How to Fold a Taco and L’Origine Take Top Honors in Indie Book Awards 

NEW YORK, N.Y.—June 25, 2020—A children’s picture book about the joys of taco-folding and an adult fiction tale of “the secret life of the world’s most erotic masterpiece” won the hearts of jurors for the annual U.S. Selfies book awards. The winners—author Naibe Reynoso and illustrator Ana Varela (How to Fold a Taco) and Lilianne Milgrom (L’Origine)—were announced last evening at the U.S. Selfies virtual ceremony at the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference. Hosting the event was Jo Henry, managing director of BookBrunch, and Carl Pritzkat, president of BookLife, which administered the awards in conjunction with the award’s co-presenters, Publishers Weekly and BookBrunch. Tim Westover, winner of the 2020 U.S. Selfies inaugural book award for The Winter Sisters, gave the opening remarks.

How to Fold a Taco (Con Todo Press, ISBN 978-1-7337103-6-7) is an illustrated children’s book in English and Spanish that celebrates the taco. It is the first children’s book to win a U.S. Selfies award; the children’s category was added this year. In rhyming verse, author Reynoso conjures up the many ways to fold a taco and eat it. Along the way, she invites wrestlers, dragons and even Tyrannosaurus Rex to help fold the tortillas into tacos. Illustrator Varela draws a diverse, happy and clearly friendly group of children to work the taco-folding magic and show the ingredients that make tacos so delicious to eat. In a sweet afterword, the author’s mother is pictured in a vintage photo, accompanied by her family recipe for Taco de Papa (potato tacos) and “A Brief History of the Taco.”

Reynoso said, “How to Fold a Taco was written to honor and celebrate my Latino heritage, but also to make kids and parents smile, as it is a colorful and imaginary rhyming adventure with dragons, magicians, dinosaurs and more. But to honor my culture, it was important to include my mom’s family taco recipe, and a brief history of the taco, which is now one of the most beloved dishes of America.” 

U.S. Selfies children’s book judges Paige Allen, director of IngramSpark; Joshua Carlson, librarian and manager, youth services, at the White Plains Public Library; and Matia Madrona Query, BookLife editor, all agreed the book was a natural read-along, featuring polished, eye-catching illustrations and a diverse representation of children. As Allen wrote, along with elements of science, language, culture, history and cuisine, the book ensures that readers “will head straight to kitchen or la cocina to indulge in a night of tacos and fun.”

In the adult fiction category, Lilianne Milgrom accepted the prize for L’Origine (Little French Girl Press, ISBN 978-1-7348670-0-8), a work of fiction woven through the provenance of one of the world’s most infamous and controversial works of art, L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World) painted in 1866 by Gustave Courbet.

L’Origine is the result of 10 years of research and writing,” Milgrom said, “but what kept me going was my absolute and unwavering obsession with wanting to get the story out into the world!” 

Jurors for adult fiction included Robin Cutler, president of LMBPN Worldwide Publishing, CEO of and creator and developer of IngramSpark; Emily Thomas Meehan, chief creative officer and publisher at Sterling Publishing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble; and Jo Henry. Cutler wrote, “Milgrom’s thorough research, knowledge and emotional attachment to the painting is enhanced by a sweeping fictional narrative that puts us in touch with major historical events and figures spanning 1866 to present day. On my next trip to Paris, I will be visiting the Musée d’Orsay to see the painting with newfound appreciation because of this book.”

“Congratulations to the authors of these fine examples of self-published books,” said Cevin Bryerman, CEO and publisher of Publishers Weekly. “How to Fold a Taco and L’Origine are testaments to the wealth of talent that deserves wider recognition in the publishing world.”

Runners-up were The Rumble Hunters by Courtney Dunlap, for the children’s category, and, for the adult category, The Boy and the Lake by Adam Pelzman.

The author and author/illustrator team each receive a $1,000 cash prize, promotional book displays valued at over $2,500 from Combined Book Exhibit (CBE) at major book fairs around the world, a feature in the CBE librarians’ newsletter reaching 30,000 librarians and a $5,000 package of print and digital advertising in Publishers Weekly.  

About the Authors and Illustrator

Naibe Reynoso (author, How to Fold a Taco) is a Mexican-American TV personality, two-time Emmy Award winner—most recently in 2020—and journalist, reporter, host, producer and mom based in Los Angeles. Hispanic Lifestyle magazine named her a 2020 “Latina of Influence.” She has been a board member of the prestigious Peabody Awards since 2015, the same year she received the BIBO Award for “Outstanding Work in Media.” Throughout her journalism career, she has worked and contributed to various regional, national and international networks, including Univision, CNN en Español and many others. In 2018 she created Con Todo Press, a publishing company that creates books to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities. Her first children’s book, Be Bold, Be Brave: 11 Latinas Who Made U.S. History, was an Amazon #1 bestseller and highlights 11 women who excelled in medicine, science, sports, the arts, journalism and politics. The book was awarded Best Nonfiction Picture Book in the 2020 International Latino Book Awards, won a 2020 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for best multicultural nonfiction book and received a Tejas Star Reading List (TSRL) recommendation for 2021 – 2022.

Ana Varela (illustrator, How to Fold a Taco) is an award-winning illustrator based in A Coruña, Spain. In 2019, she won the Gold Medal, Japan Illustrators’ Association (JIA), Illustration. She is a prolific, versatile illustrator, with a dozen children’s books to her credit as well as textbooks, magazines, packaging and products. She loves cats, traveling and drinking coffee.

Paris-born Lilianne Milgrom (L’Origine) is an internationally acclaimed artist and author. Her artwork can be found in both private and institutional collections around the world. Her articles have appeared in publications such as the Huffington Post, Bonjour Paris, Inspirelle, Ceramics Monthly and Daily Art Magazine, and her short stories have appeared in various anthologies. In 2011 she became the first artist authorized by the Orsay Museum in Paris to copy Gustave Courbet’s infamous L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World). Following her stint as a “copiste” she spent nearly a decade researching and writing L’Origine, her debut novel.  

About the U.S. Selfies

The mission of the awards initiative, which was the creation of BookBrunch and introduced to great acclaim in the U.K. in 2018, is to discover new talent and reward the best self-published titles each year. The U.S. awards’ first year focused on adult fiction published during 2019; in 2020 the categories were expanded to included children’s books (picture books, middle grade and YA). Future years are expected to include nonfiction. Awards are granted to books self-published in the year prior by authors and illustrators currently living in the United States.

The 2021 U.S. Selfies book awards were co-sponsored by IngramSpark®, Ingram’s award-winning self-publishing platform; Combined Book Exhibit, which showcases published works at trade shows and expos around the world; Barnes & Noble Press, the Barnes & Noble platform that supports self-published authors and publishers; and Author Solutions, a leader in supported self-publishing.


High-res cover images and author headshots:

E-Sampler of Shortlisted 2021 Selfies Books:

For more information, contact Christi Cassidy, +1-917-217-4269,
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