Pat Mora and Libby Martinez, co-authors of Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo!, chat about writing together, the literacy initiative known as Día and their shared love of French pastries.
PM: So, what shared pleasures do we enjoy as a mother-daughter duo, Libby?
LM: Let’s be honest. At the top of the list is eating! Our creative time together in Santa Fe, New Mexico is usually punctuated by many delicious meals and treats together. French Pastry Shop anyone? Two of our other biggest shared pleasures are reading and writing — especially writing together!
PM: Right! We are definitely a couple of book lovers. What a delight to have our book Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo! published in English and Spanish by Groundwood Books this April. April is such a special month of literacy and literature. It is National Poetry Month, April 2nd is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday (International Children’s Book Day), and National Library Week and Week of the Young Child are on the calendar. April is also the month of culminating celebrations of the year-long literacy initiative known as Día — El día de los niños/El día de los libros, (Children’s Day/Book Day). We celebrate Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June. In April, we celebrate children and books in all languages.
LM: It is extra special to have our book published in a month that celebrates books, reading and children of all cultures in so many wonderful ways. A big “Bravo!” to Groundwood for being such a strong and steadfast supporter of the world of children’s literature, and for ensuring that a diversity of characters, voices and experiences are part of that world.
PM: This is my fourth Groundwood book and your first. Audiences are curious about our writing adventure. I tell them that we spend a great deal of time laughing!
LM: Laughing and eating! Did someone mention the French Pastry Shop again? I think our co-writing process is at once uber-dynamic and uber-egalitarian — with all ideas, both serious and zany, up for consideration and discussion.
PM: Given how much fun we have writing together, I know you share my hope that others — maybe other mothers and daughters…
LM: Or fathers and sons…
PM: Or brothers and sisters… try writing together. Try dreaming together. Maybe it will be a family story.
LM: Or a story that is 100% pure imagination.
PM: Either way, it will be a story that they create together, unique and special.
LM: And, when they have writer’s block, there will be someone to share a chocolate éclair.
Chico Canta, the youngest of twelve, is a tiny, mischievous, fearless mouse who lives with his family in an old theater. They love to go upstairs to see the plays and echo the audience shouting, “Bravo, bravo!” as the curtain falls.