Q&A with author Mariana Llanos About Run Little Chaski! / ¡Corre, Pequeño Chaski!

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By Romy Natalia Goldberg

Set in ancient Peru, Run, Little Chaski!: An Inka Trail Adventure follows the ups and downs of Little Chaski’s first day as a royal messenger for the king of the Inkan empire. Authored by Mariana Llanos and illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson, Run Little Chaski! will release with Barefoot Books on June 1, 2021. English and Spanish versions are available. We hope you enjoy this interview with the author on the process of creating this unique picture book.

Mariana, congratulations on your picture book Run Little Chaski!: An Inka Trail Adventure / ¡Corre, Pequeño Chaski!: Una aventura en el comino Inka. What was the inspiration for this book?

I was inspired by my peruanidad and my desire to represent the amazing pre-columbian culture of my country, Peru. I think this book is the result of many years admiring our legacy and wishing more people knew about it.

There is so much going on in this book, from the role chaskis (royal messengers) played in the Incan empire, to the artifacts used in both daily life, to the flora and fauna of the Andes. Although, as a Peruvian, you probably grew up with knowledge of these things, I’m sure this book took a lot of research. Can you tell us how you prepared to write this manuscript?

I wrote the first drafts using what I already knew about chaskis and the Inka empire. Research came later, once I had the story I wanted to tell. Actually, because I am Peruvian, the pressure to “get it right” felt very strong. I thought I knew a lot, but I doubted myself many times. I read books about the Tawantinsuyu, like History of the Tawantinsuyu by Maria Rotowroski, a renowned Peruvian author, and History of the Conquest of Peru by William Prescott, among others. I also visited many websites like the American Indian Museum- Smithsonian. I read many articles in Spanish and English with specifics about the Inka Trail and the role of chaskis. I watched documentaries on YouTube as well. I grew up knowing about this, but I needed to have a better historic understanding especially for writing the back matter.

Did you ever consider writing this as a non-fiction book, or was it always a fictional picture book?

No. It was always a universal theme. It was always about kindness with the rich backdrop of the Inka culture.

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Back matter for Run, Little Chaski!

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Are there details you would have liked to include but had to edit or remove to better suit the picture book format? How did you decide what belonged in the back matter (which is extensive and very informative) vs, in the story itself? 

The story is a universal story, only that it is set in a historic time period. So I always knew what belonged there, but I did want to offer additional information about the Inka empire. Originally, this info was contained in an Author’s Note, but my editor, Kate Depalma, wanted to break it into different topics. This writing process for the new back matter came after working on the story itself.

From the original story, we removed a part where I mentioned coca leaves as the content of his ch’uspa (bag). As you may know, coca leaves are sacred in the Andes and are used to give people energy, but it was decided that it might be a distracting issue for parents. But we did add this detail in the informational part of the book.

This is one of the first picture books published in the United States featuring a significant amount of Quechua. Do you speak Quechua? Can you talk about what went into ensuring the Quechua was accurate? 

I do not speak Quechua, although I’ve attempted to take classes. I know a few words and terms. Many Quechua words are integrated in Peruvian Spanish. But since I needed this to be very accurate, I enlisted the help of a person who is an expert in the Quechua language and Andean culture. He revised my manuscript and came back with some valuable suggestions. Our main concern was about the spelling of Quechua words (like Inca or Inka). For this book we went with the standardized spelling of the language to be respectful to Quechua speaking people.

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Image from inside Run, Little Chaski!

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Did you find it hard to sell this manuscript because of the setting or the language? 

You would’ve thought that a novel book like this would sell in a minute, but in fact, it was very hard to sell! Most editors didn’t have a vision for it. We were so lucky to find Barefoot Books who are willing to take on challenges and do their best to produce truly diverse books. Their commitment to diversity is admirable. At every level, I felt like they respected my work and the culture I represented, so I’m glad with the way things turned out. Still, I wonder what is it going to take for this industry to finally look at the rest of the world as part of this world? 

Can you talk a little about being considered an “own voices” author for this particular book? I imagine it is complex, given that being Peruvian is not the same as being Incan and even the Inca themselves were a civilization made up of several indigenous peoples.  

