Today we celebrate the book birthday of Esperanza Caramelo, the Star of Nochebuena. We sat down with Musa Karla Arenas Valenti to learn about the inspiration behind her book.
But first, a little bit about this book:
Celebrated by Kirkus as a "whimsical enchantment," Esperanza Caramelo takes place on the eve of Nochebuena when a spark of magic lights up Lita’s bakery. Esperanza Caramelo opens her eyes. Esperanza is a sugar figurine meant to sit atop the Nochebuena cake—but tonight she whirls through the bakery, singing and dancing, throwing a fiesta with all the other ornaments until . . . disaster strikes! A Christmas cake emergency ensues, and time is running out, Will Esperanza and her friends be able to save Nochebuena?
3 words would you use to describe your book?
Magical, vibrantly-illustrated, Christmas-themed.
Where did you get the idea to write this particular story?
My abuelita was an award winning baker and sugar figurine maker. Her cakes were not only delicious but always adorned with the most elegant scenes (a royal wedding; a chorus of angels; the mighty Titanic sailing the sea; a full circus with acrobats, clowns, and even a dancer on pointe). These magical scenes frozen in sugar filled me with awe and made me wonder, what would happen if one of these cakes came to life? Esperanza Caramelo tells that story.
What was your favorite part of the publication process with this story?
Watching the illustrations come to life. Elisa Chavarri is a brilliantly gifted illustrator who understood exactly how to breathe life into Esperanza and her friends. As Kirkus says, "Chavarri's effervescent artwork offers an appealing depiction of Navidad, with all its baked-in promises of magic."
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