Virtual BookFest @ Bank Street, Saturday, November 4, 2023
The Center for Children’s Literature is delighted to announce that it will team up with Kid Lit TV once again this year to stream BookFest 2023. Sonia Manzano, who played Maria on the groundbreaking educational children’s program Sesame Street for 44 years, will present the keynote.
Sonia Manzano is a first-generation mainland Puerto Rican, raised in the South Bronx. In the early 1970’s a scholarship took her to Carnegie Mellon University where she participated in the creation of the Broadway show hit Godspell. From there she went on to affect the lives of millions of parents and children when she was offered the opportunity to create the role of “Maria” on Sesame Street.
After forty-four years on Sesame Street she decided to write books. They include No Dogs Allowed, A Box Full of Kittens, Miracle on 133rd St. (Simon and Schuster) The Lowdown on the Highbridge (BX Children’s Museum) Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano (Scholastic). Her most recent Scholastic novel, Coming Up Cuban: Rising Past Castro’s Shadow, set in 1959, follows the lives of four children who represent different intersections of race and class during the Cuban Revolution.
Sonia has been recognized with 15 Emmy Awards for writing Sesame Street, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Arts and Sciences 2016. She most recently received the 2022 Beacon Award from PBS.
Ms. Manzano has created and developed with Fred Rogers Productions an animated children’s program for PBS. Alma’s Way premiered in Oct 2021.