Join us in celebrating ABUELA'S SUPER CAPA book birthday! We sat down with award-winning Musa Ana Siqueira to learn all about the inspiration behind this book.
But first, a little bit about Abuela's Super Capa:
Saturdays are superhero days. Equipped with their milkshakes and capas, Luis and his abuela can turn anything into una aventura. But when Abuela gets sick, Luis has to learn a new way to be a hero. With some help from his sister, Luis learns that change isn’t all that bad and there are so many new aventuras to have, even if they look a little different.
And now to our interview with Ana!
Where did you get the idea to write this particular story?
I wrote at least fifty versions of this story, but it wasn’t this story. I wanted to write a story about a Penguin and a boy who lost his grandpa, but I couldn’t figure it out and two editors gave me an amazing suggestion: make this story more concrete. Yes, my story was full of beautiful (in my opinion) metaphors, but not very kid accessible. So, I kept trying to figure out how to make my metaphor - Hugs Make Your Heart Grow - into something concrete. And then… My mom died. My heart sank. And for months, I cried listening to her favorite songs. And that’s when… CLICK! I knew it! I had to write about my mom and my younger son: Luis. My mother and my son always played superheroes. And, even though, my son was then already a college student, I could easily imagine how he would feel if his grandma left him. Well, this book was about a grandma dying, but my amazing editor Luana Horry asked me if I could make Abuela get sick instead. And I loved that idea, so I did it. And for that, I got inspired by my grandma who had a stroke when my children were little, and my mother who had a stroke when my grandson was little. So, here is a snapshot of this story path. And I’m super thankful to my critique partners who had the patience to read it a million times, especially Aixa Perez-Prado, Sara Fajardo, Rachel Funez and Maria Antonia.
What 3 words would you use to describe your book?
This is a special book because it’s about my mom. And I miss her so much.
It’s heartfelt because I poured my soul into it.
But it’s fun since Elisa Chavarri and I incorporate color, humor, and fun to make this tough topic kid accessible.
Can you share your path to publication for this book?
This book had also a special path. At first, I didn’t think a book about grieving would be marketable, but after the amazing feedback I got from Heidi Stemple, I fell in love with this story and send it to my agent, at this time the fabulosa Andrea Walker. She loved it too and submitted it, and then… Auction! Wow! Three big and amazing editors from Little Brown Books, Simon&Schuster and HarperCollins. It was exciting and overwhelming. But in the end, I decided to go with Luana Horry, HarperCollins, because she was so excited and happy when she talked to me, I got Luanite. Hahaha. I still love working with her and all my editors. It was a very tough decision, especially considering I was already a big admirer of Alyza Liu, the editor of IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA, but my heart pounded faster when I talked about the project of having Abuela not die. I wish we could make these changes in our real-life stories too, right?
How would you describe your main character? Why did you create your character that way?
The main characters - Luis and Abuela- were really based on my mom and son. My mom, at that time almost seventy years old, would never stop. They would run with fake bombs around the house, ride mini ET tricycles and go on very dangerous missions. She was a real Super Abuela, or Super Vovó, in Portuguese. My son was a hyper boy who could not sit to watch a show, but who would role-play superhero movies with my super mom. They had to copy everything that was going on. How exhausting, right?
What is the most important lesson you have learned as a writer until now?
Considering this story was one of the first stories I wrote when I started writing here in 2019, I can say that I learned two important things:
1. Stories from your heart are truly stronger. Mine your memories and feelings when writing about any story, even funny ones. My Bruja is about a true fact, even though I made a lot of changes to make it more fun. When I realized this story was not about a boy and his Penguin from Peru, and it was about my family, I was able to get unstuck.
2. Find a way to write in a more concrete way. Instead of having a boy trying to heal this penguin’s heart, here a boy is looking at how to be a superhero when her sidekick can't help him anymore.
Here is the description of this super special, heartfelt, and fun story:
A heartwarming bilingual picture book about a young boy who learns to accept that Abuela needs to retire her super capa.
Saturdays are superhero days. Equipped with their milkshakes and capas, Luis and his abuela can turn anything into an adventure.
But when Abuela gets sick, Luis has to learn a new way to be a hero. With some help from his sister, Luis learns that change isn’t all that bad and there are many new adventures to have, even if they look a little different.
Perfect for families experiencing sickness and loss, this engaging multigenerational story will help young children find the language to express their feelings and adjust to change.
Simultaneously published in Spanish: La supercapa de Abuela
Ana Siqueira is an award-winning author from Brazil who loves to let her imagination fly like superhéroes and play like a Super Abuela with her
Brazilian-Cuban American grandkids. When not flying in her own aventuras, she teaches Spanish to adorable little ones, where she casts a learning spell that nobody can resist. Check her other books and activities at
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