Pat Mora (born in El Paso, Texas, on January 19, 1942) is a Mexican American, Latina author of poetry, nonfiction and children’s books. She is a graduate of Texas Western College (now University of Texas at El Paso). A popular presenter, she received Honorary Doctorates from North Carolina State University and SUNY Buffalo, and is an Honorary Member of ALA.
Mora began professionally writing in the early 1980s. She has produced writing for all age groups, creating picture books, poetry and biographies. Her choice of subject matter and theme is often shaped by life on the Mexico–United States border where she was born and spent much of her life. Of the border, she says: “The desert, mi madre, is my stern teacher…The Southwestern landscape has been my world, my point of reference.” Much of her writing highlights the human and cultural diversity of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. She writes of the rich sense of “diversity within Mexican American experience.” Mora celebrates diversity and is opposed to the idea of an American monoculture; therefore, she is very concerned with preserving cultural heritage: “I write because I believe that Mexican Americans need to take their rightful place in U.S. literature. We need to be published and to be studied in schools and colleges so that the stories and ideas of our people won’t quietly disappear.”
Mora is a strong advocate of bilingual literacy. Early in her career, she coined a concept she named “bookjoy” which describes the pleasure of reading.
Mora’s style of writing often incorporates code switching between English and Spanish words. As a writer, she allows a free-flow of ideas in her first draft: she doesn’t question her motivation for writing and writes using “as little conscious analysis as possible.” She prefers to use her critical eye for editing her own work later.
Mora has collaborated with her daughter, Libby Martinez, on two children’s books: I Pledge Allegiance and Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo!, for which Martinez is the illustrator.