D(anilo) H. Figueredo (1951-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1951, in Cuba; Ethnicity: "Cuban." Education: Rutgers University, M.L.S., 1978; New York University, M.A., 1989. Politics: Independent. Religion: Protestant. Hobbies and other interests: Old movies.
Agent—c/o Publicity Director, Lee & Low Books Inc., 95 Madison Ave., Rm. 606, New York, NY 10016.
Writer. Newark Public Library, Newark, NJ, librarian, 1979-84; New York Public Library, curator, 1984-88; New Jersey Library Association, director, 1988-90; Bloomfield College Library, Bloomfield, NJ, director, 1990—.
American Library Association.
When This World Was New, illustrated by Enrique O. Sanchez, Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Road to Santiago, illustrated by Pablo Torrecilla, Lee& Low Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Author's books have also been published in Spanish editions.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Latino History and Culture, Alpha Books (Indianapolis, IN), 2002.
(With Margaret Fernández) Complete Idiot's Guide para aprender inglés, Alpha (Indianapolis, IN), 2003.
(Editor with others) Encyclopedia of Cuba, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2003.
Contributor of numerous articles to periodicals.
Author, educator, and librarian D. H. Figueredo introduces readers to Latin-American culture and history in the picture books When This World Was New and The Road to Santiago. Both books recall events from the author's own life: When This World Was New follows a young boy as he makes the journey with his family from his Caribbean island home to crowded New York City, while in The Road to Santiago the yearly Christmas Eve journey to visit his aunts's house is transformed into an exciting adventure for young Alfredito due to the outbreak of civil war.
In When This World Was New Danilito feels like an outsider in his new country, until he and his family reach the home of an uncle who welcomes the family and helps the boy learn to deal with his new world. A Publishers Weekly contributor praised Figueredo for successfully expressing Danilito's "credible emotions and close rapport with his parents and uncle," while in Booklist Hazel Rochman described the immigration story as "true to the child's viewpoint" and "candid about both the hardship and the hope" involved in such a life-changing experience. Praise was also awarded to The Road to Santiago, which brings to life for readers the state of affairs in Cuba shortly after Communist dictator Fidel Castro took power in the 1950s. A Kirkus Reviews contributor cited the value of presenting "the circumstances of civil war without partisan rancor or needless violence," and noted that Figueredo's book is valuable as a multicultural Christmas tale. The "spare, first-person text and the luminous illustrations are perfectly juxtaposed to present a memorable slice of life from another time," according to School Library Journal contributor Susan Patron, who praised the vivid colors of Pablo Torrecilla's paintings.
Born in Cuba, Figueredo now makes his home in the United States, where, because of his great love of books, he has worked in libraries since the late 1970s. He was inspired to write for children when his son, impressed with the stories Figueredo invented at bedtime, told his father that he should write them down. In addition to writing for children, he has authored two volumes in the "Idiot's Guide" series. Complete Idiot's Guide para aprender inglés is designed to help people who come to the United States and need help learning the English language. He finds the time in between a busy work and home life; as he told Ravenstone Press Web site interviewer, "I write during lunch-time … ; I write in my head while commuting; I write when my family is asleep or I'm home alone." He has found that being a librarian has given him a special opportunity: "I go to the library regularly just to sit in the children's room and watch and listen to the children. I look at the books they're holding in their hands and try to guess what really appeals to them."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, June 1, 1999, Hazel Rochman, review of When This World Was New, p. 1841; January 1, 2001, Isabel Schon, review of When This World Was New, p. 972; October 15, 2003, John Peters, review of The Road to Santiago, p. 410.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2003, review of The Road to Santiago, p. 1316.
Publishers Weekly, May, 17, 1999, review of When This World Was New, p. 77; September 22, 2003, review of The Road to Santiago, p. 71.
Reference & User Services Quarterly, fall, 2003, Mina Jane Grothey, review of Encyclopdia of Cuba, p. 82.
School Library Journal, October, 2003, Susan Patron, review of The Road to Santiago, p. 62.
Ravenstone Press Web site, http://www.ravenstonepress.com/ (October 21, 2004), "Danilo Figueredo."*
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