Founded in 1996 by Pat Mora, author of Book Fiesta!, Día is a celebration of children reading in their home language and exploring new languages. One of the most amazing things Día strives to do is provide grants for communities and libraries to support literacy for children of all languages and cultural backgrounds. We love this holiday. Bilingualism + books + kids = Club Leo.
To celebrate, we wanted to do something special: interview Angela Dominguez, author and illustrator of the beloved Maria Had a Little Llama/María tenía una llamita, which won the 2014 Pura Belpré Illustration Honor.
Angela was born in Mexico City, raised in Texas, and now lives in San Francisco. She is totally awesome. Let’s chat!
Club Leo: Why do you like llamas?
Angela Dominguez: Llamas have so much personality! They have such expressive faces and such interesting bodies. I love their long necks, short legs, and their luscious fur.
CL: Where did you grow up? What do you like about that place?
AD: I was born in Mexico City, but I grew up in Texas. My brother and his family still live there, and I visit often. Texas is very welcoming with friendly people. The summers are wonderful, and I miss the food—especially the corn bread.
CL: Why did you become an illustrator and author of children’s books?
AD: I’m having so much fun writing stories now and feel very privileged to be doing what I do. Children’s books have such an impact on children growing up, and great picture books resonate with people of all ages. I also adore the simplicity. It’s about editing it down to what’s absolutely necessary to tell a good story with pictures and words.
CL: Do you remember Scholastic Book Clubs from when you went to school?
AD: I remember Scholastic Book Clubs fondly. I would take home the catalog and would always want so many books. My mother, who supported me and my brother by herself, never would deny me any books and supported my reading habit. For that and many reasons, I’m very grateful.
CL: What do you like to do when you have free time?
AD: I love walking, swimming, and being outdoors. I also enjoy traveling and hope to do more in the future. In addition, spending time with my family and friends.
Angela has one of the best jobs in the world—she is an author and illustrator! What that means is she writes stories and draws pictures all day long.
Angela does all her cool artwork in a studio—in fact, the studio in the pictures shown above! A studio is a room full of paper, paint, and creative ideas. (When you think about it, a studio is a lot like a personal classroom for one person!) Angela uses digital brushes and a computer screen to add colors to book pages. We love the beautiful illustrations and bright colors in Maria Had a Little Llama/Maria tenía una llamita! Especially the little llama!
Watch the video below to listen to a bilingual read-aloud of Maria Had a Little Llama/María tenía una llamita! by our friend and Scholastic editor Mia and one of our favorite bilingual readers, Isabel!
For more information about Children’s Day/Book Day/El día de los niños/El día de los libros, visit the official website at: dia.ala.org/
*Club Leo en español is a proud participant in Latin@s in Kid Lit’s 2014 Reading Challenge, where contributors read and review at least one book per month with a Latino/a author or illustrator and/or Latino/a characters, settings, and themes. Join us!*
book.box (bukboks) n. A cardboard receptacle, typically rectangular in shape
with lid, containing words, pictures, ideas and dreams, often
accompanied by excitement, anticipation and the love of reading.