The Backstory: ABUELA'S SUPER CAPA & BOITATA: THE FIRE SNAKE
I love when authors return to The Backstory to share more of their stories with us. And today we have the incredible Ana Siqueira who is back for her THIRD time. If that wasn't enough, she has brought along with her not one, but two new books. So sit back and relax as we learn all about ABUELA'S SUPER CAPA (HarperCollins, 2023) and BOITATA: THE FIRE SNAKE (Capstone, 2023).
Welcome to The Backstory and thank you for joining us and sharing the inspiration behind ABUELA’S SUPER CAPA and BOITATA: THE FIRE SNAKE.
First off, please tell us a little bit about ABUELA’S SUPER CAPA.
Abuela’s Super Capa is a homage to my mother who was a super Abuela and played superhero with my children when they were little and was also their superhero when I went through a tough divorce with lots of problems involved.
Your mother seems like she was an amazing person and what lucky kids to have had such a fun Abuela!
What’s the story behind the story? What was your inspiration? How did you approach going from this seed of an idea to what is now ABUELA’S SUPER CAPA? Was it something undeniable you had to write immediately or did you need to sit with this idea and let it grow for a while before it found its way to the page?
This was basically my first or second story. And it started with a boy who wanted a penguin. Not enough stakes, my critique partners said. So it was about a boy who lost an Abuelo and talked to the penguin about it, until he realized the penguin didn’t have a beating heart and goes on a quest to find the penguin and himself some heart. And then… You got the point. This story was inside my heart and my head, but not ready to spill on paper. And then, in October of 2019 my mom died. And during my grief and my loss, I realized I had to write about my mom and my younger son Luis and their superhero games. And in the first story, Abuela died. But then, my editor, Luana Horry asked me to change and make Abuela sick. And that’s how Abuela’s Super Capa is now a story about Luis discovering Abuela can’t be his sidekick anymore and how he deals with this change.
In this story, I learned two things:
Some stories take a while to take shape in your heart and head. So now, I let them marinate for a while.
Stories based on your own personal experience can make stories even stronger. I try mining my own (and my children’s) experiences.
Thanks so much for sharing how this story developed over the years. I couldn't agree more with you about the power our personal experiences have to strenghten our stories. So often it is that personal connection that brings the heart into the book and that is what readers connect to.
Did AUBELA’S SUPER CAPA undergo any major changes/revisions from the original version? If so, what led you to make these changes?
Hahaha. I think I answered that already. This story changed so much. But it was one of my first stories, so I guess it’s normal. But I still write a lot of versions of all my stories. I always give this tip: write different versions even if you’re happy with the one you wrote. You never know what you can discover.
That is great advice. Even something that seems solid has the potential to be improved. Maybe a different POV or structure could work even better than the original.
I want to say a big thanks to my editor Luana Horry and the amazing illustrator Elisa Chavarri. Check here how art can show emotion in a very strong way.
Now let’s chat about BOITATA: THE FIRE SNAKE. What is this story all about?
This story is a legend from Brasil. One day the sky got all dark and the sun didn’t show up anymore. Everybody was scared. A snake hid on top of a mountain, absorbing all the sunlight. (in the real story, the snake eats the eyes of dead animals) So when the sun finally reappears, this snake is transformed into a fire snake. And now Boitata protects the jungle, scaring away the ones who want to destroy it
This sounds amazing! Legends and folktales are always enjoyed by my students and this one is bound to become a favorite.
Where did the idea for BOITATA: THE FIRE SNAKE come from?
I got contacted by Capstone to write a Brazilian legend. I submitted some ideas and they chose this one.
How wonderful! That sounds like an author dream to have the publishing house come to you.
Did BOITATA: THE FIRE SNAKE undergo any major changes/revisions from the original version? If so, what led you to make these changes?
Not really. I submitted first an outline and minor changes were asked. And the same thing with the final version.
Impressive! It is interesting how some stories can undergo massive changes and revisions while others make to their way to the page almost fully developed.
I want to also says thanks to this amazing Brazilian illustrator - Fabiana Faiallo.
Here an almost wordless page to show her amazing talent.
Did you use any mentor texts while working on either of these books?
I read many books with this legend and watched lots of videos and songs.
Do you have any upcoming projects or news you would like to share with us?
I have one more book coming out in 2023. OUR WORLD BRAZIL (art by Ana Matsusaki- Barefoot Books). For 2024 I have two books coming out: Room in Mami’s Corazon (art by Nomar Pérez - HarperCollins) and La Mala Suerte is Following Me (art by Carlos Veldez - Charlesbridge). And I submitted now my chapter book CAROLINA AND THE CREEPY CREATURE CATCHERS (a Brazilian girl who moves from Brazil to the USA and finds out her teacher resembles her of the Brazilian alligator witch Cuca). And I am working on a Graphic novel and many other picture books.
Wow, you are busy! I love that you have so many books for us to look forward to and that you are constanly creating even more.
Where can people connect more with you?
Check more about Ana and her other books at
Readers be on the lookout for ABUELA'S SUPER CAPA (HarperCollins, 2023) and BOITATA: THE FIRE SNAKE (Capstone, 2023). Mark them as "Want to read" on GoodReads, submit a library request, or pick up your own copies. You will not be dissappointed.
Ana thank you so much for your return visit and for giving us the inside scoop on these two new books!
Ana is giving one lucky winner their option of a picture book of their choice (US only) or a virtual classroom visit (20 minutes).
Ways to enter:
1. Retweet my tweet about this blog post. Additional entry for tagging friends!
2. Leave a comment on this post.
3. Post about this interview on FB/Instagram and tell me in the comments that you did.
Each method earns an extra entry!
ABOUT ANA SIQUEIRA
Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher, and an award-winning Brazilian children’s author also published in the Foreign Language educational market – EL PATO QUIERE UVAS. Her picture books include BELLA’S RECIPE FOR DISASTER/SUCCESS (Beaming Books, 2021) and IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA/CUANDO TU NIÑERA ES UNA BRUJA (SimonKids,2022), ABUELA’S SUPER CAPA/ LA SUPER CAPA DE ABUELA (HarperCollins, 2023), ROOM IN MAMI’S CORAZÓN (Harpercollins, 2024) and a few more books to be announced. Besides writing, Ana loves to read, teach, and play with her Cuban-Brazilian-American grandchildren.
ABOUT ANDREW HACKET
Andrew Hacket is a teacher by day, parent by night, and writer in the nooks and crannies of life. When it comes to his books, Andrew aims to create stories that tickle the funny bone and hug the heart of readers both young and old.
Andrew is the author of the early reader, CURLILOCKS AND THE THREE HARES (The Little Press, 2024) and the picture book, OLLIE, THE ACORN, AND THE MIGHTY IDEA (Page Street Kids, 2024). Additionally, his short story, THE TUNNEL, has been chosen for inclusion in the SCBWI anthology, The Haunted States of America.
Andrew lives in Massachusetts with his wife, three young children, and puppy, Gus.
Andrew is represented by Dan Cramer of Page Turner Literary.