Latinx Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th. This is a period in which many companies focus on their Latinx members and products. But for a company such as WeBook Publishing, it has a different and special meaning.
As a boutique publisher that works mostly with immigrant and bilingual authors, we celebrate them every day, with every single action we do. The company, which has a full team with Latinx Heritage, wants to inspire a connection of intersectional conversations through storytelling and amplify voices in a diverse community that strive to make a difference in the world - especially the Latinx one.
The personal experience of our Brazilian-American founder, Ana Silvani, is what inspired her to start the publisher. At the beginning of most immigrants' and first generations’ journeys, being free to be whoever we want can be scary.
"We often end up alone in the middle of a new crowd who doesn’t know us (neither the old nor the new version), and we have to start from scratch", Ana added.
According to Silvani, for years, she tried to get a fix for her “Half Love”. She had the urge to free the Ana within because living abroad put her inner child in a cage. She needed to let herself run wild in order to heal the wounds caused by that sudden “voluntary exile.” For ten years, she wrote a love letter about her immigrant journey. Those 77 poems were translated and became 154 bilingual poems that compose her first poetry book titled “Half Love, Metade Amor.”
But when she decided to publish them, Ana could not find a company that would value her and give her the space and opportunity she wanted, and needed. So, as any other fierce Latina would do, she learned the market and started her own imprint to support her and other fellow writers, especially Latinas.
All the effort into that vision started to show its results last August. WeBook was in charge to organize a panel with their fellow Latina authors in celebration of National Latina Day in Los Angeles, at Barnes & Noble The Grove. The 120 attendees proved to the publisher’s team - and the entire community - that there is space for us in the publishing field. Because we are creating this space. The next day, Ana felt overwhelmed with social media posts from the attendees sharing images with #proudlatina. Something special clicked inside of them. WeBook gave them hope. WeBook showed them our potential as a Latinx community.
“After sixteen years of living in the United States, I can finally say that I created my own version of the American dream. My heart was full at the end of that event at one of the country's most famous and important bookstores”, Ana said.
The message WeBook wants to spread to our community - not only this month but throughout the entire year - is this: our uniqueness is the key to our success. We need to know who we are and what we want. Once we know that, nothing can hold us back.