storytelling goes beyond the library, too. While living in Venezuela after college, González learned that many Venezuelan folktales, children’s songs, and games resembled those with which she’d grown up. That inspired her to write those stories in English, to “pass them on to our children in the United States.” These became her award-winning books:The Bossy Gallito (Scholastic, 1994) and Senor Cat’s Romance and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America (Scholastic, 1997).

REFORMA colleague Isabel Espinal admires González not only for the national impact her work has had but also for speaking out against her own Cuban American community to defend Alta Schreier’s Vamos a Cuba (Let’s Go to Cuba), a book about Cuba that was banned in Miami schools. For González, it was simply her “duty to defend children’s right to accurate information about Cuba”—and any other country.

That courageous act, and her outreach to Hispanic children, stem from her vision of public libraries as “powerful, inclusive community institutions.”

Vitals

CURRENT POSITION Associate Director, Programming & Youth Services, Broward County Library, Fort Lauderdale, FL

DEGREE MLIS, University of South Florida,1991

TOP 20 Her first book, The Bossy Gallito, was recently named one of New York’s 20 All-Time Favorite Children’s Books for readers age 6–12

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