HAPPY 75 BIRTHDAY, JOE HAYES! ¡MIL FELICIDADES!
“Joe’s a big kid!” That’s what my friend Gabriel who does yard work for us said to me the other day. Then he told me about seeing Joe in the hallway of his son’s Ken Brian’s school. “He just came up and gave us a big hug. I can still feel that warm hug!” That’s Joe Hayes in a nutshell.
Cinco Puntos Press wants to send birthday greetings to our great good friend storyteller Joe Hayes! He’s 75! Anyone who knows Cinco Puntos knows Joe and knows his books. Indeed, it’s been 35 years since we first published the first edition of the now classic bilingual La Llorona, The Weeping Woman. Back then it was a 6×9 staple bound duotone paperback. Vicki Trego Hill was the illustrator. Since then the story has migrated through a number of editions and now a beautiful full-color fully illustrated storybook. Vicki’s illustrations are the same, but her daughter Mona colored the original drawings and added two illustrations to fill out the book. It’s beautiful. And it’s scary! A true cautionary tale. A classic. And in its many editions it has sold over 800,000 copies! Truly, Cinco Puntos would not be here without La Llorona and Joe Hayes.
In 1985 we truly didn’t really know what we were doing, but we trusted Joe Hayes and his storytelling instincts. Why not? He made his living telling stories to kids, especially in the American Southwest. A majority of many if his school audiences were Mexican-American and migrant Mexican kids. Like all kids, they loved a good ghost story, and La Llorona was the best! They had heard it all of their lives from grandparents and parents who told them if they didn’t get back into their homes by nightfall La Llorona might grab them and take them away! Egad! Cautionary tales were the greatest. Since then Cinco Puntos has done over 20 books with Joe.
The Pandemic has kept Joe out of the schools, and it’s making him lonely. He loves telling stories to kids. It keeps him anchored to the earth. He can’t wait until next year so he can get back to telling stories to real kids. But of course his many fans are missing him too. Especially the kids. But everybody can stay connected buying Joe Hayes books. They will make wonderful Holiday gifts for the whole family!
Happy birthday, Joe! And many many thank yous! ¡Y mil gracias!
Bobby and Lee Byrd
PS. This note from a mother and daughter just reminded me. If you want to get a taste of Joe’s storytelling, go to the Joe Hayes youtube channel. Joe has recorded all of his stories as a gift to us all.
Hello Mr Hayes,
My 4 year old daughter, Anya, has recently discovered your stories on YouTube and is a huge fan. I enjoyed using your books when I was teaching third grade as well. We were looking for an address to which we could send you a letter and noticed today is your birthday. Anya says:
“Happy birthday! I love your stories. I think you should be president.”
We hope you have a great day!