I’ve been asked several times if this is an “own voices” book. I have an issue with the label because, even though I am Peruvian, I did not live in the times of the Inka, so how could this be an own voices story? The Inka empire fell 500 years ago. It’s very hard for people from Latin America to fit the concept of this label. We’re made of so many cultures and races. And in this book specifically, you’re correct. The Inka weren’t one group of people; they were many pueblos, many cultures. And I believe this is where we can feel the lack of authentic and diverse Latinx representation at the publishing level. The only way I’d ever use an own voices label is if I write a book about my life. 

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Image of Mariana Llanos

About the author: Mariana Llanos is a Peruvian-born poet and author of children’s books. Her book Luca’s Bridge/El puente de Luca was a 2020 ALSC Notable Book and Campoy-Ada Award Honoree. Eunice and Kate (2020, Penny Candy Books) is a winner of the Paterson Prize Books for Young Readers. Run Little Chaski/Corre Pequeño Chaski is a JLG Gold Standard Selection. Mariana visits schools to encourage the love for writing and reading. She’s represented by Clelia Gore of Martin Literary.

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Image of Romy Natalia Goldberg

Romy Natalia Goldberg is a Paraguayan-American travel and kid lit author with a love for stories about culture and communication. Her guidebook to Paraguay, Other Places Travel Guide to Paraguay, was published in 2012 and 2017 and led to work with “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” and The Guardian. She is an active SCBWI member and co-runs Kidlit Latinx, a Facebook support group for Latinx children’s book authors and illustrators

Spotlight on Latinx Illustrators: Juliet Menéndez 

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By Cecilia Cackley

This is the eighth in a series of posts spotlighting Latinx illustrators of picture books. Some of these artists have been creating children’s books for many years, while others will have their first book out soon. They come from many different cultural backgrounds, but all are passionate about connecting with readers through art and story. Please look for their books at bookstores and libraries!

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Juliet Menéndez 

Juliet Menéndez is a Guatemalan American author and illustrator living between Guatemala City, Paris, and New York. While working as a bilingual teacher in New York City’s public schools, Juliet noted the need for more books that depicted children like the ones in her classrooms. She studied design and illustration in Paris and now spends her days with her watercolors and notebook. Latinitas is her first children’s book.

Q: What or who inspired you to become an artist?

A: My family is full of art and artists. My grandmother was a poet, my grandfather was a painter, my father is an architect, my mother is an art enthusiast who lined all of our walls with bookcases full of art books, and I have aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of my family who are musicians, photographers, designers, and filmmakers. So, I have been surrounded by art for as long as I can remember.

But I do have a particular memory of when I started to feel like an artist myself.

When I was four, my older sister bought me a little easel with paints on one side and pastels on the other. It was immediately my favorite toy and when friends would come over I would ask them to “play easel.” Most of my friends insisted that it wasn’t a game, but one little boy, my best friend at the time, was happy to “play easel” with me and we would have so much fun painting together, adding little things to each other’s drawings, and timing each other to see what we could come up with before the timer went off. It sounds so incredibly nerdy, but we loved it.

I think that is really when I began thinking of art as something I could do. And the idea of art being a form of play has stayed with me. Even now, illustrating sometimes for 14 hours at a time, I still try to make it feel a bit like a game, giving myself the chance to experiment and “play.”

Q: Tell us something about your favorite artistic medium–why you like it, when you first learned it, etc.

A: The work I do now is all done in watercolor. I wouldn’t say I ever really learned watercolor technique and it probably shows. The only ones I use now are Old Holland and they are really more like gouache than watercolors and I use them that way.

I had always worked with mixed media before: inks, pens, collage, oil pastels. But on a freezing cold day walking to the subway in New York, I popped into the art store to warm up.  I stumbled upon these adorable Old Holland watercolors locked away in a fancy glass case. I think I must have been staring at them like pastelitos and a sales assistant asked me if I needed him to open the case. I really didn’t have the money to be buying anything at all, but somehow I said yes and picked out four little tubes and walked out with them in a tiny paper bag.

To be honest, I thought about returning them. But the colors… rose, emerald, honey yellow, and manganese blue were just so beautiful. They reminded me of the painted signs, advertisements, menus, and sun bathed street murals in Guatemala. I don’t know if it was the memories of being warm that made me keep them, but once I used them, I was hooked.

Q: Please finish this sentence: “Picture books are important because…”

 A:…they are children’s first windows into worlds outside of their own and connection to the people in it.

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Juliet Menéndez’s debut is Latinitas. Click on the cover for more information.

