A new book outlining the experiences of Latinas in education is already receiving recognition for its contribution to the field. 

Michelle Hall Kells, Ph.D., an associate professor of Rhetoric and Writing and director of graduate studies in the Department of Chicana & Chicano Studies at The University of New Mexico, along with her co-editor Laura Gonzales, an assistant professor at the University of Florida, have been recognized by the Conference on College Composition & Communication with the 2023 CCCC Outstanding Book Award in the Edited Collection category for her book, Latina Leadership: Language and Literacy Education Across Communities.  

Latina Leadership draws attention to the diverse narratives of established as well as emerging Latina leaders in K-16 literacy education. The collection illustrates how these leaders navigated through institutionalized discrimination and resisted racial and sexual oppression all while supporting themselves and their communities both inside and outside their institutions.  

The book also explores the variety of transcultural, transracial, and translingual identities associated with the term “Latina.” This assemblage of stories tells the story of Latinas while emphasizing their authentic voices.  

According to the press release from the CCCC, the Outstanding Book award, “honors books within the field of composition and rhetoric. Kells’ and Gonzales’ edited volume was described as “a necessary book” that amplifies the voices of those who are not usually heard.  

CCCC chairwoman Holly Hassel noted that Latina Leadership “makes a powerful contribution” to the professional work being performed in the field. This new collaborative volume is another addition to Kells’ already impressive array of published works. 

Kells describes this book as a true labor of love: “We had been imagining a book focused on Latina leaders for more than two decades. This collection finally fills a large gap in the field because of the bold vision and sustained commitment of my co-editor and our brilliant contributors.” 

As a result of their unwavering dedication to fulfilling this gap within the current body of literature, this award is especially meaningful. Kells describes it "as a symbol of the national recognition of this community of scholars" and the vision shared by her, Gonzales, and a body of other Latina scholars. 

Her next project is a new monograph titled, Rhetoric of Embodiment: Mujerista Activism, Environmental Imagination, and the Mining of the Salt of the Earth. She speaks on this next project as a display of the role of women in the Local 890 Mine, Mill, and Smelters Union historic strike—this research coincides with the Latina Leadership novel and is featured in a chapter. 

Kells offers thanks and praise to her co-editor Gonzales and their contributors interim dean Arash Mafi, Chair of Chicana/o Studies Irene Vasquez, the UNM Southwest Hispanic Research Institute, and UNM’s Department of Chicana/o studies.

“The Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies is the institutional home where my work flourishes,” she remarked.

Kells will be presented with this award on Feb. 17, at the 2023 CCCC annual convention in Chicago, Illinois. More information about the 2023 CCCC Outstanding Book Award can be found at the CCCC website.