Skip to Content

2003 Book Award Winner

A Library for Juana: The World of Sor Juana

Under The Mesquite

Book Synopsis:

“I am quiet like a turtle.”

So promised Juana Inés, a little girl who loved words, on her first day of school. When she was three years old, Juana Inés followed her sister to school and peeked in the window, then begged the teacher to be allowed to stay so she could learn how to read. Soon she was making up stories, songs, and poems – she loved learning and she loved reading. And she couldn’t wait to have her own collection of books! Eventually, Juana went on to become Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a nun, and she devoted her life to writing and learning and words.

Though she died in 1695, Sor Juana Inés is still considered one of the most brilliant writers in Mexico’s history: her poetry is recited by schoolchildren throughout Mexico and is studied at schools and universities around the world. Here is the story of her life, an incredible one full of knowledge, achievement, and inspiration, lovingly told by the renowned children’s book author Pat Mora and gorgeously illustrated by Beatriz Vidal.

En Espanol: Una Biblioteca para Juana  “Soy callada como una tortuga.”

Así prometió Juana Inés, una niña que amaba las palabras, en su primer día de escuela. Cuando tenía tres años, Juana Inés siguió su hermana a la escuela y miro sigilosamente por la ventana y después le suplicó al profesor que le permitiera permanecer en la escuela para poder aprender a leer. Al poco tiempo ella estaba creando cuentos, canciones y poemas. Amaba la lectura y el aprendizaje, y ella no podía esperar para tener su propia colección de libros. Finalmente, Juana pasó a convertirse en Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, una monja, que dedicó su vida a la escritura y el aprendizaje y las palabras.

Aunque murió en 1695, Sor Juana Inés sigue siendo considerado como uno de los más brillantes escritores en la historia de México. Su poesía es recitada por los alumnos en todo México y se estudia en las escuelas y universidades de todo el mundo. Esta es la historia de su vida, logros increíble lleno de conocimientos, realizaciones, e inspiraciones cariñosamente contado por la famosa autora de libros para niños Pat Mora e ilustrado por Beatriz Vidal.


Pat Mora author of children’s books, poetry and nonfiction, promotes conservation diveristy, and ecological and cultural heritage. A native of El Paso, Texas, Mora grew up in a bilingual home and books were an important part of her life. Her family memoir, House of Houses, reveals her interest in Mexican American family culture and the desert. She has worked with national organizations to have April 30th designated as Dia de los Niños; Dia de los Libros. A celebration of childhood and bilingual literacy. She has been a recipient and judge of the Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, recipient and advisor of the Kellogg National leadership Fellowship, and has received four Southwest Book Awards and numerous children’s book awards. Recipient Website:


Beatriz Vidal is an Agentinean-born artist who has illustrated a number of books for children including The Legend of El Dorado, Rainbow Crow, and The Magic Bean Tree. Vidal’s work has also appeared on several PBS programs, UNICEF cards, record covers, and many publications such as the New York Times and Women’s Day. The technique she used to bring A Library for Juana to life is one similar to those used to illuminate manuscripts hundreds of years ago. Using a magnifying glass and fine brushes, Vidal painstakingly recreates scenes of Mexican life. Recipient Website: