Photo Credit: Leah Wharton
This episode is sponsored by the Miami Book Fair International.
I could talk to Pablo Cartaya all day. This is his second appearance on the show, and each time I've learned something new about the authors who shaped him and why he writes. The Cuban American children's book author is engaging and passionate about his desire to make sure children of color see themselves in books.
His latest middle grade novel, Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish, tells the story of a middle school student who's often misunderstood because he's big for his age. Some think Marcus is a bully, but he's actually a good kid who helps his single mom and looks out for his little brother, Charlie, who has Down syndrome. When Marcus gets into some trouble at school defending his brother, their mom decides to take the boys on a much needed vacation to Puerto Rico where Marcus was born and where their dad still resides. He left the family when the boys were small, and they haven't been in contact with him since. This trip to Puerto Rico, which takes place before Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017, begins a long quest by Marcus to find his estranged father.
Pablo and I recently met at the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami to discuss his latest novel and some of his favorite writers.
- How Marcus' journey to discover his cultural identity mirrors his own
- Why he loves and respects young readers so much
- The steps he took to ensure he got Charlie's story right
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We'll send free, signed copies of Pablo's first two novels, The Epic Fail or Arturo Zamora and Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish, to the first listener to tell us the five writers Pablo would invite to his "literary gods" dinner party. You can tweet us the answer or write it on our Facebook page.
If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you're ineligible. If you and I ever worked morning radio together, you're probably ineligible. ReadMore doesn't have a friends and family plan. But we'll always have those fun times behind the mic.