If you joined us for vGBF 2021 and the Dream Big panel (I hope you did!), you will be thrilled to know that Angela Dominguez is joining us again this year with her newest middle grade novel, Stella Diaz to the Rescue. It is book #4 in her popular series with the delightful Stella, who is based on Angela’s experiences growing up Mexican-American. A talented artist as well as writer, Angela is the illustrator of her Stella Diaz series of middle grade novels. Her next book in the series, Stella Diaz Leaps to the Future will publish on March 21, 2023!
Don’t miss the series’ Sea Musketeers resources and activity kit on the Macmillan website – click here!
Angela has written and illustrated several children’s picture books, including the sweet, I Love You Baby Burrito. She is the illustrator for Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s newest picture book, Just Help! A talented artist, Angela is a two-time Pura Belpré Illustration Honoree for the illustrations in picture books, Maria Had Little Llama (2014) and Mango, Abuela, and Me (2016).
Angela will be presenting Stella Diaz to the Rescue at the Gaithersburg Book Festival in the Friendships & Feelings author panel with Hena Khan (Zara’s Rules for Ground-Breaking Fun) and Nicole D. Collier (Just Right Jillian) on May 21st in the Jim Henson Pavilion 4:15-5:05pm (immediately followed by author signing.)
I hope you enjoy my interview with Angela Dominguez!
What is your writing space like?
I have a home office where I do most of my writing. It’s filled with books, knickknacks, my computers, and drawing materials as well. It also has a wonderful view of our backyard where we have spent many hours gardening.
That said, I really enjoy writing on the couch with my dog, Petunia. She insists on curling up on my lap which can make typing a little challenging at times. But with that face, I just can’t say no to her.
How (or in what ways) do you hope librarians will promote your book?
I’ve been very grateful to have librarians be some of my biggest supporters. The way they have championed the first Stella Díaz book, Stella Díaz Has Something to Say, has been amazing. However, the last couple of years have been challenging in many ways. As an author, it’s been especially hard to let people know there are new books. I hope librarians can provide awareness to other books in the Stella series like Stella Díaz Never Gives Up, Stella Díaz Dreams Big and the latest, Stella Díaz to the Rescue.
What do you hope your readers will learn from reading your book?
There are many things about Stella that are relatable to kids. Her love of sea creatures, her shyness, the bullies she deals with, and her feelings of being overscheduled. Still, if her cultural experience doesn’t relate to some kids, I hope they can learn empathy by reading her story. And
that they will still cheer her on as she overcomes her fears and achieves her goals. That aside, I hope kids learn to care about the environment and speak up for the causes they believe in just like Stella.
Who is the reader you are writing for? Please describe them.
I’m writing for the kids who love series and books, but also for the kids who know what it is like to feel like they don’t quite fit in. The kids whose family speak two languages and maybe feel caught between cultures. I grew up feeling that way and I felt alone in that experience. Now, I realize that many people feel that way. I want kids to know they are not alone.
What is one (or more) thing(s) that you really want your readers to know about you?
That’s a tricky one! I guess they should know that Stella is based on my experiences and personality, but we’re not identical. Sometimes, I think she is even braver than me. One of the biggest differences is I love coffee, but Stella thinks it’s gross.
What do you love most about your book’s cover art?
I always love the job Kristie, the designer, does with the hand lettering. I illustrate Stella to fit in the space around it. I’m always so pleased to see when the full cover comes together. It’s a real collaboration.
What has surprised you most about the characters in your book?
I never really planned this to be a series. It just has evolved this way. It surprises me how much the characters have grown over the course of these books and the interests they have developed. Their club, the Sea Musketeers, has probably been the most surprising!
Which book review or award has been most meaningful to you?
Winning the Pura Belpré illustration honor twice has been incredible. It helped create more opportunities for me as an author and illustrator. Also feeling embraced by my book and Latino community is a wonderful feeling.
However, I must admit winning the Sid Fleischman award from SCBWI was really special. It’s an award that recognizes humor in writing. My mom always said I was funny, but now I have proof!
What are you most looking forward to at our book festival?
I’m thrilled to be attending in person! I’ve attended the past few years virtually, but nothing compares to seeing an audience. I’m thrilled to meet readers and my fellow authors. It’s going to be a blast!
Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City, and now resides on the East Coast. She is the author and illustrator of several books for children, including the Pura Belpré Illustration Honor books “Mango, Abuela, and Me” (written by Meg Medina) and “Maria Had a Little Llama.” She will be presenting “Stella Díaz to the Rescue” at the 2022 Festival. When Angela is not in her studio, she teaches at the Academy of Art University. Angela is a proud member of SCBWI and PEN America, and is represented by Wernick and Pratt Literary Agency. As a child, she loved reading books and making a mess creating pictures. She’s delighted to still be doing both.