I was born in El Paso, Texas, and grew up in a bilingual home where books were an important part of my life. I can speak and write in both English and Spanish — am I lucky! I've always enjoyed reading all kinds of books and now I get to write them too — to sit and play with words on my computer. Family, Mexican-American culture, and the desert are all important themes in my children's books as well as in my poetry and nonfiction for adults. Many of my book ideas come from the desert where I grew up — the open spaces, wide sky, all that sun and all those animals that scurry across the hot sand or fly high over the mountains. I also like to write about my family, like my aunt who danced on her 90th birthday, and my mother who wanted to be a rainbow tulip when she was in grade school. I take pride in being a Hispanic writer. I will continue to write and to struggle to say what no other writer can say in quite the same way. I write, in part, because Hispanic perspectives need to be part of our literary heritage — including children's literature and juvenile poetry. I have strong feelings that Chicano children need good children's books, well illustrated, and from big publishing houses — that is something I would really like to pursue. I want to establish pride in heritage for young Chicanos. Pat Mora, the mother of three children, has been a teacher, university administrator, and consultant. She is the recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Poetry Fellowship, a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, and three Southwest Book Awards. She speaks about multicultural literature, cultural conservation, creative writing, and leadership at conferences, schools, and universities. She enjoys encouraging audiences to view their cultures, homes, and landscapes as catalysts for writing and for creativity.