Emmy® Award winner Sonia Manzano to discuss diverse voices at AASL national conference

For Immediate Release
Thu, 07/16/2015


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)



CHICAGO – Actress, author and script writer Sonia Manzano will appear as one of three featured speakers at an author banquet presented during the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) 17th National Conference & Exhibition. Manzano will discuss books, characters and voices of color alongside Matt de la Peña and Rita Williams-Garcia at the Friday, Nov. 6, event themed “Diverse Authors, Diverse Voices.” Registration and more information regarding the event can be found at national.aasl.org.

Manzano is most recognized as Maria on “Sesame Street,” a role she’s played since the early 1970s and notable as being one of the first and most visible Hispanic characters portrayed on national television. After 10 years as an actress, Manzano began writing scripts for the series and has fifteen Emmy Awards® as part of the “Sesame Street” writing staff. Latina Magazine recognized her work on the show by naming her one of the “25 Greatest Latino Role Models Ever.” At the recent ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, Manzano announced she was retiring from “Sesame Street” after 44 years.

“While America may know her as Maria from Sesame Street, young Sonia Manzano grew up in the 1950s South Bronx,” said Karen Perry, author co-chair. “In her new memoir ‘Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx,’ she writes powerfully about discovering her dreams, while growing up amidst a family that was loving -- and troubled. We are thrilled to have this award-winning author and actress share her story with us.”

Along with “Becoming Maria,” Manzano shares her life experiences in her semi-biographical books “No Dogs Allowed!” and “The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano.” In the picture book “No Dogs Allowed!” Manzano humorously shares with readers a take-charge family from a Puerto Rican community in the Bronx who refuses to let things get in their way, be it a car breaking down or a No Dogs Allows sign on a beach. In “The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano,” a 2013 Pura Belpre Author Honor Book, Manzano turns to 1969 Spanish Harlem. Yearning to escape from her conservative Puerto Rican community, Evelyn Serrano learns important truths about her Latino heritage when her activist grandmother moves in with the family.

“As school librarians, we all serve diverse populations,” explains Mary Ann Scheuer, author co-chair. “We want to provide books that are windows into other worlds, as well as mirrors of our own experiences. The We Need Diverse Books campaign appeals to all of our core values and we are thrilled to share these authors with our attendees.”

Manzano’s AASL national conference appearance is made possible by Scholastic. An additional registration fee of $65 is required in advance of the banquet. Register today at national.aasl.org.

The AASL National Conference & Exhibition is the only national conference dedicated solely to the needs of school librarians and their roles as educational leaders. The 17th National Conference & Exhibition, “Experience Education Evolution,” taking place Nov. 5-8, 2015, will feature preconference workshops, author events, concurrent sessions and an exhibition featuring companies relevant to the profession.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.