We are a team from different corners of Latin America and United States combining our experiences, talents and visions. We seek to build worlds for children and meet you.
Alonso Duarte is a graphic designer with a degree from the Santo Tomás University in Chile. His work stands out for its approach and resolution. When we look at his illustrations, poxipol sculptures, comics and montages, we are introduced to dystopias, close to science fiction. Alonso has developed graphic projects about aliens and astronauts, and battlefields that emerge from everyday reality, but are re-articulated to explore new meanings and emotions. Alonso is currently developing video games. If you wonder which hand he draws with, it is with his left hand.
Author and Coordinator
Jorge Inzunza is a psychologist, teacher, and holds a doctorate in education. He was born in Santiago, Chile. He has conducted research about the lives of students and children in schools, educational policies, and the history of Chilean education. He worked as member of the editor team of the Chilean Teachers Union. Since 2013, he has lived in the United States, and adopted American citizenship some years later. He became a dual language teacher in Wisconsin, obtaining the Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award of the Wisconsin Association for Bilingual Education in 2018. In 2020, he founded Hilo Colectivo with the goal of providing high quality literature in Spanish for children in the United States. He won the “New Voices in Nonfiction” Award of the SCBWI (2020). He loves chocolate, taking pictures, and traveling. He likes reading while walking and listening to music at the same time!
Ruth Molina Mota
Ruth Molina Mota was born in Guatemala City. She obtained her Bachelors degree in Pedagogy and Educational Administration at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. She has worked as a teacher for 20 years in different areas and levels, including teaching at
Guatemalan History and Learning Assessment courses at the college level. Her specialization is in Bilingual Education of students that are beginning the reading and writing process. Presently, Ruth lives in Wisconsin and works as a Dual Language teacher She enjoys reading
detective novels, and her favorite author is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. When she has time for herself, she enjoys visiting museums and tasting exotic food.
Author and Pedagogical Coordinator
Nestor Fabricio Paz is a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in English as a Foreing Language and a Master’s in Education. His final thesis was on the role of Academic Oracy in the Reading Development of students in Dual Language Education Programs. He was born in San Miguel, El Salvador and has been a passionate writer of poetry, essays, scenes, and short stories. He worked as a pedagogical advisor for Centro Cultural Salvadoreño Americano until 2017, when he moved to the state of Wisconsin in the United States to teach in a Dual Language Education Program. He constantly looks for ways to grow as a writer, a teacher, and a cultural promoter, which led him to win the Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award by the Wisconsin Association for Bilingual Education in 2020. He loves reading comic books, manga, horror and science fiction novels. Folk metal makes him smile with joy.
Marcela Rojas Figueroa
Marcela Rojas Figueroa is a painter, ceramist, teacher of visual arts and art therapist and was born in Santiago de Chile. Her artistic work focuses on sculptural and utilitarian stoneware ceramics. She worked for 12 years at the Museum of Visual Arts (MAVI) as a mediator and has been working for 10 years as a visual arts teacher for children from first to fourth grade. In 2009 she studied art therapy and since 2011 Marcela has been part of the team at the University of Chile in asset rescue and emotional and psychosocial containment in emergency contexts, socio-natural disasters and catastrophes. Currently, Marcela provides art therapy for companies and is a member of the CATCH College of Art Therapists. She is president of EDUCARTE, an association of art teachers in Chile, and is the cultural manager of the Visual Arts Contest of the FOBEJU Foundation since 2013. Marcela loves to play sports, watch movies, draw, travel and listen to music.
Luis Silva Gaitán
Luis Silva Gaitán was born in Colombia in 1989. He is a cinema director, published author and screenwriter. He obtained his bachelors degree in Direction and Production of Radio and Television at Universidad Autónoma del Caribe. He was the screenwriter of the first and second season of the children’s show El Bus Amarillo from the Telecaribe TV Channel. In 2010 he received a special recognition from the State Department of the United States for being a finalist in the international video contest: Democracy Video Challenge, representing Colombia. From that same year and until 2011, Luis was part of the evaluating group of Junior readers from the RCN TV Network. He is a published author of the graphic novel Lemuria: The Fire Within. In 2018, Luis published the anthology comic series Paper Crew. In 2020, he published the graphic novels, No Entres al Bosque de Noche, La Rebelión de las Ratas and Morir Juntos, for the Panamericana Editorial Publishing house. Luis enjoys fantasy and science fiction novels, and spends his free time playing video games, practicing archery and taking bike rides around the city.
