We asked 2023 Texas Book Festival Author Pedro Martín a few questions about himself and his featured Festival title Mexikid.
TBF: Why did you write your featured book? (What was your inspiration? Where did the idea start?)
PM: “My gigantic family tells and retells bits and pieces of this adventure every chance they get. They often turn to me to tell my version because I have the silliest take on some of the darkest parts of it.
But for me, this story contains one of the most pivotal moments in my life. A moment when I first stepped out of my role in the family hierarchy and became a real person with a real sense of agency. It also marks the moment I first felt the spark of curiosity that led to my interest in my Mexican Heritage.”
TBF: What’s the first book you remember reading and who gave it to you? What inspired your love of reading/writing?
PM: “I remember my oldest sister Lila giving me a copy of The Sheep of Lal Bagh by David Mark, illustrated by Lionel Kalish. I kept checking it out of the library over and over again so she just bought a new copy of my own for my birthday one year.
We didn’t have a lot of books in the house (except for comic books and Mad magazines). And usually, anything that came into the house was to be shared. So this was a very special gift for me alone. Lila would always watch out for me and she tried her best to encourage my artistic side.
The book itself meant a lot to me too. I loved the story. It was funny and smart, but I was specifically taken by the beautiful artwork by Lionel Kalish. It felt really magical yet something thought I could totally do someday.”
Pedro Martín is a former Hallmark artist of 27 years and the creator of Asteroid Andy. He chronicles his life growing up Mexican American online in a series called Mexikid. You can see Martín at the 2023 Texas Book Festival this November 11–12!