Sitting in her office, Marisa sets her pencil down to take a break from hours of writing. She is finishing up a middle-grade chapter book about Puerto Rico’s jíbaro (pronounced hee-BAH-rōh). As she gets up from her chair, she glances to the right where her office wall is lined with pictures, some personally autographed, of her Puerto Rican role models and book endorsers: Vera Clemente for the Estate of Roberto Clemente, Rita Moreno, Jose Feliciano, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Chita Rivera, Erik Estrada. She ponders and admires on how they held onto their dreams despite coming from humble beginnings and the many obstacles they encountered in life. This motivates and inspires Marisa to continue to write children’s stories about her beloved island, Puerto Rico. It reminds Marisa that no matter where you come from, dreams do come true, and she is extremely thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for fulfilling those dreams.
Marisa was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is of Puerto Rican descent. Both her parents were born and raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. During her childhood years, Marisa lived in low-income housing developments. She was not exposed to many opportunities and was saddened about the things she could not afford to do that other children were fortunate to do. Books opened a new world for Marisa, and she fondly remembers the best time of the week was when the bookmobile came to her block. Marisa’s love for books and reading would take her to different places where she would experience other worlds. Little did Marisa know that one day she would write her own books that spoke to her Puerto Rican roots.
Marisa’s sincere desire is to share the wonders and beauty of Puerto Rico with children of all backgrounds through her award-winning educational and entertaining children’s books:
There’s a Coquí in My Shoe! (Winner of 3 International Latino Book Awards) and
Lightkeepers to the Rescue! (Winner of 12 awards to include several International Latino Book Awards).
Bringing hope to the children she meets and encouraging them to never give up on their dreams is a driving force in Marisa’s life as well as helping children succeed in literacy. Literacy, reading, and writing can help children fulfill their dreams
After finishing her first children’s manuscript, Marisa sent copies out to these same Puerto Rican role models for their feedback, and she was overjoyed that each one of them sent back glowing endorsements! After some time, Marisa’s dream of producing children’s books became a reality.
Marisa returns to her office and picks up where she left off. As an author, she knows that the first draft of any manuscript isn’t the final. She writes, re-writes, and writes again until she’s happy with finally submitting A Jíbaro’s Miracle for publication. She knows that revisions make the piece even better. Marisa also wears the hat as Art Director on all her storybooks.
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