Visiting, Returning, Renewing…

With my most beautiful flower: Mi abuelita...

With my most beautiful flower: Mi abuelita…

Like a flashback, I know that a year has gone by…since my graduation.

And I am reminded again:

Hamline Faculty My Profs!

I am entirely grateful for all of the faulty at Hamline’s MFAC who have hugged me, read my drafts, who were there at each of my presentation (Critical and Creative) I didn’t see what they saw… There are times that I doubt why I was ever let in… still… in summer leafy MN shade I find myself playing up mi voz.

I am reminded again:

I miss mi gente-mi familia so much, that I imagine their lives, and I begin to write them, in story.

In story, that has beginnings, theme, and a narrative with challenges particular to Mexicanos from the midwest migration Norte. Si vivo ma para alla de chicago ya mero con santa clause.

Talk about a log line,

After 8 pb manuscripts, two kid writer conferences, and getting some freebie query letter critiques

I made a new blog decision to make this my author blog…


first steps are take time…

First stories take time, trust and a hug…

Second looks, revision take blood, thirst, and even more trust

Until you begin to believe that your story can get publish.


Chicas y Chicos are girl kids and boy kids and everyone in between.

Family news, pretending, and tiny jumps fill their days.

Tree stick propped open doors, hanging out on Blossom street, with one step stoops,

we dash from one apartment stoop to another.

Izzy is learning to do perfect cartwheels.

Purple Carrots, spring morning air, and washing leaves. In Ana’s little hands there’s something new and old.  4th generation piscadora now urbana.


PS Purple Leaves Live! Swati my first semester Profe still remembered… I am closing on my first house this month and guess what is in the yard? Yep, a Maple Purple Leaf tree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know It’s a sign!

My Purple Leaves story

My Purple Leaves story


My Presentation of Critical Race Theory in Chicano/Latino Picture Books

This is the presentation that I gave at the National Latino Children’s Literature Conference. I’m putting it up here so folks can see the critical work that I do and that I hope I will continue to do. I’m super interested in race, class, and gender in Latino/Chicano Pictures the roles they play how do author and illustrator make that second theme come alive through craft.  Always learning!


Crafting hope

For all picture books hope is important. For a writer’s life hope runs in and out, ebbs and flows. Our job is to catch it and form a story with it. In my life I see hope in the eyes of the children I work with, but in the picture book stories I write I tend to lean on self-actualization. Opps! here I go again using my tools without explaining them. So in school we learned that most (not all) picture books can be categorized by using Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theory. (Thank you Hamline!) Which is a great tool to see what is your story is about.

My question is: How I can infuse more hope in my story of self-actualization? I think that hope is a super-duper important element in picture books but for Chicano/Latino Picture Books—should hope be cultural?

Besides the name of the character and the Spanish that I incorporate in the dialog, I want to build that cultural arch with a hope that C/L (I will use C/L to denote Chicano/Latino) children will relate too. If there are any kids that can smell out a fake attempt it’s C/L kids they are super wise about false advertising. They have lived with oxymoron’s like Taco Bell, Cinco de Mayo, and Whey or way! Much like the sentiment in Stand and Deliver, we (as writers for C/L kids) need to be the best. And the only way to be the best is doing our homework.


Back to hope what are some cultural aspects of hope specific to C/L kids?

Just from the top of my head:



Una Ficha (a bottle cap)

Carritos (old school low rider model cars-lots of C/L boys have them)

Tu trenza (your braid)

Una Olla de frioljes (pot of freshly cooked beans)

a Chihuahua

Flags (Mexican and American or Puerto Rican and US?)

heels (for tween girls)

A party

Quince fiesta

a hope for a parent to get a job

a hope to be reunited with parents after deportation

a hope to get on the honor roll because your parents were the first to graduate from college

a hope to live in a bigger house

a hope to be a good pet to a hamster and then maybe be able to have a dog later

a hope to be able to stay in an apartment and not move again so that they can keep their pet

a hope to have a pet

hmmmmm you might have guessed my pb is about having a pet!

Thanks for reading and I hope that you have learned something as I have from doing this little exercise!

Gracias, and Keep writing and Sigue para adelante porque nuestro trabajo corre llejos!


**A painting I did for inspiration!