AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Five Fun Facts with Rebecca J. Gomez about FEDERICO AND THE WOLF (and a GIVEAWAY!)

Join me in welcoming fellow rhymer and picture book author, Rebecca J. Gomez, whose brand new picture book, FEDERICO AND THE WOLF (Clarion Books), delightfully illustrated by Elisa Chavarri, releases tomorrow! FEDERICO AND THE WOLF received a lovely review from Kirkus and a starred review from School Library Journal. Rebecca’s spot-on rhyming makes the story a joy to read aloud and is a deliciously latino take on the traditional Little Red Riding Hood. As a student of Spanish, I especially appreciated her infusion of Spanish words throughout the story. Now, you are in for a special treat as she shares FIVE FUN FACTS about the book’s creation. (And don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end!)

Five Fun Facts about FEDERICO AND THE WOLF

By Rebecca Gomez

1. FEDERICO AND THE WOLF sold quickly!

The manuscript sold the same year that I wrote it. I wrote the first draft in January 2017, and the offer from Clarion came the following November. I often tell kids at school visits about how slow this business can be, but ten months have never seemed so short!

2. I owe my daughter for the pico recipe.

Most of the credit for the pico de gallo recipe in the book’s back matter goes to my daughter Samantha, whose love for salsa and willingness to experiment in the kitchen with me led to the “perfect pico” recipe. We used tomatoes and jalapeños grown in our very own back yard.

3. No major revisions!

The text of this story changed very little once my editor, Anne Hoppe, got her hands on it. I was prepared to do a round or two (or three) of major revisions, but  Anne loved it as it was and only asked me to do a few minor tweaks. Based on my experiences with my previous editors, I was both stunned and relieved!

4. Elisa was on my dream illustrator list.

Elisa Chavarri was on my list of dream illustrators long before Clarion chose her to illustrate Federico’s story.  How lucky is that! I could not have asked for a better illustrator for FEDERICO AND THE WOLF. 

5. Habanero peppers are as hot as they say!

I tasted a fresh habanero pepper (mentioned at some point in the book) many years ago on a dare from my husband. I barely took a mouse-sized nibble, but I can promise you that those peppers are every bit as hot as they say! I can still feel the burn on my lips when I think about it. 


Rebecca J. Gomez enjoys writing stories as much as she enjoys reading them. When she isn’t reading or writing, her favorite things to do are baking, creating art, and hiking through the woods with her husband and three grown children. She lives in Nebraska, where she grows a salsa garden every summer. 

On the web at:

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!!! If you’d like a chance to win a FREE copy of FEDERICO AND THE WOLF (Clarion Books, May 2020) leave a comment below. (NOTE: Must be U.S. resident and at least 18 years old to enter.) The giveaway ends Monday, 5/25/20 at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be announced next Tuesday! THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER. The winner is announced here.  

[Note: Thank you to the author for a sneak peek at the book which I was under no obligation to review. The views and opinions expressed on this blog about books and other things are purely my own.]

39 thoughts on “AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Five Fun Facts with Rebecca J. Gomez about FEDERICO AND THE WOLF (and a GIVEAWAY!)

    • Thanks! Here’s another fun fact: The first draft of this story had kind of a whole foods/nature/hippy vibe, and it did not work! The latino twist came about as I was brainstorming options for the boy’s name. Federico/pico popped into my head and everything clicked!

  1. How interesting! Love learning more about Rebecca J. Gomez and am looking forward to hearing her read the book tomorrow.

  2. Sounds fun. I was once in a play in elementary school about Little Red Riding Hood.. Though the hood costume used in the play was from me I wasn’t chosen to be Little Red Riding Hood. My friend who lived around the block who had red hair was chosen to play the part. I think I was a tree or something that was blowing in the woods that she walked through on the way to her Grandmother’s house. I know I played a non-speaking part as did most of the class. I can’t eat hot peppers at all or the roof of my mouth starts to swell up. Glad she is growing a garden, I have mine all planted and hope for a great harvest this year.

    • I hope you had fun doing your non-speaking part! As one who has been to a lot of school plays, I will say that those little parts add a lot to a production! If you can’t eat hot peppers, maybe you could make the salsa with anaheim peppers instead!

  3. This is a cute story and a fresh take on a classic! I think I actually like it better. Rebecca is such a talented writer and wonderful person, check out her other books!

  4. Hi!

    Thank you for sharing that writing is a process and just because there’s a due date, it does not mean that the writing is done. I loved that you said that you were prepared to have to continue to edit/revise your work a second or third time. This can be a great entry point to a discussion on perseverance and resilience. It sounds like there are so many great things that kids can learn from engaging with your book. I can’t wait to read it! Thank you!

    • Yes, so many good lessons that we can pass on to our kids. Revision is the key to improving our writing until it truly shines. And resilience is most certainly a key part of that. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

  5. What great spin to the original story. How great is that, that your daughter was involved as well. Congratulations!

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