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cecilia-02-original

Cecilia Cackley is a Mexican-American playwright and puppeteer based in Washington, DC. A longtime bookseller, she is currently the Children’s/YA buyer and event coordinator for East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. Find out more about her art at www.ceciliacackley.com or follow her on Twitter @citymousedc

Cover Reveal for Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

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We are delighted to host the cover reveal for Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s first horror novel, Small Town Monsters, which will be published by Underlined Paperbacks/Penguin Random House on September 7, 2021!

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First, here’s a description of the book:

Something’s wrong in Roaring Creek. . . .

All Vera Martinez wants is to get out. Out of Roaring Creek and away from her embarrassing demonologist parents. Not to mention the terrifying occult things lurking in their basement.

Maxwell Oliver just wants to fit in. But it’s hard to enjoy parties with his friends when his mom is morphing into someone he doesn’t recognize. Someone scary. And slowly he begins to suspect that the harmless self-help group she joined might be something more . . . sinister.

Soon Vera and Max are up against dark forces that extend far past their small coastal town—and into the very heart of evil.

The Conjuring meets The Vow in this terrifying paperback original that tells the unputdownable story of a girl, a dark angel, and the cult hellbent on taking over her small, coastal town.

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Now, here is some information about the author:

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Diana Rodriguez Wallach has never encountered a demon, or at least, she hopes she hasn’t. But she does believe in them. Before dipping into spooky stories, with Small Town Monsters, Diana published several YA novels, including the Anastasia Phoenix Series (Entangled Publishing), a trilogy of female-centered spy thrillers. The first book in the series, Proof of Lies, has been optioned for film and was chosen as a finalist for the 2018 International Thriller Awards. Diana is also the author of the Amor and Summer Secrets series (Kensington Books), a trilogy of contemporary Latinx novels. The first book in the series placed second at the 2009 International Latino Book Awards for Best Young Adult Novel. She is also a Creative Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. Diana holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two children. This is her first horror novel. You can find out more about Diana by checking out her website: www.dianarodriguezwallach.com and by following her on social media: https://linktr.ee/admin

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And, here’s what the author and designer had to say about the process of creating the cover:

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Diana: It has been so exciting for me to be a part of the cover-design process! It’s a luxury I know not all authors get, and one I’ve never had with my previous books. During our first conversations, my editor, Ali Romig, and I discussed creating a cover vibe reminiscent of “old school horror movie posters.” It was fun researching and passing around old film-poster images. We also discussed color concepts; given the book is dual point-of-view with male and female teenage protagonists, I didn’t want anything that felt too girl-centric. I also preferred not having a face on the cover; this way both protagonists would be equally represented and the cover would focus more on an atmospheric vibe. As soon as Ali told me we would be working with artist Nicholas Moegly, my expectations soared. His work is so hauntingly beautiful with lighting, so exquisite it looks like a photograph. When I got to see the final cover, I was blown away! I also love how Underlined’s art department matched the golden lettering with the street lighting. Yellow is an important color in the book, as the creepy cult identifies themselves with canary yellow hats. So this cover really hits on so many levels.

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Casey Moses, Designer at Penguin Random House: For the cover of Small Town Monsters, we wanted to capture the essence of the novel by showing the small town setting and incorporating different elements to represent the darkness spreading and taking over. Nicholas Moegly was our first choice illustrator since he specializes in eerily beautiful and dark settings. He uses light and shadow in such a unique way that really adds drama and brings this cover to life. We wanted the reader to feel a sense of danger from the subtle demon idle in the sky to the vague silhouettes of cult members encroaching down this quiet street.

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Finally, here is the cover of Small Town Monsters:

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Cover art copyright © 2021 by Nicholas Moegly
Cover design by Casey Moses

Creepy, right?!

Small Town Monsters is available now for preorder: http://bit.ly/3oSud3j

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Cover Reveal for My Two Border Towns/Mis Dos Pueblos Fronterizos by David Bowles, illustrated by Erika Meza

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Like a bear briefly coming out of hibernation on a warm day, we are coming off hiatus today for a very good reason–to host the cover reveal for My Two Border Towns, written by David Bolwes and illustrated by Erika Meza. The picture book will be published simultaneously in Spanish: Mis Dos Pueblos Fronterizos. Both will be released by Kokila on August 24, 2021.

