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Monica Brown Doesn't Match

Mike Peterson

Not many writers would choose to write only bilingual books; Monica Brown is one of those few authors. She is multiethnic and believes being multilingual should be celebrated. Some of Brown’s books include “Side by Side,” “Waiting for the Biblioburro,” “Chavela and the Magic Bubble,” “Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match,” and the “Lola Levine” Series.
Brown is a creative and interesting individual. She has received awards for her books, the first of which being the Américas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature. When she went to receive this award for “Me Llamo Celia” (which was her first published book) in the Library of Congress, she was proud to bring three generations of Latinos with her.
The books Brown writes are mainly for children, including lots of picture books: “I like children. I like working with and teaching them, I think their imaginations are big and great and wild. They are my favorite audience.” She enjoys being an author because she gets to meet children all across the world.
Brown’s ideas come mostly from children since she writes children’s books. For “Chavela and the Magic Bubble,” the inspiration came when her daughter asked “where does bubble gum come from?” The idea for the “Marisol McDonald” books came from the fact that multiethnic children get teased a lot about their heritage, and she based the main character on herself. Brown believes that to get inspiration you should go out into the world and do interesting things and meet interesting people.
During her presentation at the Colorado Council International Reading Association, Brown gave some tips on writing children’s books. One idea was that repetition has a place in children’s books. For example, in “Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match” Brown often repeats the phrase “Marisol McDonald, you just don’t match.”
Another tip she gave was to visualize illustratable action. Authors should write something that can have a picture to go with it; otherwise they will have to take that out because, she said, there cannot be a blank page in a book.