Cristián David Ochoa
Author and Editor
Cristian David Ochoa was born in Mexico City and obtained his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Latin American Literature from the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM). He currently lives in Santiago de Chile where he cooks tacos for his family. He regularly publishes chronicles and literary critiques in the digital newspaper Maremoto (Maristaín). He wrote an essay on Roberto Bolaño called Detectives distantes. Cristian used to play football and today he only watches it on television. He is currently writing a book of short stories called El primer amanecer en la tierra and travels by bicycle with his 6-year-old son with autism.
Andrea María Meléndez Teutsch was born in Santiago de Chile. She is the mother of two young daughters, an art teacher, and an educational researcher. She pursues doctoral studies in Art and Education at the University of Granada, Spain. She also won the Excellence Scholarship from the Faculty of Educational Sciences of the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She currently develops consultancies and educational projects. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Chilean Society of Education for Art (EDUCARTE). Her poems, stories, creations, and the educational materials are inspired by a happy childhood, the education she gives her daughters, and her educational experiences. So often she needs to go swimming in the sea, to feel the connection with nature on her skin. She likes to see the world through a child’s gaze, travel, drink thick chocolate, and experiment with all the flavors and smells of the world.
Carlos D’alençon is a filmmaker and television scriptwriter. He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but has lived his entire life in Chile. He has worked for different television channels such as Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN) and Chilevisión (CHV), in addition to different production companies. In 2019 he began a career as a writer and two of his stories have already been awarded and published: El verano delos colmillos (Marciano editions) and La Posta (Santiago in 100 palabras, Foundación Plagio). He is a lover of the fantastic, of the great writers of the genre such as Edgar Allan Poe, Jorge Luis Borges, Mariana Enríquez, H.P Lovecraft, among others. He has a particular fascination with cats and Hitchcock. Once he lost Patatas, one of his cats. He went out looking for him everywhere and found him placidly lying outside a house, as if nothing had happened. So in his happiness, he took the cat, but a woman from inside yells: Let go of that cat! Well, it wasn’t Patatas, but an identical one. Since then he loves cats, but he distrusts them a little.
Haydée Zayas-Ramos is a Puerto Rican writer, certified reading promoter, speaker, and cultural manager. She is the founder of the Vivo del Cuento project, dedicated to promoting reading and writing, both creative and therapeutic. She publishes for children, youth and adults. She has offered writing workshops, conferences and activities to encourage reading in the United States, Bahamas, Cuba, Spain, Morocco and Puerto Rico. She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies in Puerto Rican and Caribbean Literature, where she has focused her thesis research on the picture book. When she was little, she made up stories on the back of her notebooks. She illustrated them with mushrooms or little birds, which was the only thing she knew how to draw. She was a writer since before she knew that it was a career.
María, better known as Mavi, was born in “The Land of the Eternal Spring” (Guatemala). She is an educator, with a specialization in learning disabilities and a psychologist. Mavi’s multiethnic and multilingual background inspired her to study a Master’s in Linguistics Applied to Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and encouraged her to become an international teacher. She has taught in the U.S., Guatemala and participated in the “III Jornadas de ELE” in Russia. Now, she’s learning about other cultures in the Middle East and teaching Spanish in Qatar. Mavi is passionate, eclectic and humorous. She enjoys boxing, spending time with her dogs, growing her own vegetables, walking on nature trails, reading, cooking, and any type of art. She also loves learning random interesting facts! Did you know a group of penguins in the water is called a raft but on land they are called a waddle?
