Teresa Mlawer Lifetime Achievement Award

Latino and Spanish-speaking communities lost a great friend and advocate with the loss of Teresa Mlawer, and the library and publishing professions lost a great mentor and inspiration. In Teresa’s honor, the REFORMA Northeast (RNE) Chapter has decided to rename its Lifetime Achievement Award in her honor.

Long time REFORMA Northeast member and supporter, Teresa Mlawer, formerly of Lectorum Publications Mlawer Publishing Services worked for almost 60 years in the Hispanic publishing industry. She was a pioneer in translating and publishing many Spanish language and bilingual books, and the representation of Latinx voices.

Below a few words about Teresa as she is remembered by friends and colleagues.

Please see our tribute video: Link

“Having known Pura Belpré herself, Teresa Mlawer was a great champion of the ALSC/REFORMA Pura Belpré Award. Besides promoting and fundraising for the award, upon retirement, she was finally able to join the Selection Committee. Our 2016 Committee was the first to be completely bilingual and bicultural and Teresa made many valuable contributions to making it a magical experience. The 2016 Committee deeply feels her loss. QEPD.” – Ana-Elba Pavon

“Teresa Mlawer was an exceptional woman. I first met her when I was an entry level librarian and she was the Lectorum Publications President 22 years ago. I would go to select Spanish language materials for the library at their store. Teresa, her husband Bill, and her staff also made me feel like family. Her contributions to the Spanish speaking culture and literature in the U.S.A. and beyond will always be inspiring and part of her legacy. It is a huge honor having known her personally.” – Libbhy Romero

"Teresa pursued and successfully accomplished with respect and honesty all the things she loved to do. I will always be grateful to Teresa who demonstrated her humanity, by her genuine actions of kindness. She moved through this life as a good human being - a remarkable legacy she leaves behind.” - Roxana Benavides

“In her calm, wise, and determined ways, Teresa Mlawer was a mover of mountains. She was a giant, a warrior, a woman of wisdom and shrewd vision, a true giver. A passionate and enduring supporter of the Pura Belpré Award whose fundraising talent, almost single-handedly, made possible the 20th Anniversary Celebración and the publication of the book The Pura Belpré Award: 20 Years of Outstanding Latino Children’s Literature. Teresa Mlawer was my friend, and the friend of my children. Una amiga sincera de gran corazón y mano franca. ” - Lucia Gonzalez

Teresa single handedly raised $18,000 for the 20th Belpré Anniversary. Her love of the Belpré and the impact of her work within REFORMA has no match.

“When I first met Teresa at the Bologna Book Fair I didn’t have a clue there was a place for the Spanish books in the US market.

Teresa hold my hand during my career, she was my mentor, dear friend, my aunty.

The only person with whom I shared my projects, and listen to her point of view. If she told me I should be in LA for a meeting I would fly from Barcelona just for that meeting. Teresa was thinking of my future.

We're both women with strong characters, we always respect each other, we listen to each other, we cared for each other.

Leaving the publishing industry didn’t meant leaving Teresa. We will meet in Barcelona, Madrid, New York or Miami.

Thanks Teresa for being in my life. Luv, P” – Poppy Grijalbo

“35 years ago, I met Teresa when she invited me to Lectorum’s 25th anniversary celebration at the marvelous restaurant, Tavern on the Green, in Central Park.

A woman of strong character, as you all know, she taught me what it meant to be a good negotiator. Throughout the years, we kept meeting in Guadalajara, Bogotá, Barcelona, Bologna, and many beautiful cites in the USA.

With her and Bill, an amazing person, intelligent, prudent and dedicated husband, we created a nice friendship that led us to many non-professional trips together.

If Bill reads or hears this, he knows I send him a huge hug. Both have been exceptional people. You never know what life will bring you, so right now the three of us could be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Lectorum in a good restaurant…” - Luis Zendrera

“I was still a student when I first met Teresa Mlawer. She offered me a part-time job at the former Lectorum Bookstore on 14th street in New York. Even though my background was in business and accounting, her love of children’s literature was contagious. Thanks to her leadership, drive, and direction, I have remained in the industry for over 40 years.

Teresa was a tireless worker and advocate, attending dozens of educational conferences and international book fairs yearly. Her goal was to offer excellent instructional materials and resources for students, teachers, and parents in Bilingual and Dual Language programs. She wanted to make sure that every Latino student had access to quality literature that would make them proud and successful in the future.”

  • Hilda Viskovic. Educational Sales Manager, Lectorum Publications Inc.