Run Little Chaski: A Cover Reveal

Chaskis as drawn by chronist Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala in 1615.

Mariana Llanos, one of the founders of our #LatinxPitch has a new book coming out this year, and the best news is that it releases simultaneously in Spanish and English. Run Little Chaski! An Inka Trail Adventure and ¡Corre Pequeño Chaski! Una aventura en el Camino Inka, illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson, will release May 1st of this year with Barefoot Books. Hear from Mariana Llanos:

I wrote Run Little Chaski late in 2016. After running it through my critique group, working on revisions, and finally feeling like it was “ready”, I decided to begin the submission process. It was last year, and with the help of my new agent, Clelia Gore, that I sold it to Barefoot Books.

The few people who have read the book mention what a novel idea it was to feature these interesting foot-fleeted messengers that delivered messages through the Andes mountains in the times of the Inkas. I feel fortunate I found a publisher committed to diversity, but what people usually don’t realize is that novel ideas set in lands (not to mention times) faraway are a tough sell no matter how original they may seem.

Many publishing houses still puzzle over the idea of producing books set in other cultures. The most common argument is that children in the U.S won’t relate or that the editors themselves can’t relate. I obviously, disagree with this notion. As I have stated before, I grew up reading books set in “other” cultures, but those books still made me dream, laugh, and learn. How do we expect children to open their mind to the world if all they can see is their own reflection?

I learned this when I published my first self-published book in 2013 (Tristan Wolf). In those times I was doing plenty of Skype in the Classroom visits to schools around the world. On the same date I had a visit to a school in Illinois and one in Nigeria. I was a little worried about both visits: would the Illinois children understand my accent? Would the Nigerian children understand my accent?

It turned out they did (as children usually do), but not only that. Those children who were in different continents, separated by a great big ocean, reacted with laughter and surprise to the same parts of the story. Furthermore, their questions were substantially similar. So, my conclusion is, children are children wherever they are. They crave adventure and a well-told story. They recognize universal themes and are excited about learning from “others”. Children are children, everywhere.

Without further ado, here you have my newest book, which is also available to preorder from AMAZON (Hardcover English or Paperback Spanish) or BOOKSHOP (English or Spanish).

And more exciting news: Run Little Chaski debuts as a Junior Library Gold Standard in English and Spanish. What an honor!

Please be a good Little Chaski and share the news far and away!

Corre Pequeño Chaski: Una aventura en el Camino Inka
Run Little Chaski! An Inka Trail Adventure

Learn more about the chaskis (or chasquis) from the National Museum of the American Indian

Learn more about Mariana and her books, including her latest Eunice and Kate (Penny Candy Books, 2020) HERE

Rules to Participate in #LatinxPitch

LatinxPitch is around the corner! We hope you are preparing your pitches for September 15, 2021.

Here is a reminder of who can participate and how to participate.


  • All UNAGENTED and AGENTED Kidlit LATINX authors, author-illustrators, and illustrators are welcome to participate. Kidlit includes board books, picture books, chapter books, middle grade, graphic novels and young adult.
  • Anyone who self- identifies as Latinx with cultural ancestry in Latin-America is encouraged to participate. If you’re a bilingual Latinx creator not living in the US but are interested in publishing in this market, you are eligible to participate.  If you are married to someone who is Latinx or your subject matter includes Latinx heritage, but you are NOT a self-identified Latinx creator, we ask you to refrain from participating in this specific event. 
  • Latinx creators are welcome to submit any type of story or topic that falls under the Kidlit umbrella. There is no expectation that pitches should only cover Latinx themes as we fully recognize the diversity of talent, interests, and knowledge of our community. Our goal is to showcase these talents and promote Latinx expertise and skills to the wider community.
  • Agented authors and illustrators should check with their agents and agencies before the pitch.
  • If you’re an illustrator pitching work-for-hire/commissions include work samples from your portfolio and your topics of interest. 



