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  • Writer's pictureMary Boone

Six Questions with Paola Santos

Paola Santos is a children's book author born and raised in Venezuela. After moving to Canada, she found the courage to share the words and stories that had long been enclosed in her imagination. Her stories are woven with her culture, experience in a new country, hope, happiness, and diversity. Paola holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in Literature and Children's Literature and Reading Promotion. Her debut picture book, How to Eat a Mango (Neal Porter Books / Holiday House), illustrated by Juliana Perdomo, will be released on July 16, 2024.

Visit Paola’s website to learn more about her and her work. You can also find her on Instagram and X @pgsantosb.


1. When did you first realize you wanted to write for young children?

As a child, you probably fill your days with children's books. But, if these books continue surrounding your life and filling your library as you grow up, you realize something special is happening. During my Literature degree at university, I found myself particularly drawn to these stories, to the point I decided to pursue a master's degree in children's literature. But it wasn't until I arrived in Canada and found myself wandering through the picture book section that I realized writing for children had always been waiting for me and not the other way around.


2. What was your favorite book when you were a child? Why?

The book is titled Un Cuento Maravilloso, which translates to A Wonderful Tale. It's part of a collection that is no longer in print. The book is still a treasure in my library. This particular volume has fairy tales, riddles, and poems. Among them, I find the poems to be the best! Every line is stylized and profound, and even to this day, I still read this book and marvel at it!


3. Do you ever get stuck creatively? If so, how do you get unstuck?

I think we all get stuck creatively in one way or another. When this happens to me, I sit down to write poems. They are intuitive poems without structure or meter. I usually write down the first thing that comes to mind without judging or editing. That always helps me summon new ideas. Another method of mine is drawing. I'm an artist at heart! My process with drawing or painting is equally intuitive. As you can see, I don't really like rules!


4. If you could tell readers a secret about this book, what would it be?

I never liked mangoes! Even when I started writing this book, I did it thinking about my abuelita and her love for nature and life, not about my taste for the fruit. I had to do my research and eat quite a few mangoes in the process. Now I love them and understand why my abuela loved them too!


5. How was the editorial process? Did you do any revisions? Did you have a lot of collaboration with the illustrator?

The editorial process with my agent was quite extensive. We had to go through several rounds to ensure each spread had the desired impact. But, once the manuscript was acquired by Neal Porter, my editor, I didn't have to go through many changes. With my fantastic illustrator, Juliana Perdomo, I had no communication. However, when I saw the sketches and sensed her commitment and love for the story, I immediately wrote to her to tell her how much her illustrations meant to me.


6. Where do you get the inspiration for your characters? Are you influenced by people you know?

I am deeply influenced by the people around me, especially those who filled my childhood, such as my abuelita, parents, and siblings. Their values, ways of thinking, and actions shape my stories and all the experiences that populate my memories. My stories are a tribute to the people and experiences I took for granted but now cherish with a sense of nostalgia.

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4 Kommentare


mariana.rios.rmz
25. Juni

Paola, I enjoyed reading your interview and getting to know more about you and how your book came to be. It’s beautiful! Congratulations! 🎈🎉

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Paola Santos
Paola Santos
26. Juni
Antwort an

Thank you, Mariana!!!

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Cheryl A. Johnson
Cheryl A. Johnson
25. Juni

Congrats, Paola! Loved hearing that writing for children had been waiting for you. Can't wait to read a physical copy of your book.

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Paola Santos
Paola Santos
25. Juni
Antwort an

Thank you for you kind words, Cheryl!

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