30 Minutes features a session from the 2019 Festival of Books curated by Pima County Public Library’s Nuestras Raices program entitled Navegando La Vida: The Stories of Manny and Juan. Authors Daniel Acosta and Matt Mendez each discussed their debut novels and the struggles of their lead characters Manny and Juan, two Mexican-American teenagers fighting for their identity. Toby Wehner is the moderator and begins the discussion by inviting the authors to introduce themselves. This is part 1 of a 2 part series.
Like his characters, Matt Mendez grew up in central El Paso, Texas. He is the author of Barely Missing Everything, his YA debut novel, and the short story collection Twitching Heart. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Tucson, Arizona.
Daniel Acosta grew up in the San Gabriel, California of his novel. Following college, Daniel was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and went back to school for teaching. Daniel retired from teaching in 2007 and returned to his writing. Iron River is his debut novel (at age 72) and is published by Cinco Puntos Press. Daniel is the father of four. He and his wife, Linda, live in Rosemead, California.
Nuestras Raíces (‘Our Roots’) is a group of Pima County Public Library staff members who work together to celebrate and honor the culture, voice, and linguistic heritage of our Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities in Pima County.
Recorded and produced by Amanda Shauger.