Pat Mora Biography
Adult Literature

Pat MoraPat Mora, award-winning author of books for adults, teens and children, is a literacy advocate and popular presenter on creativity, inclusivity and bookjoy. The University of Arizona Press published her seventh adult poetry collection, Encantado: Desert Monologues. Her other adult collections include Adobe Odes, Aunt Carmen's Book of Practical Saints, Agua Santa: Holy Water, Communion, Borders and Chants.

The Washington Post described her acclaimed family memoir, House of Houses, as a "textual feast...a regenerative act...and an eloquent bearer of the old truth that it is through the senses that we apprehend love." Zing! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators and Students is both an epistolary memoir of her journey as a writer and is a writing creativity guide. Nepantla: Essays from the Land in the Middle was reviewed as, "Twenty inspiring essays written in a very poetic prose...A valuable contribution to American literature."

Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love and My Own True Name are Pat's poetry collections for teens. With her daughter, author Libby Martinez, Pat wrote I Pledge Allegiance and Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo!. Pat has written more than forty children's books including My Magic Wand: Growing with the Seasons, Lee & Low Books.

Among her awards are honorary doctorates from North Carolina State University and SUNY Buffalo, an honorary membership in the American Library Association, a life-time achievement award from the Texas Institute of Letters, a life-time membership in USBBY, a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship to write in Umbria, Italy, and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Texas at El Paso. She was a recipient and judge of a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a recipient and advisor of the Kellogg National Leadership Fellowships.

A literacy advocate excited about sharing what she calls "bookjoy," in 1996 she founded Children's Day, Book Day (CDBD). Pat and her partners including the American Library Association, REFORMA, NCTE and First Book, nationally promote this year-long initiative of creatively linking all children and families to books and establishing annual April 30th Children’s Day, Book Day celebrations. April 2024 is CDBD’s 28th anniversary.

Born in El Paso, Texas, to a loving, bilingual family, Pat lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She’s grateful for her parents, siblings, her three children: biologist and editor, Dr. Bill Burnside; author Libby Martinez, and cat veterinarian, Dr. Cecelia Burnside; her enthusiastic granddaughter Bonny and grandson Martin; her husband, retired university professor Dr. Vern Scarborough, her friends and her readers. A former teacher, university administrator, museum director, and consultant, Pat is working on new books for adults and children.