Tell us about your most recent book and how you came to write/illustrate it.
My debut novel, The Poet X, came out a month ago! I began writing the book when I was an 8th grade English Language Arts teacher in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The novel was a direct response to working in a school that was 77% Latinx and 20 % Black, but it seemed for that age range there were not enough texts that culturally represented my young people. I was inspired to write a coming-of-age story from a very specific lens: an Afro-Latina growing up in New York City discovering her voice through poetry. I wanted a book about a girl learning to take up space.
Do you think of yourself as a diverse author/illustrator?
Both my parents are from the Dominican Republic and I was raised to be very proud of my cultural heritage. I cannot extricate my identity as a woman of Afro-Dominican descent from any of the work I create.