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First, here’s a description of the book:

Early one Saturday morning, a boy prepares for a trip to the Other Side/el Otro Lado. It’s close—just down the street from his school—and it’s a twin of where he lives. To get there, his father drives their truck along the Rio Grande and over a bridge, where they’re greeted by a giant statue of an eagle. Their outings always include a meal at their favorite restaurant, a visit with Tío Mateo at his jewelry store, a cold treat from the paletero, and a pharmacy pickup. On their final and most important stop, they check in with friends seeking asylum and drop off much-needed supplies.

My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, with illustrations by Erika Meza, is the loving story of a father and son’s weekend ritual, a demonstration of community care, and a tribute to the fluidity, complexity, and vibrancy of life on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ahora, en Español:

Un sábado por la mañana, un niño se prepara para un viaje al Otro Lado / the Other Side. Está cerca, solo bajando la calle y pasando su escuela, el pueblo gemelo de la comunidad donde vive. Su padre maneja su camioneta sobre un puente para cruzar el Río Grande y llegar a México, donde son recibidos por la estatua gigante de un águila. Sus visitas siempre incluyen almuerzo en su restaurante favorito, una plática en la joyería del tío Mateo, una paleta bien fría, y una vuelta a la farmacia. En su parada final y más importante, pasan tiempo con amigos que buscan asilo y les entregan los suministros que tanto necesitan.

Mis dos pueblos fronterizos de David Bowles, con ilustraciones de Erika Meza, es la cariñosa historia del ritual semanal de un padre y su hijo, una demostración de atención comunitaria y un homenaje a la fluidez, complejidad y vitalidad de la vida en la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México.

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Now, here is some information about the creators:

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About the author: David Bowles grew up in the Río Grande Valley of South Texas. As a kid, he would regularly cross the border with his father to visit family, buy historietas, and watch movies. It’s a tradition he continued with his own children, making sure they became part of the transnational community he loves so much. David has written many books that center Mexican Americans in the borderlands, including the award-winning They Call Me Güero and the 13th Street series. My Two Border Towns, available in English and Spanish, is his debut picture book.

David Bowles creció en el Valle de Río Grande en el sur de Texas. Cuando era niño, cruza-ba la frontera con su padre para visitar a la familia, comprar historietas y ver películas. Es una tradición que continuó con sus propios hijos, ase­gurándose de que formaran parte de la comunidad transnacional que tanto ama. David ha escrito muchos libros que centran a los mexicano­americanos que viven en la frontera, incluidos el galardonado Me dicen Güero y la serie 13th Street. Mis dos pueblos fronterizos, disponible en inglés y español, es su primer libro infantil.

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About the illustrator: Erika Meza was born in Mexico, fell in love with animation on the border with Cali­fornia, and developed a taste for éclairs in Paris before moving to the U.K. As an adoptive Tijuanense, she took her first steps to find her visual voice at the border—forever fueled by tacos de birria. When Erika isn’t drawing, you’ll find her drinking coffee, tweeting, or plotting ways to bring her cat traveling with her.

Erika Meza nació en México, se enamoró de la animación en la frontera con California y desarrolló un gusto por los éclairs en París antes de mudarse al Reino Unido. Como tijuanense adoptiva, co­menzó a encontrar su voz visual en la frontera, siempre alimentada por tacos de birria. Cuando Erika no está dibujando, la encontrarás tomando café, tuiteando o tramando formas de llevar a su gato de viaje con ella.

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And, here’s what the author and illustrator had to say about the process of creating the cover:

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Erika: “Growing up in the center of Mexico meant that when my family moved to the border of Tijuana and San Diego, I was able to appreciate the uniqueness of the border, foreign to both the U.S. and Mexico. Two cultures have turned into one that is, at the same time, integrated yet distinct. My job was to make this integration seen and the difference felt: the chosen tool was color. Cool and warm tones are woven throughout the book to signify the two countries, equally applied on our main character—who can go back and forth. The Río Grande River subtly helped me bring duality into the cover: the reflection seems to be the same, yet it is different upon closer inspection. On the cover, my favorite Easter egg is the veterinary clinic. Like a lot of characters and places in the book, that giant dog really does exist!”

