Sketchbook: Chupacabra adventures with author Frederick Luis Aldama

Read the script:

My name is Frederick Luis Aldama and my book is called The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie, and is set on the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border, and it's this adventure where a Chupacabra, little guy, 10 years old, goes on an adventure with Lupe. 

They managed to get across the wall with the help of a talking coyote, snake, and other kinds of magical mystical figures. On the other side of the wall, they free the children that have been kept in these cages. It's the kind of, you know, the climax in the safe third scene of the story that allows it to kind of wrap up. 

We creep around to the other side of the big rock and we spot the big people in green. They spot us to flashing lights, Ladridos, gnashing teeth. The ninos all shout “corran, corran, corran.” Scattering in all directions we all escape. 

People may think this is kind of easy to do to write kids’ stories, but it's like writing poetry. There's a draft and mini-drafts and then each of those drafts you have to, you have a kind of big stone. Then I kinda get my tools out and I start sculpting it a little bit, you know, choosing what is gonna be a part of this adventure. 

And then there's bringing in the illustrator and a further kind of sculpting because you don't want the words and images and the language right, to replicate, to make redundant what is being shown with the visuals. 

And then there's presenting it to an editor, but that is a huge long process. So even something like this after I wrote it, further edits, all the illustration work, all of the back and forth with the press and editors at the press. I would say a year and a half of work. 

My new book coming out in January is called With Papa. And so, yes, I'm definitely on this track of writing kids’ books. And if I may, we need them and we need them coming from the kind of Latinx community, We need our stories, the stories that we heard, we need them in our libraries and our bookstores, we need them with our families because there's still a real scarcity of these books out there. 

These stories, we have them and there are a lot of incredible writers and illustrators and artists creating them, but we're just not getting them published.

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