Beach is the Word--Inside the Kidlit Studio with Ana Crespo
While the adage for folks who have many talents is "jack of all trades, master of none," an exception might need to be made for Ana Crespo, children's book author and assistant agent at East/West Literary Agency.
Originally from Brazil, Ana's own writing is outstanding. Her 2015 picture book, The Sock Thief: A Soccer Story, garnered her the 2016 International Latino Book Award for Best Latino Focused Children's Book and was listed in the 2016 CCBC Choices list. And her 2020 picture book, Lia & Luis: Who Has More?, won the 2021 Mathical Book Prize in the PreK category.
Ana also seems to be making her mark in the agenting world. Officially becoming an assistant agent just about six months ago, she already has more than a dozen clients on her roster and has sold debut author Stacy S. Jensen's BEFORE I LIVED HERE, a tale of a boy slowly unveiling the human and geological history of his neighborhood set at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, to Neal Porter and Neal Porter Books.
Master of none? We here at the KidLit Studio don't believe that for a minute. Read through Ana's interview, which would be better, apparently, if it were happening on the beach!
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being by the beach, with some coconut water or cold chá mate, a bag of biscoito Globo
salgado, and an unputdownable book.
2. When and where were you the happiest?
In nature, especially by the beach (which will be a recurring theme in this interview).
One of my favorite places on Earth is Ilha Grande, in the State of Rio de Janeiro, in
Brazil. There are beaches there that you can access only by long hikes through the
jungle or by boat. It’s paradise.
3. What is it that you most dislike?
4. What is your greatest extravagance?
My tea. I drink about seven to eight cups of warm tea a day and, whenever possible, I
order my tea from a place in Vermont.
5. Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could draw well enough to illustrate some of my stories. I love the work of the
illustrators I share books with, but I think it would be fun to illustrate one of my books
6. Where would you like to live?
Hum…by the beach. I often spend more time than I should searching for inexpensive,
off-the-beaten-path places by the beach.
7. What do you most value in your friends?
What I value the most in anyone is honesty.
8. Which living person do you most admire?
My dad. He’s the most honest person I know, and he was the one who taught me how
important it is to always do the right thing.
9. What is your favorite--and least favorite--word?
It varies. Lately, I have despised the words chicken and kitchen, because I mix them up
and tend to have a piece of kitchen in the chicken. And I have been using the word
perhaps a lot, so I must like it.
10. What is your perfect environment for creative work?
I need silence and space to pace around, preferably with a view of…you guessed! The
11. What is the weirdest thing about you that you're willing to share?
I don’t know if this is weird, but there are several foods everyone loves that I really
dislike. I have never been able to get used to peanut butter, for example, even after
more than 20 years in the US. I find it truly disgusting—the texture, the taste, the way it
gives me headaches. I also powerfully dislike cherry and anything cherry-flavored.
12. What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
If I could pick any, I would love to be a National Geographic photographer.
13. What is the best book you've read in the past year?
The Line Tender, by Kate Allen. It’s a gorgeous book, set in (one chance to guess!) a
beach town. It made me laugh and cry and I really didn’t want the book to end. I loved it
so much that I am planning to visit Rockport, Massachusetts, just to see the places
mentioned in the book.
UPDATE: Since I answered this question I visited Rockport, Massachusetts!
14. What is the favorite book of your childhood?
I was never a big reader during childhood, but the first book I remember reading by
myself that I really loved was Brida, by Paulo Coelho, the internationally renowned
Brazilian author. But don’t ask me to tell you what it’s about because I really don’t
remember; I just remember loving it.
15. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God/Goddess say when you arrive?
Welcome to the beach!
More about Ana:
A lovely KidLit411 Interview with Ana