LA Libros Fest: Interview With Jennifer Torres

Anna Avalos, Senior Librarian, Multilingual Collections,
Jennifer Torres

Jennifer Torres is the author of The Fresh New Face of Griselda; Stef Soto, Taco Queen; and other books for young readers. She's a former journalist and lives with her family in Southern California.

Jennifer will be one of the featured authors at the Los Angeles Libros Festival, a free bilingual book festival for the whole family. Celebrating oral traditions, the festival will feature stories and music from Latin America—including México, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia—and the United States. LA Libros Fest will take place at the Los Angeles Central Library on September 28, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

How did you begin writing?

I was a pretty shy kid growing up, and just like reading was a way for me to connect and explore, writing became a way for me to express all the things I thought and felt and imagined—but that got stuck in my mouth whenever I tried to say them out loud. I always loved listening to other people’s stories, and so my first writing job was a dream job: newspaper reporter. Working as a journalist, I got to tell real stories about real people that I hoped would help others understand and take action in their communities.

What does being an author mean to you?

Being an author means it’s still my privilege to tell stories. And even though I write fiction now, I think those stories can be just as full of truth, in their own way, as the newspaper stories I used to write. They can still help readers understand and explore their world, and maybe start to navigate their place in it.

What place do books have in your life? What about libraries?

A couple of years ago, my family and I moved from California’s Central Valley, where my daughters were born, to the San Gabriel Valley where I’m proud to be from but hadn’t lived for more than a decade. It felt like coming home in some ways, but also like starting from scratch—leaving all our friends and favorite places behind. One of the first things we did when we moved into our new-old town, was sign up for library cards. Visiting the library gave us a place to belong, a place that was familiar, a place to connect.

What inspired you to participate in the Los Angeles Libros Festival?

I am so thrilled to be part of this event that is bringing together so many of my favorite authors and artists in a place I love. I’m especially excited to celebrate reading in two languages. I think seeing Spanish-language books on the shelves tells kids and families that they belong. That their language—the words they think and dream in—is the language of literature.

What advice would you give to a kid or teen who wants to be a writer?

Always remember: Your story is really important. Only you can tell it.

Books by Jennifer Torres

Book cover for Flor and Miranda Steal the Show
Flor and Miranda Steal the Show
Torres, Jennifer
Book cover for Stef Soto, la reina del taco
Stef Soto, la reina del taco
Torres, Jennifer
Book cover for Stef Soto, Taco Queen
Stef Soto, Taco Queen
Torres, Jennifer
Book cover for Finding the Music/En pos de la música
Finding the Music/En pos de la música
Torres, Jennifer
Book cover for The Fresh New Face of Griselda
The Fresh New Face of Griselda
Torres, Jennifer, 1980-

Jennifer Torres at LA Libros Fest