Born in Havana, Cuba; married. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking.
Home and office—212 W. Highland Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118.
Amelia's Show-and-Tell Fiesta/Amelia y la fiesta de muestra y cuenta, illustrated by Martha Avilés, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
Sparky's Bark/El ladrido de Sparky, illustrated by Viví Escrivá, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.
Mimi Chapra was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to the United States as a young child. As an author, she writes immigrant stories that explore the experiences of children assimilating to a new country and language. Chapra's bilingual stories include Amelia's Show-and-Tell Fiesta/Amelia y la fiesta de muestra y cuenta, in which readers share a Cuban girl's excitement as she prepares for the show-and-tell session at her new American school. Amelia proudly wears her native fiesta dress on show-and-tell day, but when she arrives at school she realizes that she misunderstood the teacher's directions and was only to bring a small item to share with her class. At first the girl is embarrassed, but with encouragement from her teacher and classmates Amelia talks about her dress and Cuban culture. A critic for Kirkus Reviews regarded Amelia's Show-and-Tell Fiesta as "sweet-tempered and inviting," noting that Chapra "zeroes in on a common emotion, while also introducing Amelia's Cuban culture."
In Sparky's Bark/El ladrido de Sparky a young girl's enthusiasm about leaving her home in Cuba and visiting American relatives in Ohio turns to trepidation. Arriving in Ohio, Lucy finds it difficult to overcome the language barrier that exists between her and her relatives. She is even more disappointed when she finds that she cannot even communicate with the family dog, Sparky. Things begin to change, however, when a friendly cousin teaches Lucy some simple American phrases and helps the girl ease into the new culture. In Booklist, Stella Clark acknowledged Chapra's picture book for its "simple, firmly delineated message about language and culture."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, May 1, 2006, Stella Clark, review of Sparky's Bark/El ladrido de Sparky, p. 88.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2004, review of Amelia's Show-and-Tell Fiesta/Amelia y la fiesta de muestra y cuenta, p. 489; June 1, 2006, review of Sparky's Bark/El ladrido de Sparky, p. 570.
Publishers Weekly, September 4, 2006, review of Sparky's Bark/El ladrido de Sparky, p. 67.
School Library Journal, September, 2004, Ann Welton, review of Amelia's Show-and-Tell Fiesta/Amelia y la fiesta de muestra y cuenta, p. 195; June, 2006, Maria Otero-Boisvert, review of Sparky's Bark/El ladrido de Sparky, p. 142
HarperCollins Web site,http://www.harpercollins.com/ (August 7, 2007).