Author on the Airwaves: Estela Bernal

Bernal chosen as July 2014’s “Author of the Month” on Houston Public Media

Houston Public Media radio host Eric Ladau interviewed Bernal for its website’s “Arte Público Press Author of the Month” feature, and along with the transcript, their conversation is available to listeners on the station’s interactive site through on-demand audio streaming here.

Click here to see all Arte Público authors featured on Houston Public Media.

About the Author:

ESTELA BERNAL, the author of the teen novel Can You See Me Now?, was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, the southernmost part of Texas.  She is a former teacher, social worker, civil servant, and military veteran.  She now lives in Portland, Oregon, where she dedicates most of her time to writing about universal themes and multicultural characters that readers of all backgrounds can relate to.  Her goal is to inspire children to read and, in the process, fall in love with books and learning.

About her latest book, Can You See Me Now?

On Amanda’s thirteenth birthday, her father is killed by a drunk driver while on the way to pick up her birthday present. She’s stunned when she overhears her mother blaming her: “If she hadn’t insisted on that stupid watch for her birthday, he would still be alive.” Her mom retreats into extra shifts at work, leaving Mandy with her grandmother and making her feel as if she has lost both parents.

To make matters worse, she’s the butt of cruel pranks at school. One day, some girls even glue her skirt to the chair! But things take a turn for the better when she befriends Paloma, an unusual new student at Central Middle School, who introduces her to yoga and meditation. And she reluctantly becomes friends with Rogelio, a fat boy who is bullied even more than she is by their classmates.

Mandy’s new friends, a dog named Lobo and an interesting school project help to ease the pain of her father’s death and her mother’s absence. She maintains a connection to her father by writing letters to him each night. But will she always be invisible to her mother?

Estela Bernal’s debut novel, a fast-paced and entertaining read for middle school teens, explores tough issues—including death and bullying—with sensitivity and humor.