Lorito Books’ President, Pam Fochtman, worked in the audiobook industry for several years as Sales Manager for Landmark Audiobooks, a distributor serving the library market. Requests for audiobooks in Spanish provided her with the idea for Lorito Books, and graduate studies at the University of Denver in Latin American trade and economics reinforced her vision. She has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and volunteered at an orphanage in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, for several years. She is currently a member of the Institute for International Education and works with Friendship Bridge, an NGO that provides microcredit for indigenous women in Guatemala.
Hi, Pam. What is the publishing concept behind Lorito Books?
Actually, the concept behind Lorito Books is quite simple. We seek high quality books written in Spanish or bilingual text and produce the audio CD that goes along with the book. Children and families are able to read while they listen, building both literacy and second language skills. While the book and CD set is a well known format, Lorito Books is the first publisher to specialize in bilingual audiobooks.
I started with three classic bilingual titles published by the Piñata Books imprint of Arte Público Press. We recorded those books in a studio in Guatemala City with Kristine Klanderud, a bilingual stage actress. I drove myself and everyone else crazy with those books in my effort to make those first releases perfect.
What are the advantages of raising bilingual kids?
I think that we are witnessing a shift in cultural norms in this country, with a greater share of the population speaking two languages. Latinos are preserving their heritage language while there is greater recognition among English-speaking parents that a second language is an important skill in a global economy. Enrollment in dual language schools is increasing and Spanish is being offered as an after school program in more public schools. I think these trends speak volumes about the advantages of raising bilingual children.
What title has been the most successful in your catalog?
Generally, the bilingual titles have been more successful. They are the multi-taskers in the catalog. They can be used by non-English speaking parents building their skills with the English tracks and bilingual children listening in Spanish. Children typically don't get instruction in Spanish at school unless they are in a dual language school so this is one way to build biliteracy. Of course, English speakers can listen to the Spanish tracks to improve their reading and pronunciation skills.
What will be Lorito Books' next releases?
Our next release will be Gracias/Thanks by Pat Mora. This is a beautiful picture book about being grateful for the simple things in life, life a soft pair of pajamas and a serenading cricket. We are very excited to announce that the author notes will be narrated by Pat Mora, who is a tireless children's literacy advocate. It will be available in September, 2012.