The Reading Culture Welcomes Yuyi Morales

Masthead Waves

Yuyi Morales (“Viva Frida,” “Niño Wrestles the World,” “Bright Star”) feels like a refreshing breeze. From the moment we started talking, she was comfortable and open to sharing about her breadth of experiences as an author-illustrator, immigrant, mother, creative, and much more. 

Growing up in Mexico in the 60s and 70s, Yuyi wasn’t familiar with picture books. Instead, she was surrounded by a family of vibrant storytellers, and a mother whose creative side was brought out through her passion to make anything and everything needed around the house (down to the underwear!). As an adult, Yuyi found herself living in America and learning English, through which she discovered and fell in love with children’s books. A Caldecott Honor recipient and Pura Belpré Award winner, today, Yuyi merges her youth and experiences in America to create magical, colorful, and entirely original picture books.


In this episode, Yuyi explores her experience as an immigrant to the United States and her “constant immigrant journey” now that she is living and creating in Mexico. She opens up about everything from how her stories helped quell her homesickness to the inspiration for her more recent picture books. She shares an incredible story about how one book completely changed her perspective on reading and made her a reader. We discuss magical realism, and Yuyi’s secret to finding joy in every crevice of life, no matter the starting point.


For her reading challenge, Migration Stories, Yuyi challenges us to think about the reasons why people and animals migrate. She offers a list of picture books about people and animals alike, moving from one place to another. I invite you to check it out, and for Beanstack clients, use the challenge on your site!


This episode's Beanstack featured librarian is Pam Hamlin, the family literacy specialist at Prince George's County Memorial Library System in Maryland. Pam was one of the very first librarians I ever worked with, and she is amazing! She shares a message for parents and teachers of young children.


Listen to the full episode, “Never Empty-Handed: Yuyi Morales on the Stories, the Pain, and the Hope We Carry” on  Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, subscribe, and share with someone who will enjoy it.


Follow the podcast on Instagram @thereadingculturepod to see reels of our authors and librarians and to learn about our exciting upcoming giveaways! #readingculturefam (for life!)


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