Isabel Campoy is the author of numerous children’s books in the areas of poetry, theatre, stories, biographies, and art. As a researcher, she has published extensively bringing to the curriculum an awareness of the richness of the Hispanic culture. She is an educator specialized in the area of literacy and home-school interaction. An internationally recognized scholar devoted to the study of language acquisition, a field in which she started publishing in 1973 after obtaining her degree in English Philology from University in Madrid, Spain; and post-graduate work in Reading University in England, and UCLA in the United States. She is the recipient of Junior Guild Award, ALA Notable Book Award, San Francisco Library Award, and the 2005 Reading the World Award from the University of San Francisco.
A Key Talent | I was born in Spain after a Civil War that Nazi dictator Francisco Franco won. He held onto power for 36 years that comprised all my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. During those 36 long years, I learned to own my mind and be proud without fear. I learned to observe and apply strategies that would serve the purpose of justice without confrontation. I learned that the place where I was living was just a tiny spot on the map of the world, and I immigrated alone to the US in search of wider horizons. Strong self-identity, willpower, unfailing hard work, and focus on the “big picture” were some of the steps on the ladder to who I became. But I must acknowledge the privilege of having a mother who taught me to laugh, and a father who taught me to care.
My advice to readers is to begin by understanding yourself and accepting, honoring, and loving who you are. With that, you can start the journey in search of your spot in the world, knowing that there is more than one such spot.
Principles I Live By | Defend your convictions, but explore those of others. Embrace change. Enjoy the privilege of time. Place yourself in the universe and compare sizes.
How I Use My Mind | I am a poet. My mind translates reality into words to describe bits of beauty, pain, dreams, a battlefield, or simple joy. Words are extraordinary tools for achieving goals. The more words you know how to use appropriately, the clearer your path to success will be. At any age, in any circumstance, words are the swords that will win your battles or the smiles that will earn you your next step.
Lessons I Have Learnt | While goals are individual, a team that shares your goal is a precious asset. To learn how to associate yourself with the right people in your life is crucial. To know when to disassociate from the wrong people is a must, both in professional and personal life.
Dealing With Doubt | I became an editor because I was in love with words but didn’t believe I was “chosen” to become an author. I helped many writers publish their books, both in Madrid and in Boston, while I continued to write endless unpublished poems. One day, I “dared” to share them with a friend who invited me to search for the key inside myself that would open the door I had kept closed for half of my life. I think I have published over one hundred and fifty books by now!
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | It is very important to keep up-to-date in your field. Of course, “The University of Internet”, as I call it, gives you more than enough opportunities to research in all media what is new. But I try to read every book that I see could be interesting, especially those NOT in my field. I read about physics and astronomy, art and architecture, biotechnology and biographies. Most of my ideas to write books for children come from outside the field of literature and children. I travel around the world, I try to talk to people outside my age group, but I also attend conferences, not only to listen to intelligent speakers and innovative ideas, but also to have personal contact with my colleagues. Nothing is more important than human contact.
The Meaning Of Life | There is no ONE BIG MEANING ready to fit everyone. This planet is an example of uniqueness: no two flowers identical: no two trees with the same shade of green, no two persons one hundred percent alike. But of course, I have “my” own interpretation of what the meaning of life is: “To shine your radiance with joy among the rainbows of humanity”.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | “Never give up”–at least, not until you have a hundred reasons to do so. And …“Judge your success by the degree to which you enjoy peace, health, and friends” -Diego Campoy
The Legacy I Would like to Leave | I often repeat that “History belongs to those who write it”. So, I encourage everyone to leave a mark, to write their story. But I received from my mother a thought that I would like to pass on to others: “Plenitude is not obtaining what you crave, but valuing what you have.” -Maria Coronado