David: “As interior art rolled in, I started getting really excited about what the cover might look like. When Erika and Joanna, our editor, shared a few concepts (all variations on the idea of mirrored towns), we pretty quickly agreed that reflection in water was the most visually and thematically appealing possibility. Then I saw Erika’s stunning use of color and was utterly blown away. A border kid myself, I got teary-eyed looking at my transnational community so beautifully depicted.”

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Finally, here is the cover of My Two Border Towns/Mis Dos Pueblos Fronterizos:

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Beautiful!!

My Two Border Towns / Mis Dos Pueblos Fronterizos is now available for pre-order:

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/634231/my-two-border-towns-by-david-bowles-illustrated-by-erika-meza/

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/667520/mis-dos-pueblos-fronterizos-by-david-bowles-illustrated-by-erika-meza/

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Now, we’re going back into hibernation….See you all in the new year!

Cover reveal for Sing With Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla/Canta conmigo: La historia de Selena Quintanilla by Diana López, illus by Teresa Martinez

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We are delighted to host the cover reveal for Diana López’s picture book Sing With Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla, which will be published simultaneously in Spanish: Canta conmigo: La historia de Selena Quintanilla. The Spanish version was translated by Carmen Tafolla. Both are illustrated by Teresa Martinez and will be published by Dial Books on April 6, 2021!

From a very early age, young Selena knew how to connect with people and bring them together with music. Sing with Me follows Selena’s rise to stardom, from front-lining her family’s band at rodeos and quinceañeras to performing in front of tens of thousands at the Houston Astrodome. Young readers will be empowered by Selena’s dedication–learning Spanish as a teenager, designing her own clothes, and traveling around the country with her family–sharing her pride in her Mexican-American roots and her love of music and fashion with the world.

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First, here is some information about the creators:

About the author: Diana López is the author of several middle grade novels including CONFETTI GIRL, ASK MY MOOD RING HOW I FEEL, and LUCKY LUNA. She was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Selena’s hometown. SING WITH ME, THE STORY OF SELENA QUINTANILLA is her debut picture book.

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About the illustrator: Teresa Martínez is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including The Halloween Tree and It’s Not a Bed, It’s a Time Machine. She lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but was born and raised in Monterrey, where Selena frequently visited, becoming part of its culture and its heart. Martínez remains a huge fan of Selena’s music.

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Now, some insight about the book from the creators:

From the author, Diana López: I’m so excited to share the cover of my upcoming picture book biography, SING WITH ME, THE STORY OF SELENA QUINTANILLA. I live in Corpus Christi, Selena’s hometown, so I often see illustrations or photographs of her at restaurants or on T-shirts. There’s a Selena mural in her old neighborhood and a memorial, the Mirador de la Flor, which features a statue of Selena gazing at the sea. It also has a giant, white rose, Selena’s favorite flower. I love that illustrator, Teresa Martínez, chose Selena’s most famous concert for the cover of our picture book, but a special treat are the roses lovingly tossed to Selena in gratitude for her music.

Here’s what Teresa Martínez said when asked about her inspiration for the cover: “When I think about Selena, I go back immediately to my Quinceañera party and see my friends singing out loud on the mic Selena’s songs. That passion and energy in her songs. Without a doubt, I had a lot of inspiration with her music, wardrobe, and the feeling of happiness that youth brings. For her book, I opted for a vibrant color palette that was so in use those days, and of course, I couldn’t leave behind the purple color associated with the fantastic outfit Selena wore at the Astrodome, so purple takes an important part in the cover. For this project overall, I wanted the reader to feel involved in her presence through the colors and little details throughout the book.”

As someone who primarily writes middle grade novels, I’m used to “painting” people and places with words. That’s why early drafts of this picture book were a bit wordy. I had to keep reminding myself that a picture book is a collaboration between a writer and an illustrator, and I couldn’t have asked for a better co-creator. When Nancy Mercado, our editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, first shared Teresa Martínez’s portfolio, I could not stop smiling. Her art has color, movement, and whimsy, and I’m so pleased to see these traits on every page in our book, but most especially on the cover, which does a wonderful job of capturing Selena’s beautiful spirit. I can’t wait to share SING WITH ME, THE STORY OF SELENA QUINTANILLA—its art, its story, its joy.

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Finally, here is the cover of Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla/ Canta conmigo: La historia de Selena Quintanilla:

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Sing with Me: The Story of Selena Quintanilla is available now for pre-order!

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Cover Reveal for Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos, illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara

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We are delighted to host the cover reveal for NoNieqa Ramos’s debut picture book, Your Mama, which will be published by Versify on April 6, 2021!

