Will Write for Cookies: Duncan Tonatiuh PLUS Giveaway



Plate of Cookies






This summer I attended the WOW Retreat in Georgia. One of the most compelling presentations was from the incredible Duncan Tonatiuh. Lucky me…he was also one of my Round Table mentors. You can imagine how thrilled I was when he said he’d been willing to participate in Will Write for Cookies.

 Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tee-YOU) is an award-winning author-illustrator. He is both Mexican and American. He grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City. His artwork is inspired by Pre-Columbian art, particularly that of the Mixtec codex. His aim is to create images and stories that honor the past, but that are relevant to people, especially children, nowadays.


I want to remind everyone that there will be a giveaway of a copy of Duncan’s newest book, The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanos (click here to read my Perfect Picture Book Friday review). Please stick with us throughout the post and then leave a comment at the end.

Welcome, Duncan! We are so very happy to have you here.

 ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?


 I remember reading and really liking Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I also remember liking a book in Spanish called Macario by B. Traven. When I was about eight years old, I really enjoyed the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I read all the ones they had in my school library.

In terms of illustration I was really into comic books and anime. That is what got me interested in drawing. I collected Spider-Man and X-Men comics and I would watch a cartoon about warriors called Knights of the Zodiac and another one about soccer called Captain Tsubasa.


ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?


It takes time to build a career. When I was first getting started as an author-illustrator, I also taught, tutored, painted houses, walked dogs, baby sat and did other odd jobs to make ends meet. It was frustrating at times to take on certain jobs because I had to, not because I was passionate about them. As I published more books though, more people became familiar with my work. I started to receive more recognition for it. Nowadays I dedicate myself to writing and illustrating full time and I am able to support my family doing so. I feel very lucky that I get to do something I love for a living.


ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook? And when do you find time to write?


I like to write with a pen on a notebook before I type on the computer. My favorite place to write is the library, but often times I find myself writing on a bus or a plane.


ME: When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write/draw when the muse speaks?


I am definitely a night person and I get most of my writing and drawing done at that time. When I am able to, I like riding my bike to the library in the morning. I like to write and draw there for a few hours. In the afternoon, I type out what I wrote and I scan my drawings so I can start revising my work.


ME: Why do you write for children?


I want children of color, especially Latinx children, to see themselves in books. There is a very small number of books where they can do that. I want them to feel proud of who they are. I hope my books help them know that their culture and their voices are important.


I also want non-Latinx children to engage with my books. I think that when kids learn about people different than themselves they realize that we are all more alike than different regardless of our skin color, religion, physical abilities or sexual preference. If children learn about and care about people different than themselves through books, they are less likely to be afraid of others or have prejudices towards them when they are adults.

I couldn’t agree with you more, Duncan! And books like yours DO help! Thank you so very much for participating in Will Write for Cookies…this was so much fun!

 To find out more about Duncan and his amazing books or get in touch with him:

Website: http://www.duncantonatiuh.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DuncanTonatiuharte

Twitter: https://twitter.com/duncantonatiuh

And now for the sweet treat that ends all of our Will Write for Cookies posts. Duncan wanted to share his favorite Ria cookie made with walnuts, sunflower seeds, and chocolate…plus other deliciousness…the cookie is made by his cousins who own the fabulous Sweet Poppy in Hudson, NY…but unfortunately, the recipe cannot be shared…HOWEVER, I urge you to check out their Facebook page and if you live in the area, please give them a call and order some. https://www.facebook.com/sweetpoppyhudson/


But we knew that everyone wanted something special for the holidays. I found a traditional Mexican wedding cookie recipe to share…and believe me, you won’t want to wait for a wedding to make and eat these…they are PERFECT for the holidays! Many thanks to Bernie at AllRecipes.

mexican-wedding-cookiesPhoto courtesy: http://allrecipes.com/recipe

They are as easy as 1, 2, 3. You will need: 1 cup butter, ½ cup white sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp water, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup chopped almonds, ½ cup confectioner’s sugar.

  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and water. Add the flour and almonds, mix until blended. Cover and chill for 3 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Shape dough into balls or crescents. Place on an unprepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from pan to cool on wire racks. When cookies are cool, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Find complete details on ingredients and instructions here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/15542/mexican-wedding-cookies/


And now, dear friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Duncan’s book. Why not share the title of your favorite folktale?  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…please don’t forget…Susanna Hill has posted the FINALISTS FOR THE HOLIDAY WRITING CONTEST…hop on over and read the 12 stories and VOTE for your favorite.

