Sunday, June 05, 2011

TLA: Julia Durango

Time to catch up on the Round Up.
Next up, Julia Durango!

Julia Durango’s life is all about books; as a librarian, as an author, and as one of the “chicks” of the Three Silly Chicks blog, where she works alongside fellow authors Andrea Beaty and Carolyn Crimi. Their motto: “We read, write and review funny books for kids.”

Having spent her childhood moving around, Julia finally settled in Chicago to attend the University of Illinois where she studied Political Science and Latin American Studies. The degree resulted in her spending a great deal of time working with homeless children in Columbia. Julia’s passion for the land and people of Latin America lead to her first work, Peter Claver, Patron Saint of Slaves (Paulist Press, 2002).

Her publishing career continued with Dream Hop (Simon & Schuster, 2005); Yum Yuck (with Linda Sue Park) (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2005); Cha-Cha- Chimps (Simon & Schuster 2006); Angels Watching Over Me (adapted) (Simon &Schuster 2007); Pest Fest (Simon & Schuster, 2007); Walls of Cartagena (juvenile fiction) (Simon & Schuster, 2008); Sea of the Dead (juvenile fiction) (Simon & Schuster, 2009); Go-Go Gorillas (Simon & Schuster, 2010); and two upcoming releases; Under the Mambo Moon (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2011) and Dream Away (Simon & Schuster, 2011).

Reviews for Durango’s books repeat praises for her lively upbeat and bouncing text. A Kirkus review of Pest Fest called her verse “jaunty” and claimed this “clever and appealing” book “begs to be read aloud.” School Library Journal described Cha-Cha Chimp “rollicking” and “rhythmic,” closing with “the cha-cha-cha chant and upbeat artwork make this book a good storytime addition.” Kirkus noted, “Durango's dancing rhyme is infectious.”

She currently lives in Ottawa, Illinois, with her family and dog Sancho who “loves to sit on flowers.” Her time is spent with her two “silly boys,” her job as a school librarian, her other job as an author and her blog. Every night in her “spare time” she reads and does a crossword puzzle. She states, “Nerdy-girl habits die hard.”

Here, Julia reads from her new book, Under the Mambo Moon, and talks about the role and influence of music in this book. It's a wonderful, unique book-- part novel in verse with free verse passages illustrated with black and white images which weave together lively poems accompanied by full page color art (all art by Fabricio VandenBroeck).

Image credit: SV; Marianne Follis

Thanks to Marianne Follis for research and writing our intros.

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2011. All rights reserved.

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