Sonia Manzano is best known as “Maria,” one of the first Hispanic characters on Sesame Street, a role she delighted in for more than twenty years. She has earned fifteen Emmy Awards as a member of the Sesame Street writing staff, and is the author of the picture books No Dogs Allowed!, A Box Full of Kittens, and The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. Manzano is author of Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx (Scholastic). When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home, filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors. Each day she is glued to the TV screen that blots out the painful realities of her existence and illuminates the possibilities that lie ahead. But when the TV goes off, Sonia is taken back to real-life—the cramped, colorful world of her neighborhood and an alcoholic father. It is Sonia’s dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times. Spiced with culture, heartache, and humor, this memoir paints a lasting portrait of a girl’s resilience as she grows up to become an inspiration to millions.
In Miracle on 133rd Street (Atheneum Books for Young Readers), an urban family’s dilemma becomes a community celebration. It’s Christmas Eve and Mami has bought a delicious roast for a Christmas feast. But, oh no! It’s too big to fit in the oven. Jose and Papa need to find an oven big enough to cook Mami’s roast. As they walk from door to door through their apartment building, no one seems to be in the Christmas spirit. So they head down the street to find someone willing to help, and only when they do, lo and behold, the scent—the itself magical smell—of dinner begins to spread, and holiday cheer manifests in ways most unexpected.