Coming March 2020

The Copy Cat

Interview with Jennifer Torres, Author of Stef Soto, Taco Queen


Stef Soto, Taco Queen was one of my favourite books of 2016.




I’d gotten to read an advanced reader’s copy and was totally immersed in Stef’s story. So I’m thrilled that the book was finally released yesterday – wanted to get my greedy paws on it – and had to corner its author, the very talented Jennifer Torres, with my questions!


The Interview


Okay, the whole time I was reading Stef Soto, Taco Queen, my mouth was watering! Inquiring minds what to know: what’s your favourite taco filling?

So many of my favorite comfort foods made it into this book. Okay, if we’re talking homemade, then it’s ground beef fried with diced potato, shredded lettuce, tomato, avocado and salsa. That’s the way my grandma makes tacos.

If I were ordering at a taco truck, I’d ask for a couple of carne asada tacos with pico de gallo and a wedge of lime.

What’s the one middle grade novel you’d take with you to a desert island?

Such a tough question. But if I only get one, I’d take A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I know is on the older side. When I was 12 or so, my mom gave me her copy of the book – the same dog-eared, creased-spine paperback she had read when she was my age. I think it was the first time I really thought of her as having been a kid once – one who liked to read and even had a favorite book – and the connection meant a lot to me. That, through this book she shared, I could get to know the younger person she had been. I like that it’s a family story, that it’s honest about hardship and struggle – but doesn’t forget moments of joy and love.

How do you plan to celebrate your books’ launch?

I’m looking forward to a launch event Saturday, January 21 at the Barnes & Noble in Stockton, California. There will be a signing and some giveaways, and guests can make their own mini taco truck! I’m especially excited that, as part of a B&N bookfair, a portion of sales will benefit El Concilio, a nonprofit organization that serves immigrant families in the San Joaquin Valley where I live. El Concilio does excellent, important work, and I’m proud to have served on its board for a number of years.

So here’s my dream dinner: you can host a dinner party and invite six middle grade authors (living or dead). Who would you invite and why? Bonus points if you tell me what you’re cooking for them!

Amazing. So, taking for granted that what I’d love is a big house party with all the great middle grade authors with books coming out this year, here’s my six: Pam Muñoz Ryan, Eleanor Estes (Esperanza Rising and The Hundred Dresses were both desert island contenders), Rita Williams-Garcia, Grace Lin, Gary Soto and Margarita Engle.

It’s a potluck, obviously.

What projects are you working on next?

I’m revising few things right now: A couple of middle grade novels (one of which is Selena-inspired, and another that involves a lot of lip gloss and Lady Bird Johnson); a chapter book and a picture book.

(She had me at lip gloss and Lady Bird Johnson)

Thank you Jennifer!

Click here to learn where you can buy Jennifer’s book.

Follow Jennifer on twitter: @jennanntorres


Author of Children's Literature