45 thoughts on “Will Write for Cookies: Duncan Tonatiuh PLUS Giveaway

  1. I’m another one who was fortunate to have met Duncan at the WOW conference. His presentation and conversations throughout were truly compelling and heartwarming. It’s obvious that Duncan speaks and writes what’s in his heart. Thank you Vivian for inviting him here. And, thank you Duncan for being here and reminding me how special you are.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting interview! I had not heard of Duncan, but now I will have to look for his books to read to my kids. I thought it was a typo at first, but the I saw Latinx twice. What does that mean? Growing up in Georgia, some of the tales I liked as a child were from Joel Chandler Harris, such as Brer Rabbit. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent interview! I read Separate is Never Equal based on your PPBF recommendation and loved it. I look forward to reading more of Duncan’s work. As far as a favorite folktale, I adore The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • That makes me so happy, Jen, that you read Separate is Never Equal because I reviewed it…you won’t be sorry if you get Duncan’s newest book!
      And Tomie dePaola’s Clown of God is probably my favorite picture book of all time…I still cry every time I read it. I will have to get The Legend of the Poinsettia…it sounds amazing. 😉


  4. I loved this interview, and his books. It’s so important to have a variety of voices in the world of picture books for kids. Even the book covers are an invitation into a special world. I love Separate Is Never Equal, and would have loved having that book years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I also loved Separate Is Never Equal. I’m going to ask my library to order more of Duncan’s books if possible. My town library is small. So often, the books I want to check out have to be brought in from other libraries. I’m also going to print out the recipe for those mouth-watering Mexican Wedding cookies. I can very nearly taste them! Vivian, thank you for giving us another wonderful interview.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great idea, Leslie…we should all request our libraries purchase these important picture books…let me know how the Mexican Wedding Cookies turn out if you try them…I’m thinking of doing them for the holidays. 😉


  6. Great interview, Vivian. I am so sorry I missed the WOW Retreat as I especially wanted to meet Duncan and Don Tate! I am writing a folktale now, so I’d love to win a copy of PRINCESS AND WARRIOR. Love Duncan’s distinctive illustration style, too. Been to the Yucatan and the city of Merida and immersed myself in the art and culture. Every time I see his art, I am reminded of the Incas and Mayans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It would definitely be a wonderful mentor text for you, Kathy…and do you know what? I so fondly remember the workshop presentation that I think Jill Corcoran did…we exchanged manuscripts and you gave me so many wonderful ideas for mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I, too, am going to look for Duncan’s books now! As a “pre-published” author I’ve gained so much great information from blogs like Vivian’s. P.S. the Mexican Wedding Cookie must be a universal dessert treat, because I have the same recipe called “Russian Tea Cookies!”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Vivian, great interview. Duncan is a talented writer/illustrator. And he is also a very nice person, willing to share his journey and encourage others. I roo enjoyed meeting and talking with him at the WOW retreat. I can’t wait to see his new book.


    • Yes…the faculty at WOW was awesome…it was so much fun getting to meet you in person, Maria…I love being CPs with you…and having your company on this writing journey. Glad you enjoyed the interview. 😉


  9. Wonderful interview, Vivian! What an exhilarating gift to hear Duncan speak about his journey into writing at Krtisten Fulton’s WOW Conference. I read my copy of “Separate Is Never Equal” to my grandson & he said, “I never knew that, Grandma.” Can’t wait to buy his others. What a warm delightful person. Love that guy!!!! MONA, loved your comments too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was so much fun getting to hug you in person, Eloise…WOW gave us the opportunity to get to know each other a bit…and to hear amazing presentations like Duncan’s. So glad you were able to read one of his books to your grandson…you will LOVE this new one!


  10. Thank you, Vivian and Duncan! I am forever a fan of folktales and love to collect ones from all over the world. Just like us as people, folktales reflect culture and differences, but also share so many commonalities of our humanity. I love the varied versions of Cinderella from around the globe! I’m a huge fan of Duncan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your idea of collecting versions of folktales from around the world…isn’t it amazing how alike yet different they can be? Glad you enjoyed the interview, Beth…I always appreciate when you are able to stop by. 😉


  11. Thank you for the fabulous blogpost, Duncan and Vivian! I am proud to say I already own a copy of THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR and love it. Without being specific as to retellings, my favorite folktales are fox and spider trickster tales. Excited to try the Wedding Cookie recipe 🙂 Best, Lynne Marie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lynne Marie…thank you for your kind words about the blogpost. Trickster tales are so much fun…I loved them as a child and I’m’ happy to discover the modern retellings. Let us know how the Wedding Cookies come out. 😉


  12. This is a popular post, and for good reason. Enjoyed meeting Duncan after reading and reviewing his SEPARATE IS NOT EQUAL. I am really eager to read THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR. His illustrations stand out and you recognize his inspiring work from his unique style. I see that there are many books I’ve missed and will check them out. Excellent interview!

    Liked by 1 person

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