Celebrating Hispanic and Latine Heritage Month With Carmen Agra Deedy, Sonia Manzano, and Claribel A. Ortega

September 29, 2022

Celebrating Hispanic and Latine Heritage Month With Carmen Agra Deedy, Sonia Manzano, and Claribel A. Ortega

In this episode, we’re celebrating Hispanic and Latine Heritage Month with three favorite Scholastic authors. First, Carmen Agra Deedy talks about her extraordinary new picture book, The Children’s Moon. Illustrated by Jim LaMarche, the book is available in both English and Spanish editions. 

Carmen is a master storyteller who was born in Havana, Cuba, and grew up in Decatur, Georgia. Her acclaimed picture books include Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, Rita & Ralph’s Rotten Day, and The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet.

Next, author and actress Sonia Manzano, known to generations of kids as the beloved Maria on Sesame Street, discusses Coming Up Cuban, her lyrical new novel for middle graders. Sonia, who has won 15 Emmy Awards, is also the author of Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx and The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, which won the Pura Belpre Award in 2013. Sonia’s animated series for PBS Kids, Alma’s Way, was recently renewed for a second season. Inspired by her own childhood, it features a 6-year-old New Yorker of Puerto Rican heritage.

 Last but not least, Claribel A. Ortega introduces Witchlings, her highly-anticipated novel for middle-graders. The imaginative story follows a group of aspiring witches who learn that the magic in their lives is found not so much in the spells they cast but in the friendships they make. A former newspaper reporter of Dominican heritage, Claribel is also the author of Ghost Squad, a New York Times bestseller. 


The Children’s Moon by Carmen Agra Deedy: “The well-told tale works on multiple levels,” says School Library Journal. (Check out the Spanish edition, La Luna de los Niños, here.)

Coming Up Cuban by Sonia Manzano: Follow the journey of four young people who navigate Castro’s revolution and its aftermath.

 Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega: Visit the magical town of Ravenskill with 12-year-old Seven Salazar.

Celebrate Hispanic & Latine Heritage: Check out these fiction and nonfiction titles for K-12 students.

→ Highlights

Carmen Agra Deedy, author, The Children’s Moon:

“You begin with an idea, and it may be very small. It grows into a book when you hold on to that idea with both hands and refuse, refuse, refuse to let go.”

“If you can keep a curious mind, if you keep learning, you can learn anything. You can learn everything from quantum physics to how to make your own tortillas.”


Sonia Manzano, author, Coming Up Cuban:

“I hope that [my readers] put themselves in the shoes of other people. I think the only way we can really have a better society is if people understand another person’s point of view and see how we all feel the same things.”

“Smart is putting two and two together, and everybody has a brain, and everybody can use it.”


Claribel A. Ortega, author, Witchlings:

“If people had magic, we would do the same thing [as witches]. We would use it to settle petty grudges.”

“When I sit down to start writing, I already have a really good idea of what it feels like to live in this [imaginary] world.”

→ Special Thanks

Producer: Bridget Benjamin

Associate producer: Constance Gibbs 

Sound engineer: Daniel Jordan

Music composer: Lucas Elliot Eberl

→ Coming Soon

The Science of Reading • Revisiting Thanksgiving

Recent Episodes