Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara

What books did you read when you were a child?
Basically anything that fell into my hands. I was a big fan of Michael Ende’s work and read Momo and The Never Ending Story over and over again. But I also loved Le Petit Nicolas, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I would love to be Pippi Longstocking and live in Sesame Street.

What is the best thing about reading?
The friends you make. I found comfort in Momo’s company, great fun next to Pippi and heard the best advice ever from Gandalf, my third grandpa. You are never alone if there’s a good book around.

What is your all time favourite book?
This is almost an impossible question to answer, but I guess Momo is the book that I hope children still read a hundred years from now.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Conversing with them. But that doesn’t mean you do all the talking. It’s mostly a matter of listening what they have to say, take it seriously, and try to answer in your most honest and comprehensible way. And of course, avoiding “baby talk”. Some children even find it offensive.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
Every Thursday my parents would come home with a new book and let me read it for an hour before it was time to go to bed. Then, once they put out the light, I would turn on my flash-light and keep reading till I fell asleep.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
Since I became a writer, my nephews and nieces just want me to read my books to them, especially the one that are not finished yet. They love giving me advice for the text and ideas for the illustrations. But I’m a big fan of Benji Davies’ stories - especially Grandpa’s Island - and I can’t recommend his books enough. They’re always my number one birthday gift.

Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara is an author, writer and creative director with a really long name. She is the creator of the Little People, BIG DREAMS series and lives in a town near Barcelona with Dirk - her German boyfriend - and Lupe, her weird dog. When she’s not writing books, she loves taking long walks to the beach barefoot.

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