Welcome to #SeasonsOfKidLit, brujas, witches, and humans, too! I'm beyond excited to have author Ana Siqueira with us today! Ana is a Spanish-language elementary teacher, and an award-winning Brazilian children’s author who's also published in the Foreign Language educational market. Her newest book, If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja (illustrated by Irena Freitas), flew onto shelves in August...and is flying off just as quickly into the hands of happy readers! It follows a young girl the night before Halloween who suspects her babysitter may actually be a bruja. Want to know more about Ana's fun and not-so-spooky book for the season? Read on...
Q: Hi Ana. Thank you for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! I’m excited to have you! For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting you yet, you are a Spanish-language elementary teacher, an award-winning Brazilian children’s author, and have 4 books published...and counting. How fascinating! Can you share a little more about yourself and your writing?
A: I am a Spanish teacher and a reading tutor for little ones. I write for little ones. I read children’s books. And during the weekend, I play with my grandchildren. So my life is basically a kindergarten, and I love it.
I try writing every day before work. So wake up early, write, research, and then… work full time. And after work, I do critiques, read, edit and watch shows with my Cuban husband. The next day, I rinse and repeat. But I do not mind this repetition. It’s fun.
Q: Your newest book, If Your Babysitter is a Bruja, follows a young girl and her new babysitter the night before Halloween. Her babysitter, however, may be more than she seems. Can you share more about your characters with us?
A: The main character is basically you since the story is told in the second person. But in the book, the main character is a super cute, sneaky, full-of-imagination girl. And even though she fears the unknown babysitter, right before Halloween, she faces her fear with lots of fun and a dash of sassiness. uja is a very patient babysitter who plays along with this girl and will make their night one of the most fun nights ever. Is she a real bruja? Maybe.
Q: What are some of the fun scenes in your book, and charming hints, that the main character’s babysitter may be a bruja?
A: When she arrives at the girl’s house, she comes on a bike. But the girl imagines her bike to be a broom. But the girl has its reasons: she is wearing a sombrero, and she cackles like a crow. Then she orders her black cats to attack and even dump the girl into a cauldron with starving cocodrilos. ¡Ay, caramba!
Q: This certainly sounds fun! What can readers expect to see and experience when flipping through the pages of your book?
A: Through the amazing illustrations of Irena Freitas, the readers will dive into this girl’s imagination and go on an amazing journey filled with fast-paced action and fun plans.
Q: What other fun titles of yours can we read, or look forward to reading, in the near future?
A: My debut book was BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS (Beaming Books 2021),
And my forthcoming books are:
ABUELA’S SUPER CAPA (HarperCollins 2023)
BOITATA: The Fire Snake (Capstone 2023)
OUR WORLD BRAZIL (Barefoot Books 2023)
ROOM IN MAMI’S CORAZON (HarperCollins 2024)
And two more to be announced.
Thanks again for joining us, Ana! We cannot wait to read your wickedly charming books!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: A trick!
Here are some tips on how to transform your personal experiences into a universal story.
Mine your memories - Get a notebook (or phone, computer) - try listing memories of
Your family traditions
Your experiences at school
Some important moments - funny, serious, memorable, etc.
Important traditions/festivals from your town.
Your favorite places to go.
2. Then, choose one, and list everything related to it- sounds, smells, tastes, details, and feelings.
3. Now, go through your list and try not to tell, but show.
For example - When mining memories for my next book - Abuela’s Super Capa - I remember my son used to feel powerful when playing superhero with his grandma.
How do you show powerful -
Here is my first spread, showing his feeling like a hero -
Saturdays are superhéroe days for Abuela and me.
Super hugs! Check.
Super shakes! Clink. [drink]
Super capas! Ready.
LET’S SAVE THE WORLD!
4. Repeat the show, don’t tell exercise for all the feelings. And use sensory details to show the setting, time, and space.
5. Then, also list and describe all the people involved with details. Choose who will tell the story and work on adding more details, quirks, refrains, etc.
6. Now that you know all about your story, write a different one. Yes, based on your story, now find a door to the kids’ world. (I learned that from Rob Sanders).
For example, my Bruja story is based on an experience I had with my daughter. After having to use my teacher’s voice to tell her we had to leave the beach, she started calling me a bruja and asking me where her real mom was. Super funny, right? But having a story where the girl is at the beach, the Mom tells her they must leave and she cries all the way home until Mami convinces her she is the real Mami is not as fun as a story where is almost Halloween and the new babysitter might be a bruja. So, don’t be super attached to your story. Get all the feelings. Pour your heart out. But make the story a kid-friendly and fun one. Try touching on these universal feelings to make your personal, universal.
What AMAZING tricks, Ana! Thanks for sharing! Everyone, please leave a comment below thanking Ana for stopping by and sharing her terrific tricks with us.
Reminder: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes.
About Ana Siqueira:
Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher, and an award-winning Brazilian children’s author also published in the Foreign Language educational market – EL PATO QUIERE UVAS. Her picture books include BELLA’S RECIPE FOR DISASTER/SUCCESS (Beaming Books, 2021) and IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA/CUANDO TU NIÑERA ES UNA BRUJA (SimonKids,2022), ABUELA’S SUPER CAPA/ LA SUPER CAPA DE ABUELA (HarperCollins, 2023), ROOM IN MAMI’S CORAZÓN (Harpercollins, 2024) and a few more books to be announced. Besides writing, Ana loves to read, teach, and play with her Cuban-Brazilian-American grandchildren. Represented by Tricia Lawrence – EMLA Lit Agency Twitter: @SraSiqueira1307
For more about Ana check out the below links:
EL PATO QUIERE UVAS - Order here: Teacher's Discovery 2019
BELLA'S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS - Order here: Beaming Books- July 2021
IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA - Order here: Simon & Schuster 2022
ABUELA'S SUPER CAPA - Pre-order here: HarperCollins 2023
BOITATA: The Fire Snake - Pre-order here: Capstone 2023
To purchase Ana's books on Amazon, or to leave a review, click, here!