In the lead up to the Durango Azoka, we wanted to give all of our readers a round-up of all of our publishing efforts for the year (browse and shop for all of our new books here), which has been really active one. If you are interested in learning more about our new book and other news from the press, sign up for our monthly books email newsletter here.

In the first installment, here are three of the first books that we published this year all of them treating in one way or another the Basque diaspora, Basques who left their homeland to explore different worlds.

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Basque Explorers in the Pacific Oceanby Bill Douglass.

The Pacific Ocean was for several centuries, from the discovery of the Strait of Magellan in 1520 until Cook’s voyages in the 1700s, considered to be the “Spanish Lake.” However, Spain was never a monolithic entity and this book then considers “Spanish” exploration in the Pacific from the perspective of the Basques, who have an important maritime tradition and were key figures in Pacific exploration. From Juan Sebastián Elkano’s taking over command of the Victoria after Ferdinand Magellan’s death and completing the first circumnavigation of the planet to Andrés de Urdaneta’s discovery of the north Pacific route from the Philippines to modern-day Acapulco, Mexico, Basque mariners and ships were pivotal in European incursion into this vast area.

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Garmendia and the Black Rider, by Kirmen Uribe, illustrated by Mikel Valverde.

An exciting and informative children’s adventure story set in the Old Wild West authored by the celebrated Basque poet and novelist Kirmen Uribe and richly illustrated by Mikel Valverde. Garmendia is our first book in the Angeles Arrien Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research Series, a series that owes its existence to a generous bequest from this same foundation. So saddle up folks, and ride along with famed Basque gunslinger Garmendia. As well-known as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, or Wyatt Earp back in the day, in this lively page-turner Garmendia is pursued by evil Tidy Harry–who runs Clean City–and his henchmen Rat and Bat. Will Garmendia survive? And who is the mysterious Black Rider?

Zelestina Urza in Outer Space

Zelestina Urza in Outer Space, by David Romtvedt.

For a sixteen-year-old immigrant from a Basque village, northern Wyoming, on a cold February day in 1902, seemed as distant and barren as the moon. Zelestina Urza, who had left her impoverished family, had no idea what lay ahead of her. How would she make a life out of what seemed like less than nothing? In his new novel, David Romtvedt, the Pushcart Prize-award winning author of A Flower Whose Name I Do Not Know, and Wyoming poet laureate, draws the reader into a complex portrait of the immigrant experience in the American West. Zelestina’s life story is interwoven with that of her close friend Yellow Bird Daughter–a young Cheyenne Arapaho woman–a lifelong relationship that overcomes obstacles and spans cultural differences. Romtvedt’s sharply humorous style, full of pop and literary references, blends the historical and magical into an engaging conversation with the reader. Zelestina Urza is an engaging account of Basque immigration and a piercing look at the American West of the twentieth century, showing two women, one immigrant, one native, both outsiders from the traditional narrative of the Manifest Destiny.