“Add one girl who misses her Abuelita to a handful of coveted Cuban recipes, stir in a pinch of magic, and you get a heartening tale of love, loss, and the healing power of family and friendship.”—Laura Lacámara, author of Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia
“This delightful novel is a Like Water for Chocolate for young readers. Celeste rises out of her grief by replacing her sadness with el sabor of life, by living as her grandmother did, ‘with love and flavor,’ even as we are tempted to try the recipes that healed her heart.”—Judith Ortiz Cofer, author of Call Me María
“A poignant and uplifting story about the special bond only a grandmother and a granddaughter can share. Delicious and magical!”—Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us
“This bilingual book… balances the pain of loss with mystery and humor. A tender depiction of a child’s acceptance of the death of a beloved grandmother and the cultural importance of traditional foods.”—Kirkus Reviews
Letters from Heaven / Cartas del cielo, my new middle-grade novel, will be published this October by Arte Público Press:
Celeste is heartbroken about her grandma’s death and not even her favorite pastime, “synchronized eating”, can make her feel better. That is, until a letter mysteriously comes in the mail … from her grandmother! Suddenly, letters start arriving from the beyond, each with a recipe of a favorite food her grandmother used to prepare. While Celeste is thrilled to be learning to cook, her friends are concerned that she’s gone crazy for imagining that her departed grandmother is writing her letters. And to top things off, there’s Amanda, the bully, who is secretly happy that Celeste has dropped out of dance class, so she can have the spotlight at the upcoming recital all to herself.
A tender story of family and friendship, Letters from Heaven / Cartas del cielo celebrates Latino traditions, especially those of the Spanish Caribbean. This entertaining novel is written in ten brief chapters for children ages 8-12 and includes six traditional Cuban recipes with easy-to-follow instructions.
From a student at Steele Elementary.
2012-2013 WITS Writers in the Schools: this year’s residency took me to Steele Elementary in Denver, where I taught 1st and 2nd graders about “MEmoir!” What an inspiring experience! Our anthology, Lights Glimmer Magically, was a huge success with teachers, parents and, of course, the writers themselves. The kids were very excited to see their work in print! Hope it inspires their writing for many years to come…