  1. Post your pitches using #latinxpitch from your personal Twitter account. You are not required to register for this event. 
  2. Add your genre #BB (board books) #PB (picture books) #CB (chapter book) #MG (middle grade) #GN (graphic novel) #YA (young adult)  #Art to make it easier for agents and editors to find you.
  3. Add a subgenre if desired:  #AuthorIllustrator,  #NF (Non-Fiction),  #OWN (Own voices), #DIS (Disability), #Romance, #Fantasy, #LGTBIQ, #WFH (Work-for-hire)
  4. Artists will use hashtag #Art and submit a link to their portfolio or 4 individual illustrations. You may mention what are your sources of inspiration or what kind of projects you are interested in working.
  5. Agented authors and illustrators must include the hashtag #Editor to indicate they are looking for an editor and not an agent.
  6. Pitch each manuscript/art project only ONCE in the morning and ONCE in the evening. Each project can have a total of two pitches during the event. Only pitch completed, unpublished manuscripts or samples of a complete proposal for artwork. Self-published projects are not eligible. 
  7. You can post up to 4 manuscripts/art proposals in the morning and 4 manuscripts/art proposals in the evening, for a total of 8 pitches during the day. You can only post the same project twice during the event. 
  8. Remember do not like fellow creator’s pitches. As a creator you can show your encouragement to work you like by commenting on pitches. We are looking for ONLY Agents and Editors to FAVORITE and RETWEET pitches. A retweet from an editor will be a signal for agents, they are looking for this specific type of project (#MSWL). A retweet means interest, a like means request.
  9. Please note if an editor likes your pitch, but can accept ONLY agented submissions, do not submit your work directly to them. However, you can note their interest when querying agents.
  10. If you receive interest from agents or editors accepting unagented submissions, we recommend you do your research before submitting. You have no obligation to submit your work if it’s not a right fit for you. 


  1. Please visit our event from 8 am to 8pm on September 15th. Writers will post up to 4 original pitches in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. The same project will be posted a max of 2 times.
  2. Post your guidelines for submitting on your twitter page.
  3. Please LIKE pitches you would like to request. Agented writers will use #agented as a hashtag. Unagented writers will not have that hashtag. If you prefer only agented submissions, you may RETWEET to signal agents you are interested. A retweet means interest, a like means a request.
  4. We hope you find many voices to enrich your book lists and we appreciate you for opening a door to the Latinx community.

Add Your Voice to #LatinxPitch

Hey fellow writers and illustrators, we want to hear from you. What does REPRESENTATION mean to you? Has the lack of Latinx representation in children’s literature affected you personally in any way? As a creator of kidlit, why are you committed to lift up Latinx voices? What are some experiences that have shaped your commitment to represent through your writing or illustrating? How are your children or students affected by the lack of representation?

Please share with us a short video (1 to 2 minutes) where you respond one or all these questions. We want to hear from you whether you are a super-well-known author/illustrator, a debut author/illustrator, or a pre-published creator. Your voice is important.


  1. Record yourself on your phone or favorite device. Make sure you are recording in a well-lit space.
  2. Upload to your Twitter account.
  3. Tag @LatinxPitch and use hashtag #LatinxRepresentationMatters . We’ll RT from our account.
  4. If you want us to post from our account send us your video via DM. We’ll post from our account tagging you.


Thanks, Gracias, Obrigado!

LatinxPitch would like to thank all our donors for their time and their commitment to boost Latinx representation in children’s publishing. We couldn’t do it without your support.

Also, a big thanks to

Julie Downing –

Alex Giardino –

Adria Quinones –

Donna Muñoz –

and Renee Beauregard Lute –

What’s a Twitter pitch?

A Twitter pitch is a short and catchy “what my book is about”. Think of it as an elevator pitch but with the word count constrains of Twitter. For our event, #LatinxPitch, you also need to leave room for hashtags for your genre (#PB, #CB, #MG, #GN, #YA) or if you are #Agented.

Quick tips:

  • Remember to add our hashtag #LatinxPitch either at the beginning or end of your tweet.
  • Your manuscript should be ready to go when you participate on this event. Sure, you could still polish it and make revisions, but the story has to be finished. We’re not pitching ideas, but complete manuscripts.
  • Write your pitch several days in advance and include hashtags to see how many characters you have. Twitter allows up to 280 characters including spaces.
  • You may want to use Twitterdeck to keep track of likes and retweets of your pitch. Learn more HERE
  • Polish your pitch and keep it simple. Your tweet should capture the heart of your story and present it in a compelling way.
  • When an agent or editor favorites your tweet, go to this person’s page and look for their guidelines for submission.
  • Keep in mind that even if an agent or editor picks your pitch, there’s no guarantee they will offer you a contract. But at least you would have a opportunity to show your work.
  • Have fun! Get to know other Latinx writers, follow their work, and if you can, buy their books (or request them at your library). Representation works only when we work actively towards it!