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Recently, there have been a couple of Spanish words that have entered my conversations and/or thoughts on a repeated basis. They are cultural words that have a deep significance of human bonds and friendships. One is a colloquial term used primarily in the US/Mexico border communities and among its youth, at least in my bicultural experience. The other, a term used among Latin American adult family members and friends.

First, carnal / carnala, the masculine and feminine colloquial nouns to refer to a person with whom you have a strong bond, whether a blood relation or a close and trusted friend. The Spanish carnal is an adjective relating to the flesh, fleshy, or carnal. Therefore a carnal or a carnala is a trusted blood relative and/or strong friendship.

Second, comadre literally means a midwife or godmother. The masculine, compadre, is the godfather or fellow parent. Consequently, these Spanish terms are used not only to refer to the actual godparents of a child but also any person, friend, colleague with whom a strong, trusted bond is shared.

Strong bonds and friendships exist in every culture, as they are human relationships that form out of our survival instinct. It would be interesting to start a collection of terms that communicate such deep bonds within our diverse global communities. Contact us to share your term.


Atria Books


Count on Me: Tales of Sisterhoods and Fierce Friendships
By Las Comadres

Editor: Adriana V. Lopez

Pub: Atria Books

Pub Date: September 2012

ISBN: 9781451642018

$12.00 USD | Paperback



About the book

Beloved bestselling Latino authors, including Esmeralda Santiago, Carolina De Robertis, and Luis Alberto Urrea share moving personal stories of the many ways that sisterly bonds have powerfully impacted their lives.

What would you do, where would you be, without your comadre?

In Spanish, comadre is a powerful term. It encompasses many of the most complex and important relationships that exist between women: best friends, confidants, advisors, neighbors, and godmothers to each other’s children. For over a decade, Nora Comstock, President and CEO of the international organization Las Comadres Para Las Americas has been bringing Latina women together to support each other in the U.S. and overseas. Here, they collaborate with acclaimed author and editor Adriana Lopez to bring you the very best of today’s Latino writers as they illuminate the power of sisterly bonds.

In twelve creative nonfiction narratives, mostly by women, the authors reflect on the importance of comadres in their lives. Writers like Fabiola Santiago, Luis Alberto Urrea, Reyna Grande, and Teresa Rodríguez tell their stories of survival in the United States and in Latin America, where success would have been impossible without their friendships. Favorites like Esmeralda Santiago, Lorraine Lopez, Carolina De Robertis, Daisy Martinez, and Ana Nogales explore what it means to have a comadre help you through years of struggle and self-discovery. And authors Sofia Quintero, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, and Michelle Herrera Mulligan look at the powerful impact of the humor and humanity that their comadres brought to each one’s life, even in the darkest moments.

About the Editor

Adriana V. López is the founding editor of Críticas Magazine and edited the story collection Fifteen Candles. López’s journalism has appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post and her essays and fiction have been published in anthologies such as Border-Line Personalities, Colonize This! and Juicy Mangoes. Currently, she is translating Susana Forte’s novel Waiting for Robert Capa and divides her time between New York and Madrid.

Special Offer

The book is available for pre-release orders. Order now to get the pre-release price and also get the NEW beautifully updated print of the FIVE comadres by artist Laura López Cano at half price! New faces have been added to the original Las Comadres print! Note the image at the top of Las Comadres website, that is the new image of the print. Both discounts are only valid with a pre-release order. And make sure to order additional copies as gifts to all your comadre friends!

*You will need the order confirmation number to purchase your print here.

There will be many book release events held around the country! Stay tuned for more info.