Anika Aldamuy Denise grew up in Queens, in a book-loving, food-loving Puerto Rican-Italian family.
As a little girl, she enjoyed reading, writing short stories, and performing one-girl shows in her living room.
She graduated college with a degree in communications, and went on to get a Very Grown-up Job in advertising. While doing her Very Grown-up Job, she met lots of nice people and learned a great many useful things, but couldn’t shake the feeling she was meant to do something… different.
One day, she met the dashing children’s book illustrator Christopher Denise, who explained he drew “animals with clothes on” for a living… and encouraged her to write him a story. (Also, to go on a date with him.)
One wedding, three kids, and many messy first drafts later, Anika is back to writing short stories (in the form of picture books!).
She still enjoys those living room performances, but now plays the part of “Mom” under the direction of her three daughters: Sofia, Isabel, and Esmé.
It has been her best role so far.
Anika Aldamuy Denise is the author of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré; Starring Carmen!; Lights, Camera, Carmen!; and many other celebrated books for young readers. Her stories are often about family and reflect her bicultural heritage and upbringing. In her nonfiction work, Anika strives to illuminate the important contributions of influential Latinas, so that readers of all backgrounds, but especially those in the Latinx community, are inspired to dare greatly and share their gifts with the world. Her forthcoming nonfiction project is Rosita Rising, a picture book biography of legendary Puerto Rican actress and singer Rita Moreno, illustrated by Leo Espinosa. Other new titles coming soon include Bunny in the Middle, illustrated by Christopher Denise, and The Love Letter illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins. Anika grew up in Queens and now lives with her husband and three daughters in Rhode Island.
Totally Made Up Bio
Anika Aldamuy Denise is a published author and two-time Grammy award-winning lyricist. She is currently developing a musical with Lin Manuel Miranda about librarianship, tentatively titled “In The Stacks.” (Rumors that Rita Moreno and Carlos Santana are attached to the project could not be confirmed at press time.) In addition to her work in children’s books and on Broadway, she is a frequent guest judge on Dancing With The Stars.