Today we are chatting with Emma Otheguy, author of Reina Ramos Works it Out
Read on for more about her, the book, and a giveaway!
Meet Emma Otheguy:
Emma Otheguy writes children’s books about Latine identity and Latin American history and literature. She is the author of Martí’s Song for Freedom, The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Madre de Aguas of Cuba, Silver Meadows Summer, A Sled for Gabo, and Secrets of the Silver Lion. She holds a Ph.D. in History from New York University and lives in Queens, NY.
About the Book: Reina Ramos Works it Out
Reina Ramos is excited about dressing up as Frida Kahlo for the class wax museum. Frida was a strong person like her mami and abuela plus Reina has the perfect headband! But when her best friend Nora picks Frida first, Reina doesn’t know what to do. Who will she dress up as now?
Reina Ramos Works It Out is a Level Two I Can Read book, geared for kids who read on their own but still need a little help. The story contains several Spanish words, a glossary, and a list of famous people mentioned in the book.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I’m a life-long fan of I Can Read. Characters from I Can Read were woven into the fabric of my childhood and informed my imagined world from a very young age. I always knew I wanted to write an I Can Read character someday—in fact, one of the very first conversations I had with my agent was about it! In REINA RAMOS WORKS IT OUT, I brought elements of my Latin family, my diverse neighborhood, and my super-energetic nieces to the model of character-centered, emotionally rich stories that defines I Can Read. I wanted kids to discover a fun character who was authentic in every sense of the word—true to herself and as real as any kid you would meet on the playground.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Reina, of course! She is a spirited, fun-loving kid who is loyal to her friends and devoted to her family. She has a headlong streak that can cause chaos, but she always finds a way to make things right. I would have loved her for a best friend when I was that age—someone who will always stick up for you and will never let things get boring, even for a second!
YABC: Which came first, the title or the book?
The title came second, and I think perfectly highlights the book’s SEL content. Through communication and teamwork, Reina and her friend Nora overcome their initial conflict and find Reina the perfect person to portray for their classroom wax museum. They work it out!
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I love when Nora walks in on Reina’s mess. Initially, both kids think the other is trying to hurt them. But once they each share their feelings, they are able to empathize with one another and work out a solution.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
I wrote many drafts of Reina’s conversation with Abuela about what it means to be a strong person. It’s such a deep moment for Reina, as she reflects on the true meaning of inner strength. I wanted kids to really connect to that transformational moment without losing the pace of the story. Check it out and see what you think!
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love how Andrés has portrayed Reina and captured her energy. I particularly love the outfits Andrés has given Reina, which I think truly bring her character to life!
YABC: What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?
I hope emerging readers find a friend in Reina—someone who is authentic, fun, and caring—and perhaps are inspired to learn more about the famous Latin people in the book!
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
There’s this idea that professional writers must have some kind of extra-special talent or superpowers, but I believe that being a successful writer is about what you do, not what you are. I try and emulate as a writer the traits I value in the editors and agents I work with—devotion, responsibility, friendliness, and focus—and typically, the rest follows.
Book’s Title: Reina Ramos Works it Out
Author: Emma Otheguy
Illustrator: Andrés Landazábal
Release Date: 9/20/2022
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s
Genre: Beginner Chapter Book
Age Range: Ages: 4 – 8| Grades: Preschool-3
Five winners will receive an English paperback copy of Reina Ramos Works it Out (Emma Otheguy) ~US ONLY
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*