Marcelo Guajardo Thomas has published the following poetry books: Theseus in the Sea Towards Cartagena and Epilogue of the Adventure, The Pain of the Swarms, A Propitious Moment for Exile, Blue Door on the Wall of Adobe, and The Coelacanths and Other Extraordinary Events. He has also published youth novels, including, The Magic Bicycle of Sergio Krumm, and Rapaces. In 2017 he obtained the Pablo Neruda Prize for Young Poetry. He lives in Santiago de Chile, and each day when he looks out his window towards the Andes Mountains, he is reminded that everything will be fine, in spite of uncertainty.
Author and Illustrator
Alejandra Collao lives in La Paz, Bolivia. She is an architect and self-taught in graphic design and illustration. Currently, she offers virtual English language courses for children. Her jump from architecture to illustration is due to her ever-present desire to travel. Before the world went into a coma due to the pandemic, she arrived in the Netherlands where she began to experiment in the field of crafts (embroidery and design of t-shirts made with serigraphy). In mid-2020, she enrolled in story illustration and narrative courses. Currently she continues to learn and search for different styles to be able to express herself and transmit concepts, ideas or stories that wander in her head. “La vizcacha” is the title of her first story and her illustrations are made with watercolor and a bit of darkness. She is currently venturing into digital illustration with a new story inspired by Andean landscapes. When she loses her inspiration, she goes out, grabs a bow and an arrow, and goes hunting for a pumpkin or two, and if she’s lucky, she catches a watermelon. After doing something like that, anyone would have a story to tell.
Armín Alfonso Soler
Author and Editor
Armín Alfonso Soler was born in Cuba and has lived in Ecuador since 2015. He is an engineer by training, but has dedicated himself to writing and editing. He is the founder of Andarele Casa Editorial and a member of Girándula, the Ecuadorian Association of Children’s and Youth Books. He has published the books Monstruos del campo y la ciudad (story), Olor a hierbas (story), El cucú canta las… (poetry) and ¿Quién dibuja las líneas del mapa? (novel, selected in the IBBY 2002´s Honor List). He has anthologized, versioned, and edited narrative and poetry books, and written several textbooks for the Ecuadorian educational system. He is the host and co-writer of the children’s radio programs Ritmocuentos (Cultura FM) and Tobogán (Radio Nacional Ecuador). He was a mediator for two years in the National Book and Reading Plan of the Ministry of Culture of Ecuador, where he taught more than 60 literary creation workshops for children and adults. In 2018 he won the Darío Guevara Mayorga National Children’s Literature Award, short story category, and in 2019 he was recognized among the outstanding authors of Girándula with two works. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at the University of La Rioja, Spain. He loves climbing mountains and reading aloud.
Elisa del Carmen Borrero González is a multifaceted artist born in Puerto Rico and adopted Mexican that currently lives in San Francisco, California. Inspired by nature, memory, ancestors, womanhood and daily life, she experiments with all kinds of materials. She studied education and history in the University of Puerto Rico and Art Conservation (ENCRyM) at México City. She has experience with audiences of all ages giving creative arts and crafts workshops. Currently, she combines all her knowledge and experience through her great passion for art. She is the creator of Barrunto, a space in which she tells stories that mixes imagination with life experiences. Her main idea as a creator is to express with love and without fear a new universe of images that wake up transforming deep emotions. Due to the versatility and flexibility of the medium while traveling, at the moment she is focused on illustration as her means of expression. She loves to collect antique photography as a means of rescuing the imaginarium of forgotten families.
Zumbambico is an illustrator born in Cali, Colombia. In 2015, she graduated from Journalism, but after a brief period working in the area, decided to follow her real passion and committed to drawing for life. The central elements of her work are nature, emotions and women. She focuses on drawing bodies that do not necessarily fit the beauty standards imposed by society, in the aim of empowering herself and other women around her. She obtained a postgraduate diploma in Children’s Illustration Books at Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, in Bogotá; and did her illustration studies at EINA (Barcelona). Zumbambico has also exhibited her work in Barcelona and Maastricht (The Netherlands). She loves watching movies that make her cry, dancing barefoot, collecting leaves from the ground, dressing in black, and playing with her dog, Ambrosio.
