I’m excited to share my interview with Alda P. Dobbs whose middle grade debut BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA exemplifies why I love reading middle grade books. Her writing is rich the story includes interesting details of the Mexican Revolution, and most importantly, it is a marvelous story that takes the reader on a ride that will stay with them for years to come. Alda was supposed to be in Colorado this week for an event and we had planned to meet in person, but it wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully it will happen in November.
Alda is generously offering one lucky winner a signed copy of BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA and some fun book swag. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
In my novel, Petra Luna is twelve years old and when I was twelve, I too was quiet and reserved. My mother was a single parent and, being the oldest of four girls, I found myself having to grow up quickly. Like Petra, I too had dreams, but instead of dreaming to learn to read and write, I dreamt of being an astronaut or a writer, or having a career that took me all over the world. I was, and still am very shy. My most favorite thing to do at that age was listening to baseball games on the radio while working on math homework in the tiny shed outside our tiny house. No matter what the weather was like, sitting on that concrete with the AM radio humming the ball game brought me so much peace, and if the Astros won – forget about it – it was pure joy. I also enjoyed listening to family stories from my mother about my grandmother and great-grandmother and the harsh poverty and prejudices they faced. I’d imagine them and wonder how their choices and actions impacted my life.
What inspires you?
Music! Music moves my heart and my spirit because I believe that every melody carries a story within. To this day, music can change my mood instantly. I’m fortunate to have grown up listening to old Mexican folk music, or what we call “polka-corridos”. I also enjoy all sorts of music, from jazz to rap to classical and rock. Nature also inspires me, probably because I feel everything in it also has its own melody and story.
What’s the one thing you hope readers take away from you book?
I hope young readers see that they too have the power and determination to be a leader like Petra. Sometimes we adults don’t give children enough credit yet they are capable of so much if given the space and confidence to grow and figure things out on their own. I also want them to realize that no matter the circumstances, adversities like the ones Petra faces are not unique to any one single group of people, time, or place. Harsh poverty, prejudice, and migrating to a new land to escape violence have happened throughout history and continue to happen in our world today. It’s these histories that connect us all and should make us realize we are all more similar than we think.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on Book 2, the follow-up book to BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA ! Book 2, still untitled, will follow Petra and her family to a refugee camp in Eagles Pass, Texas and then to San Antonio where 30,000 refugees settled during that time. I’m also working on the Spanish translation of BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA and will soon help record the Author’s Note for the audio book. I’m also kicking around the idea of a picture book and a historical YA – stay tuned! Five years from now, I hope to have learned new ways to help bring literacy to disadvantaged communities and of helping young writers hone their craft.
To learn more about Alda and her books: