Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 14, 2022

Book Giveaway: BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS by Ana Siqueira

Here is Ana Siqueira’s debut picture book, BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS, illustrated by Geraldine Rodriguez, and published by Beaming Books. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Ana and Geraldine.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments by Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

If at first, you do not succeed, try, try again.

Bella wants to find out what she is good at. But she quits everything she (barely) tries because she’s a disaster at it. Her somersaults are like clumsy jirafas rolling downhill, her piano playing like elephant feet. When she decides to learn how to bake with her wise old abuela, her first attempt at dulce de leche frosting looks like scaly cocodrilo skin. She must learn it’s okay to try again or she won’t be good at anything. Peppered with Spanish vocabulary and set in an intergenerational Latinx home, Bella’s Recipe for Success will show all kids the value of practicing to learn a new skill, and that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.

A recipe for Polvorones con Dulce de Leche is included at the back of the book so kids can have fun making their own.

BOOK JOURNEY:

Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved telling stories, especially scary ones, to my friends and family. So, naturally, when I grew up, I started writing. I got two books published in Brazil, a long time ago.

But when I moved to this country in 1992, life happened. I was here with just my ex-husband and two children. We were starting an importation business. I was finishing my college degree in education. So, no more writing for over twenty years.

I restarted writing in 2019 when I wrote my Spanish Easy Reader – EL PATO QUIERE UVAS. And that is when I got motivated to write picture books. In September of 2019, I took part in a Pitmad Twitter event. I got a like from Naomi Krueger- Beaming Books. In November, I got an offer from her. In December, I got my agent, Andrea Walker. And that is how my debut book, BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS, was born.

But to get this manuscript polished, I had to:
1. Read a lot – 25 picture books per day.
2. Get involved in writer’s communities.
3. Participate in six critique groups.
4. Write, write, write.
5. Read craft books.
6. Take many classes such as the Picture Book class from Children’s Book Academy where not only did I learn a lot about picture book structure but also, I worked on my pitch and story while getting feedback from the fabulosa Mira Reisberg. Furthermore, through this class, I got to sell my second book to a Simon&Schuster editor during a final showcase.

Many people ask me where I got inspiration for this or other stories. Bella’s inspiration was my daughters and my students. My daughter, being a gifted girl, believed she had to learn and be the best quickly. She would quit when she was not one of the best. Many perfectionist students struggle with the learning process. They do not allow themselves to make mistakes and try again. So, Bella is all about trying again, in a fun and kid-friendly way.

And because I am part of a beautiful, blended Cuban-Brazilian-American family, my book reflects my and my illustrator’s culture. In this book, you will find Spanish and English words weaved together. Well, being a Spanish teacher, I cannot miss an opportunity to teach Spanish. You will see the dad wearing a Brazilian soccer jersey. And Bella will bake polvorones with dulce de leche, a Cuban version of the famous “casadinhos” cookies in Brazil. These are like short-bread cookie sandwiches filled with this creamy caramel. Our culture and our memories are part of all our stories, even when we do not realize it. For example, even though I thought Bella was based on my daughter and students, later, when answering some interview questions, I realized it was based on me too. Just like Bella, I thought my siblings had many talents, and I had none. And in my first version of Bella, instead of learning how to bake polvorones, Bella was trying to win a writing competition.

But be careful! Your stories will be filled with your memories, your culture, and your emotions, but do not try to rewrite exactly what happened to you. Tweak and twist it so it adds humor, heart, and fun. For example, I went with baking instead of writing, because it was going to be more fun and more illustratable. In my book coming out IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA, I changed the bruja imagined by the girl from a mom (yes, me!) to a babysitter. And I made other changes to increase her imagination and add fun scenes.

In summary, by mining your memories, writing from your heart, sharing your work with critique partners, and taking wonderful classes such as Children’s Academy, you will get a chance to improve your writing skills, your stories, and your chance of getting a happy YES! But remember, each writer’s journey is unique. Some writers might get a few rejections, some a lot. But it means nothing. Keep ongoing and work hard. If writing is your passion, your Yes will come. Many famous writers now got over four hundred rejections. So, read, write, work, and, as Bella says, “We can always try again.”

ANA’S BIO:

Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher, an award-winning Brazilian children’s author, and she is published in the Foreign Language educational market – EL PATO QUIERE UVAS. Her picture books include BELLA’S RECIPE FOR DISASTER/SUCCESS (Beaming Books, 2021) and IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA/CUANDO TU NIÑERA ES UNA BRUJA (SimonKids,2022), ABUELA’S SUPER CAPA/ LA SUPER CAPA DE ABUELA (HarperCollins, 2023), ROOM IN MAMI’S CORAZÓN (Harpercollins, 2024) and a few more books to be announced. Besides writing, Ana loves to read, teach, and play with her Cuban-Brazilian-American grandchildren. Represented by Tricia Lawrence – EMLA Lit Agency.

Ana was born in Rio, Brazil. And now she lives in Tampa with her Cuban husband. She has five Cuban-Brazilian-American grandkids. You can visit the following links to learn more about Ana:
Website: https://anafiction.com/
Twitter: @SraSiqueira1307

GERALDINE’S BIO:

Geraldine was born in Mexico and an artist since as long as she can remember – as a child she was always drawing (especially sketching over-the-top of Mexican cooking books). Art has always been a part of her life- colour and simple forms are the way she express herself. Geraldine has illustrated over 15 picture book. Kindergarten Hat that was featured on this site is one of them.

She is always willing to see the good in every situation. The world around gives her the inspiration to create.
Geraldine Rodríguez is represented by Lucie Luddington at the Bright Agency.

Ana, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I loved how you combined learning to persevere and keep trying when you are unsuccessful and sharing an intergenerational Latinx home with the reader. The Spanish words sprinkled through out the book adds to the fun of the story. Geraldine’s illustrations and characters are cute and help tell the sotry. I can’t wait to try the recipe included at the end of the book for Polvorones con Dulce de Leche, though I might have to take a page from Bella’s book to make sure I don’t give up, if I mess up. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. This book is AWESOME! And Ana is special!
    Geraldine, your illustrations are beautiful!!

    I shared this post on Twitter and I receive your daily posts.

    Like

  2. Sounds like me when I’m baking! I receive your daily email.

    Like

  3. Congrats, Ana and Geraldine! Can’t wait to read this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats Ana. This sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to read this 🙂

    Like

  5. A book we should all read! Thank you for sharing it here!

    Like

  6. I remember reading an earlier version of this story at InkedVoices and we all thought it was wonderful then — can’t wait to read the final version! Congratulations, Ana!

    Like

    • Kim, thanks for the help. It is probably very different, so I wrote way too many versions of this story. Hahaha.

      Like

  7. Congrats, Ana and Geraldine! Great advice for all creators here. Cheers to baking and making!

    Like

  8. I’m excited to read this book as it will resonate with all readers. I’m an email subscriber and shared: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/570620215297851160

    Like

  9. This book is fabulous! Congrats, Ana! Good work!

    Like

  10. Congrats! Love that this has cultural details.

    Like

  11. Looks greqt!

    Like

  12. Kathy, thank you for featuring Ana and her new book. Ana, thanks for sharing your author’s journey. I appreciate knowing how much hard work you have put into your writing. You were my teacher for the class I took through the Writing Barn in the Spring, and I can’t wait to read your new book!

    Like

  13. Ana, I just want to say congratulations! I love your writing and am looking forward to sharing Bella’s story with my classroom. 😀

    Like


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