Miguel Ibarra studied graphic design after finishing high school to fulfill a necessity of expression. He likes to put his thoughts and feelings in images for the world to see, hoping that maybe someone might feel identified with some of his work. He studied the carrier on communications in the Universidad Salesiana de México where he got closer to other media, including filmmaking. In this institution, Miguel has developed both of his great passions when it comes to creativity and story telling: filmmaking and illustration. He creates comics and storyboards to better tell his stories. Much of his video work can be seen for free on his YouTube channel “Fotograma Video”. Now Miguel is focusing on using his talent for drawing on interpreting other artists stories through illustrating tales and other narrations. In his free time, Miguel uses his sewing machine to make kilts, and if they are appealing, he also wears them.
Literacy Animateur and Translator
Macarena Zelada is a Montessori educator since 200. She was born at the foot of the Andes, in Chile, her life is a round trip between Paris and Santiago. From the age of 10, on her first return to Illapel (Chile), her native village, she began to imagine and write autobiographical stories mixing reality and fiction. She is an active member of the Montessori community and of the French Education Network AEFE. Macarena sees in children the engine of a better world. She gives a special place to the culture of books from an early age and even in mum’s womb. She hopes to be able to share her Montessori educational approach and express herself to open up on her own desire to write. Maca devours picture books page after page. She also likes to travel and above all to exchange with the earthlings! Macarena also hopes to be able to highlight the talent of her father, self-taught in writing, she corrects his mistakes and illustrates his tales!
Mariana Llanos is a Peruvian writer and poet who has lived in the United States for more than 18 years. She writes bilingual books for children in different genres: picture books, chapters books, books in verse and poetry. Mariana started writing from a very young age in her native city of Lima, Peru. After moving to the United States, she decided to pursue her publishing dream. She started with the self-publication of her first book, Tristan Wolf in 2013. After nine self-published books, Mariana ventured into publishing with the acclaimed Luca’s Bridge / El Puente de Luca, followed by Eunice and Kate, and her latest book, Run Little Chaski. Mariana loves singing karaoke and enjoys making recycled paper, painting, and dancing. She also thinks that she is a relative of Cinderella, since the forest animals seek her and talk to her.
Meredith McConnochie is an assistant professor of education at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT. She is a qualitative researcher with interests in ethnographic methods, language policies and ideologies, culturally- sustaining pedagogies, assessments, and the ways in which emergent bilinguals and migrant families participate in the schooling process. Her most recent article, “Co-constructing Frames of Peer Help during Writers Workshop in a Second-grade Bilingual Classroom,” was published in the Journal of Language Identity, and Education in 2020. Her research interests grew out of teaching experiences as a Kindergarten Dual Language teacher in Brooklyn, NY, first grade co-teacher in Barcelona, Spain, state-wide coordinator of family engagement programs across early childhood centers in New Jersey, and a volunteer adult ESL teacher for a New Jersey community organization. Meredith also loves to play soccer and played soccer in college at Carnegie Mellon University. She dreams of working with immigrant rights organizations to offer opportunities for immigrant families to develop their bilingual literacy abilities and to play a lot of soccer!
Galia Ospina Villalba
She studied Literature at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. Her Master’s thesis in Education El libro álbum: experiencias de creación y mundos posibles de lectura en voz alta was published in 2006. A few years later, she presented her book Julio Ramón Rybeiro: una ilusión tentada por el fracaso with the support of the Embassy of Peru and Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano de Bogotá. She has dedicated herself to the creation of literary workshops focused in the theme of children’s literature, travel and autobiographical writing at the Santillana Foundation, the District Institute of Culture and Tourism, the Brazil-Colombia Institute of Culture, the Letra Viva Foundation and the Banco de la República. During several years, she was professor of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano. She was trainer of the Dialogic Literary Workshops for the Ministry of Education of Colombia and CERLALC.