Monica Brown writes fantastic picture book biographies of people with Latino heritage. I have four of them in my library and use them when we do a biography unit with Year 2 students. They give white Anglo children an insight into people from cultures they may know little about and they expose them to the Spanish language as well.
I often wondered why someone with a surname like "Brown" seemed so knowledgable about South America so I went searching. Her website enlightened me:
Monica's books are inspired by her Peruvian-American heritage and desire to share Latino/a stories with children. "I write from a place of deep passion, joy, and commitment to producing the highest possible quality of literature for children. In my biographies, the lives of my subjects are so interesting and transformational that I am simply giving them voice for a young audience. I don't think it is ever too early to introduce children to the concepts of magical realism, social justice, and dreaming big!"
It was also interesting to learn that Monica is a professor of English at Northern Arizona University, specialising in Latino Literature and Multicultural Literature. She also has written picture books that are not biographies. A particular favourite of mine is about a non-conformist girl called Marisol McDonald. She really makes me smile. Marisol is a Peruvian-Scottish-American girl who just doesn't match! I wonder how autobiographical the story is? Below are her two books about Marisol and two of her biographies, a stunningly beautiful one about poet Pablo Neruda and her newest about Pablo Picasso.
Monica's website will show you all her books, give you resources for teaching, film clips, book trailers and a very quick way to get to know her work. I'm not sure when Monica was born. I have taken the date 24/10 from Eric at Happy Birthday Author.