Burbank author, Monica Mancillas, is set to release her first children’s book, Mariana and her Familia, on October 4th and will be doing a storytime and book signing at the Burbank Barnes & Noble on Saturday, October 8th. Her debut release from publisher Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins follows the journey of a young girl who visits her family in Mexico for the first time and struggles with the cultural barrier after living in the states for so long.
Mancillas was born in Ensenada, Mexico and moved to the United States when she was just two-years old. Her childhood is the inspiration behind Mariana and her Familia, in which Mariana visits Mexico and struggles with the language barrier and a feeling of being out of place. When she finally meets her Abuela, the connection of storytelling and food brings them together and makes her feel at home. “The overarching message of the book is one of unconditional love and acceptance – the ultimate discovery that the ties that bind us to family cannot be broken by physical or cultural distance,” says Mancillas. “In writing this book, I hoped that children like I once was would feel less alone in their biculturality and proud of who they are.”
While Mancillas always had a passion for writing, she didn’t pursue it until her daughter was born. “I found myself spending hours every day reading her picture books and taking her to the library,” adds Mancillas. She joined writing societies, critique groups, and then ended up winning the SCBWI Andrea J. Loney Mentorship Contest. In 2018 she signed with an agent and a few months later her first book was sold at auction.
Other than being an author, Mancillas has a deep love of music. She teaches piano to children and the occasional adults, and sings and writes songs as well. “Stories have been my passion since I was a little girl – whether brought to me on paper, screen, or the evergreen power of song. It’s truly a dream come true to be able to share my own stories with you,” said Mancillas. “Through words, I hope to change the world one reader at a time.”
The Junior Library Guild Gold Star Selection, Mariana and her Familia, will land in the world on Tuesday, October 4th and can be purchased at all major and indie book stores including Barnes & Noble, Target, Amazon, and Bookshop. You can meet Mancillas and get a signed copy of her book this Saturday at 11:00am at Barnes & Noble located at 731 N San Fernando Blvd. For more information on upcoming events or book releases from Mancillas, visit www.monicamancillas.com.
“A child’s uncertainty in navigating the dual identities of a bicultural upbringing is affirmingly depicted in Mancillas’s insightful debut.” –Publisher’s Weekly