Join us in celebrating ¡1,2,3 Baila! series book birthday. We sat down with Musa Delia Ruiz to learn all about the inspiration behind the these books.
But first, a little bit about this book series:
¡1,2,3 Baila! is an English-Spanish board book series that introduces primary concepts and Spanish language in a fun and interactive way through Latin dance. Learn number counting with salsa, instruments/sounds with merengue, and manners with cumbia.
What 3 words would you use to describe your book?
I would describe the ¡1,2,3 Baila! series as lively, bilingual, and interactive.
Where did you get the idea to write this particular story?
I drafted the salsa story in 2021. It was supposed to be a stand alone picture book title inspired by my love for dancing salsa while infusing number counting for little ones. When I pitched it, the publisher loved the idea and was interested in a series. I had to come back to the drawing board and pitch two additional titles which now include merengue and cumbia. All are genres of music I listen to, dance to, and are mixed with concepts young ones can learn from in a fun way.
Can you share your path to publication for this book?
I pitched this story as a direct submission to the publisher in 2021. At that time I did not have an agent nor had I started the query process. Right away, we began working on the translation of the manuscripts and writing the two additional stories for the series. I was involved with edits along the way and got to see the character sketches throughout. It was a lovely experience to have input in this project and work with a great team.
What message are you hoping readers will take away from this story?
I love that the series introduces children to the basic steps of dance while teaching them concepts that grown-ups can expand on. I hope children walk away knowing that dance is for everyone. You can dance with a partner or by yourself. Dance is about finding your own rhythm and having the choice to do it alone too! There is no “right” way, the steps are a guide but what’s more important is to make it your own and have fun!
What comes next for you as an author?
I’m currently on submission with a few projects that I hope to announce soon! These upcoming works have a Latinx feel and are from personal experience. I am also revising a novel in verse. I hope to share more soon!
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