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Episode #97. Marissa Valdez is a Latina children’s book author and illustrator who loves to create funny, ridiculous, and spunky characters for meaningful stories.

She originally received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation, but life swept her away from animation and into the world of children’s illustration in the midst of 2020 and the pandemic.

She’s now worked on books with the major publishing houses Hachette, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, and Candlewick Books. Two books that Marissa illustrated, Ambitious Girl written by Meena Harris and Hattie Harmony: Worry Detective written by Elizabeth Olsen and Robbie Arnett, reached the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestsellers list. She also recently won a Golden Kite Honor for her illustrations in Esme’s Birthday Conga Line, a chapter book written by Lourdes Heuer (pronounced Higher).

Marissa is currently working on several other projects, including her own book, that she both wrote and illustrated, which she’s excited to share with the world in 2025. Along with creating books, Marissa enjoys teaching and has collaborated with the online learning platform, Domestika, to teach a course on how to create a children’s book portfolio.

Marissa enjoys finding everyday inspiration in her vegetable garden, reading sci-fi and fantasy books, and rambling around villages in the United Kingdom with her two cats and husband, with whom she shares her West Midlands home. Originally from the South Texas border, Marissa also enjoys incorporating her Hispanic heritage, childhood experiences growing up in Texas, and love of bright colors into her artwork and stories.

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