José Carlos Andrés is one of our favorite children’s authors, and his books are without fail among the funniest in our library. Here, he answers 7 of our most pressing questions about writing, humor, and his own work…
My motto is that it’s better to go through life with a smile.
With humor, we can discuss anything with our small people, our little boys and girls.
Problems come all on their own and we have to face them the best way we can. If we look at them with the clear and shiny eyes of children, or with those of a clown, we can even laugh at them.
What I most enjoy doing in life is laughing, and so I try to make books that readers will enjoy and find amusing.
The first thing I ever read was a comic book. I was about four and a half years old or five. When I stopped reading, I would mark the page with a pencil, because I would get very tired. But I couldn’t stop cracking up! The author was Mort Walker.
I learned to read as if it was a game. Honestly, I think I learned to read because I was kind of my sister’s toy: she liked to play at being the teacher, and I was her only student.
I kept reading comic books, comic books, comic books… and after that, more comic books.
The book for adults that has made me laugh the most is Sin noticias de Gurb, by Eduardo Mendoza. The children’s book I’ve laughed at the most is El pequeño Nicolás, by Sempé y Goscinny.
This is the easiest question: A CLOWN.
The thing is that I’m already a clown. I’ve studied a lot to be a clown. And I will keep studying and working at it until I’m an even better clown!
At this time I’ve published more than 20 books, I have nine more waiting to be published in the next few years, and several more that I’ve written, but haven’t sent to publishing houses yet.
The book that made me laugh the most while I was writing it is Un vampiro peligrozo; you could hear me laughing in my studio all the way on the opposite side of the house!
The Spanish poet Gloria Fuentes– her work for adults as well as for children.
Very few authors have been as successful in both the world of children’s literature and adult literature.
I also admire and crack up while reading Molière and Darío Fo.
In the current world of children’s literature, there are so many magnificent writers that it would be impossible to choose just one of them.
YES! My studio table is truly organized chaos by the time I finish writing a book. There are mountains of books, planners, papers, pens, pencils… at this very moment I even have A BURNED-OUT LIGHTBULB ON MY DESK! When I finish writing, I put everything back in its place and clean everything really well. I like to start “from scratch,” as if I was in an operating room awaiting a new patient.
Without a doubt I’d want to meet Cacurcias, the protagonist of Los miedos del capitán Cacurcias. He’s a pirate, he’s brave, and he admits to his crew that suddenly, he’s afraid of everything; he has a crew that loves him and he’s able to overcome his fears. What more can you ask for from an admirable and endearing character?
Thank you Sol Book Box for this wonderful interview, with clear questions that go straight to the heart.
*Editor's note: This interview was conducted in Spanish. We've translated it to English for our Sol Book Box readers.
Vanessa Nielsen Molina
Vanessa is an entrepreneur, educator, and mamá of four, who’s passionate about helping other parents experience the joy of raising bilingual children. Follow her journey and access more resources at BilingualBookworm.com.