Other literary forms

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Pat Mora is noted as a poet and a writer of children’s work. Both personally and as a writer, she is an advocate for education, literacy, and cultural appreciation. She often publishes her works as bilingual editions with Spanish and English on facing pages. Her works for children include collections of poetry, picture books, and retellings of Mayan, Mexican, and Latino folktales. Her writings for children are subtly infused with the values of cultural diversity and cultural memory, and her nonfiction essays in Nepantla: Essays from the Land in the Middle (1993) explicitly draw the connection between diversity and democracy.


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Pat Mora is one of the most widely recognized and acclaimed writers and poets in the United States, having earned the respect of adults as well as young readers. Although she often writes about Latin American characters, culture, history, mythology, and religion, her appeal transcends boundaries, and her work is widely read, anthologized, and studied. She is also well known as an activist and lecturer. She has worked extensively to promote libraries and literacy and founded El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), a national celebration of children, families, and reading that occurs on April 30 every year. The event is widely celebrated, especially by schools, libraries, community organizations, and booksellers.

Mora’s awards, fellowships, and grants for writing are numerous. She received the Poetry Award, New America from the Women Artists and Writers of the Southwest (1982), the Poetry Award from the Conference of Cincinnati Women (1990), the Ohioana Award for children’s literature (2000), the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award (2006), the Roberta Long Medal (2007), the Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Letters (2008), and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for Outstanding Contributions to Children’s Literature, Hattiesburg (2008). She won the Harvey L. Johnson Book Award from the Southwest Council of Latin American Studies (1984), and the Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association (1985), both for Chants; the Southwest Book Award (1987) for Borders; the Southwest Book Award and the Premio Aztlán Literature Award (both in 1997) for House of Houses; the International Latino Book Award, Best Poetry in English (2007), the WILLA Literary Award Finalist, Women Writing the West (2007), the Bronze Medal in Poetry, Independent Publisher Book Awards (2007), and the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association Poetry Award (2008) for Adobe Odes. Her children’s and young adult books are frequently listed among the American Library Association’s Notable Books and New York Public Library’s recommended books lists and have won such major awards as the Pura Belpré Honor Award (2005) and the International Latino Book Award for Best Children’s Picture Book (2009). Yum! Mmmm! ­Qué Rico! Americas’ Sproutings was selected to the lists of Lasting Connections by Book List (2007), Best of the Best Books by Chicago Public Library (2008), Best Children’s Books of the Year by Bank Street (2008), and Notable Books by the American Library Association (2008). It also received the Amérias Award (2008). Mora holds honorary doctorates of letters from the State University of New York, Buffalo, and North Carolina State University, and she was given a prestigious honorary membership in the American Library Association.


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Aldama, Fredrick Luis. “Pat Mora.” Spilling the Beans: Conversations with Writers and Artists. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006. Includes an essay about Mora’s poetry as well as an interview with the writer, centered on her conceptions as a writer.

Christian, B. Marie. “Many Ways to Remember: Layered Time in Mora’s House of Houses.” Review of House of Houses. MELUS 30, no. 1 (Spring, 2005): 135-150. Examines Mora’s memoir, which is...

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organized by the twelve months of a year. Events are related not chronologically but for their association with the month or season.

Marcovitz, Hal. Pat Mora. New York: Chelsea House, 2008. Although written for a juvenile audience, this biography provides basic information on Mora as well as some analysis of works.

Mora, Pat. “Pat Mora.” http://www.patmora.com. Mora’s Web page contains a list of her books in which she provides a description of each book, along with material and activities for teachers and librarians. The site contains the author’s blog and links to articles, interviews, speaking and appearance schedules, and video clips of Mora.

_______. “Pat Mora.” Interview by Bruce Allen Dick. In A Poet’s Truth: Conversations with Latino/Latina Poets, edited by Dick. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2003. A lengthy and in-depth interview with Mora by an interviewer who asks questions primarily about her poetry and essays for adults. While some biographical questions are addressed, the interviewer focuses on the themes and aesthetics of Mora’s work.

_______. “Pat Mora: Poet, Writer, and Educator.” Interview by Karin Rosa Ikas. In Chicana Ways: Conversations with Ten Chicana Writers, edited by Ikas. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2002. Mora covers a wide range of topics, including her life as a writer, themes of her work, and the politics of culture.

Torres, Hector Avalos. “Pat Mora: I was Always at Home in Language.” Conversations with Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Writers. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007. Torres’s chapter on Mora begins with an excellent essay on her poetry and its themes and finishes with an interview with Mora conducted in 1999 and a bibliography. The interview focuses primarily on her biography and her experiences as a writer.


Critical Essays