Andrea Beatriz Arango:
Author of IVELIZ EXPLAINS IT ALL
Haha! Thanks! I do love to bring my characters to life that way.
I could tell. So, what inspired you to write IVELIZ EXPLAINS IT ALL, and why did you choose the novel-in-verse format?
I wanted to write a book that dealt with mental health in the Latinx community, because I think the shame and stigma associated with therapy & meds for kids is a huge problem that the pandemic has made even worse. I wanted to write it in verse because I'm used to working with students reading below grade level, and I wanted them to be able to access the story too.
What did you love about working with your editor, and why do you believe the editorial process helped make your book a stronger one?
I picked my editor because she truly championed my book from the start. I could tell she deeply understood the story I was trying to tell. Additionally, her ideas for making the story better aligned with how I saw the book improving. I also think it's helpful to get other eyes on my writing, because sometimes while I'm writing I'm thinking about things that I don't necessarily put on the page. And so having my editor tell me what she needed more of allowed me to zero in on the sections of my book that needed to be fleshed out.
I love hearing about actual kids reading the book! Someone posted a review talking about how their kid made notes in the margins because they loved IVELIZ so much and it honestly made my whole day. I wrote the book for middle schoolers and so it's their opinions that matter to me the most.
That's totally understandable! I hear you have another middle-grade novel-in-verse on the way. Please tell us more! What's it about, and how is it similar or different from IVELIZ?
I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say yet, but it's called THE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND HOME and it's about a Puerto Rican sixth-grade girl who has to go live with her aunt, who she's never really had a relationship with before. It's a quieter book than IVELIZ, but I think it definitely shares themes of family dynamics, friendship, and mental health. It doesn't come out until next fall, but hopefully I'll be able to share a cover come early 2023.
Wow! That sounds like a great read, too! I'm already looking forward to it being released!
Thanks, Dionna! I really enjoyed writing it, and I've enjoyed being here.
Thank YOU for coming by and to share a little bit about your kidlit journey. I won't be surprised if IVELIZ will soon be included on many 2022 best books of the year lists!
Seventh grade is going to be Iveliz’s year. She’s going to make a new friend, help her abuela Mimi get settled after moving from Puerto Rico, and she is not going to get into any more trouble at school.
Except... is that what happens? Of course not. Because no matter how hard Iveliz tries, sometimes people say things that just make her so mad. And worse, Mimi keeps saying Iveliz’s medicine is unnecessary—even though it helps Iveliz feel less sad. But how do you explain your feelings to others when you’re not even sure what’s going on yourself?
Powerful and compassionate, Andrea Beatriz Arango’s debut with inside art by Alyssa Bermudez, navigates mental health, finding your voice, and discovering that those who really love you will stay by your side.
Andrea, born and raised in Puerto Rico, is a former public school teacher with almost a decade of teaching experience under her belt. She now writes the types of children’s books she wishes her students had more access to. She balances her life in Virginia with trips home to see her family, and eats lots of tostones de pana. More about Andrea HERE.