Monica Brown, was born in the USA. She has written books about American heritage teaching to kids about never forget their roots. She is an award author in the USA and an english teacher in the Northern Arizona University. Today is visiting my blog.
--Why did you choose to write biographies and how did you choose to Celia Cruz, Pele, Gabito etc?
I got started after my two daughters were born. I looked around there were very few picture books representing my culture--my mother’s South American culture. My mother was born and raised in Peru and I spent several summers there growing up. She was one of nine children and I had a big, warm extended family of cousins, tíos, and friends. I wanted my children to learn about their heritage and our contributions to the Américas.
--Tell me more about why did you begin to write biographies for kids.
I started to write because I wanted my children to know that aspects of their culture were honored and recognized. Also, I was shocked to discover that people here in the United States did not know the name of the poet, Gabriela Mistral, the daughter of a single mother who was the first Latin American to win a Nobel Prize for literature. I also wanted my daughters to learn about Gabriel García Márquez, the writer who most inspired and influenced the path that I took, as a professor of Latino/a literature, and as a writer of Latino/a literature for children. So my first books were non-fiction, in part, because I wrote the books I wanted my children, and other children in the United States, to read. And I wanted them to know and as proud and inspired as I was.
--You have got some awards. You will get a new one on Friday. How do you feel when you get them?
Books matter. Creativity matters. The opportunity to inspire young minds is a gift. Winning awards and recognition is a wonderful way to celebrate, but it is far from the most important thing. I am honored by awards that are given by educators, readers, librarian and even children and being able to write and publish books that inspire has been one of the joys of my life!
--Why are very important bilingual books in the United States?
Bilingual books offer the chance for readers to see two beautiful languages side by side on the page. In Latino families, there are often generational differences in terms of language. In my family for example, my mother’s first language is Spanish and second language is English. For me it’s the reverse. My Peruvian grandmother spoke only Spanish. A bilingual book allows children to enjoy reading times in two languages, in one, or the other, and also to acquire more language skills as children learn from contextualization and observing the art.
--Inmigrants are many in America. Books help kids not to forget the family origins, the roots.
We need books that reflect our Latinx student’s culture and proud heritage, and books that affirm bilingualism. This will counter messages of hate, anti-immigrant and “English only” rhetoric that has been even more blatant under our current administration. I am the proud child of an immigrant. We are here and we are staying. We all have different stories, but can be proud of a collective of care, nurturing, and pride in and for our children.
--Tell me about your book "Frida Kahlo and her animalitos".
Frida and Her Animalitos, illustrated by the incredible John Parra. It is an unusual approach to an artist, Frida Kahlo, that has inspired me more than any other, with the exception of my mother, Isabel Maria Brown, who like Frida, channeled pain and intense physical suffering into her paintings. We write about her animal muses and the strength of her spirit and imagination.
--Please tell me about your book "Marisol McDonald doesn't match/Marisol McDonald no combina.
This book was inspired by my experiences growing up as the daughter of a South American Mother and a North American Father. Meet Marisol McDonald. Marisol McDoinald is a bilingual, mixed-race, Scottish-Peruvian-American who is an ambassador of the unconventional. With her creative mind and strong sense of self, she doesn’t change to meet the expectations of the world—she changes the world!
Her website is:
Thanks to Monica for her time answering my questions. Pictures are so nice!!
Leticia Teresa Pontoni.