Angela is the creator of Signed Ink, a group of D/deaf writers and illustrators who champion imagination and Deaf/HOH voices in KidLit. She writes MG fantasy and historical fantasy novels as well as picture books. She collects skeleton keys, seeks out hidden gardens, bakes delicious fruit tarts, is passionate about the color blue, and lives in coastal NC with her family, a husky doodle, and 35 chickens. She is absolutely positive that adventure is always just around the corner, over the next hill, or just beyond the sun-soaked horizon. Her favorite books are: The Secret Garden, Rooftoppers, Echo, Esperanza Rising, Inkheart, A Snicker of Magic, Rapunzel (illlustrated by Barbara Rogasky), The Hundred Dresses, Quest (anything Aaron Becker), Tuesday, Drawn Together, Pish Posh said Hieronymus Bosch, Many Moons, and Angelina Ballerina to name a few.
What I do: Artist Statement
My goal is to write vibrant and playful stories that stand the test of time, books that children love to read over and over again. Imagination is timeless which is one of the biggest reasons I write. I write picture books, and middle grade with elements of diversity, multiculturalism, humor, and quirkiness. Diversity is beautiful, a part of everyone’s life. Children’s books need to reflect that. My aim is to write about deaf and hard of hearing characters as well as Hispanic and Latin American characters that have a mix of European ancestry because I am all of that too. When diverse and inimitable writing touches the lives’ of children, they see what they can become, they imagine all the limitless possibilities available to them and they realize, they too, are important and need to be proud of who they are. They realize that it is amazing to be as colorful as they are, and then they stretch their wings and fly high.
Who am I: Biography
My heritage is rich: Mexican, Spanish, Native American, Italian, Irish, Polish, and English. The characteristic I identify with most, though, is that I am hard of hearing, “not deaf enough,” and “not quite hearing enough, ” yet, wonderfully Deaf. I’ve always had one foot in the hearing world and one foot in the Deaf world. I get to pass those rich experiences on to my daughter who is hard of hearing as well and to my son who is hearing. The best way I know to do this, is through my writing, through the telling of stories. My obstacles are similar to that of many deaf across the globe and our stories are many, inimitable, and diversified. There aren’t many books with deaf characters in them and so few of them are written by deaf people. Our diversity needs to be told through deaf eyes, shared and loved—together—one book at a time.
- Stories written during elementary school. I still have them!
- A neighborhood newsletter lovingly titled, “The Daily Carpet,” alas it was short lived, but chock full of hilarious short stories which I wrote on an ancient desktop computer with my best friend. This was just the beginning of a beautiful relationship with writing.
- Giggling in the middle of the night with loved ones, split sides and all.
- Writing, writing, writing. Oh, and reading.
- The word Nefelibata:(pronounced ne-fe-LE-ba-ta) is a charming Portuguese word – from ‘nephele’ (cloud) and batha (a place where you can walk) – used to describe those of us who are rather unique and unorthodox. A nefelibata is a cloud walker or or one who does not abide by the precepts of society, literature, or art.
- Painting with watercolors.
- Spending time with familia.
- Cycling with friends, kayaking, hiking, or capturing sunsets and sunrises.
- The beach, strolling, searching for shells, swimming.
- Boba/bubble tea (faves are coconut milk tea, no caffeine, with peach poppers, tapioca boba and strawberry poppers. I also love the strawberry milk tea with the same poppers), Horchata, H2O, Hot Cocoa, Bai (Coconut), and herbal teas but especially my mixture of turmeric+ginger+vanilla chai with honey and hazelnut creamer.
- Mamita’s tamales and tortillas. Posole/Pozole! Southern food, Mexican food, Chinese food, Thai food, Indian Food. Cheese, and sourdough bread. YUM! I’m a foodie!
- Magnum bars and fresh fruit.
- The VERY first day of Spring, and colorful fall leaves.
- Flan and tres leches cake, crème brûlée and anything cheesecake (with berry/cherry compote), or key lime pie (the REAL stuff).
- Homemade fruit tarts, pies, and empanadas: apple, berry, apricot, peach, pumpkin, Derby Pie, you name it!
- Movies and music, especially Ghibli Studio, Gaiman-esque, or Tim Burton-ish and anything clever or witty with Spielburg-esque friendsips, lots of laughs, and gorgeous cinematography, adventures, or whimsical and fantasy is bound to capture my attention. I also love a good witty romantic comedy movie and anything that pulls at my heartstrings or gets my emotions going.
- Burney’s stuffed glazed croissants . . . fruit, and bavarian cream-filled, glazed divinity!
- PB, YA, MG, and art, as well illustrated fairytales . . . there’s so much to love!
- Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service are faves from the Ghibli Studio movies
Literary Crushes or Heroes/ Heroines and Dark Devils (not necessarily in this particular order):
- Mistress Mary Lennox ( I adore The secret Garden, always have from the moment I picked it up).
- Peter Pan
- (Wizard) Howl and Sophie Hatter From Howl’s Moving Castle ( I discovered this one in 2021!)
- Jesse Tuck from Tuck Everlasting: Eternal. Whew! knocked the wind out of me.
- Esperanza from Esperanza Rising. The lyrical voice and those descriptive images make me gush and feel nostalgic for the earth and outdoors.
- Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes from Beautiful Creatures
- Felicity from A Snicker of Magic. My love of words, oh my!
- Zorro: Who doesn’t love this do-gooder who always escapes the bad guys?
- Don Juan de Marco: Que romantica? Yes!
- Montresor of The Cask of Amontillado: he might be deranged whilst seeking revenge but gosh…he’s the guy to go to if you want the ultimate revenge. He’ll do you a clever one). Poe sure knows his twisted dark side well. It’s no wonder he aced this one.
- Dantes from the Count of Monte Cristo: he is intelligent, honest, direct, and loving (in the loyal passionate sense but poor thing turns bitter in his revenge). You have to read the book to find out if he comes to his senses. Every one loves a guy who can rise from the dust . . . there are so many, many more but I’ll spare you, for now.
Trina Schart Hyman
Research anything and everything, because it is the biggest adventure you will encounter–plenty of twists, turns, and often many strange delights.
Que sera sera…
C’est la vie…
Ciao! Adios! See you around!
P.S. – She credits her mother, Ana Peña McGinnis, for her flare for learning and her insatiable love for books, imagination, and curiosity. Can you guess where I got my nom de plume?