Mélina Mangal is a school library teacher and author of biographies and short stories for young people. She enjoys dancing, being in nature, and traveling with her family. Visit her at melinamangal.com.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
What stands out are the autobiographies of Langston Hughes and Josephine Baker I first read in sixth grade.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“I want to catch words one day. I want to hold them
then blow gently,
watch them float
right out of my hands.”
—Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Only three? Definitely Virginia Hamilton, Mildred Taylor, and Rita Williams-Garcia for starters . . .
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I wanted to highlight the lives and stories of people whose lives have not been represented—to write stories I wish had been available to me as a child.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Listen to the wind and the water and the whispers around you. Listen to yourself. Write what you hear. Write what you want to hear. Write what you need to hear.