A sweet twist on the age-old “yo mama” joke, celebrating fierce moms everywhere with playful lyricism and gorgeous illustrations. Perfect for Mother’s Day.

Yo’ mama so sweet, she could be a bakery. She dresses so fine, that she could have her clothing line. And, even when you mess up, she’s so forgiving that she lets you keep on living. Heartwarming and richly imagined, YOUR MAMA twists an old joke into a point of pride that honors the love, hard work, and dedication of mamas everywhere.

 

First, here is some information about the creators:

 

richards-noni-0011-3_3NoNieqa Ramos wrote The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary, a 2018 New York Public Library Best Book for Teens, a 2019 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection, and a 2019 In the Margins Award Top Ten pick. Hip Latina named The Truth Is “10 of the Best Latinx Young Adult Books of 2019.”  Remezcla included The Truth Is in the “15 Best Books by Latino and Latin American Authors of 2019.”

Versify will publish her debut picture book Beauty Woke and Your Mama in 2021. Lerner will publish Hair Story in 2021. For more information about NoNieqa, check out Las Musas and the Soaring 20s. She is also on Twitter and Instagram.

 

JACQUELINE HEADSHOTJacqueline Alcántara is a freelance illustrator and artist who spends her days drawing, writing and globe-trotting with her dog Possum. She is particularly excited about promoting inclusiveness and diversity in children’s literature and the illustration field in general. Her debut picture book, The Field, written by Baptiste Paul,was named a Best Book of 2018 by School Library JournalHorn BookKirkus Reviews, and Shelf AwarenessFreedom Soup, written by Tami Charles, has been named a Kids IndieNext Pick, a Kirkus Best Book of 2019, and has received four starred reviews! Jacqueline lives in Chicago, Illinois.

 

Now, some insight about the book from NoNieqa and Jacqueline:

Picture books and poetry are my first literary loves. The publication of my debut book YOUR MAMA has been a montage of dreams-come-true. I have been able to work with poet, educator, New York Times Bestselling and Newbery Award winner Kwame Alexander on his new imprint Versify! I’ve witnessed the life-changing effect of his work with my middle grade students, so it’s an immense honor to be part of his artistic mission to “change the world one word at a time.” And with work like Kip Wilson’s WHITE ROSE and creations by Raúl the Third, they are doing it!

My new editor Erika Turner has written about books, race, romance, and sexuality for Bustle, BuzzFeed, Black Girl Dangerous, and other pubs. She has been absolutely integral to getting my manuscripts to the next level and honoring the Latinidad and queerness of my work. FYI: She’s also an editor-for-hire and a photographer. Check out her website https://www.magicmultiverses.com/faq!

I jumped up and down when I found out the illustrator for YOUR MAMA would be Jacqueline Alcántara! I still remember standing in awe in a children’s bookstore and gazing at her dynamic work in THE FIELD, written by Baptiste Paul. Her second book FREEDOM SOUP, written by goddess Tami Charles,  is displayed front and center in my Latinx kitchen library. Jackie’s illustrations for YOUR MAMA took my breath away.  Her work amplified the spirit, the verve, the essence, and the fire of my words. I am so proud of this cover and fully intend on blowing it up to gigantic proportions and framing it–and trying to find me a pair of rose-covered black boots!

And from Reina Jacqueline Alcántara herself: “I had only read through the first few stanzas of NoNieqa’s manuscript when I got pings of excitement and started to imagine the characters’ overall style, relationship, and adventures together! The words are filled with spirit, energy and love—there was so much I wanted to pour into this world. For the cover, I chose a moment when they are dancing, and this super cool, confident, beautiful mama and her child are filled with energy, reading each other’s next move. I chose to illustrate the moment juuuussttt before they touch hands (I often try to find great decisive moments to illustrate), because it is filled with so much anticipation and excitement, and it encourages readers to imagine what might happen next.  It feels like the perfect place for this story to begin!”

Shout out to designer Andrea Miller who is fusing both our work into a beautiful final product. We can’t wait to share YOUR MAMA with the world April 6, 2021!

 

Finally, here is the cover of Your Mama:

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Ta-da!

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CorrectedcoverfilefromJackie

GORGEOUS! Can’t wait to read it!

Your Mama is available now for pre-order!