Pat Mora Biography
Teen Literature

Pat Mora“No one has felt like this. Ever.” So thinks a teen in Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love, Pat’s second collection for young adults. Pat also wrote My Own True Name and seven poetry collections for adults: Encantado: Desert Monologues, Adobe Odes, Aunt Carmen’s Book of Practical Saints, Agua Santa: Holy Water, Communion, Borders and Chants. The New York Times wrote that “Ms. Mora’s poems are proudly bilingual, an eloquent answer to purists who refuse to see language as something that lives and changes.”

Her nonfiction books for adults include her acclaimed memoir, House of Houses, Zing! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators and Students and Nepantla: Essays from the Land in the Middle.

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, her newest, 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 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, 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 across the country. April 30, 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.