My next middle grade novel, GROW UP, LUCHY ZAPATA, will release summer 2024 from Atheneum Books for Young Readers. I’m thrilled to be working with my editor Sophia again!! A huge thank you to my agent Deborah Warren at East West Literary!
GROW UP LUCHY ZAPATA is about 11-year-old Luchy Zapata, whose middle school dreams go up in a poof of glitter when her BFF returns from a summer in Colombia and ditches her for the cool kids, leaving Luchy to figure out who she is and where she belongs.
I can’t wait for y’all to meet Luchy, my feisty, stubborn, art and soccer-obsessed 2nd gen protagonist, and her BFFs Cami and Mateo! It’s full of all things Colombia, family, food, identity, middle school drama.
The last year has felt like a delicate balance between grief and joy. Some days feel like centuries, and some weeks like seconds. When the good news comes, there’s a moment of exhilaration before guilt settles in. It’s a weird balance.
Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! has been out now for six months. What an incredible experience it’s been!
The last two weeks have seen some wonderful news. First, I received a notification that my debut, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda and published by Albert Whitman & Company, won the silver medal in the 2020 Florida Book Awards, Young Children’s Literature. What an incredible honor!
From The Florida Book Awards website: “The Florida Book Awards, established in 2006, is an annual awards program that recognizes, honors and celebrates the literature by Florida authors and books about Florida published in the previous year.”
I’m especially excited because my friends Silvia Lopez and Marta Magellan won the gold and bronze medals, respectively, for their books Selena: Queen of Tejano Music and Dragonflies: Water Angels and Brilliant Bioindicators. Congratulations to all! (Once the list with all the winners is public, I’ll update this post with it.)
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, this week the cover reveal for my second book, Isabel and Her Colores Go to School, went live on the Las Musas blog! Go check it out–there’s a giveaway included! I’ll wait.
Isabel and Her Colores Go to School is beautifully illustrated by Courtney Dawson and will release this July 15, 2021 from Sleeping Bear Press as a bilingual, English/Spanish edition! I can’t wait to share her with readers.
You can pre-order a signed/personalized copy now from my local indie Books & Books; simply leave a note in the comments box when you pre-order. For more on Isabel, including other pre-order options, click here.
There are other exciting things happening, but I’ll have to wait they come to pass or until I can share them. In the meantime, I leave you with a wish: I hope you can find pockets of joy to cushion you against the grief and disappointment.
This comes a week late, but it’s been a whirlwind of a week! My debut children’s picture book Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda, released on October 1st from Albert Whitman & Company–and the same day I received a beautiful review from School Library Journal. They wrote “This warm #OwnVoices look at Colombian traditions, including wearing yellow underwear and eating grapes for good luck, is both universal and deeply personal” and called my writing “atmospheric” and I pretty much died.
I didn’t have a formal launch, thanks to COVID, but I did get to do a Storytime launch through Books & Books on their Instagram Live! It was fun and I got to show off my own Año Viejo doll. Parents and teachers: Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! has a Teacher’s Guide & Activity PDF you can download here, which includes how to make an Año Viejo for the new year!
On Friday, I also went to Books & Books to sign preorders and copies, and it was a dream come true. Everyone there was just absolutely lovely! There might still be some signed copies left, if you’re looking for one.
One of the coolest things so far, though, has been seeing the pictures of kids with the books, or hearing stories of how kids are connecting to Ava Gabriela’s story. THIS is why I write–for them. My heart is full.
A few weeks ago, I received a wonderful surprise: hard-copy advance reader copies of my debut, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda (check out her gorgeous portfolio and you might just catch glimpses of Ava Gabriela!)
They’re absolutely beautiful, don’t you think?!
I also learned that the eARC is available through Edelweiss+, which means teachers and librarians will be able to view them!
It’s starting to feel real. In just under four months, Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! will be out in the world. And while it’s both exciting and terrifying all the same, I just really hope readers will love her as much as I do.
Last week was a whirlwind week–of the very best kind! Not only did the announcement for my second children’s book go live, but I discovered that my ownvoices debut Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!–illustrated by Addie Rivera Sonda and published by Albert Whitman & Company this October 1, 2020–was officially on Goodreads!
I’m so excited to share that my second picture book is coming fall 2021 from Sleeping Bear Press! I can’t wait to share Isabel and Her Colores Go to School with you! I especially excited that this will be a bilingual book!
This was loosely based on my own experience in heading into kindergarten in Queens, New York, knowing only Spanish. While my own experience was a bit more harrowing (I got lost!), the feelings that result from such a language barrier are very much the same.
The wonderfully talented Courtney Dawson will be illustrating, and I can’t wait to see how she brings Isabel to life!