“Stef Taco, Taco Queen”, “Catalina Incognito” and the most recent “Lola Out Loud” are just a few of the books written by children’s author Jennifer Torres.
“I think most of my books explore courage which doesn’t always sound like what you expect courage and bravery to be,” said Torres, a former reporter for The Stockton Record. “So often my characters have to do brave things and have to step out of what feels comfortable and familiar to them.”
Earlier this month, Torres visited the Margaret K. Troke Branch Library, the same library that inspired one of her books. Torres had a get-together, a story hour and answered curious questions from a crowd of young people.
Andrea Fedorko took her granddaughters Alyssa, 10, and Peyton, 8, to the dating event.
“I thought it was wonderful,” Fedorko said.
Fedorko said it was the first time she took her granddaughters to a library event like this.
“I think it’s great. Reading is important. That’s how you learn things,” Fedorko said.
Torres read the first chapter of her book “Catalina Incognito” to the crowd. A book that was inspired by the same library she was visiting. The book also explores creativity, inspired by Torres’ two grandmothers.
“It’s dedicated to my Nana, Josephine, who is (a) very creative person…I think having someone in my life early in my life who made creating exciting really nurtured that writing instinct and of creation in me, and so, I’m really grateful for this gift,” said Torres.
But the book was also inspired by her grandmother, Mary, who taught her how to sew, Torres said.
“I just remember thinking, ‘This is magic.’ The way she can take all those pieces and turn them into something new with just a needle and thread,” Torres said. “And so that stuck with me and that’s kind of what inspired the book: it felt like it was really magical and so that was the idea behind it.”
Torres recently released her 10th book “Lola Out Loud” based on the story of Central Valley’s Dolores Huerta.
Related:Farm union activist, icon Dolores Huerta keeps Stockton going
“I always thought it was really inspiring to live in a place where she grew up,” Torres said. is to care for your community and be involved in the life of a community back home and it got me thinking about what that could have been like and some of those early lessons that really started here at Stockholm.
The library event was an event presented by the Friends of the Library. It was the last event scheduled to celebrate Mexican Heritage Month in October and the first visit by an author after COVID-19. It was also the first time Torres had visited the library as a guest author.
“I thought she would inspire a lot of kids to not just want to read her books, but to become writers themselves,” said Margaret K. Troke Branch Library intern Kari Leos.
Torres, a former Record journalist, said the inspiration for her books came from personal experiences and just everywhere. She said she always carries a notebook.
“My second novel was called ‘Flor and Miranda Steal the Show,’ and it was hugely inspired by the Central Valley and all the farming life here,” she said.
From journalist at The Record to children’s author, Torres said she just wanted to write and use her imagination to tell stories.
“I love my time as a journalist. I think it was the best and most fun job. And I loved being a journalist in the Stockton community…but like I said, when you’re journalist, you write about real things that really happened to real people,” she said. “And there were other kinds of stories and other truths that I wanted to bring out that I needed different tools to tell new stories and that’s why I turned to writing for young readers.
Torres’ books can be found at popular bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, Vroman’s, Indiebound, and Amazon.
To learn more about Torres, visit: https://jenntorres.com/
Record reporter Angelaydet Rocha covers community news in Stockton and San Joaquin County. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AngelaydetRocha. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow.